28 November, 2019
The hype hormones of Blockchain’s adolescence have finally mellowed. Its destiny swung wildly between ICOs and enterprise adoption back in 2017-18. But 2019 has confirmed the maturation of the blockchain space: no more useless ICOs, and way more industry use cases.
Out of thousands of active blockchain ventures, 10 projects in particular stand out. Some broaden the scope of blockchain technology. When blockchain can do more, potential use cases skyrocket.
Some make a foothold in an industry lacking mass blockchain adoption. History tells us that the first mover advantage is critical for companies utilizing new tech.
Undoubtedly, there are other exciting blockchain projects that deserve time in the spotlight. But for now, we examine only the stars of the show. Below is the list, ranked in descending order by likelihood to revolutionize their relevant industries.
Echo is a sidechain platform and smart contract protocol designed to work with Bitcoin. Echo is leading our Top Blockchain Projects 2020 chart as the platform showing the immense range of possibilities for DeFi and enterprise blockchain development. It uses decentralized consensus based on VRF and BFT. Developers can build DeFi with other networks or virtual machines (i.e. EVM, x64).
Notably, Echo did not raise capital via ICO because its entire infrastructure and protocol already exists. But Echo has bigger and better plans. Echo wants to develop the DKG/threshold approach for the bitcoin sidechain, hence, their partnership with RSK.
With this partnership, Echo is one step closer to becoming the “Bitcoin App Layer.” They envision developers using their infrastructure to create next-generation financial applications where a user’s privacy and freedom are protected.
What sets this project apart from the other contenders in our Top Blockchain Projects chart is that it makes things like cross-blockchain computation truly possible.
One of the major benefits of the Polkadot protocol is the support of arbitrary data transfer, not just token transfer, which can be done both publicly and privately, across a number of blockchains and within a single network. This feature allows for building a bridge between two blockchains secured by different consensus algorithms: public aka permissionless and private aka consortium blockchains. Polkadot does not really care if the transacting blockchains are public or closed, such as those that might be used in an international banking system. Polkadot protocol is designed to enable these mechanisms to interoperate with each other as equal citizens of one common network.
The structural elements of the protocol are the Relay Chain and Parachains. The Parachains representing either private or full-fledged public blockchains communicate with each other through the main element, the Relay Chain, that in turn is tasked with maintaining consensus across all the other elements on the network.
Apart from the above, Polkadot has a software framework for people to implement their own Parachains, create ecosystems, add and remove them from the network with ease.
Handshake’s goal is canonicalization of names and security via blockchain. The project is aimed at creating a decentralized network for allocation of usernames and domain names identifying the URI for websites.
Handshake offers an alternative way of securing data, which is totally different from the current single-root DNS zone and private Certificate Authority companies the Internet relies on. The project’s idea is to replace the centralized root zone file and put the control over data in the hands of actual Internet users. Blockchain technology is used here to facilitate a global agreement on ordering, so one could know if a name exists already on the network. A cryptographic key gives total ownership to the name-owner, enabling them to upload, identify, and authorize info associated with their name on Handshake.
Handshake blockchain works essentially as a distributed file. Anyone has the right to add an entry to the chain or go through simple payment verification, without being forced to run a full node equivalent to saving all the domains in the world on their computer.
What is particularly interesting about Handshake is that the bigger part of its proof-of-work mining power is produced using renewables, currently wind and hydro.
Back in 2018, Telegram’s announcement of its own GRAM coin and a whole new Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain platform became a real technological breakthrough. Now that we’re in 2020, Telegram’s new blockchain & ecosystem is said to be the third-generation blockchain network (Blockchain 3.0) with an infinitely-scalable and reliable architecture offering the key to the DeFi economy.
TON has established a secure environment with an open-source model containing the TON local node and a developer’s toolkit with everything needed to build and deploy blockchain solutions to the network. TON Labs is constantly working on improvements for TON SDK and all its other ecosystem components: TON Storage, TON Payments, TON DNS, TON Proxy, TON’s Distributed Hash Table, TON P2P, and TON Services.
The project is on the road to evolve into an advanced ecosystem with its own stablecoin, an environment of services as DApps, and streamlined peer-to-peer payments with no fees.
The Solana project positions itself as the world’s fastest blockchain and that is pretty justifiable. To date, Solana handles nearly 60k transactions per second, supports 400ms block times, and has 50 nodes on its testnet. Its capability to scale transaction throughput without sacrificing decentralization and security is what specifically makes the initiative so valuable.
Solana’s core step forward is Proof of History-based protocol that significantly streamlines the process of reaching consensus. It makes a precise clock on which every node can base its transaction timestamp. With this, Solana solves the “clock problem” of getting parties to agree on the time and order of events. As a result, consensus can be reached in no time.
A number of hyper-growth projects, like DDEX, Civic, and Hummingbot to name a few, have joined Solana’s initiative to try out its high throughput and scalability characteristics.
Solana plans to launch a “Staker Price Guarantee” program to encourage staking and price stability. This program presupposes that each auction participant, who stakes Solana’s native SOL tokens, gets a 90% price guarantee on all their staked assets.
Robinhood became a tech unicorn for offering commission-free investing in traditional assets to the masses. Over the past couple of years, it has slowly expanded the number of states on its crypto list. As of today, it offers 4 types of crypto in 30 states, which allows Robinhood to level the playing field with top blockchain projects 2020 shaking up the FinTech industry.
The crypto-savvy commentator may question why Robinhood does not let users manage their wallet addresses. “Not your keys, not your crypto,” right?
Sure. But Robinhood’s target audience doesn’t include those who would care and that’s ok. Its sins are far outweighed by what Robinhood ultimately contributes to the crypto world: a legitimization of cryptocurrency alongside regular stocks and options. Normalizing the crypto economy in the eyes of regular investors could mean a brand new wave of interest in decentralized currency.
Qtum is a DApp development platform. It leverages the robustness of the Bitcoin blockchain and the security of UTXO, all the while enabling virtual machines (EVM, x86). The fact that it is PoS based and has a DGP enables developers to change blockchain settings such as block size without hard forking the repository. We can thank smart contracts for that.
Qtum is compatible with existing blockchain technology, but decouples applications from the foundational protocol via their Account Abstraction Layer (AAL). This means Qtum can perform efficiently while keeping the door open to greater Ethereum smart contract usage in the near future. Qtum might just be the gateway to mass adoption of decentralized tech on smartphones.
Qtum keeps its place among the most promising blockchain projects 2020 as it continues evolving its platform, attracting more talent to the community.
Backed by payment giants Visa, PayPal, and MasterCard, Libra is Facebook’s attempt to reshape the global financial system. The new currency will be the Libra token, a stablecoin protected by baskets of currencies and US Treasury Securities. Along with a new currency is a new programming language, called “Move.” Move’s relationship to Libra is similar to Solidity’s relationship with Ethereum. Developers will use these Move-based smart contracts to create Libra assets. Move is also purported to be more secure than Solidity.
When you think of governance, think “Libra Association.” It makes all decisions for the platform via a two-thirds vote. And that’s hard coded into the protocol. Association members include partnering venture capital firms, blockchain companies, non-profits, eCommerce companies, and more.
On the one hand, Libra does cut out middlemen like banks from money transfers, and could accelerate global adoption of blockchain technology. On the other hand, its audacity is not without concern. US regulators fear its capacity to assist in money laundering and fraud without Uncle Sam’s approval, Libra could fade into obscurity.
Tezos was introduced to the world as the first “self-amending” blockchain and a multi-purpose platform combining a self-correcting protocol and on-chain governance for managing network modifications. Self amendment helps to avoid a hard fork while adjusting, modifying, and upgrading the blockchain. All stakeholders can take part in network upgrades via proposing, evaluating, or approving suggested amendments.
Tezos is powered by XTZ tokens created through putting up deposits, signing and publishing blocks on the network. Tezos’ community is calling it “baking”, and those who take part in the process are rewarded in the native XTZ coin.
The project developed its own version of DPoS protocol called Liquide Proof of Stake or LPoS. It’s at this point that Tezos differentiates itself from other DPoS-based blockchains. Instead of requiring a fixed delegate group producing blocks to reach consensus, Tezos makes delegation optional. Through LPoS model, XTZ owners can delegate the right to verify transactions without the need to actually transfer ownership of their coins.
Among the key features that Tezos has to offer there are its native smart contract programming language and the modular architecture mechanism. What else helps Tezos sustain its place among top blockchain projects 2020 is its strong and vibrant community.
The Sandbox Game is one of the top blockchain projects disrupting the gaming industry. It’s an Ethereum-based, community-driven blockchain gaming platform where creators, gamers, and artists can make countless games powered by ERC1155 voxel assets.
The platform features three main components:
Together, these components offer rich voxel worlds and the opportunity to monetize the NFTs with tokens.
In March 2020, The Sandbox partnered with a US gaming company, Atari. The Sandbox will recreate iconic games, such as Pong, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Super Breakout using voxels and the Game Maker that are expected to debut in the second half of 2020.
The revolutionary capacity of blockchain is often compared to the Internet. But what people miss is how those capacities manifest themselves. The Internet is the boisterous, smiling, in-your-face technology anyone can understand. Blockchain works best behind the scenes. Blockchain is the quiet genius, the taciturn toiler, the hushed architect of technological advancement. For those reasons its press coverage is often spotty, and at worst, inaccurate. We at PixelPlex want to educate the world – its developer and non-technical populations alike – about this wonderful technology and how the top blockchain projects will influence the course of human technology.