Thirteen years ago, on October 31, 2008, when the world was battling an economic meltdown, an anonymous entity named Satoshi Nakamoto published a whitepaper on the potential of cryptocurrencies.
The widely-circulated whitepaper, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” detailed the foundation of bitcoin (BTC) while emphasizing the importance and benefits of a futuristic online payment system without any intermediaries. In the Bitcoin whitepaper, Satoshi Nakamoto underlined that the world needed an “electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.”
Following the idea’s popularity, the Bitcoin network was made available to the public for the first time in 2009, and the process of mining BTC officially began. Initially, the valuation of BTC started small, gradually reaching $1,000 for the first time in 2013 but soon plummeting to $300 per coin. Meanwhile, rival cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Namecoin started to enter the crypto ecosystem.
Fast-forward to the present, bitcoin’s price has crossed $68,000, establishing itself as the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Other prominent altcoins like Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), Solana (SOL), Dogecoin (DOGE) have briefly taken a sizeable share of the market while setting new all-time highs, helping the global crypto market crosses the $3 trillion capitalization milestone.
Alongside the meteoric growth of cryptocurrencies, several other blockchain-based solutions, especially decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and play-to-earn (P2E) gaming, have emerged as fast-growing sectors. Who would have thought that cryptocurrencies that were once considered instruments for “illicit activities” will someday disrupt traditional financial models, locking in trillions of dollars in total value locked (TVL)?
As the dream run of cryptocurrencies continues, let’s take a closer look at some projects that have contributed immensely towards the unprecedented expansion of the cryptoverse.
Projects Shaping The Cryptoverse One Milestone At A Time
In general, all blockchain networks like Bitcoin that rely on the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism depend on mining rigs that consume enormous resources and offer limited scalability. Accordingly, new blockchain networks started testing other consensus mechanisms that have a lower impact on the environment while delivering greater scalability.
Jelurida, the company behind Nxt blockchain and its pure Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network, is one entity pioneering a greener outlook for cryptos. Launched in 2013, Nxt is the first PoS model that paved the path for other blockchain networks like Ethereum.
Following the success of the PoS consensus mechanism, several other blockchain networks started implementing different variations like the Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS), Liquid Proof-of-Stake (LPoS), and other similar models. Although newer platforms like Cardano, Polkadot, Dash, Neo, Algorand, Cosmos, and many more have adopted the Proof-of-Stake model, Nxt remains one of the most tested and reliable platforms in the industry, influencing numerous other projects.
Not only has blockchain technology become more efficient over time, but has also managed to peel away seasoned financial professionals from traditional brick and mortar institutions. Among them is Yuzo Kano, bitFlyer’s co-founder and CEO, who is widely considered among the first TradFi professionals who left the industry for cryptocurrency. Before launching bitFlyer, he worked at Goldman Sachs. After years of hard work, bitFlyer emerged as one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges with operating licenses across Japan, Europe, and the US.
Around since the early days of bitcoin after its founding in 2014, bitFlyer Inc. (Japan) is among the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges by market capitalization. The platform has led the efforts of simplifying crypto investments, making it accessible for all since the early days of Bitcoin, and now features more than 2.5 million users worldwide and transaction volumes of more than $350 billion in 2021 alone.
After all these years, bitFlyer is still expanding its services, enabling people worldwide to be a part of the growing blockchain universe. bitFlyer recently launched the BTC/JPY trading pair for US customers, establishing itself as the first cryptocurrency platform to support cross-border trading and granting users access to greater liquidity and arbitrage opportunities within the fully-regulated Japanese crypto market.
Moving ahead, like Jelurida’s energy-efficiency impact, Qtum, a Singapore-based blockchain project, is another project that harnesses the best features of individual chains, giving smart contracts a myriad of new use cases. Following Ethereum’s success, several promising smart contract platforms entered the crypto market. However, Qtum stands out from the lot, as it combines the Bitcoin network’s UTXO model with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) alongside the Proof-of-Stake 3.0 consensus mechanism.
Unlike most platforms that leverage an individual main chain, Qtum’s hybrid infrastructure combined with the first-of-its-kind MPoS algorithm offers better scalability while ensuring unmatched interoperability between legacy chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Simply put, the Qtum team has added AAL (account abstraction layers) on the Bitcoin network, which facilitates EVM smart contracts deployment on top of Bitcoin. As such, Qtum benefits from the native upgrades done on both Bitcoin and Ethereum networks while allowing dApp developers to port their Solidity Smart Contracts easily.
Tron is another blockchain project bridging the gap between decentralized finance (DeFi) and traditional finance (DeFi). As a third-generation blockchain network, Tron can accomplish everything legacy networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum can do with the benefit of more scalability and efficiency. Besides making a name for itself in the decentralized content sharing niche by launching BitTorrent Chain (BTTC), Tron has also gained significant traction within the existing financial market, with leading investment management firm VanEck adding 200M Tron (TRX) to their existing holding of 814,271,133 TRX.
Tron has also rolled out a $1.1 billion ecosystem fund to attract more existing projects and protocols to its network. Tron’s fast-growing ecosystem is currently home to a wide range of DeFi products and protocols, NFTs, and stablecoins, among several other real-world use cases.
As the evolution of blockchain technology continues from the point where someone traded 10,000 BTC for two pizzas to an aggregate global crypto market capitalization of more than $3 trillion, the projects above (and many more) have played pivotal roles in helping cryptocurrencies gain mainstream acceptance.