While blockchain has been around for close to a decade, many are wondering when the first tech giants of the industry will emerge. While companies like EOS have raised huge amounts of money via an ICO, they are just getting started. Could companies like ConsenSys be further along in becoming the decentralized web’s answer to Google? We find out below.
What is ConsenSys?
ConsenSys was founded by the co-founder of Ethereum, Joseph Lubin.
The company is a global collection of entrepreneurs and technologists trying to bring about a more decentralized world. Using Ethereum as its foundation, the company uses a number of different approaches to help achieve that goal:
- ⚗️ Solutions - A consultancy for large companies like Microsoft, Smart Dubai and Shell looking to build out their blockchain solutions.
- 🔬 Labs - An incubator and venture studio designed to help grow companies in the ConsenSys ecosystem. These include startups such as MetaMask, uPort, Truffle Suite and Civil.
- 💰 Capital - The company provides funding and advice on how to build and launch an ICO.
- 🏫 Academy - A learning resource to help teach the next generation of developers to build on Ethereum.
The combined formation of these people, projects and components is called The Mesh!
"If you think the Internet has affected your life, Ethereum will have that same pervasive influence on our communications and our entire information infrastructure. It will impact every aspect of our existence," Joseph Lubin.
Who is ConsenSys working with?
ConsenSys is working with lots of different companies building lots of different things. Its Solutions division is building komgo SA, a blockchain-based commodities finance platform spearheaded by large companies including ING, Shell and Citigroup.
In 2015, it partnered with Microsoft to build an enterprise service on Ethereum. The aim was to use uPort (one of the companies in the Mesh) to improve the identification of those without legal documents and help prevent human rights violations.
”Microsoft has been since its inception the gold standard for enterprise delivery and implementation. It was a tremendous opportunity for ConsenSys to learn how to deliver at that kind of level from Microsoft,” Joseph Lubin.
Below we take a closer look at Labs, ConsenSys' incubator division as well as some of the projects currently in development.
ConsenSys Labs is the venture studio component of ConsenSys focussed exclusively on Web 3.0. Labs. It provides resources, financing, and talent to its portfolio companies more commonly knows as "Spokes".
ConsenSys Labs operates our venture studio which provides world-class resources, tools, and talent to entrepreneurs and developers around the world. With a rigorous startup curriculum and an unparalleled network of experts, ConsenSys Labs provides the critical support needed to become a successful company.” - ConsenSys Labs Website
Below we take a look at some of the companies working inside "The Mesh".
uPort are using blockchain to create secure, digital identities.
Identity theft is commonplace. More than $16 billion was lost to fraud and identity theft in 2016. Tricky thing is, it’s hard to prove your identity beyond knowing certain key facts that other people can often find out. In comes uPort.
”uPort’s open identity system allows users to register their own identity on Ethereum, send and request credentials, sign transactions, and securely manage keys & data.”
By using smart contracts based on the Ethereum network, it is able to keep an accurate record of your identity and use that identity to make transactions on public networks. The hope is a company like uPort can bring clarity and transparency to record keeping the world over.
Did you know?
uPort has partnered with the City of Zug, Switzerland, to put government services on blockchain that people access through their uPort idendity.
MetaMask, a bridge to the distributed web within an internet browser
Cryptocurrencies are hard to use, right? Not anymore.
MetaMask makes sending cryptocurrencies as easy as sending an email. It works with Ethereum Dapps via a plugin that can be installed on internet browsers. This means users can spend Ether, or Ethereum-based tokens, in decentralized exchanges, games and more with just a few mouse clicks.
It can be installed as an add-on in Chrome, Firefox, Opera and the Brave Browser.
Did you know?
MetaMask added support for TREZOR devices in August. Transactions are signed on the device itself so private keys are never exposed.
Redefining journalism with Civil.
Fake News. Not anymore.
Civil wants to take control out of the media industry’s hands and give it to the reader. By making journalism accountable, it strives to reduce the existence of bad practices and encourage it to be accurate and honest.
The main way it hopes to achieve that is by allowing readers to fund journalists directly, removing the need for third-party interests and advertisers. This means smaller businesses and individual journalists are able to support themselves without having to bow to commercial interests.
”CVL is a uniquely designed cryptocurrency that will drive the governance of a community-controlled platform for ethical journalism,” Matt Coolidge.
Making smart contracts easier to use and more powerful with Truffle.
Smart contracts are tricky little things. They're often written in a coding language that's new to many, and are difficult for the layman to read. That's where Truffle comes in.
”Truffle is a development environment, testing framework and asset pipeline for Ethereum. Its main goal is to make life as an Ethereum developer easier,” Hugh Knight, co-founder of Tap Project.
Gnosis is a blockchain-based prediction platform
Two heads are better than one. A thousand heads, even more so.
Gnosis is a prediction market where users estimate future events, for example, how much a painting might cost at an auction. These estimates are bundled together to help create accurate predictions for just about anything.
Studies have shown that prediction markets are faster at forecasting epidemics compared to existing systems. It's this very concept that Gnosis is built on. It's believed by harnessing the wisdom of the crowd, predictions on everything from healthcare to logistics could be improved.
“The numbers we care about is the usage of decentralized applications. And as a next step, the number to look out for is dApps that seamlessly interact with each other and draw a benefit from being on the same platform,” Martin Köppelmann, CEO at Gnosis.
Gnosis is also a platform for the creation of customized forecasting applications, including new types of crypto assets.
Did you know?
Gnosis were at the forefront of crypto hackathon ETHBerlin which relied solely on the use of Dapps. Gnosis also host nonprofit global developer conference Dappcoin.
ConsenSys believes if it can help others see the benefits of the decentralized web, and provide tools, services and training, the time it takes for the world to embrace blockchain will drop dramatically. Unsurprisingly, ConsenSys isn't the only company with this belief, there are a number of venture studios like Intrepid and Fintricity attempting to do something similar. But none are quite as large as ConsenSys, so it has the scale on its side.
Will it be the key taste maker and trend-setter in the space in future? Time will tell. But when companies looking to enrich the ecosystem emerge, it's a positive sign that this technology is here to stay.