The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for cryptocurrency. Coinbase went public on the stock market, Bitcoin surpassed $63,000, and Dogecoin’s price skyrocketed thanks to the power of social media. Then the market began to fall, and criticisms mounted against cryptocurrency. The perceptions of cryptocurrency are constantly fluctuating, matching its inherently volatile nature. Yet, cryptocurrency is — and has been — on the rise, especially this past year.
Currently, there are 1,003 companies in 29 countries that have a total of 2,237 technologies in cryptocurrency. In the last year alone, 436 companies joined the space adding 720 technologies. Even global institutional investors such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have begun seeking opportunities in the space.
South Korea, a cryptocurrency location of interest
South Korea alone has 651 technologies across 330 companies in the cryptocurrency space, accounting for almost 30% of the total market. The number of technologies rose last year by 289 across 183 companies, most likely due to the South Korean National Assembly’s new legislation that regulates and legalizes cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges. The driving force behind this legislation was to help younger generations gain wealth during unemployment due to COVID-19.
Some notable technologies developed in the last year include a voting token system, a vending machine that allows users to buy items with cryptocurrency, and a transaction system to use cryptocurrency to buy real estate.
South Korea’s drive to be technologically advanced has helped them gain an edge on the market. However, keep an eye out for the South Korean government’s new enforcements to stop illegitimate businesses, money laundering, and scams.
The US comes second with 503 technologies across 291 companies. The leaders in the US market are Bank of America with 20 technologies, Virtual Electric with 16 technologies, and Capital One Services with 16 technologies. For Bitcoin specifically, its rise in popularity is primarily due to the lack of trust in the Federal Reserve, and investors see it as a hedge against the market. For other cryptocurrencies, people view them as secure, safe alternatives that are paving the way as the future of money. With these sentiments growing, companies are capitalizing on the demand for integrated cryptocurrency services.
Wallet devices for cryptocurrency are the most prominent in the US market. For instance, Venmo recently announced that users can buy and sell cryptocurrencies on its platform. Users can use their existing Venmo balance or link a bank account.
High-profile individuals such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and entrepreneur and NBA Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban have publicly backed cryptocurrency. Expect the US’ cryptocurrency contribution to increase over the next few years.
Top market players
Despite South Korea being the most popular country, the most dominant company in the market is nChain Holdings based in London. nChain has 144 technologies across 15 countries, with the most in England (12), China (10), and the United States (10). nChain builds blockchain technology products and solutions, such as virtual currency systems and security systems. Within the next eight weeks, nChain is expected to release a new platform that allows enterprise companies to solve complex data problems with Bitcoin SV, also known as Bitcoin Satoshi’s Version.
South Korean company Bizmodeline has the second most technologies at 125. The company primarily focuses on contactless trading through a blockchain-based platform. No relevant news articles on Bizmodeline’s work could be found. Their last published patents come from the end of 2019 and since then, they have been fairly quiet in the news. Their last innovation was a blockchain based on a POS system (point of sale) that provides service and trades information.
In a far third place is Digital Gold Exchange (DGE), another South Korea based company, with 55 technologies. DGE uses blockchain technology to develop reliable cryptocurrencies with value. Their primary blockchain projects are The Midas Touch Gold (TMTG), a cryptocurrency that is backed by gold; Lux Bio Cell Coin (LBXC), a cryptocurrency that can be used to pay for stem cell-related medical treatment and healthcare services; and Stardust (SDX), a token that is used within an entertainment platform to invest in different kinds of arts. They are currently listed on at least 10 trading platforms.
Trading platforms on the rise
Cryptocurrency’s rising popularity can also be attributed to the number of trading platforms entering the space. In Jan. 2019, there were only 20 trading platforms globally. Two years later, there are 164, over eight times more options. This growth indicates that more investors are bullish on cryptocurrency; therefore, more platforms are needed to facilitate the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. Popular trading platforms include Coinbase, Binance, and Robinhood. Each have different supported coins, security, fee structure, and payment methods.
Cryptocurrency is a particularly polarizing topic. If you look up predictions for the next decade, you’ll find every opinion imaginable. Based on our data, innovations in cryptocurrency are on the rise, which correlates with an increase in cryptocurrency popularity. As more institutions announce new innovations, such as JPMorgan’s potential Bitcoin Fund this summer, more players will enter the market. Whether South Korea maintains its control due to its new laws is yet to be seen, but the US has the potential to close the gap in the market.
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