For many, 2018 is considered the year of the blockchain. The technology took a considerable step forward in enterprise adoption and was even praised by a bipartisan collection U.S. Senators – an impressive accomplishment in its own right.
Blockchain’s strong year continued when The Wall Street Journal released its annual list of “Tech Companies to Watch.” Of the 25 companies selected, five are blockchain initiatives. Last year, no blockchain-related companies were mentioned.
The highest ranking company, Blockstream, is developing tech for Bitcoin micropayments and cryptocurrency data feeds for traders. Other blockchain companies recognized by the Journal emphasize blockchain business integration, privacy, and mobile development. The full list of blockchain companies comprises of:
R3, which attained the #6 position, was recently entangled in speculative online chatter about their platform’s tangible viability and fundraising mechanism. Their CEO, David Rutter, recently issued a statement on the matter — the recent inclusion in the Journal’s list certainly bolsters their cause.
In an accompanying analysis, WSJ reporter, David Pettit, recognizes blockchain’s emerging place in the tech scene. He writes:
“Growing attention to cryptocurrencies has helped persuade a crop of highly skilled entrepreneurs to work on putting the underlying blockchain technology to various uses.”
Each of these projects is predicated on different value propositions and purposes, yet the list, as a whole, is compiled using similar criteria.
How the List is Made
The list is forward-focused – it strives to identify companies that forged a firm foundation and are now poised to rise even further. It is developed via nominations submitted by tech watchers and data analysts in the tech space.
To qualify, companies must have been in business since the start of 2013 and need to have an estimated valuation of $50 – $500 million. Other factors include:
- Founders’ experience
- Investor track record
- Amount of venture capital raised
- Workforce growth
- The buzz about the company
In addition to blockchain technology, 2018’s list is saturated with companies focused on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
How They Fare in The Future
Several previously featured companies have had impeccable years following their inclusion on the Journal’s list. For instance, Ring, a maker of doorbell cameras — #7 on last year’s list — was acquired by Amazon for more than $1 billion.
While Ring’s acquisition is one of the largest ever seen by the Journal’s listed companies, it was by no means the only one. Argus Cyber Security was acquired for $400 million, and Earnest Inc. was purchased for $155 million.
For the continued adoption of blockchain, recognition of these companies is a prominent signal that the enterprise blockchain technology has transcended its cryptocurrency origins.