The Global Landscape of Blockchain Companies in Financial Services
FinTech has certainly made a dent in the Financial Services space, while many banks continue to be oblivious to its growth, continuing to treat FinTech startups like strange beasts that need to be examined and observed, instead of followed or emulated.
In my opinion, the FinTech onslaught happened because the financial services industry did not innovate enough when the Internet came along 20 years ago. 10 years into the Internet’s commercialization, all we had was online banking and online stock trading. Therefore, FinTech companies started to emerge in the 2nd decade of the Internet in the mid-2000’s, and now they are flourishing as evidenced in these graphs in the US and Europe.
Just as pure FinTech startups kept growing and many turned their dents into beachheads or fully-fledged businesses, blockchain-based startups are starting with small dents. Some of them are attacking parts of the financial services market, some are offering solutions to existing players, while others are suggesting that a cooperative process is needed to fertilize innovation.
Large financial institutions don’t feel the impact of startups initially, because startups don’t attack existing players head-on. Rather, startups go around incumbents, and it takes a while before their market presence is visible or felt by larger players. Despite all of that, banks continue to grow and their assets continue to increase, as do their profits, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t being impacted by FinTech or BlockTech.
I have worked several hours in the past month to create this landscape of blockchain-based startups that are involved in or around the financial services industry, globally. 192 companies are in it, categorized into the same generic 3 segments that helped me understand the Internet 20 years ago: Infrastructure, Middleware and Applications.
Most of the 27 sub-categories are self-explanatory, but I’ll make some remarks on some of them: [Updated with newest chart]
In Applications, Exchanges are differentiated from Brokerage because they typically offer more real-time currency exchange capabilities, whereas Brokerages are like a bank account and there is more latency to transaction movements. These two categories were the most difficult to pair down since there are 100+ of them worldwide. Apologies if I missed any.
When it comes to Wallets, I could have segmented them in a variety of ways, but chose to stay with a simple Soft vs. Hard wallet classification. Of course not all Soft wallets are the same. Some allow you to keep the cryptocurrency in your smartphone, whereas others use the smartphone to unlock access either via a password or cryptographic keys.
Capital Markets is also known as the quadrillion dollar opportunity, and it is where we are seeing a lot of high stakes venture capital bets and startups that are swinging for the fences wanting to solve the many facets of the clearing-to-settlement post-trade conundrum.
In the Money Services category, several players are gunning for another multi-billion opportunity as the end-game: global remittances. And Bitcoin ATMs are pushing the envelope into additional services, wanting to become more than money withdrawing machines.
The Middleware category is of interest to developers who want to build applications and innovate on top of the underlying blockchain and consensus protocols. All of the segments in this category offer various entry points including interacting with APIs, overlay technologies, integrated development environments and a choice of software languages.
Finally, the last category represents the Infrastructure and Base Protocols that are still being developed, as well as the public mining infrastructure (for Bitcoin) that validates and secures the network. This category is typically in the realm of core developers that are well versed into cryptology-based software technologies.
Note that this is a curated list. I didn’t place every company, project, experiment or white paper that are vying for this space. I have rejected a few of them, either because I didn’t feel they had significant impact or activity in financial services, or for other reasons.
Of course there are grey areas between some of these categories, but I tried to be as rational as possible, looking for common ground whenever possible. If I missed any companies that should be there, please let me know in the comments below or by visiting the Google Sheet where you can link directly to these companies. Here’s an embedded preview to the Google Sheets (Comments permissions only), and here’s the direct link:
Click here to get access to the List via Google Sheet
UPDATE: Here’s the link to a new post that followed that one, with the updated sheet and landscape.
William, you initially had Tradle in Trading category, which we are not (I sent you a note on this). We are in compliance on blockchain, if such category exists 🙂 But now I can’t find ourselves. We are part of Startupbootcamp Fintech program and are making progress with UK and EU banks, news soon. Would love to share.
Great overview, thank you! Missing BitNexo from the money transfer category (leverages BTC) https://www.bitnexo.com/
You would be under Compliance/Trust. Will add in the next version soon.
I would also take into account the fraud protection / escrow sector (e.g: CryptoCorp, Sig3).
Would like to see an area for education, adoption & marketing support services sectors.
Fantastic overview, plz check Coinhills in financial data category.
Payment or infrastructure payment: Strawpay.com
http://LITE.cash – bitcoin payments gateway
https://7Pay.in – payments service – topup mobile by bitcoin in Russia
http://wagers.win – sels wagers and bitcoin bets
JoyStream in microtransactions
hi djkinkle … are you able to point the discussion at any edu.tech teams using blockchain or fin.tech …
@wmoug:disqus Its great to see such a variety of companies as the Bitcoin industry continues to mature, thanks for taking the time to do the research/analysis. BitGo is not exactly a general API. We provide multi-sig wallets through our API, they are most commonly used to create secure hot and sometimes cold Bitcoin Exchange infrastructure. Our web wallet is used by institutions that like to securely access their Bitcoin via the web.
+1 for Joystream
Thanks for your comment. Yes, I’m aware of that, and so do most of the players in that space.
The Special category refers primarily to companies that are offering asset-specific capabilities, whereas the “general” category was more oriented towards all kinds of money-related services. I hesitated in calling it General and was almost going to call it “Money API”. What do you think?
Hey, great Overview. Can you add Coinsnap.eu as an european bitcoin payment Provider / Merchant service. Also BTCexpress.net as an Bitcoin Exchange Office.
Awesome graphic. Thank you William!
Great work. @ChangeTip, send 5000 bits to @William Mougayar!
A tip worth 5000 bits ($1.46) from @trwnbc:disqus has been received by @wmoug:disqus via ChangeTip.
great post, William. Great research and framework.
This is great. Very useful and informative. I’ve been following since you started writing about Bitcoin in 2013 and the content has been always top notch. I’m glad we can also tip with BTC here because it feels really good to be able to show appreciation for tings that actually contribute to society. Sent! 🙂
Im an older fellow who has seen tremendous change in my life. The thing most encouraging to me,is that change is gaining speed. The ability to effect change is vastly improved via the protocol, and ease of use apps. As it becomes more mainstream, the currency aspect will take hold and almost all cell phone users will use bitcoin, just like they currently use their cellphone camera’s.
Very interesting layout of companies involved in Bitcoin/Blockchain. Perhaps some re-categorisation is required. Bitfinex, Coinfloor, Safello, BTCC I would class as exchanges. Bitmex is a Futures Exchange thus in the same category. Magnr/BTC.sx falls within the Brokerage/Trading/Investment categories as they offer CFD/derivative trading as well as Savings Accounts. Localbitcoins I would also class as an Exchange even though it is peer to peer. itBit is definitely not a Capital Markets company – proper class is Exchange. All in all, very good analysis of the entire landscape of companies that have been around for a long time or have established a very positive name for the industry as a whole.
Great list William. fyi Hive has officially closed up shop. Also, perhaps you would want to distinguish wallets from banks by using key control as the determining factor.
Hi William — I work at Deloitte and put together Financial Service Conferences. Can you drop me an email at email@example.com to talk about possible speaking engagements? Liz
Just did. Thanks.
Thanks Anthony. I suspected something about Hive. Will take it out.
Yes, I did think about separating based on keys scheme, and that’s a possible sub-segmentation I might do in an updated version.
Hi Colin- The lines are blurred for some of the exchanges/brokerage/trading categories players, and I chose the placements based on the dominant aspect, although I continuously re-evaluate that. And there might be some info I’m privy to, that influenced my reasoning.
1.7 should be coming out.
Thanks William. I do agree. Some of the lines are blurred. I am sure with your research you have found more information than most people would have. Given that, it is interesting to see what some of these companies will be transforming from what we know them to be at the moment. Selfishly, please add Magnr to your list of companies.
Great graphic, @wmoug:disqus! Is it ok if we reproduce only the image in our News sections linking it to your page?
I will add it. Thanks. Did u change the name?
Yes, image means as is with the top / bottom banners, i.e. just as you would share a Lumascape.
Please share away. And thank you.
Thanks for Including BraveNewCoin.com under Financial-Data !
@wmoug:disqus great snapshot. If you can, checkout smartbit.com.au for a comprehensive block explorer and developers platform.
Thanks William. Yes we did. We were BTC.sx for a long time (since early 2013). When we launched our Bitcoin Savings platform in June we changed our name. The BTC.sx brand resonates strongly throughout the community and out Trading Platform still remains. With other digital currencies moving up the ranks, we took a longer term view of how financial markets are evolving with the use of digital currencies and changed our name to something all encompassing. Magnr is also a lot easier to pronounce :-). Cheers.
Hi William, Wanted to suggest the addition of Coinpayments.net to your awesome list of Fintech companies. Based in Vancouver, BC we have quietly become the worlds largest Alt Coin payment processor. You can check out our current campaign on Banktothefuture.com
Thanks for all your great work!
Coinpayments.net is also 1st & only payment processor to accept Etherium’s coin -Ether.
Great Post William
One addition for you @Fuzo is an OverlaySIM & embedded Hardware Wallet & Platform
(formally known as @bitSIMco /zSIM) Seedfunded by Seedco.in > now CoinsiliumGroup
How private keys are used and various key recovery & key escrow services are implemented are main differentiators in hardware wallet categories
#Fuzo Platform is extensible and already works in AnyPhone AnyChain
#Fuzo API service and Applet Function is different User Experience & seamless compared to a USB wallet or USB connected dongles
Thanks. I will look at it at the next update coming soon.
will do. thanks.
Thanks. I will look at it.
Beautiful Chart William! We would like to request that you add Alt-Options to the trading categories. Our Boston based company was founded in 2014 and is the only retail exchange where users can trade American style options on Bitcoin.
Thanks. I’m doing an update soon.
http://www.dxmarkets.com missing in Capital Markets section
thx. it’s being added.
So, bitSIM is now Fuzo?
Hi William – I’m not able to see your google sheet as it says I require permission. Would it be possible to get permission? Thanks.
Can anyone identify the compliance company with the bull horns logo?
Awesome overview! Thanks for that. You should also add Funderbeam to the investments. Check out: http://www.funderbeam.com/marketplace.
Will do at the next revision
Support my book campaign on Kickstarter:
http://www.krypc.com missing in the services and solutions.
Yes William – bitSIM is now @Fuzo
what is the diff between soft and hard wallet?
Hi William, Awesome piece of work. Really appreciate. I want to suggest addition of http://www.sofocle.com , focused on building innovative blockchain based solutions for Finance, Health and Retail industries.
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Great post William.
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