Top blockchain companies, Blockchain technology was first developed to record Bitcoin transactions. However, due to the efficiency and security of the Bitcoin blockchain, blockchain technology is currently being used for purposes other than crypto trading. In this article, we look at blockchain innovation and the UK blockchain startups that are expected to flourish this year.
What is blockchain technology and how does it work?
Blockchain is a digital ledger that allows transactions to be securely authenticated and recorded without the need of a central authority or middleman. It is the technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether.
A’block’ is an online file that includes a collection of transactions. Blocks of data are linked in a chronological and linear ‘chain’ of records. Each block has three major pieces of information: transaction data, a unique ‘hash code’ that is used to identify the block, and the hash code of the preceding block in the chain.
When a block is added to the chain, it becomes immutable, which means it cannot be withdrawn or changed in any manner. Any effort to modify the block will result in the creation of a new hash code, which will clash with the hash in the subsequent block. This illustrates how blockchain technology works to keep digital assets safe and untampered with.
Despite scalability problems (blockchain systems need vast amounts of processing power), as well as worries about a lack of regulation and environmental consequences, blockchain usage is fast rising throughout the UK’s high-growth ecosystem. We go into deeper depth on blockchain’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) here, as well as how the Bitcoin blockchain works and which sectors blockchain is expected to affect in the future.
Blockchain in the UK’s startup ecosystem
There are now 249 high-growth startups in the UK producing blockchain-driven software and blockchain services. The great majority (63 percent) of these firms are startups in the early stages of growth, reflecting the sector’s youth.
While blockchain technology has many applications, 78 percent of blockchain-based IT businesses are in the Business & Professional Services area. They are largely concerned with banking and financial services, particularly fintech firms and challenger banks, emphasising the rising use of blockchain technology to disrupt established business processes in the United Kingdom. In contrast, just 6% are in Media (the second most prevalent business for blockchain startups), 5% are in Supply Chain and Leisure & Entertainment, 4% are in Retail, and 3% are in Industrials.
But which of these forward-thinking enterprises will be named the UK’s top blockchain companies in 2022?
Top blockchain companies, Blockchain.com has created an online crypto wallet that allows customers to purchase tokens quickly and on the move with a debit or credit card. It also offers a variety of cryptocurrency search tools, data, and infographics.
It is the most well-funded blockchain technology company in the UK, having raised £356 million in equity funding since its inception in 2014 from investors including GV (Google Ventures) and Lightspeed Ventures. In March 2021, it secured £218 million in a single fundraising deal.
Blockchain.com participated in Tech Nation’s two-year Future Fifty accelerator programme in 2019. Following the purchase of Argentine startup SeSocio in November 2021, it became the biggest cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America (its third acquisition to date).
Elliptic creates cryptoasset compliance solutions for cryptocurrency companies, financial institutions, and regulators. Its anti-money laundering software employs blockchain analytics (across more than 100 cryptoassets) to assist organisations in risk mitigation, detection, and prevention of financial crime. Elliptic cryptocurrency exchanges handle a whopping 66 percent of all crypto volume.
Since its inception in 2013, the firm has participated in two accelerator programmes (Seedcamp and the NCSC Cyber Accelerator) and received an Innovate UK grant. It has also been recognised to five high-growth lists and has raised a total of £79.5 million in equity fundraisings, including £60 million from an October 2021 investment round managed by Evolution Equity Partners. Octopus Ventures, Wells Fargo, and AlbionVC are among the other investors in Elliptic.
3. BCB Group
Top blockchain companies, BCB Group, founded in 2017, is Europe’s largest supplier of business accounts in the digital asset market. It supports 29 currencies, as well as cryptocurrency liquidity and foreign exchange (FX). Firms may also establish multi-currency accounts, allowing them to utilise up to ten different currencies. Industry giants Bitstamp, Circle, Galaxy, Gemini, Huobi, and Kraken are among BCB Group’s clientele.
BCB Group has raised a total of £48.3 million in equity investment across four rounds. Foundation Capital, located in San Francisco, led the company’s most recent round, valued £44 million, in January 2022. BCB Group most recently purchased software engineering venture studio LAB577 in February, which delivers SaaS (software-as-a-service) solutions for the financial services market.
Copper is used in the investment of digital assets. It provides custody and portfolio management services in order to make digital assets trade as effectively and safely as conventional assets. ClearLoop, a Copper product, secures deals and enables them to be resolved instantaneously without the need for pre-funding exchanges.
Copper has raised a total of £42.3 million in equity capital across four rounds, including £25 million in its most recent round headed by Alan Howard. Dawn Capital, Illuminate Financial Management, LocalGlobe, MMC Ventures, and angel investors are among the other supporters. The rapidly expanding blockchain startup was also just featured to Forbes’ Blockchain 50 2022 list.
Everledger, which was founded in 2015, promises to make asset information more transparent for high-value items such as diamonds, wine, and art. The Everledger platform creates secure digital records for assets by combining blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things (IoT). Manufacturers and sellers may use these to readily prove the origin, ownership, and features of their items.
Everledger has previously participated in three different accelerator programmes: the Barclays Accelerator – London (directed by Techstars), the Mayor’s International Business Programme (administered by London & Partners), and Upscale (managed by Tech Nation). It has also been selected four times to the FinTech50 high-growth list, most recently in 2020.
Everledger has secured three rounds of equity fundraising totaling £23.5 million. Bloomberg Beta, Fenbushi, and Fidelity Investments are among the company’s supporters.
Top blockchain companies, HLTH manages a blockchain-based healthcare database that may be utilised for a range of research purposes, ranging from genetic studies to illness and virology. This year, the healthtech firm also intends to release a collection of NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
Along with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), HLTH has created ViVE, a customised education and networking experience for digital health leaders, innovators, and influencers. Its 2022 event in Miami Beach drew almost 5000 people.
HLTH has received a total of £22.9 million in equity investment in one fundraising round, as well as a £275k grant. CollinStar Capital, DigitalX, Discovery Capital, and Hoperidge Capital are among its investors.
7. VAKT Global
VAKT Global, which operates in the banking and financial services sectors, has created a secure blockchain platform to improve commodity trading efficiency. By putting all stakeholders (including trading parties, terminals, surveyors, agents, brokers, and banks) together in a single ecosystem, VAKT aspires to change the whole post-trade lifecycle.
VAKT Global use blockchain technology to produce a single digital record in which all transaction information and stages may be agreed upon, documented, and securely seen by trading partners. Since its inception in 2018, it has attracted £22.7 million in equity investment over three rounds, with investors including Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.
Top blockchain companies, Juro, founded by a group of attorneys and software developers, is revolutionising the process of generating legal contracts. Juro has been creating software to make contract drafting and signing simpler for companies since 2015.
Unlike cloud computing, Juro’s browser-based technology allows contracts to be handled end-to-end in a single adaptable and user-friendly platform. While Juro is headquartered in the United Kingdom, its customers span 85 countries and include Trustpilot, Deliveroo, Cazoo, Curve, and QuantumScape.
In 2016, Juro attended both the Mayor’s International Business Programme and the Seedcamp accelerators. In January 2022, the blockchain business received £16.7 million in further equity capital to grow throughout the US and Europe. This brings the total amount raised by the company to £22.7 million, with investors including Eight Roads Ventures and Point Nine Capital.
Blockhouse, which was founded in 2018, develops blockchain solutions for improved data safety and security in banking, government, and identification systems. It is the highest-ranking blockchain startup outside of the Capital, based in Oxford.
Blockhouse, which is developing TRUSTLESS technology, leverages decentralised, privacy-preserving computing in applications such as sharing access to massive data. It aspires to develop blockchain technology solutions that are more environmentally friendly (use less energy) and trustworthy (pro-regulation) than current technology.
Following an initial £17.7k investment round in December 2018, the cybersecurity firm raised a further £21.9m in its most recent equity funding round in April 2019.
Top blockchain companies, Nivaura is using blockchain technology to create software for financial services companies. The blockchain business hopes to digitise and automate (thus simplify) capital market activities such as bond issuance and post-trade data management with its low-code platform Aurora.
Nivaura has attended four accelerators since its inception in 2016, including programmes administered by Microsoft, Accenture, and Tech Nation, in addition to being selected to the FinTech50 high-growth list in 2019. So far, the firm has received £20.8 million in equity capital from Allen & Overy, Digital Currency Group, ELITE Club Deal, and Linklaters.
Aztec is working on an open source, zero-knowledge protocol for the Ethereum blockchain, as well as privacy tools for value transfer and asset governance. The startup’s goal is to make cryptography (the process of encoding and decoding data in blockchain technology) more affordable on Ethereum.
Aztec entered the six-month Entrepreneur First accelerator programme in 2017, the year it was formed. It has now received three equity fundraising rounds totaling £20.2 million from investors such as ConsenSys and Samos Investments.
Top blockchain companies, Founded in 2017, iov42 intends to eliminate the barriers to wide-scale DLT adoption by fusing blockchain technology with internet principles and cloud computing. Its blockchain technology is aimed at both the public and private sectors, and it employs basic building blocks to develop efficient, secure applications.
To far, the blockchain development startup has raised £19.5 million in equity funding in four rounds. The most recent of these transactions was a £3.00m round in June 2021, which was concluded at a pre-money value of £53.3m.
Wintermute is an algorithmic market maker in digital assets that was founded in 2017. Essentially, it adds liquidity to cryptocurrency markets, making them more efficient.
Wintermute, based in Trafford (Greater Manchester), presently supports over 50 cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms, including Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, and Huobi. It teamed with Mercury Digital Assets, a developer of digital asset and cryptocurrency trading technologies, in February 2022.
So far, Wintermute has received £17.6 million in equity investment across four fundraising rounds. The vast bulk of money (£14.7 million) was raised in a single transaction in January 2021. Avon Ventures, FBG Capital, Hack VC, Kinetic Capital, and the Rockaway Blockchain Fund are among the company’s investors.
Top blockchain companies, Adhara is a company that creates payment processing software for decentralised financial networks. It provides real-time solutions and smart contracts for tokenised money-based multi-currency liquidity management, FX and international payments.
Corporates, financial institutions, and both commercial and central banks are among the company’s current clientele. Adhara’s blockchain solutions are aimed towards banks for intragroup transactions.
So far, Adhara has raised £16.8 million in equity capital in two rounds: one in 2018 (the year it was created) with New York-based investor ConsenSys, and another in March 2021 with Force Over Mass Capital and German fund Yabeo.
BetDEX, situated in Edinburgh, was founded in 2021 and has created the UK’s first decentralised and open-sourced betting platform. It uses the Solana blockchain network and a permissionless protocol, allowing anybody to create their own apps.
BetDEX has obtained a total of £15.6m in equity investment in its first and only capital round, which took place in November 2021. Investors in the blockchain firm include Paradigm, FTX, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sino Global Capital, and Solana Ventures.
Top blockchain companies, Billon has been creating corporate blockchain solutions since 2015, with an emphasis on payments and data storage. In accordance with current legislation, the business developed scalable DLT architecture and a new protocol for encrypting national currencies, documents, and personal data.
Billon has offices in London and Warsaw and is backed by angel network Envestors as well as the UK Government’s Future Fund. So far, the blockchain startup has raised £15.2 million in equity investment via six fundraising rounds, in addition to a £50k Innovate UK award in June 2020. During the pandemic, Billon has used the innovation funding to generate fraud-resistant COVID-19 immunity and back-to-work certifications.
Using machine learning and blockchain technology, AI is constructing a tokenized DLT network. The company’s open-source platform will allow the creation of smart contracts and infrastructure in a decentralised digital economy. Fetch in February 2019. On Binance Launchpad, AI performed an initial coin offering (ICO) for its own FET token.
To far, the Cambridge-based blockchain business has received £14.8 million in equity investment via two fundraising rounds, the most recent of which took place in March 2021. GDA Group and Outlier Ventures are among its supporters.
18. Cobalt DL
Top blockchain companies, Cobalt DL, founded in 2015, uses blockchain technology to improve the efficiency of transaction processing in the FX and Digital Assets markets. Its decentralised network technology generates a single version of each deal automatically, simplifying the normally complicated trade processing needed by conventional systems.
Cobalt supports a number of well-known financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, and Citi, and announced a relationship with Pure Digital, a major trading platform for the wholesale digital asset market, in March 2022. In all, the business has raised £13.5 million in equity funding over nine rounds with investors including HS Markit and the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
Agora is a fintech firm that is establishing an online platform with a variety of fixed capital market services. It promises to be the world’s first end-to-end digital platform for the whole life-cycle of bonds, using smart contracts and distributed ledger technology.
Agora has received £12.5 million in equity investment in three fundraising rounds since its inception in 2018. IPGL and angels are among its investors. The business is also testing its Syndicated Bond platform, with early adopters being able to utilise it for real transactions.
Top blockchain companies, Argent has created a blockchain-powered mobile app that serves as a safe, non-custodial wallet for Ethereum (i.e. no third parties). The technology of the firm is based on the Ethereum blockchain, a blockchain network (similar to Bitcoin) for exchanging digital currency.
Argent supports approximately 240 Ethereum-based currencies, including Ether (the original cryptocurrency of Ethereum), DAI, MKR, BAT, and Wrapped Bitcoin. To far, it has received £12.3 million in equity investment through two capital rounds. Index Ventures, Firstminute Capital, and Atomico are among Argent’s investors.
Coinfirm is a London-based regtech business that specialises in blockchain-based transaction analytics and compliance. It intends to prevent money laundering and terrorist funding, as well as to assist customers in meeting other legal obligations related to cryptocurrencies.
Coinfirm participated in the Tech Nation Fintech accelerator programme in 2018 and will join with the digital asset platform Taurus in February 2022. The startup has raised £12.0 million in four rounds of investment. Alfabeat, Bird Capital, Blockchain Valley Ventures, and NKB Group are among the investors.
Top blockchain companies, Clearmatics, which was founded in 2015, also leverages the Ethereum blockchain network to construct trading systems for over-the-counter (OTC) stocks. OTC trading refers to bilateral transactions between parties that take place without the use of a stock exchange or other middlemen. The clearing software developed by the fintech firm connects buyers and sellers and enables them to finalise their deals.
In 2019, Clearmatics was recognised to the The Fintech 50 high-growth list twice, as well as the Deloitte Fast 50. It has received £11.4 million in equity fundraising to far, with the most recent round, in 2021, receiving £1.44 million in fresh investment. Route 66 Ventures, TNF Capital, and XTX Markets are among the investors in the firm.
Globacap is creating a blockchain-powered share management platform for securely managing digital assets. It may help organisations with fundraising, managing shareholder holdings, and managing employee shares and stock options. The web-based platform from Globacap digitises the full securities lifecycle.
Since its inception, the blockchain startup has participated in two accelerator programmes: Upscale in 2021 and the Fintech Innovation Lab London in 2020. To far, it has received £11.2 million in equity investment from investors including ContactPartners, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Moore Strategic Ventures, and Stoic Capital. Globacap also collaborated with B3 and Brazilian venture capital firm Redpoint eventures in May 2021 to expedite investments in early-stage businesses in Brazil.
Circulor, founded in 2017, is a supply chain and cleantech company. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) with blockchain technology to reduce the expenses of traceability and due diligence in raw material supply chains. It combats greenwashing by ensuring that resources are acquired responsibly and that goods created from them are properly recycled.
In 2021, the firm participated in the Mayor’s International Business Programme, and in 2019, it participated in the ATI Boeing Accelerator. It just won DIGITALEUROPE’s Future Unicorn Award for 2022. Volvo, Vulcan Energy, Finnish Minerals, and Polestar are among the notable customers.
Circulor has received £10.9 million in private investment across five rounds, in addition to £315k in Innovate UK awards. 24Haymarket, Future Positive Capital, and TotalEnergies Ventures are among the many investors in the firm.
Top blockchain companies, Sprout.ai is an insurance software development firm that leverages AI and blockchain technology to provide its clients with claims automation and fraud screening. Following additional financing from Amadeus Capital Partners, Playfair Capital, and TechStars Ventures, the insurtech (formerly known as BlockClaim) relaunched in April 2020.
Since its inception in 2018, Sprout.ai has received £10.5 million in total equity investments across three fundraising rounds. Octopus Ventures led its most recent £8 million round in May 2021, which was raised at a pre-money value of £23.5 million.