by Flickr user Descryptive
Between January 2017 and December 2017, the price of Bitcoin rose by over 2,000% - from $953 to $20,089. Right now, the market cap of Bitcoin alone is over $120 billion.
However, the most exciting part of blockchain technology isn't Bitcoin, rather the way it can be applied to change the world we live in.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of the blockchain and the core concept behind it is the fact that it is decentralized which means that there is no requirement for an intermediary or a third party to validate transactions.
Instead, they can be carried out automatically using a consensus
All transactions on the blockchain are cryptographically secured, making it extremely difficult for hackers to break into them.
To help it along, we need
to look for solutions to these issues.
Crypto companies breaking down these barriers
There is an increasing number of companies trying to overcome the current barriers of crypto and encouraging their adoption by the mainstream population.
Elephant is one company reaching to bridge the gap between virtual and physical boundaries in order to solve the liquidity challenge by introducing emerging blockchain applications to secondary markets.
The platform is designed to appeal to investors - both experienced and new - who want a more stable investment that is tied to 'real' assets.
The platform lowers the barrier to entry for both buyers and sellers and opens the door to investments in shares of the world's most important and interesting pre-IPO private companies, including the likes of BlaBlaCar and IronSource.
So far, they have shares of over 20 high-profile pre-IPO companies worth a combined total of over $70 million for sale on the platform and have already amassed over 2,000 registered investors.
Blox is another company trying to simplify the process of investing in cryptocurrencies and making them more accessible and less intimidating for newbie investors.
Essentially, it is a completely free blockchain and crypto portfolio asset management platform that syncs all of wallets and exchanges into a single account.
Using their own integrated native token, known as CDT, which users can earn by using Blox to track their portfolio, they can then either trade in tokens or use them to access premium features.
Crypto could be closer to the mainstream than we think
Right now, it might feel like we're a long way off from a world where crypto is mainstream.
However, the industry has come a long way within the past two years alone. With more and more companies working on solutions to solve some of crypto's biggest problems and making it more practical for real-world application, it could be closer than we've been led to believe.
There have even been rumors that big companies like Amazon are planning on jumping onto the crypto bandwagon.
The retail giant has released no official statements on the topic, but its recent purchases of domain names including,
...suggest that it could be gearing up to become more involved in this growing industry.
Amazon is also pushing its 'Blockchain on AWS' platform that provides users with the resources they need to experiment with blockchain networks and deploy solutions.
Qtum is an example of one blockchain platform that has recently become available through Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Qtum is a decentralized, open source smart contracts platform that aims to completely revolutionize the way that smart contracts are viewed, developed, and used.
This launch will enable AWS users to access the platform and use it to develop and launch their own smart contracts by using Amazon Machine Image (AMI), without having to go outside of the platform.
Having Qtum available on the Amazon platform has already served as a huge boost for the QTUM cryptocurrency.
And this is just the beginning. Over the next few years, it's likely that Amazon will become increasingly interested in the potential of the blockchain.
Who knows... within a few years, buying a loaf of bread with Bitcoin could be the new 'norm'...