US 2018： Explore Emerging Blockchain Innovations from Startups in Silicon Valley Date：2018-10-05 10:43:05 As the most disruptive innovation since 2008, blockchain has made great impact to global capital market and other industries. Aiming to learn more about the development of blockchain projects and to explore how this new technology would change the traditional industries, we went to Silicon Valley from June 11th to 15th and visited 20 emerging blockchain startups, which also launched our fintech journey this year. Next, we will continue to go to Singapore from July 9th to July 13th to visit various participants in blockchain ecosytem including regulators, traditional financial institutions, industrial associations, academic institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and multiple blockchain startups. Please stay tuned! Here are the highlights of our meetings with the 20 blockchain startups in Silicon Valley: Shift Payments: The First Bitcoin Debit Card in the US Founded in 2014 and headquartered in San Francisco, Shift Payments is a payment company that accepts both virtual and traditional currencies. Shift Payments secured a seed round investment from Y Combinator, Kapor Capital and CRCM Ventures in August 2014. Ben Hwa, chief of staff at Shift Payments, said that Shift Payments created the first bitcoin debit card in the US, and now it aims to provide crypto solutions for more merchants by issuing branded bitcoin debit cards. For example, airlines can work with Shift Payments to issue their own branded debit cards, so that they can apply the mileage to payments to increase the liquidity of these data. QuarkChain: High-throughput Blockchain Based on Sharding Technology QuarkChain provides technical solutions based on sharding technology to solve dilation problems in blockchain. The ultimate goal of QuarkChain is to build a high-throughput platform that supports applications including distributed social media, high-frequency trading, Internet of Things (IoT), games and financial payments. Qi Zhou, founder and CEO of QuarkChain thought that there’re no mature business models or economic models in the blockchain industry right now. He believed that QuarkChain can help with the application of blockchain business models if the dilation problems are truly resolved. Nodle.io: New Decentralized Communication System Using Blockchain If we say that bitcoin is building a decentralized transaction system and Ethereum is building a decentralized application system, then Nodle.io is trying to decentralize the networking and communication. Besides, Nodle.io was highly recommended by the American drama "Silicon Valley". Nodle’s founding member Garrett Kinsman told us that devices equipped with Nodle’s software can have networking functions and communicate with each other to transmit data. Nodle.io is dedicated to help more low-energy and low-cost IoT devices to have access to the network using blockchain. SmartAxiom: Decentralized IoT Security System Using Blockchain SmartAxiom is an Internet of Things (IoT) security software service provider dedicated to providing secure technical solutions for all aspects of the IoT ecosystem. SmartAxiom's IoT software has covered smart device connection, transaction and edge network. Amit Biyani, founder and president of SmartAxiom, said that SmartAxiom applies Device Chain and EventChain to build decentralized cyber security system for IoT devices and data, and to provide services including device identification, authentication, data integrity and privacy protection. AAAChain: A Decentralized Big Data Exchange Platform Established in December 2017, AAAChain (App Alliance Association Chain) is an independent public chain dedicated to creating a decentralized data exchange platform. Han Dong, vice president of marketing at the North American team of AAAChain shared with us that AAAChain attempts to collect user’s personal data in the form of Software Development Kit (SDK) and save it to the blockchain. All companies that need to use the data must pay fees. At the same time, users can only use the data after AAAChain’s authorization. Cooperating with EaseMob to explore the new data collecting and trading model, AAAChain aims at resolving the existing problems in data collection. TrustToken: Converting Any Real Assets into Digital Currencies TrustToken provides global users with the service that can convert any real assets into digital currencies. TrustToken can digitize any asset for anyone to create liquidity and make the asset ownership clear. By the way, it also provides insurance and auditing services for those people who hold these assets. At TrustToken, vice president of business development Tory Reiss told us that TrustToken is in the stage of private offering at present, which mainly aims at VCs and other investment institutions. The tokens raised will be used to pay for the legal and financial intermediary fees in the process of asset certification, to provide incentives for participants, to design penalties for bad actors, and to provide mortgages for virtual assets. Planning to get a security issuing license in 2019, TrustToken is expected to issue more asset securitization products in the future. Ubby: A Social E-commerce Platform Based on Blockchain Established in 2016, Ubby is a social e-commerce platform that mainly serves the Brazilian market. Anyone can put his/her creative products on the platform and display his/her unique designs while completing product sales. We knew from Ubby’s CEO Guilherme Santana that Ubby aims at improving the evaluation system of traditional e-commerce by applying blockchain technology to its social platform. Xansfer: Quantitative Transaction Management of Cryptocurrencies in Secondary Market Co-founded by Lianqiang Mao and Xin Huang, two graduates from Tsinghua University, Xansfer mainly conducts quantitative trading and management of cryptocurrencies in secondary market, as well as data analysis and mining on the blockchain. The two co-founders of Xansfer said that Xansfer helps to manage the stability of tokens in some projects in the secondary market, to increase the liquidity of cryptocurrencies in secondary market, while maintaining a relatively stable price. In this way, Xansfer can improve their trading experiences in the secondary market. Yosemite: A Decentralized Trading Platform Using Stable Currency Yosemite is committed to building a decentralized trading platform that serves the government and enterprises. It uses stable currency as the natural currency on the blockchain and supports the transactions of digital currency, fiat currency and assets (such as real estate). Yosemite’s CEO Patrick O'Grady mentioned that Yosemite introduced Proof of Transaction (POT), a new consensus mechanism in the blockchain, which is used to trade the right to vote. When a user generates a transaction, he/she can choose to vote for the block producer. This consensus mechanism can help to guarantee the enthusiasm of blockchain users to participate in transactions. Evercoin: An Unmanaged Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform As a cryptocurrency exchange platform that requires no registration, Evercoin provides real-time exchange rates and instant exchange transactions of sixteen cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH and LTC. Evercoin’s founder Talip Ozturk said that Evercoin began to offer anonymous and unregistered cryptocurrency exchange service since 2017. However, when Talip found that the service facilitated money laundering to a certain extent and was easily misused, he decided to change his service to an unmanaged cryptocurrency exchange service that needed to authenticate traders. In the future, Evercoin devotes to making a set of unmanaged trading terminals to enhance the users' trading experience. Danhua Capital: A Venture Capital Fund Focusing on Disruptive Technologies Danhua Capital, also known as DHVC, is a venture capital fund that was established in 2013 and focuses on investing in the most disruptive and influential scientific and technological achievements and commercial innovations in the US. Danhua Capital mainly invests in emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, virtual/augmented reality, big data, blockchain and enterprise-level applications. We exchanged views on the blockchain industry and investment intentions with DHVC’s founding partner Anjia Gu, who told us that DHVC has started to pay attention to distributed system related technologies since 2014. DHVC mainly focuses on creative and influential blockchain programs that can solve practical issues. Swarm Fund: A Private Equity Platform Based on Blockchain Founded in 2014, Swarm Fund is a private equity platform based on blockchain technology. Swarm Fund aims to provide investors with a decentralized capital market platform to help individual investors participate in high-return private equity investments. We learnt from Swarm Fund's vice president of product Jazzwall Sharad that Swarm Fund is creative in that it provides double-deck tokens, SWM and SRC20, to build a practical ecosystem for PE investment. Amino Capital: One of the Earliest Funds that Invest in Blockchain Founded in 2012, Amino Capital is a market-oriented independent venture capital company established by executives of high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. General partner Sue Xu talked to us that Amino Capital mainly invests in the deep integration of big data, machine learning and industry. Amino Capital has invested in more than 100 fast-growing startups including Assemblage (acquired by Cisco), Orbeus (acquired by Amazon) and so on. As one of the earliest funds that invest in blockchain, Amino Capital mainly focuses on startups' capabilities in operation, data and network effects. PayPal: Payment Giant that Pays Close Attention to Blockchain Established in December 1998 by Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, PayPal is an online payment service provider based in California, USA. Mikhail Kourjanski, lead data architect for PayPal Risk, told us that PayPal is seeking to solve problems in payment while improving users' experiences using blockchain technology. Bodhi: A Decentralized Prediction Market Platform Bodhi aims to establish a credible, autonomous and scalable prediction market platform that is entirely based on the blockchain, which will spread the prediction market around the globe and improve people's effectiveness in decision-making. Bodhi’s director of marketing Jane Wu and director of communication and cooperation Cecilia Li expressed that, as a decentralized prediction market platform that has already ran on the main network of QTUM, Bodhi will also put its own token on other public blockchain, such as Ethereum. ObEN: An AI Company Using Blockchain Technology Integrating voice and computational vision with natural language processing technologies, the artificial intelligence company ObEN is creating a technology of virtual characters that enables people to create personalized virtual character images through machine learning technology, and display it to others through AR technology. Yi Zheng, co-founder and COO of ObEN, said that blockchain technology can help AI companies to obtain and utilize data more scientifically, while solving the problems in traditional data applications. Only by enabling individuals to fully grasp their own data can it be possible for more users to confidently deliver their data to AI companies so that the value generated by the data can be used for their own purposes. Up to now, ObEN has already completed the development of its blockchain and launched on the main network. Quantstamp: A Decentralized Security Auditing Platform Founded in 2017, Quantstamp is dedicated to building a security review protocol to detect the loopholes in smart contracts. Quantstamp utilizes the protocol to review all smart contracts on the Ethereum network by creating a scalable and cost-effective system, to solve the security issues of smart contracts. Don Ho, head of business development at Quantstamp told us that Quantstamp provides an automated and escalating software verification system to review the smart contracts, while providing companies with independent smart contract security audit services at the same time. Moreover, Quantstamp has issued a token QSP, which will be used as a reward to pay for the discovery of loopholes in smart contracts, thus inspiring more masters to participate in the review of smart contracts. Omniex: An Investment and Trading Platform Focused on Crypto Assets Omniex is an institutional operating platform that provides management and trading solutions for investment managers and active traders focused on crypto assets. Omniex's founder and CEO Hu Liang said that Omniex can provide a variety of services specifically targeted at institutional clients, such as investment portfolio, order management and risk and data analysis. In addition, he also believed that the development of blockchain technology and the landing of projects will increase the value of cryptocurrencies, thus increasing the demand of institutional clients for cryptocurrency transactions. TalkingData: A Big Data Company that Explores Blockchain Technology As a big data technology company, TalkingData is also trying to explore and experiment with blockchain technology. TalkingData expects blockchain technology to play a role in data flow and data auditing, and help to solve the problems in current data transactions and data usage. TalkingData's co-founder Yangcheng Huang and project leader Pengpeng Li said that, in terms of data transactions, TalkingData is attempting to transparentize data services by recording data accessing processes on blockchain, preventing data brokers from saving cache data as brokers and providing data services on their own. IoTeX: Empower Internet of Things Using Blockchain Founded in 2017, IoTeX aims to build a decentralized network for Internet of Things (IoT). Raullen Chai and Jing Sun, founder and co-founder of IoTeX, told us that IoTeX hopes to build a practical public blockchain according to the Internet of Things (IoT) scenario in terms of privacy, scalability and smart contracts. Raullen also believed that if a neutral blockchain infrastructure can be established, it will be able to reduce the users' contact with the bottom-level vendors, so that the bottom-level vendors have the opportunity to establish their own ecosystems and gain more value.