blockchain techAfter getting through one of the most turbulent years cryptocurrency has ever seen, blockchain investors, entrepreneurs and hobbyists are all eying the technology with more scrutiny than ever before. 2018 was a virtual roller coaster for cryptocurrency investors and supporters, some of whom saw massive gains followed immediately by huge losses.

It’s left a lot of people speculating about 2019 and, specifically, what kind of innovations we’ll see originating in the wake of recent events.

1. Ledger

The team behind Ledger developed two distinct platforms – the Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue. Unlike software-based wallets that are commonly used, the Ledger devices provide maximum user accessibility and data security with their hardware wallets.

Ledger’s Nano S is meant for users on the go. Featuring a form factor that is comparable to today’s USB thumb drives, the device is easily carried on a keychain or in your pocket. However, it’s important to note that Nano S doesn’t require a computer – all the functionality is contained and accessed via an LCD screen on the front of the device.

Users who want some more advanced options might opt for the Ledger Blue. Although it’s not as portable as the alternative, it includes a lot of functionality that isn’t available in any other hardware wallet on the market today.

2. Stratis

Offering a streamlined approach to business management through blockchain technology, Stratis adapts some of the key selling points used to popularize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. By basing its solutions on greater transparency and a reduced need for trust, the team at Stratis is quickly building a dedicated user base to match its stellar reputation in the industry.

The Stratis platform includes a proprietary cryptocurrency: the Stratis token. Also known as STRAT, the currency is the driving force behind the company and is usable within the Stratis marketplace. Making Stratis even more attractive to consumers and investors is its impressive list of partners, which includes the likes of Microsoft, Changelly, Binance, Ledger and more.

3. Gemini

The story behind the Gemini platform and the comparatively new Gemini dollar is about as complicated as it gets. Pioneered by the Winklevoss brothers – a pair of identical twins named Tyler and Cameron who won millions in a 2008 lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg – their idea started as a traditional cryptocurrency exchange for trading other digital assets, including bitcoin.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss made further news following their early bitcoin investments and the cryptocurrency’s eventual 2017 surge, which prompted their next venture: the Gemini dollar. With recent approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services, their bitcoin alternative is already growing in popularity.

4. GAME

GameCredits, or GAME, offers one of the most unique applications of blockchain-based cryptocurrency to date. Although it hasn’t yet achieved its goal of becoming a universal currency for the billions of gamers around the globe, it’s providing a glimpse into the future of video gaming.

GAME is tradeable on a variety of markets and exchanges. Mining options are also available for those who prefer the do-it-yourself approach.

5. IATBA

Set for a public launch in 2019, the EU’s International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications, or IATBA, is a venture designed to establish a series of standards and regulations governing the use of blockchain throughout the EU. It also serves as the backer of many blockchain applications that are designed to benefit from it.

Five banks have already been invited to IATBA. While three of the names remain unannounced, a recent press release names the banking groups of BBVA and Banco Santander among the first partners. Additional names will likely be released in the coming weeks and months as organizational officials hope to launch within the first quarter of 2019.

Whether or not they meet their current timeline remains to be seen. Although there are still some significant technical challenges to overcome, figureheads with IATBA, BBVA and Banco Santander remain optimistic for the future.

6. Humans.net

Touted as “a global HUMANS resource bank for people and businesses,” Humans.net uses blockchain technology and artificial intelligence to support thousands of freelancers around the world. It’s easy to see why the HUMANS platform, which plans to offer revenue sharing of 25 percent with users who agree to share their personal data for archival and marketing purposes, is drawing a lot of attention from investors and consumers alike.

Additionally, the platform is designing a new form of cryptocurrency, HUMANS GEN, for payments and trading. The HUMANS platform is expected to offer its services with zero transaction fees – a significant contributor to all the early interest they’ve received.

The HUMANS GEN Token is set to launch in the second quarter of 2019. While there’s no telling how the cryptocurrency will compare against its many competitors once it hits the hands of the public, the initial outlook is good.

Blockchain Platforms in 2019 and Beyond

As 2018 comes to a close, those who follow blockchain technology are paying extra attention to new and emerging technologies. With the current offerings leaving much to be desired, it will be interesting to see what platforms flourish and which ones struggle in the opening months of the new year.