After sorting through hundreds of applications, we're down to the final five.
CoinDesk's second annual "Proof-of-Work" startup competition is gearing up to take place in New York at Consensus 2017 next week. There, a select group of up-and-coming blockchain startups will compete for the admiration of our all-star investor board – and $10,000 of no-strings-attached prize money.
For those who can't make the event, we're giving a sneak preview of our selections, which, while different in design and implementation, showcase the breadth of the big ideas dominating the sector.
Here are the five startups competing in this year's event:
Describing Livepeer as a crypto-token protocol for peer-to-peer live video broadcasting, Doug Petkanics, the startup's co-founder, believes the startup could be the "media layer" of a decentralized internet stack.
Using smart contracts and the ethereum blockchain, Livepeer envisions itself as a peer-to-peer video platform that uses incentives newly developed with blockchain tech.
"Any broadcaster can send a live video stream into Livepeer, and the nodes on the network will take care of transcoding it into the different bitrates and formats necessary to be playable on the majority of devices on the planet, at various connection speeds," Petkanics told CoinDesk.
According to its co-founder, the main advantage is that users who run Livepeer nodes will be able to earn tokens for contributing their computing power in exchange for hosting and distributing videos.
2. Health Wizz
Health Wizz is a mobile app, allowing its users to aggregate health data from wearables and electronic health records systems.
"Your health data is scattered all over the place, and there is nothing that brings one's health records from different sources under the control of the user," Raj Sharma, CEO of Health Wizz, told CoinDesk.
"Once users aggregate their health records on their mobile device, they are able to share this data on blockchain with their doctors and make it available for research or creating personalized medicine for themselves."
Developed by a team of physicians, software engineers and developers, Health Wizz uses a number of physical and mental health parameters based on standardized medical literature, according to its website.
"Having talked to hundreds of users and their doctors, we realized that if we make this available to users, the quality of care they receive can improve dramatically, and it would also eliminate the waste associated with duplicate tests," Sharma said.
3. Credit Dream
Credit Dream is a blockchain-based decentralized application with the aim of ensuring universal access to credit by connecting investors and borrowers.
Developed by a Brazil-based team, Credit Dream offers both Meu Crédito, a mobile app for last mile origination of the loans, and Swapy, an ethereum-based exchange that enables investors to buy and sell securities related to the performance of the loans.
Credit Dream's CEO Edmilson Rodrigues told CoinDesk: "As the founders are Brazilians, we felt the problem of the access and cost of credit in our own skin. In our country, 40% of the population is unbanked and the average loan costs 145% per year."
Credit Dream offers a two-fold solution with its two apps, as one creates loan origination and a credit scoring model, and the other connects international investors with local credit companies.
At the event, Credit Dream will give a live demo of its technology, enabling audience members to invest in digital currency contracts.
Øx, an open protocol designed to facilitate the low friction peer-to-peer exchange of ethereum assets, has already secured the backing of Polychain Capital, Pantera Capital and Blockchain Capital, among others.
Yet, it's still in startup mode.
Will Warren, the startup's co-founder and CEO, said, in the two years that have passed since ethereum's genesis-block, numerous decentralized applications have created smart contracts for peer-to-peer exchange, but that few have risen to the level of disrupting existing regulated exchanges.
"Rapid iteration and a lack of best practices have left the blockchain scattered with proprietary and application-specific implementations," he explained.
However, Øx believes it will offer improved functionality on such services.
5. Oaken Innovations
An early-stage startup focused on the intersection of blockchain and the Internet of Things, Project Oaken has already won at least one award for its efforts so far this year.
Speaking broadly Project Oaken seeks to unite hardware devices (known as 'ACORNs', short for IoT Machines with Autonomous Communication Over Redundant Nodes) in a network that are connected via a software platform based on ethereum. The idea is that these networked machines can then participate in applications that require smart contract-powered automation or value transfer.
"It is apparent that IoT on traditional cloud based server stack infrastructure has many flaws, namely the lack of security, privacy, decentralization and value transfer," the company said in a statement.
Project Oaken is now looking to deploy its solution in specific verticals with select partners.
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