Isreali Startups/Academicians Poised to Lead the Way in Blockchain Innovation

Isreali Startups/Academicians Poised to Lead the Way in Blockchain Innovation

Real issues remain with mass acceptance blockchain technology beyond early adaptors and those with enough political capital include it in the development portfolio, usually one in the same.

The remainder of this post was excerpted from original reporting in

Startups in the sector are expected to continue to multiply and developers and academics are being relied on for new, transforming uses for blockchain technologies.

“Israel is on the forefront of solving the real issues plaguing the blockchain world,” Josh Liggett, a fintech and blockchain investment analyst, tells NoCamels.

“Blockchain will be the next big thing in Israel because it mixes all the technologies that we have here including AI, IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, etc., we have them all. Most of the products blockchain needs are here. We’re well positioned and on the front line,” says Yael Rozencwajg, founder and CEO of Blockchain Israel.

If foreign investments are anything to go by, it would seem the global community agrees that Israel is a good place to look for blockchain innovation. This past year, European investment bank Benson Oak, Swiss VC fund Lakestar, and South Korea’s Kakao Investment, among others, have all put money in Israeli startups focused on blockchain.

“Under the radar, some of the top people in the world are investing in Israeli companies in blockchain. Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin, Polychain Capital, Naval Ravikant. These are high profile,” says Liggett, who blogs at OurCrowd about blockchain developments.

Israel secured numerous blockchain-related headlines in 2018 for its startups, ICOs, investments, and educational initiatives. Most of the headlines were positive but some Israelis were allegedly linked to the initial coin offering (ICO) scams.

While 2016 and 2017 were all about ICO offerings and new startups using crypto to raise funds, 2018 will be remembered as the year of the great crypto crash. Many of the startups that used crypto and blockchain technology to raise funds either turned out to be frauds or couldn’t deliver what they promised.

“The ICOs we saw in 2017 and 2018 are gone. They’re not coming back. This was a situation where you could say, ‘hey I might decide to open something, I’ll give you a token. If I don’t open, then too bad. There’s no recourse.’ You can’t do that anymore,” says Liggett. “ICOs are not coming back.”

The ICO crash, however, is seen by some industry experts as a way to clean the blockchain image and now propel it forward to the significant technology it can be for mainstream companies, charities and financial institutions.

“The Israeli blockchain industry is currently experiencing both a boost and a transformation. On the one hand, we see unprecedented growth among blockchain startups, but on the other hand, many of them are skipping ICOs in favor of equity financing. Today there are fewer startup founders coming out of morally questionable markets, such as Forex, binary trading, and gambling. Instead, more institutional players are starting to enter the market. Thus, the market is going through a self-purification,” Roman Gold, founding partner of the Israeli Blockchain Association, told Forbes.

Rozencwajg says blockchain technology will become a crucial part of everyday life.

She says fintech, medical and biotech, agriculture, and the gaming industry will show the greatest benefits from blockchain technologies in the coming year. “We need blockchain to secure all the networks,” she explains.

Blockchains record, collect and transfer all sorts of data. Industry experts believe that it is only a matter of time before blockchain platforms will be used for asset management, insurance claims, cross-border payments, property rights and real estate contracts, healthcare management, music ownership rights, voting, and a host of other possibilities.

Israel has some 300,000 developers, according to Blockchain Israel, and many are working on enterprise web application, advanced solutions and blockchain and crypto technologies.
“It will take some time for people to understand how truly powerful this technology is. There are so many technologies that still need to be developed,” says Liggett.

The OurCrowd analyst sees 2019 as a year to tweak blockchain protocols as opposed to implement the technology into new sectors.

“I don’t think the solution will come in 2019. I think Israel is going to work more on the technology because blockchain is a protocol, people will work on the technologies. Once the tech is established, people will build on top of it and apply it to different industries. I don’t think the focus will be on sectors, I think the focus is on underlying tech,” he tells NoCamels.

Liggett says some names to keep tabs on in the coming year include: Technion professor Eli Ben-Sasson, who co-invented Zerocash – a privacy-preserving cryptocurrency, and co-founded the startup behind its implementation – Zcash; Maya Zehavi, blockchain entrepreneur and a founding board member at Israeli Blockchain Industry Forum; Gal Landau-Yaari, former acting CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, who is researching blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies, governance of emerging technologies and financial stability at the University of Haifa; and Yonatan Sompolinsky, a PhD candidate, and Dr. Aviv Zohar, both of the Hebrew University, who proposed the GHOST protocol.

“These are the people who are busy working on building the next big thing [in blockchain],” says Liggett.

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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