Crypto. Bitcoin. Ethereum. Litecoin. Wallets. Coinbase. GDAX. Blockchain. Smart contracts. Mining. Hashing.
There’s plenty of buzzwords to go along with the new cryptocurrency craze (that’s technically been around for more than 10 years) and the interest in Texas is skyrocketing.
With the Texas Bitcoin Conference bringing experts from across the world to the Live Music Capitol of the World every year, and companies coming to Texas’s startup to crack the blockchain code, Austin is quickly becoming a hub for cryptocurrency companies.
So let’s take a look at some of the top cryptocurrency companies in Austin.
Founded by bitcoin rainmakers Paul Snow and David Johnston, Factom aims to change the game when it comes to managing data on the blockchain. The first product, Factom Harmony, was launched in March of last year as the first blockchain product for the mortgage industry. Their second product, dLoc, is a document authenticator and verification system that will authenticate any important document using blockchain technology. Factom’s Harmony product allows big banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America to cut down on their current imaging and documentation tools. Big tech titans believe in Factom — the company received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help secure medical records, and is using its technology to partner with the Department of Homeland Security on border issues.
Decred is a Bitcoin alternative. Founded by Chicago developers Company0, Decred was founded as a currency that cannot progress without input from users in the community. Those who own Decred can vote on changes like the algorithm, as well as implementation of new features. In addition, users can earn coins by actually voting on the details of each block. The cryptocurrency is much different than Bitcoin, where centralization is at the forefront of the cryptocurrency. One of the biggest announcements for the cryptocurrency recently was that it partnered with Litecoin to complete an “on-chain atomic swap”, which allows for peer-to-peer trading. Marco Peereboom, Decred’s lead developer, is based out of Austin.
Founded by Cliff Baltzley and Chris Odom, Stash is a Bitcoin company focused on privacy. Their first product, the Stash Node Pro, was the world’s first turnkey plug-and-play solution for Open Transactions. The other product created by Stash, the Stash Wallet, gives users complete control over their private keys (helps protect a user from theft or unauthorized access of funds, and prevents other blockchain users from viewing a user’s particular transaction history) and end-to-end encryption messaging. A third product, Stash Pool, provides a framework for financial services to help eliminate cryptocurrency fraud.
Most blockchains in the cryptocurrency world are siloed, but Wanchain, a company based out of China and Austin, is looking to change that. Founded by former Factom founder and CTO Jack Lu, Wanchain wants to unite all currently operating blockchains. The team comes from a variety of crypto and business backgrounds and top universities in the United States and abroad, and helped construct the $250 million Factom network, according to a post from co-founder Dustin Byington. Byington also noted that Wanchain is the first company “to achieve privacy protection for smart contract token transactions.” Wanchain delayed their initial coin offering in September due to the ban on ICOs from the Chinese government, but when it came on the market, the ICO sold out in less than a minute.
Combining blockchain solutions with an AI-powered platform, Karen Kilroy’s startup Kilroy Blockchain has people turning heads. Kilroy Blockchain’s Riley solution, a platform designed to help the visually impaired, was named as the North America Winner of the IBM Watson Challenge. With feedback from the user, family members and sighted guides, Riley uses machine learning to continually improve its accuracy. Kilroy is also an active member in the Austin Blockchain scene, hosting the Austin Blockchain for Business meetup.
Bitcoin and Blockchain Funds
Dustin Trammell was one of the first people to obtain a transaction on Bitcoin back in its early days, and his work continues in the blockchain and cryptocurrency world with his fund Trammell Ventures. Six employees make up the team, who are constantly looking for deals that connect digital asset exchanges and tokenization. One of the companies biggest investments is in Kraken, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges.
Tushar Jain and Kyle Samani created this fund in August of 2017, which invests exclusively in liquid cryptoassets. The two met at NYU over 10 years ago, and now hold 25 different cryptoassets. Two of their first investors were prominent members of the Austin crypto and tech communities: David Johnston of Factom and Josh Baer of Capital Factory. The firm has a goal to hit $100 million in assets for those funds in the first quarter of 2018.
Harsh and Darprett Singh of Hazoor Partners bring a unique approach to the cryptocurrency world: Darsh did a stint at the National Security Agency in cryptography. Both have backgrounds in consulting, and Darsh was actually the first turbaned Sikh- American basketball player in the NCAA.