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2017 was the year blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies went mainstream.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and viable blockchain use cases went from being far-off futuristic ideas to a reality that some of the biggest companies in the world support. Bitcoin futures markets just opened, proving a growing interest in cryptocurrencies from formal institutions and investors. And blockchain has proven itself time and time again to be a disruptive force. According to CNBC there was more capital raised through ICOs in 2017 than traditional venture capital—over $1.2 billion, to be more specific.

If the past year is any indication of the growing interest in blockchain technology, then 2018 will be its biggest year yet.

What’s most impressive about the entire crypto and blockchain movement, however, is how many innovative ideas have come about as a result. Ethereum has established itself as the go-to platform for blockchain startups and decentralized applications, and many entrepreneurs have jumped at the opportunity to build disruptive solutions for outdated industries.

Here are 5 interesting blockchain platforms to keep your eye on in 2018:

1. Raiden

One of Ethereum’s biggest problems is its ability to process thousands of transactions per second. As it stands, Ethereum can only process about 10 transactions per second—whereas Visa can process close to 2,000.

The Raiden Network is a scaling solution built specifically for the Ethereum platform, with the goal of moving the bulk of those transactions off-chain so that the Ethereum blockchain can act more as a “net ledger.” This would allow Ethereum to process many more transactions per second, and ultimately scale into a more powerful solution for all other blockchain startups looking to leverage the platform.

Furthermore, the Raiden Network is working to establish its peer-to-peer network where users can build trusted channels between one another. What this would mean is, once a channel has been established, it will no longer need to be verified over and over again.

Raiden is proving to be an efficient solution to one of Ethereum’s biggest problems, and in 2018 will establish itself as one of the defining blockchain platforms responsible for its scalability.

2. ShipChain

Freight and logistics is one of the largest and most outdated industries in the world.

What most people don’t know about freight and logistics is that each party involved in the process tends to operate independently. What this leads to is endless miscommunications, marked up fees, and countless mistakes all along the way—with no real visibility to any of the parties.

Backed by powerhouse names like Kevin Harrington, Brandon T. Adams, Joel Comm, and more, ShipChain is a freight and logistics blockchain platform approached through the eyes’ of tech entrepreneurs. Think of this as the first all-in-one solution that provides full transparency to all parties engaging with different components of freight and logistics—from suppliers, to manufacturers, to shippers all the way to the doorstep of the end consumer.

For an industry that has a global market value of close to $10 trillion and has failed to successfully integrate all pieces of the puzzle, ShipChain’s blockchain platform is disruptive, to say the least.

3. RedPen

4x Grammy Award-Winning producer, Ryan Lewis, recently revealed that he is working on a blockchain platform called RedPen, focused around one of the most prominent pieces of celebrity: news.

For a celebrity, seeing your story narrated by various news sources is an experience unlike any other—and consumers of news are constantly left to decipher the overall message on their own. In today’s political climate, especially, we see the power news can have on public perception, with viewpoints shifting left and right based on a volume of stories.

This, Lewis says, is what RedPen wants to solve.

With how controversial the topic of “fake news” has become, this will certainly be a blockchain platform worth watching out for in 2018. If there was ever a time to think hard about how to solve for subjective versus objective readership, it would be now.

4. Unikrn

In 2017, Unikrn made headlines when Mark Cuban got involved, ultimately raising over $100M for the eSports betting blockchain platform.

Aside from the fact that Unikrn was one of the largest and most successful ICOs of 2017, the platform itself shows how blockchain platforms will continue to push boundaries in varying industries. Unikrn has capitalized on the growing eSports market, seeing an opportunity to allow fans and observers the ability to bet on the matches they’re following.

Why this is so interesting is it shows what may be possible for other industries to follow, with Unikrn and eSports being a “first mover.” 2018 will reveal whether the $100M platform has true longevity, and if it does, what other platforms may evolve as a result.

5. Token

Blockchain technology can be used to solve even the simplest of problems: like figuring out what sort of gift you should buy your friend, sibling, parent, or significant other.

Token, leveraging a powerful machine-learning algorithm, is an interesting platform worth watching out for in 2018. The platform has established partnerships with over 1,000 brands and retailers to help consumers find that perfect gift, faster and more effectively. Their algorithm helps to narrow down selections based on certain criteria, and then provides suggestions to the shopper—while continuing to learn on its own, over time.

What’s interesting about Token is that it shows how blockchain, although still in its infancy and proving to be disruptive in major industries like big pharma and freight and logistics, is not reserved for overly complicated use cases. It can also be used to solve simple, everyday problems—like holiday gift giving, for example.

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