Fight it or don’t, crypto and blockchain companies are big news. The Bitcoin mania is upon us.
But before we look at this dynamic sector’s movers and shakers, let’s kick things off by getting to grips with what the heck it’s all about.
Find out more about cryptocurrency, blockchain and the best cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia.
What is cryptocurrency and blockchain?
Blockchain is best known for being the technology behind cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin and Ether).
In short, blockchain, the main technology behind Bitcoin, is a new network that amongst other things helps decentralise trade, and allows for more peer-to-peer transactions.
Beyond the fanfare of blockchain being a tool to ‘get rich quick,’ it has the potential to change the infrastructure of economic systems across the globe.
Imagine a world without the middleman for anything; a world where you no longer needed Amazons and Ubers to facilitate an exchange between you and someone else. Imagine a giant worldwide tool to move goods or services across borders quickly and safely.
Well, blockchain has the potential to do that. Heck, there’s even talk of blockchain replacing your boss.
This video from Wired gives a pretty epic summary for all ages to understand, explaining the concept in 5 different levels of difficulty, from child through to expert:
From giant corporations to fresh-faced start-ups, there are a wealth of Australian blockchain companies looking to make the most of this potentially revolutionary technology. Let’s take a look at 12 of the companies to watch:
Cryptocurrency and blockchain companies in Australia
Perth-based blockchain technology company, DigitalX was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in June 2014.
DigitalX is an innovative blockchain enhanced payment solutions company focused on the global digital payments industry. It aims to develop fintech products and services in the mobile bill payments and remittance space.
DigitalX recently hit the headlines after announcing they were dipping their toes into cryptocurrency exchanges, causing their stocks to surge.
Power Ledger – a WA blockchain startup – is enabling peer-to-peer (P2P) electricity sharing. The company is looking to sustain the growth that initially began with its wildly successful $34 million initial coin offering, which itself came after Power Ledger was named one of the recipients of an $8 million government smart cities grant.
The project, which involves academic, infrastructure and technology partners, will assess how cities can use blockchain technology and data analytics to integrate distributed energy and water systems. The team are also flying out to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island for the finals in the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) judged by Branson himself.
The team at Data61, a project of Australia’s peak science organisation, the CSIRO, have been investigating how blockchain technology could be adopted in Australia to deliver productivity benefits and have a profound impact on the economy.
Data61 CEO Adrian Turner said of upcoming projects; “Next year will be even bigger as Data61 continues to lead on many important technologies and data-driven opportunities for Australia.”
Sure, we know that the big banks aren’t blockchain or crypto-currency companies, but these financial powerhouses made waves last year when they used blockchain on commercial property deals.
ANZ and Westpac teamed up with IBM and shopping centre operator Scentre Group to digitise the guarantee process. They then used blockchain, instead of paper, for bank guarantees on commercial property leasing. We have no doubt there will be more crypto pilot projects in their sights this year.
The University of Sydney’s Red Belly Blockchain builds upon cutting-edge consensus research to preserve integrity in a public consortium regardless of failures and attacks.
The team made some huge announcements last year including processing financial transactions 50% faster than first anticipated, outperforming market leaders – including VISA – for worldwide payments.
bron.tech gives its users a higher level of control over how their personal data is shared with third parties.
The Sydney-based company, founded in July 2016, developed a data marketplace and digital identity platform to collect data directly from its users.
The Muru-D Accelerator graduate hit the news in December when Ookami bought into the company (which saw the share price go bananas.)
ScalaMed is in effect a ‘digital prescription inbox’ secured by blockchain technology which patients can access from their smartphone and share with their treating doctors and pharmacists.
Based in Sydney, founder Dr Tal Rapke recently explained how the startup plans to shake up the medication experience “by allowing patients to securely store their prescriptions digitally, doing away with paper, we can reduce medication errors, allergy mix ups and unnecessary hospitalisations while improving the convenience.”
Block8 is an Australian blockchain incubator. Block8 build and grow blockchain companies by leveraging their network, expertise and access to capital.
Founded in 2016, the company has grown its team to over 10 employees on the belief that blockchain technology will transform the way people and machines trade in the digital economy, removing the need for inefficient and costly intermediaries to facilitate transactions.
Chronobank is a blockchain project that aims to revolutionise the short-term recruitment sector in the same way that Uber changed the taxi industry.
Launched in 2016, a team of 10 is now working towards launching an exchange in early 2018 where buyers and sellers of work can trade their time and skills for money. It has already received $1.1m in venture capital funding from AXL Strategic Partners.
Horizon State is a blockchain-based platform and ecosystem that enables efficient vote casting and decision-making processes. The platform operates through the use of Decision Tokens.
Founder Jamie Skella created a ballot box that is connected to blockchain technology, meaning that any vote is securely locked away forever, offering people unrivalled trust and confidence in the result.
Sydney based startup Veredictum is developing a smart ownership and distribution platform for film, video and VR content producers to protect their digital assets from theft and piracy – a $20bn problem globally.
The platform also enables enhanced monetisation through the creation of new distribution and productivity models. These will leverage a variety of different technologies, including a proprietary content ID platform.
What is cryptocurrency exchange?
A cryptocurrency exchange is a marketplace where people can exchange one cryptocurrency for another. It allows investors to cash in and trade currencies, like you would at a stock exchange. There are four types of cryptocurrency exchange: trading exchanges, decentralised exchanges, broker exchanges and P2P.
Trading exchange is the the most traditional form of cryptocurrency exchange. It allows you to exchange one form of cryptocurrency for another. It’s a user-friendly way to continue to invest your ‘cryptos’ quickly and build an investment portfolio.
Decentralised exchanges are trading cryptocurrencies directly through the blockchain. This cuts out the ‘middle-man’ with no centralised authority monitoring the exchanges. This is an anonymous way of staying in control of your cryptocurrency, but has a lower trading volume, meaning it might be hard to find a quick trade.
Broker exchanges allow you to buy into cryptocurrencies with your ‘fiat money’, aka the money from your bank account, and vice versa. The rates are set by a broker, meaning these trades cost a little extra than a traditional exchange, but it’s much easier to use.
P2P exchanges allow direct peer to peer trading. Buyers with fiat money or cryptocurrency can find sellers through certain platforms and buy and sell at prices set by the users themselves. However, these types of exchanges are susceptible to scams as you can remain anonymous.
Cryptocurrency exchange platforms
Coin Spot is one of Australia’s most digital currency exchanges. It is a streamlined trading system using AUD and multicoin wallet to store, receive, and send coins and tokens. To start trading you have to be a verified user, and by using your AUD you can instantly access seven different types of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin.
Independent Reserve allows you to trade in AUD, NZD and USD, as well as four different types of cryptocurrencies. It is a platform for investors, traders and everyday individuals looking to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Independent Reserve are an Australian company dedicated to regulating online digital currency exchange as a secure and robust trading service.
Coin Base is a highly popular and respected international cryptocurrency exchange. It is supported in 32 different countries, and with over $150 billion digital currency exchanged, it’s the biggest exchange platform. Although it has high fees, it comes with quality exchanges and security assurance.
eToro is a brokerage platform for trading and investing in a wide range of cryptocurrencies, stocks, fiat currencies and more. They’ve been around since 2006, and therefore were not developed purely for cryptocurrency exchange. This means they have a lot of interesting features and opportunities to exchange all different types of currencies and are continuing to add more over time.
Bitcoin OTC is a peer-to-peer exchange platform of bitcoin. It’s like the Gumtree or eBay of bitcoin, allowing users to find buyers and sellers of bitcoin. This platform requires you to build trust with postiive feedback for your account before you can trade large amounts, but is a good way to find Bitcoin sellers.
Coinmama allows you to buy bitcoin in every country with a credit or debit card, with a ~6% fee for every purchase. If you’re buying less than $150 then you don’t need to verify your identity. This reliable and trusted broker has the highest credit limits for buying Bitcoin, but has some of the highest fees.
CoinJar moves seamlessly between currencies, allowing you to pay anyone worldwide. This Australian platform has an easy-to-use app for free and fast transfers with BPay and Poli and trade confidently in Bitcoin in real-time with an exchange rate and 1% buy and sell fee.