Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably caught wind of the firestorm that has been the crypto industry in 2017. The market exploded, with cryptocurrencies like Ripple growing by as much as 400 percent in December of last year alone, and if you weren’t asking yourself before the holidays what blockchain can do for the world, you’re certainly wondering now.

The answer to that question, it turns out, is just about everything. Proponents of Bitcoin have been saying for a decade now that the technology would change everything, but even its biggest advocates couldn’t have foreseen the nearly endless applications we’re seeing today. Crypto is changing the world as we know it, and these ten companies are on pace to become some of the biggest blockchain players in 2018.

  1. NanoVision. The power of crypto extends well beyond the reach of the finance industry, and companies like NanoVision speak to the potentially transformative nature of blockchain technology. That’s because they’re using blockchain systems to make healthcare and medical research more accessible, efficient, and — by extension — effective. The NanoVision blockchain system uses cryptocurrency to collect and share relevant healthcare data and medical research, making it possible for all players in the healthcare industry — providers, major hospitals and institutions, research and charity foundations, and of course the patients themselves — to access that critical information in real-time. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, their platform also makes use of a proprietary NanoSense™ microchip, which can actually analyze and relay molecular data in the real world.“Nano Vision is pioneering a life-saving economic system that incentivizes the collection and use of molecular data at a global scale using blockchain and a new crypto asset to share data and resources to fundamentally change the way we address world health,” explains the NanoVision team. “This is the trillion dollar challenge of our day.” With real-time access to critical data generated at even the molecular level, NanoVision is sure to revolutionize the way in which modern medicine identifies, assesses, and treats health problems in the years to come.
  2. SolidOpinion. While it may not be quite as awe-inspiring as a microchip that relays pertinent health data to your physician in real-time, the fact is that millions of people around the world depend on content engagement to make their living, and SolidOpinion is dedicated to making it possible for publishers to gamify user engagement through the power of cryptocurrency. Using SolidOpinion’s interactive commenting platform, users can earn points just by engaging with — that’s liking, commenting, and sharing — content they enjoy. User comments with the most points are elevated to the top of the thread and can unlock special user incentives and abilities, but points can also be purchased and leveraged to block or ignore the comments of other users, too. Perhaps most importantly, users can have points deducted for repeated violations of the terms of service, making it difficult for so-called “internet trolls” to gain traction online. Make no mistake; this is powerful stuff. Major outlets like the Los Angeles Times are already employing the technology on their websites and enjoying the very real benefits of keeping audience control in the hands of content creators. The SolidOpinion platform will not only support a more cost-effective marketing method for content creators, but it will also create a more personalized user experience for everyone who engages with content online (so, basically all of us).
  3. Next Big Thing. Here’s the thing about innovation — without the right resources, the most brilliant minds in the world cannot develop the next big thing. That’s where NBT comes in; the Berlin-based operational VC offers access to a thriving ecosystem of corporate partners, investors, engineers, and technology providers to equip entrepreneurs with the tools they need to bring the “Next Big Thing” to the world. According to CEO Harald Zapp, “At NBT, our vision is to enable deep-tech innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe; we do this by providing everything from business expertise to our technological competence to the entrepreneurs and industry partners we work with. IoT and blockchain have the potential to better our world in a truly disruptive way.”NBT is funding and accelerating the blockchain startups of tomorrow, ensuring that no innovation goes without the support it needs to achieve its full impact. The company is, of course, on the cutting-edge of crypto tech, providing “seed funding, engineering expertise, partnerships, as well as tailored guidance for [their] portfolio companies.” They’re offering the insight and direction companies need to take their startup venture to the next level.
  4. TrustToken. Until now, one of the major limitations of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency specifically has been that it can only facilitate the exchange of digital assets. When it comes to real-world assets, like real estate or intellectual property, tokenization becomes significantly more complex, which helps to explain why blockchain has yet to be fully implemented by the mainstream.

After all, your average consumer isn’t going to understand the value of a currency that can’t be used to purchase real-world items. What’s more, the crypto market is notoriously volatile; with the proliferation of ICOs and blockchain startups these days, it can be almost impossible to ensure you can redeem your tokens for any real value.

Enter TrustToken, the first company committed to fully tokenizing, vetting, and backing real-world asset exchanges and making it possible for entrepreneurs, investors, and even mainstream consumers to liquidate assets more easily and efficiently than ever before. As the TrustToken system takes hold, blockchain will evolve from being an exclusively digital transactional model to becoming a part of the physical world of currency and exchange, which is big news for the technology.

“Blockchain has the potential for a wide range of applications (across all industries) that can reduce costs, increase accountability, and promote better outcomes with proper, immutable data,” says Medium of the technology’s potential. Without a doubt, crypto companies are already working to change the world in 2018, and we will begin to feel the effects of their innovations in the very near future.

What crypto companies are you watching in 2018?