I attended the MIT Bitcoin Expo this past weekend and learned about the emerging projects in the space and how they plan to add value to the blockchain ecosystem. Here are some of the most interesting projects I saw.
Algorand: The Borderless Economy
Algorand was founded by Turing award winner, Silvio Micali and it solves the blockchain trilemma by delivering decentralization, scalability, and security. The promise of Algorand is to deliver a stable, decentralized, and digital economy for businesses to build solutions on top of its platform. It uses a Byzantine Agreement Protocol to reach consensus among users and also removes any uncertainty in its blockchain by creating a negligible probability of forking. According to the white paper, “experimental results with a prototype of Algorand demonstrate that it achieves sub-minute latency and 125× the throughput of Bitcoin, and scales well to 500,000 users.” This is an extremely interesting project to watch as it is solving the fundamental problems of blockchain technology.
Blockchain Education Network
The Blockchain Education Network (BEN) is a collective of Blockchain groups across the world started whose goal is to connect students to collaborate, share their ideas, and further understand the space. I have had the pleasure of working with the founder Erick Pinos as Tufts Blockchain Club is part of the community. They provide great learning resources and materials so definitely check them out!
ZCash is a cryptocurrency dedicated to privacy protection. Transactions between parties are completely private but are still posted on a public blockchain. It utilizes zero-knowledge proofs to hide the transaction party identities and amounts while also allowing selective disclosure features for auditing and compliance purposes. In a world where Bitcoin-tracking companies are gaining more traction, the need to stay anonymous is becoming more valuable.
Boston-based startup Arwen brings atomic swaps to cryptocurrency trading. They want to enable self-custody for traders of centralized crypto exchanges. The need for this is pretty evident by the millions of dollars that have been lost from hacks on centralized exchanges. Traders can deposit their coins on an onchain escrow which enables them to seamlessly hold custody of their coins and not rely on the security of the centralized exchange which can be compromised at any point.
Polkadot is looking to build Web3: a completely decentralized web. Its goal is to connect different types of blockchains, networks, and platforms in a Web3 ecosystem. Basically, it allows independent blockchains to exchange information. Its value is pretty evident: as the decentralized ecosystem grows, we need reliable ways to connect different data channels in a standardized, robust way like the World Wide Web did.
Looking at this list of projects and the thousands of others that are currently operating in the space, it is pretty easy to get lost. It will be interesting to see what projects come out successful within the next few years. I am curious if there will only be a couple of dominant players in the space or there will be many smaller individuals operating together in a truly decentralized ecosystem.