There is sometimes the sense, especially from those outside the industry, that blockchain and crypto are more buzz than substance—a sentiment that is particularly pervasive given the current crypto winter. But the reality is that dramatic variance exists within the blockchain world. Projects like Ripple and Ethereum have clear, practical use cases, but the same cannot be said for many less mature names in the space.
Indeed, according to investment analysis website Invest in Blockchain, only 36 of the 100 cryptocurrencies with the largest market caps have a working product—one that’s actually used, as opposed to merely being available to the public domain. To further zoom in on the cream of the crop—the sliver of the market that’s actually delivering value—we’ve rounded up five blockchain companies that have delivered on their promises and launched betas.
1 – Lightning Network
Blockstream’s scaling solution for Bitcoin, called Lightning Network, has dramatically increased the cryptocurrency’s speed in certain edge cases and has been gaining nodes at an impressive rate—boasting 12,000 as of last July, to be exact. Lightning Network released the 4.2 version of the Lightning Network Daemon in March, followed by the 0.6 version of c-lightning in June. The solution has been steadily growing its number of open channels, with more than 7,000 as of last summer. In July, it was reported that 100 merchants were being offered a free trial to accept Bitcoin payments using the network.
2 – MyEtherWallet
Crypto wallet service MyEtherWallet has been one of the most popular consumer-focused blockchain products, despite some early technical difficulties. In 2018, it launched a limited beta version of a hardware wallet app for iOS, which allowed users to log-in without using their private keys. Coverage of the beta was notably positive—perhaps because the offering was something materially new that even reporters could try.
3 – SingularityNET
AI is expected to contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030—more than the current output of China and India combined—and SingularityNET, which had its ICO in 2017, wants to make sure massive tech players don’t maintain a stranglehold on that value. The SingularityNET beta, released just last month, is accessible via the Ethereum network; algorithms and data, from gene annotation to image and speech recognition services, can be purchased using SingularityNET’s AGI utility tokens—and are thus available to individuals, small businesses and government agencies, not just Silicon Valley giants.
4 – Tron
Tron, the tenth largest cryptocurrency by market cap, switched from blockchain to its own Odyssey 2.0 blockchain last year as well, giving developers a change to configure their wallets ahead of a full launch. “Our team maintains a high standard of excellence as we head towards becoming a mainstream public blockchain. The move of the TRON Protocol to MainNet makes it easier for developers to break away from Ethereum and opens up new doors towards better scaling, commercialization and express lanes needed for global dApp development,” the company said.
5 – Golem
Golem—one of the earliest Ethereum ICOs, raising 820,000 ether in less than 30 minutes—announced its Brass Beta version last April. The project pitches itself as “Airbnb for computers,” letting users rent out unused computer power in exchange for Golem network tokens. “As one of the first major milestones on the GNT roadmap, Brass serves as a proof of concept to present early investors with a basic platform to test the network,”