The cryptocurrency industry is notorious for its volatility and unpredictability. Its unforgiving nature has led to multiple Singaporean cryptocurrency startups closing their doors in just a few years since their inception.
However, not all have bitten the dust. We delve into four cryptocurrency startups in Singapore that not only stand strong, but continue to thrive in the global arena amidst the ever-changing and unpredictable crypto landscape.
Born out of peer-reviewed academic research conducted at the National University of Singapore, Zilliqa was founded in 2017 by a team of academics, entrepreneurs, and engineers.
In 2018, Zilliqa concluded its initial coin offering (ICO) and successfully raised US$22 million in ETH.
Following the ICO in 2018, the Zilliqa ecosystem and community has grown significantly, processing almost 12 million transactions since its launch in 2019. Zilliqa now has a flourishing community of over 150,000 enthusiasts, more than 780,000 wallets, and an expanding network of over 1,000 developers.
As one of the most prominent names within Singapore’s blockchain ecosystem, upon its mainnet launch in January 2019, Zilliqa became the world’s first public blockchain built on sharded architecture. Sharding is a database management technique that breaks a database into smaller segments, allowing transactions to be processed in parallel and at scale.
In late 2019, Xfers — a Singapore-based FinTech platform — launched the first SGD-pegged stablecoin ($XSGD) on the Zilliqa blockchain.
This MAS-approved initiative brings immense potential for the Singapore blockchain ecosystem, allowing SGD-denominated trades and transactions to occur on the blockchain. With $XSGD, the Singapore dollar effectively became the third most tokenised currency in the world.
Throughout 2020, the proliferation of decentralised finance (DeFi) applications across the blockchain space brought about unprecedented growth opportunities for the team.
As a smart contract platform characterised by high-performance, low fees, and enterprise-grade security, Zilliqa is designed for applications that handle high-value transactions such as DeFi products.
Zilswap, the first decentralised exchange on the Zilliqa blockchain, went live in 2020 and has since seen a 24-hour trading volume growing to over US$11 million.
As part of Zilliqa’s DeFi ecosystem, a wide range of decentralised applications also went live on the Zilliqa mainnet. These include the likes of NFT minting service and marketplace Mintable.app, decentralised domain service provider Unstoppable Domains, and blockchain gaming application zilFighters.
To grow its ecosystem further, Zilliqa also has its ZILHive initiative which looks to promote blockchain through accelerator, incubator, education, and venture initiatives.
Zilliqa Capital, the project’s central business and investment hub, was recently launched in March. Zilliqa Capital aims to invest in decentralised and fintech solutions across investing, wealth management, insurance, lending, payments, and remittances, as well as critical infrastructures that will enable Web 3.0.
Moving forward, the promise of high yields and low gas fees ensures that Zilliqa is the ideal blockchain for new projects and experiments to build on and blossom, solidifying its position as a legitimate contender as a protocol of choice in the DeFi space.
Switcheo planted its roots in 2018 with the launch of the world’s first decentralised exchange (DEX) on China-based blockchain platform Neo in a time when DEXs were relatively unheard of.
The exchange enabled users to trade crypto assets in a trustless manner directly from their own wallets and without the need for a central intermediary.
Switcheo’s popularity was evident from the get-go. Underpinned by its innovative technology and ambitious plans to decentralise financial markets, the startup raised over US$8 million in its ICO.
Three years on, Switcheo has gone above and beyond in launching new innovative products and features in an increasingly-saturated industry such as Demex, the open financial platform built on the Switcheo TradeHub sidechain, which has surpassed $75 million in trading volume since its December launch.
Demex allows its users to freely trade crypto assets across different blockchains such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, or Neo. By staking the $SWTH token on Demex, users can also earn a cut of all trades made on Demex.
The crypto natives also inked strategic partnerships with notable industry players DeFiance Capital, Three Arrows Capital, Zilliqa and NGC Ventures, whose backing will serve to further propel the growth of the company.
Moving forward, Switcheo plans to grow Demex into becoming the go-to cross-chain decentralised trading exchange, allowing the project to capture value for its investors across all relevant blockchains.
Founded in 2014, Coinhako started with a very simple mission: to create a simple and hassle-free way to access Bitcoin in Singapore.
Since then, the cryptocurrency centralised exchange (CEX) has scaled to offering its services for other countries in Asia. It offers multiple cryptocurrency trading pairs and has grown into one of the most prominent platforms in the space.
Coinhako is also one of the longest-standing platforms, having survived through the 2014 and 2018 ‘crypto winters’, by keeping their heads down and continuing to build and focus on R&D.
In 2021, Coinhako has emerged as a key player in Singapore’s cryptocurrency industry. It boasts support for over 30 tokens including $BTC, $ETH, $DAI, $LTC, $XRP and more (in contrast, Binance.sg only supports eight different tokens).
Coinhako also supports the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies through Xfers, bank transfer, or credit and debit cards.
Due to its wide support for various crypto assets and integration with multiple fiat gateways, Coinhako remains one of the most easily accessible and beginner-friendly ways for new investors in Singapore to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies in Singapore.
Being one of the pioneers in the space and surviving the gruelling crypto winters, Coinhako has certainly earned its spot on this list. Moving forward, the team will continue to build upon their product suite, with the goal of offering a more robust suite of cryptocurrency services for its users.
4. Kyber Network
Founded in 2017, Kyber Network is a liquidity hub that aggregates liquidity from a wide range of liquidity sources to power instant and secure crypto exchanges for any decentralised applications without the need of an intermediary.
As a hub of liquidity protocols, Kyber has built KyberPRO framework catered to professional market makers and recently launched an advanced AMM protocol, Kyber DMM.
Kyber DMM is the world’s first permissionless Dynamic Market Maker protocol with greater flexibility and extremely high capital efficiency. More use-case specific protocols will be added to Kyber to enable different liquidity providers with their own unique needs to offer liquidity for Kyber.
Kyber is being used by more than 100 blockchain projects around the world and have facilitated over $5 billion worth of trading volume. Using Kyber, developers can build innovative applications, including instant token swap services, ERC20 payment flows, and financial DApps.
The network is open-sourced and governed by the KyberDAO, decentralised community of KNC token holders who stake their tokens and collectively vote and decide on the key parameters and get rewards in return.
Kyber Network is definitely one project that all Ethereum users should keep on their radar.
It’s not easy to not crash and burn
The cryptocurrency industry is fast and unforgiving. Projects which fail to adapt will inevitably fail.
Only projects which are backed by a strong and growing team, as well as an engaged and active community will survive in the long run.
We’re happy to see many local startups constantly learning and adapting to not just keep their teams afloat, but also blossom over the years. Every once in a while, it’s nice to look back at how far some of these startups and communities have come.
This article is a contribution by Jack Yeu, the co-founder of Switcheo.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is a key content pillar for Vulcan Post, and we will be continuing to cover the development in this space. You can follow our coverage here.
Featured Image Credit: Ziliqa / Kyber Network / Coinhako / Switcheo
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