Presented by HackerUnit
Blockchain technology has been a fast-rolling snowball this year, and as VentureBeat reported earlier, the potential is enormous in areas as diverse as finance, manufacturing and healthcare — just last week, IBM announced it’s going all-in on blockchain.
For the uninitiated, blockchain is a universal digital currency that could change our lives as radically as the internet. In short, Blockchain provides an open, decentralized database that allows the transaction of anything of value (money, property, goods, or work). It essentially offers a secure, direct line between payer and payee, and in its adoption, traditional intermediaries will be bypassed.
For its latest season, online startup program Hacker Unit has partnered with IBM and is shining a light on Blockchain’s impending boom by enlisting 9 startups that are using the technology in bold new ways.
The startups making use of Blockchain’s infinite possibilities
A global marketplace for independent music
Presently, 78 percent of the global music industry’s revenue does not go to the artists. Bypassing the industry, then, sounds like a daunting task, but one long overdue and at last possible, now that Bitcoin has gained wider acceptance. The strategy BitTunes proposes is about moving the massive amounts of money made in the music industry pyramid right down to the network — to those creating the music (the self-publishers) and the people who buy it (the fans).
As banking and insurance move towards becoming fully digital, current identity solutions do not suffice in serving today’s customers. This is the driving force behind DIID and one of the key issues keeping numerous industries from moving their operations completely online. The benefits include trusting one’s customers’ identities much faster, reducing the possibility of fraud, and attracting new users or customers to one’s products.
Social influence converted into bitcoin
If you liked that new brand of ice-cream, or were impressed by the mechanic who serviced your car, telling your network might be your best move. Ubby’s mobile app transforms one’s social media posts into methods of purchase. Anytime a product or experience is endorsed by you via social, you’ll earn commissions whenever you or your friends engage or buy. The startup uses blockchain to track such messages (or “endorsements”) and, in turn, will compensate you in bitcoin.
An informed way to run repair-service businesses
For those in the repair-service game, a way to effectively monitor and analyse jobs has been sorely lacking. To fill this need, The FixHub is developing a tracking and analytics web tool to enable service companies, such as repair shops, to track their work and get the most out of business intelligence. The result will be a savings in both time and cost, as well as happier customers.
Working towards universal access to credit
What if those in developing nations finally had access to cheaper credit? That’s the challenge being tackled by Credit Dream, based out of Brazil, where the need for credit is shockingly high. Its technology aims to connect investors and borrowers, with lower rates (in Brazil, it’s currently 145% per annum) and higher returns. This offering is, therefore, twofold: Meu Crédito App allows those in need to apply for loans more easily, while Swapy is the exchange where investors can buy and sell securities related to the performance of those loans.
Gateway to digital assets
Launched in July this year, Cryptobuyer is a platform that allows for the payments of common services and utilities with digital assets (bitcoin and DASH), enables remittance services, and lets freelancers and professionals receive payments in foreign currency. Clients comprise those who need a method of transferring value to and from countries with numerous capital controls and regulations, such as Venezuela. It aims to extends its operations in 2017 to other Latin American countries.
B2B international payments done cheaper, faster
In order to operate effectively, businesses need to send money to international vendors, suppliers, and freelancers. CoinPip was designed to streamline this payment process securely using blockchain, tracking funds and notifying senders of their receipt. At present, the cross-border B2B payments industry pays approximately 6 percent in fees in a $40 trillion USD market, according to a Nilson Report. CoinPip aims to reduce this cost to a 2 percent flat fee, as well as help businesses execute international payments in 48 hours or less.
Trading for savvy investors
Dissatisfied with existing financial trading channels (which take days to settle and have strict rules regarding who and what can be traded), the founders of HitFin sought to create a solution leveraging Ethereum blockchain technology. The HitFin trading platform is vertically integrated and enables participants to enter into and settle complex customized financial contracts immediately, while bypassing intermediaries, such as brokerage firms.
A Mexico-based digital asset exchange
Mexico is presently battling a challenge whereby fund transfers to and from other regions (such as Asia or Europe) are not only slow, but mighty expensive. Enter Isbit, which aims to make cross-border trade processes better and more efficient with an exchange and payment platform that provides a direct path between payer and payee. In effect, it will reduce the cost, time and risk of payments that either originate in, or are destined for, Mexico.
Hacker Unit was launched in 2015 by BeMyApp.
Hacker Unit’s value lies in its ability to attract founders of successful startups in the technical space of the season as mentors and connect startups to innovative corporations. Previous mentors include: Chris Bailey (Hotel Tonight), Rand Hindi (Snips), Francisco Martin (BigML), Josh Switkes (Peloton Technology), and Joseph Lubin (ConsenSys).
To take a deeper look into Hacker Unit’s metrics, mentors, and startups, check hackerunit.com. If you’d like to get in touch and find out more about the solutions on offer, we’re glad to help: email@example.com.
April Smallwood is Managing Editor at BeMyApp.
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