Diana Kadreva/123RF
 

Blockchain For E-commerce: 22 Startups To Watch In 2019

  • 31 January 2019
  • Sam Mire

The internet reinvented the modern conception of commerce. Transactions that were formerly complicated or required face-to-face interaction could now be completed from anywhere in the world. The rise of financial technology, the mobile economy, and an increasingly connected world economy have catalyzed demand for better commerce tools., especially when it comes to security. The real presence of malicious hacker (or an individual’s poor understanding of best security practices) can lead to exposed financial information or other sensitive data.

Blockchain technology is renowned for its security, but any number of blockchain-powered e-commerce startups can prove its abilities far beyond locking down your files and passwords. Companies are exploring how this emergent technology will power retailer reputation management systems, secure conducts international commerce, reduce the ubiquitous fees that seem to come with every financial transaction, and reinvent commercial loyalty programs.

Here are some relevant companies active in the space.


MonethaMonetha

Monetha is a financial services company based out of Switerzerland that wants to increase confidence and probability of success in any financial interaction. It is, at its core, a reputation-establishment platform that helps users make more informed decisions when conducting their business online. The platform stores critical information about a person, product, or business so that users can view and evaluate relevant details before engaging in a transaction. With help from the blockchain, Monetha’s capabilities include peer-to-peer transacting, transferability of reputation profiles across different platforms, and a secure payment gateway meant to save users time and money. Smart contracts are the fundamental basis of trust within the Monetha platform, ensuring that all requirements are fulfilled before a transaction is executed.

Date Founded: January 1, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


AoraAORA

AORA is a blockchain-enabled global buying platform for cross-border ecommerce and end-to-end crypto shopping. The platform lets users based anywhere in the world to purchase items from online marketplaces in the U.S. and China, using cryptocurrencies as tender. This is made possible by AORA’s role as an intermediary, purchasing items on behalf of the user and handling the logistics of ensuring the items get purchased and shipped. Because the U.S. and China are the two largest exporters of consumer goods, AORA has leveraged the universal nature of cryptocurrencies to make these nations’ consumer economies more accessible to those living outside their borders. The AORA social network also allows users to share their thoughts and discover goods that are hot in the streets.

Date Founded: March 1, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


ColuColu

Colu is a Israeli startup that has been working since 2012 to put a community-focused spin on blockchain transacting. Their digital wallet app was launched in 2017, and now their focus is towards creating unique tokens that are created by communities, for communities’ sake. The concept is akin to a rewards program for an entire region – the more that users consume in the local economy, the more they are rewarded with the local token. The greater goal is to create a sense of transparency in the way that the community interacts and transacts. Ultimately, the City Token, issued on the Ethereum blockchain, was created to foster the sense of togetherness by emphasizing the important of local commerce in bettering communities.

Date Founded: December 1, 2014

Funding Type: ICO


RateRate

Rate is a Singapore-based fintech startup that has set its sights on improving the way that cross-border ecommerce is conducted. They use blockchain technology in the deployment of their in-app and in-browser payment systems for both security and efficiency purposes. Their RateX desktop browser extension keeps shoppers up to date on real-time exchange rates for cross-border purchases. It also stays stocked with the latest discount codes for several of the most popular ecommerce platforms and marketplaces – plus, it’s free of transaction fees. RateS is Rate’s mobile app, constantly seeking out deals for its users. Top merchants include Amazon, Lazada, and more.

Date Founded: 2016

Funding Type: ICO


ZeexZeex

Zeex is a blockchain-powered platform for shoppers. Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Zeex team has created a decentralized shopping experience that caters to the crypto-inclined consumer. Through its sister company Zeek, Zeex has gained access to top brands like Starbucks, the GAP, H&M, Amazon and more. Zeex has also partnered with several prominent crypto wallets in order to appeal to a broad customer base. Those that sign up for the platform will find that they can shop anonymously – a far cry from the personal data mining that goes on in the majority of ecommerce platforms. Also appealing is the allure of 0% fees, an easy-to-use interface, and the potential to earn discounted gift cards as they use the platform.

Date Founded: November 15, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


retail.globalRetail.Global

Retail.Global is a blockchain-enabled global commerce platform uniting players in the local and international ecommerce landscapes. The Moscow-based company wants to unite experts and companies on a single platform so that the facets of ecommerce can be consolidated. Their vision includes the implementation of analytics and future modeling to provide tips and blueprints for local and international producers. The the minutiae of the Retail.Global platform remain a bit vague as of now, the idea is to provide software that will enhance drive sales and provide logistical solutions to industry-wide challenges.

Date Founded: October 1, 2015

Funding Type: Private


UbcoinUbcoin Market

The Ubcoin Market is a Moscow-based project that is the next step for Ubank, a popular mobile payments system in Eastern Europe. An ‘Ebay-like, peer-to-peer marketplace based on cryptocurrency’, users can purchase and sell items on the platform using accepted digital tokens. There are no fees or commissions, and each transaction is protected by a peer-to-peer smart contract. The UBC token is traded on a three exchanges including LAToken, and the plan is for the Ubcoin Market to be built into the Ubank app as a new feature in the not-too-distant future.

Date Founded: 2006

Funding Type: ICO


repay.meRepay.me

Repay.me is a Berlin-based company working on a blockchain-enabled platform that will offer its users unlimited cashback. Their REME coin will be the basis for an ecosystem where all purchases of goods and services will result in financial rewards returned to the buyer. The platform and the token are designed to increase in value each time a user uses the platform – their data becomes more valuable each time they make a purchase. The platform claims that, even in sectors of the marketplace where margins are typically slim, cashback rates as high as 100% are achievable. By paying in increments over time and encouraging users to interact with the platform in the meantime, repay.me aims to fulfill these lofty promises.

Date Founded: December 2015

Funding Type: ICO


EligmaEligma

Eligma is a commerce-minded startup with its hands in commercial applications involving blockchain, AI, and other emergent technologies. One of the Slovenian outfit’s creations is Elipay, which was built around several blockchain-enabled features. The mobile application lets users send instant crypto payments for purchases, whether they’re working online or off. Their ELI token is the centerpiece for the Elipay loyalty program, which gives back 2% for each purchase. The platform also allows its people to make deposit, send money to friends, family and acquaintances with ease. Future developments in the app include a linked physical payment card, in-app purchases, and a chat feature. Eligma’s personalized shopping app, Elly, is also incorporating modern technologies to disrupt the consumer experience.

Date Founded: December 12, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


PursePurse

San Francisco-based Purse is using Bitcoin to provide consumers a large selection of goods at low price points. The platform claims that, by shopping with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash on the Purse platform, users can save more than 15% on purchases from Amazon – sounds like a hell of a deal. Users set their desired discount percentage, and individuals who own Amazon gift cards exchange them for the user’s Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash at a discounted rate. When shoppers elect higher discount percentages, the cost comes in terms of delivery speed. It’s a model that is dependent on both giftcard owners and customers willing to pay in Bitcoin, but when it works the savings are real.

Date Founded: April 2014

Funding Type: Private


CrowdzCrowdz

Crowdz is the company behind the Crowdz Marketplace, where buyers, sellers, and funders can interact to sell products, engage in transactions, and speed up cash flow. The lack of cash flow, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, is the problem that Crowdz wants to solve. Through the Crowdz Marketplace, managers and business operators can participate in an auction-like process for their purchase orders and invoices. Those who are in need of cash flow can view bids on their accounts receivable and choose the terms that best suit them. The goal is for businesses in need of liquidity to be able to purchase inventory, pay suppliers, etc. so that their operations can move forward despite slow payment times.

Date Founded: March 5, 2014

Funding Type: Private


MavatarMavatar

Mavatar is the Bay Area company behind mCart protocol, a decentralized influencer marketing attribution platform enabled by blockchain technology. The platform serves as a highly-customizable suite of solutions for brands and influencers looking to launch marketing campaigns and shoppable marketplaces. The mCart protocol caters to brick and mortar shops without their own robust digital platform. Those outlets can make a brand page on the mCart protocol and let the platform handle the rest, directing the shopper all the way to checkout. The platform also offers capabilities including loyalty programs and a marketing aspect by which Mavatar links up sellers and content publishers eager to team with brands that have overlapping demographics. This functionality is facilitated by blockchain tech’s interoperability and transactional capability.

Date Founded: January 11, 2011

Funding Type: ICO


Rare BitsRare Bits

Rare Bits is the rare marketplace dedicated to the purchase and sale of crypto-linked assets. The zero-fee, peer-to-peer forum contains over a million assets that are tied to unique cryptographic codes. Whether users want to create and sell their digital artwork or invest in a market they think is on the uptick, Rare Bits offers the opportunity to trade without additional cost in the crypto asset sphere. New assets are launched every day, and users bid on them in an auction format using linked crypto wallets. While the concept of crypto assets may not be the easiest one to grasp for non-enthusiasts, Rare Bits is banking that there is enough of a following to make the venture worthwhile.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: Venture-backed


ob1OB1

OB1 is a blockchain-powered mobile application using OpenBazaar to allow users to buy and sell more easily. With Bitcoin as the medium of exchange, OB1’s beta version is a decentralized marketplace with the goal of allowing anybody, anywhere in the world, to transact with one another using blockchain technology. As the OpenBazaar marketplace continues to develop, so should the OB1 platform.

Date Founded: April 24, 2015

Funding Type: Venture-backed


shopinShopin

Shopin is ‘making shopping personal’ as a universal, blockchain-powered shopper profile bringing artificial intelligence to the retail sector. The platform works for both shoppers and retailers. For those looking to push product, Shopin works to curate data from shopper habits to provide consumer and merchandise-focused insights into who they should be targeting, and how. They take the insights to the next level by incorporating visual artificial intelligence and user preferences. On the consumer side, the Shopin platform is looking to give users access to a ‘decentralized Amazon’. This means users have complete control over their data, and can share – sell, actually – that data with retailers of their choosing. Those AI-driven insights serve as a way for shoppers to be steered towards products they didn’t know that they loved.

Date Founded: September 1, 2017

Funding Type: ICO


buying.comBuying.com

Buying.com is an ecommerce platform that is cutting out the middleman by allowing online stores and consumers to buy directly from manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers. This disruption of the retail supply chain is being made possible by a decentralized marketplace deploying the benefits of bulk pricing and real-time logistics, as well as crypto and blockchain. The core principles of the Buying.com philosophy are microdistribution, purchasing power, and fragmentation (in the best sense of the word). By pooling purchasing power among a group of consumers and businesses within the Buying.com marketplace, wholesale-level order can be placed in order to impart savings on each buyer. Powered by Buying.com’s Prime Protocol, the automation that comes from the blockchain-powered aspects of the platform mean that users can see even greater savings than if they navigated traditional buying avenues.

ICO: December 1, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


ElementhElementh

Elementh is a blockchain-powered ecommerce infrastructure directly connecting sellers and customers with several benefits in mind. The goal is for Elementh to become a platform on which ecommerce projects of reasonable size can be launched quickly and effectively. The Elementh blockchain – still in production – is being designed to allow developers to create ecommerce-tailored smart contracts and decentralized applications on top of it. In order to make the platform workable, Elementh plans to digitize goods by assigning product cards and unique IDs, making transactions based on the platform easy to execute and equipped with the consumer protections that smart contracts provide.

ICO: April 1, 2018

Funding Type: ICO


Ink ProtocolInk Protocol

The Ink Protocol is a decentralized reputation and payment protocol developed in Santa Clara, CA. The aim of the protocol is to provide a way for users of the web to transfer reputation management profiles across applications and platforms. The protocol can be integrated into new or existing marketplaces, and its implementation opens a number of doors. Those who have access to the Ink Protocol can evaluate the trustworthiness of sellers and buyers, complete transactions using escrow, and rate the worthiness of the other party once the deal is finalized – in doing so, further strengthening the value of Ink’s reputation management profiles. Built on the Ethereuem blockchain with a compatible token (XNK), the protocol aims to bring a new level of trust and consumer safety to P2P marketplaces.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


OpenSeaOpenSea

OpenSea is a peer-to-peer marketplace for buyers and sellers of crypto collectibles. Digital items come in all shapes, sizes, and prices, and the OpenSea marketplace is aiming to corner the market by serving as home to a vast array of crypto collectible types. Currently, OpenSea is home to over 1 million digital assets, including CryptoKitties, MLB Crypto Baseball, Decentraland, and many more. OpenSea also wants to empower developers to create and bring their own marketplaces to the people. Their tools allow anyone looking to sell ERC721 assets to create a market in their own image, free of charge. OpenSea affiliates can monetize their userbase’s data and even use the OpenSea Studios for help with projects including games, marketplaces and more.

Date Founded: December 20, 2017

Funding Type: Private


MarkytKEYRPTO / Markyt

KEYRPTO is the group behind Markyt, a blockchain-based online ecommerce marketplace. It caters to small businesses who want to tap into the digital retail sphere by allowing them to post products and accept payment in cryptocurrencies – primarily Ether. Markyt serves as the intermediary between purchaser and seller, which means that crypto can be used as the medium of exchange, minimizing the risk of scammery through fraud protections. The Markytplace is a readily available way for sellers of clothes, toys, jewelry, books, gaming-centric products, shoes, and more to move their products among a crypto-friendly consumer base. Though, the market isn’t quite as bustling as its developers want it to be, the idea remains solid.

Date Founded: 2017

Funding Type: ICO


TradoveTraDove

TraDove is a social networking site with a slant towards business-to-business marketing. Piggybacking off the successful blueprints of Facebook and Linkedin, TraDove wants to bring business professionals and their networks closer together in a way that is actually useful. Goals for the platform include shortening the buyer and seller discovery cycle, increasing transparency in B2B interactions, allowing company-to-company precision advertising, and fostering user trust. Using Ethereum-based tokens and their own proprietary BBCoin, users will be able to rely upon a network of verifiably vetted parties to conduct international transactions using smart contracts. While some might be thinking that the TraDove blueprint – business networks in the digital age – sounds similar to Linkedin, its functionality as a commercial tool sets it apart as an original venture.

ICO: May 1, 2012

Funding Type: ICO


RavelousRAVELOUS

RAVELOUS is a blockchain-enabled ecommerce marketplace that lets users sell and buy directly using cryptocurrencies. RAVE tokens allow purchasers and sellers to exchange value in the same kind if they don’t have the same brand of cryptocurrency, and users can cash out in their digital currency of preference at any time. It is meant to serve as a digital marketplace free of borders that accomodates those interested in both used and new goods – think a thrift shop – retail hybrid built as a blockchain marketplace. The platform is community-driven not only because users have control over their preferred methods of exchange, prices, etc. Also, each new currency that is introduced into the marketplace is only adopted once the community has voted on it.

ICO: February 7, 2018

Funding Type: ICO

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Front Lines Media. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.

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