Bitcoin & Blockchain

In the last month or so, blockchain companies have been getting a lot of love.

Blockchain technology is entering the mainstream consciousness. More people than ever are interested in the applications offered by the blockchain. And it goes beyond bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The government also apparently sees the potential in blockchain companies and technologies. Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) listed the names of companies that had received innovation grants.

There are plenty of technology applications available to us today, and blockchain got its own share as well. Three companies on the list have something to do with blockchain.

Blockchain Companies Get DHS Grants

According to the DHS, 12 small companies were award about $750,000 each to develop a prototype of their technologies. Three companies chosen out of this group are blockchain companies that are moving forward with different projects related to blockchain.

Here are the companies that received grants to take their blockchain technology efforts to the next level:

BlockCypher

This company received a grant to work on its platform for multiple blockchains, applications, and analytics.

BlockCypher offers infrastructure to businesses and developers interested in building their own projects and applications. The idea is to use blockchain technology for different business applications.

With this company, it’s possible to have your blockchain nodes fully hosted, and there is a way for your developers to quickly build blockchain applications that fit with your business.

Digital Bazaar

With Digital Bazaar, the grant is supposed to go toward efforts to allow for verifiable claims and decentralized ledgers that are fit-for-purpose.

Digital Bazaar is about developing credentials that others can use for a variety of purposes. Right now, blockchain uses are expanding beyond digital currencies. You can also use blockchain applications for things like verifying job applicants’ credentials and executing smart contracts.

Digital Bazaar also does payments processing.

Basically, it’s about helping you figure out how to use a decentralized ledger with blockchain technologies in applications that have specific purposes that you are looking to fulfill.

Evernym

According to the DHS press release, Evernym is receiving funding for decentralized key management.

This key management is related to identity. One of Evernym’s big things, according to its website, is sovereign identity.

With the help of this company, it’s possible to issue and verify identity credentials. This is becoming a big deal as more people look to protect their identities while online. Evernym aims to change the way we view identity and manage it online.

Key management with blockchain technology is one way to do that.

Other Tech Companies Get Grants

This is a business innovation and research project grant program, so it’s not surprising that other tech companies are getting help from this program.

One of the interesting developments was that Card Smart Technologies got a grant for remote identity proofing. It shows an area of overlap with the identity verification efforts made by some blockchain companies.

Another tech company that received funds was BlueRISC, which relates to cyber attack prediction. With concern about cyber attacks and safety online, continued blockchain research and development is vital for securing our own identities and warding off others.

The idea behind blockchain is that it is secure, and it provides a transparent and safe way to complete transactions.

DHS Seems to Like Blockchain

In general, the DHS seems to like blockchain technology a lot. Some of the research labs funded by the DHS are out there, developing blockchain technologies.

For example, a lab run by Lockheed Martin and funded in part by DHS is developing a bitcoin analytics tool. These types of projects, while not directly funded by the DHS, benefit from government funds.

In fact, when the DHS put out its call for research proposals, one of the areas involved the applicability of blockchain. The government recognizes that there are many interesting opportunities for blockchain technology.

The reality is that many agencies are starting to see the value in blockchain technology. And, while some of the focus remains on bitcoin, the reality is that there are plenty of other ways to develop the technology in a way that benefits businesses and helps protect our country.

Fed Official Talks about Blockchain Potential

It’s not the DHS, though. Increasingly, policymakers are starting to see the potential in blockchain technology.

Not too long ago, CNBC reported on some of the comments made by Neel Kashakari, the President of the Federal Reaserve Bank of Minneapolis, regarding blockchain.

Kashakari was looking at bitcoin, and the underlying blockchain technology. While there has certainly been plenty of interest in bitcoin and other digital currencies, Kashakari also acknowledges the growing interest in blockchain technology separate from bitcoin.

In fact, according to CNBC, Kashakari says that blockchain technology is “probably more interesting and has more potential than maybe bitcoin does by itself.”

There’s plenty of room for blockchain companies to move in and take charge. And it doesn’t have to be about providing yet another cryptocurrency alternative to bitcoin.

Focusing on Business and Other Applications

These grants also indicate something that is becoming more and more popular: expanding beyond cryptocurrencies when it comes to blockchain.

A lot of focus has been put on finding bitcoin alternatives, especially as the cost of bitcoin rises dramatically in price. As bitcoin becomes harder to invest in, people are looking for less expensive alternatives.

However, it’s not just about digital currencies. It’s also about what else blockchain companies can offer. There are development opportunities with blockchain, and it’s hard to walk away from those opportunities right now.

Businesses can use blockchain technology for coupons, making sure the terms of a deal are fulfilled, and even when hunting for the right candidates.

While it’s interesting and sexy to focus on cryptocurrencies, there are also many other blockchain applications for technology.

Focusing on those might not mean big, easy returns for investing. However, they can leave a long-term impression on your business. Considering the blockchain can be one way to keep your business ahead of the curve, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish.

Could Blockchain Technology Help Your Business?

Of course, you don’t have to be one of these blockchain companies to benefit from the technology.

It’s possible to reap the benefits by focusing on different applications for blockchain.

Yes, you can use it for payments, skipping costly middlemen and avoiding currency conversion issues. With the use of cryptocurrencies, you can provide more options to your customers as well as send and receive payments instantly, even if you are in a transaction with someone on the other side of the world.

However, it’s also possible to use blockchain technology in your business to help you look for the right candidates for your next job opening, manage coupons, and make sure your business partners fulfill their end of any deal.

Carefully think about your business needs. Consider how blockchain technology might be useful. From offering coupons to your customers to getting smart signatures from contractors, blockchain technology can take your business forward.

I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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