The metaverse and web3 are intricately intertwined. Although different theoretically, web3 and the metaverse are reliant on one another. The technology overlap makes their relationship symbiotic. In this article, we dive into what the web3 era is all about and what web3 companies are. We will also highlight twenty-five of the world’s top web3 companies in 2022 while shedding light on the history of the ‘web.’
What is Web3?
Web3, also known as Web 3.0, is the new direction the World Wide Web (www) is heading. Here, concepts like decentralization are paramount. So, too, are the emerging technologies of token-based economics (cryptocurrencies) and blockchain protocols.
To really understand Web3, however, you have to understand the prior iterations of it: Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.
Web 1.0 (1990–2004)
Web 1.0 really came about from 1989 onwards, when British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, working at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, developed the protocols that would become the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee, ever the idealist (as are many tech innovators), wanted to construct an open, decentralized platform where information-sharing could be realized. The first iteration of this, known as Web 1.0, happened from about 1990 to 2003 or 2004. Web 1.0 was the age of read-only, sparse-looking websites where there was very little user interaction.
Web 2.0 (2004-now)
Web 2.0, known for its read and write capabilities, occurred in about 2004 just as social media platforms like Facebook and MySpace came on the scene. These companies started providing content for users but also empowered people to create their own content (user-generated content). It was also the period when there was more interaction between users via those said social platforms and forums. Unfortunately, a downside here was the monopoly a lot of these platforms started to have due to the high amount of traffic they received. Facebook et al leveraged this with what is called the “advertising-driven revenue model”. One disadvantage of this was, that although users could create unique, attractive content, they didn’t own what they produced or could benefit from its monetization.
Often stylized as Web3, rather than Web 3.0, it is the era of read-write-and-own coined by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood not long after Ethereum was launched in 2014. Using blockchains, cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to give control back to users in the form of ownership, Web3 harks back to those early days of the late 80s and early 90s and Berners-Lee’s open, decentralized technological utopia but with the added bonus of it being permissionless and trustless. Many web3 companies are starting to emerge, in this new era of digital.
What is a Web3 company?
One of the key components differentiating a tech company (Web 2.0) from a Web3 company is that the company’s commercial goals align with several factors. These include a complete focus on decentralization, total ownership of the product/technology and the scope of the technology leveraged, ie., blockchain-related, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and/or IoT.
Why are Web3 companies growing fast?
One reason why we may be seeing a surge in Web3-centric companies is that Web2 legacy companies, eyeing a great opportunity, are pivoting to the new reality. The number of developers being trained in Web3, as well as entrepreneurs — through a sense of liberation and/or philanthropic tendencies — are lending their intellectual resources to open-source crypto and Web3 projects, building out such platforms as Ethereum etc.
Startups, too, co-founded by entrepreneurs and developers fully trained in Web3 protocols, are yet another reason why we can witness a rise of Web3 companies whose focus is on the new web3 technology paradigm.
The Metaverse Insider will now go through 25 top Web3 companies, briefly describing the technology, the web3 companies’ all-important products and/or services, and the applications for those services and products. But that’s not everything for companies influencing the web3 paradigm: what would a Web3 company be without knowing something about the founders and, always an important thing to factor in when weighing up the chances of success of Web3 companies, the financing and valuation.
You must remember, though — the 25 represented are just the tip of the growing iceberg, and as Web3 grows, so will the Web3 companies that make up the Web3 ecosystem.
Braintrust is the first decentralized Web3 talent network that connects skilled, vetted knowledge workers with the world’s leading companies. The community that relies on Braintrust to find work are the same people who own and build it, ensuring the network always serves the needs of its users, instead of a centrally-controlled corporation. And because the community of knowledge workers and contributors earns ownership and control of Braintrust through its native BTRST token for their contributions to the network and its growth, new Talent and jobs have participated in the network at record speeds.
Braintrust has over 700,000+ community members, with knowledge workers and project contributors across the world. Braintrust is trusted by hundreds of Fortune 1000 global enterprises including Nestlé, Porsche, Atlassian, Goldman Sachs, and Nike.
Based in San Francisco, California, Braintrust was founded in 2018 by Adam Jackson, Gabriel Luna-Ostaseski and Brian Flynn. To date, the company has raised a total of $123.5 million in funding over six rounds and has a market cap, as of July 2022, of roughly $200 million.
OpenSea, the first and largest peer-to-peer marketplace for NFTs, is an NYC-based startup founded in 2017 by Devin Finzer and Alex Atallahis. Applications for NFTs include collectibles, gaming items, domain names, digital art, and many other items backed by a blockchain. OpenSea is an open, inclusive Web3 platform, where individuals can explore NFTs and connect with each other to purchase and sell NFTs. The OpenSea team has backgrounds from Stanford, Pinterest and Google, and is funded by YCombinator, Founders Fund, Coinbase Ventures, 1Confirmation, and Blockchain Capital.
With an astonishing $427 million raised in outside funding since it was founded, OpenSea was valued at $13.3 billion as of January 2022.
Immutable is scaling the world’s digital assets with Immutable X, the first scaling solution for NFTs which doesn’t compromise the security or decentralization of the world’s leading public blockchain, Ethereum.
Powering the next generation of Web3 games, Immutable is a Sydney, Australia-based startup founded in 2018 by James Ferguson, Robbie Ferguson and Alex Connolly.
Immutable has raised a total of $279.8 million in funding over five rounds, with the Animoca-backed startup at a $3.5-billion valuation as of March 2022.
4. TRON DAO
TRON DAO is a Singapore-based startup dedicated to accelerating the decentralization of the internet via blockchain technology and decentralized applications (dApps). Founded in 2017 by H.E. Justin Sun, the TRON network has continued to deliver impressive achievements since MainNet launched in 2018.
2018 also marked the ecosystem integration of BitTorrent, a pioneer in decentralized services boasting nearly 100 million monthly active users. The TRON network has gained incredible traction in recent years, with over 69 million users on the blockchain and upwards of 2.7 billion transactions. In addition, TRON hosts the largest circulating supply of stablecoins across the globe, overtaking USDT on Ethereum in April 2021. The TRON network completed full decentralization in December 2021 and is now a purely community-governed DAO.
BitGo is a Palo Alto, California-based startup founded in 2013 by Ben Davenport, Michael Belshe and Will O’Brien. Offering digital asset and financial services, it also provides institutional investors and crypto platforms with liquidity, custody and security.
In 2020, the company reached new milestones with the launch of BitGo Prime, the first and only deeply integrated, full-stack solution with custody, trading and lending. With the launch of BitGo Portfolio and BitGo Tax, the company also manages activities across wallets, exchanges and service providers.
In 2018, it launched BitGo Trust Company, the first qualified custodian purpose-built for storing digital assets. BitGo processes over 20% of all global Bitcoin transactions and supports over 250 coins and tokens. BitGo’s customer base includes the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges and spans more than 50 countries, including qualified custodial entities in Switzerland and Germany.
BitGo was acquired by Galaxy Digital for $1.2 billion in May 2021. Prior to the acquisition, BitGo had raised a total of $69.5 million in funding over seven rounds, backed by the likes of Goldman Sachs, Craft Ventures, Digital Currency Group, DRW, Galaxy Digital Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Valor Equity Partners.
6. NFTY Labs
With headquarters in Miami, Florida, NFTY Labs was created with the goal of building community-based tools to foster the newly found growth within token ecosystems. While creating newfound standards and tech for NFTs, NFTY Labs was also founded with the idea of enabling cross-chain NFT standards and practices. As NFTs continue to change the landscape within the oncoming digital economy, NFTY Labs will help spearhead the tech created for these new NFT ecosystems to ensure they flourish.
The four co-founders, James Lawrence, Ty Blackard, Kevin Caffery, and Johnathan Ballinger, set up NFYT Labs in 2020.
Spatial was founded in 2016 by Anand Agarawala and Jinha Lee from investors including iNovia Capital, White Star Capital, Expa (founded by Garrett Camp), Kakao Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Leaders Fund, Samsung NEXT as well as angels including Mark Pincus (Founder of Zynga), and Andy Hertzfeld (Co-Inventor of the Macintosh) and Mike Krieger (Co-Founder of Instagram).
Made up of a passionate team of 3D Design and AR/VR experts based in New York and San Francisco, Spatial is dedicated to helping creators and brands build their own spaces in the Metaverse to share culture together by empowering its users to leverage their beautiful spaces to share eye-popping content, build a tight-knit community, and drive meaningful sales of their creative works and products. It also empowers its users to create beautiful and functional 3D spaces that they can mint as NFTs and sell/rent to others looking to host mind-blowing experiences.
To date, Spatial has raised a total of $47.3 million in funding over five rounds.
8. Project Galaxy
Based in San Mateo, California, Project Galaxy was created by Bullet Labs and is the largest Web3 credential data network in the world. Built on open and collaborative infrastructure, Project Galaxy helps developers and organizations leverage digital credential data to build better products and communities in Web3.
Founded in 2021 by Charles Wayn, Harry Zhang, Xinlu C., Project Galaxy has raised approximately $10 million in funding.
With headquarters in San Francisco, California, Okcoin also has offices in Malta, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Korea, and is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing cryptocurrency exchanges, helping millions of people buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, miamicoin and many other crypto assets every day. It is also building an inclusive future of finance, one that opens new opportunities to learn financial literacy, store value, and build wealth for everyone.
Founded in 2013 by Star Xu, in the nine years since its founding Okcoin has raised a total of $10 million in funding over two rounds.
10. 8th Light
8th Light is a software consultancy firm founded in 2006 by Micah Martin and Paul Pagel. Since that time, it has partnered with hundreds of clients — from startups to Fortune 500 companies — to design systems that unlock human potential and develop products that customers love.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, 8th Light is building the next generation of applications for Web3, cryptocurrency and Blockchain, including DApps.
Demand.io is a Los Angeles, California-based company founded in 2009 by Michael Quoc. Its mission — and the reason Quoc started Demand.io — is to make e-commerce work for everyone, creating a better way to shop, driven by community and decentralization.
Made up of a small team of product executives who love building world-class products, Demand.io creates and runs platforms that connect people around shared values and towards economic growth. Its products, like Knoji, SimplyCodes and Favely, reach millions of consumers and drive over a billion dollars per year in e-commerce transaction volume.
Sweet is an experience-driven NFT platform connecting the world’s biggest brands with the world’s most enthusiastic fans. With partner brands such as the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, a collaboration engineered to create a first-of-its-kind program featuring NFTs for Cavs fans to collect both online and in-arena.
With headquarters in New York City, Sweet was founded in 2017 by Tom Mizzone and has raised a total of $10.1 million in funding over six rounds.
13. Uniswap Labs
The Uniswap Protocol is the largest decentralized trading and automated market-making protocol on Ethereum, as its average daily trading volume was $220 million in October 2020. The Uniswap Labs team was a major contributor to the Uniswap Protocol and now focuses on building a suite of products to support the Uniswap ecosystem. Its team is one of the most impactful in crypto.
Based out of SoHo in New York City, by October 2020, Uniswap was estimated to be the largest decentralized exchange and the fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange overall by daily trading volume.
Uniswap was founded in 2018 by Hayden Adams and has received investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Paradigm Venture Capital, Union Square Ventures LLC and ParaFi.
ConsenSys is the leading Ethereum software company, enabling developers, enterprises and people worldwide to build next-generation applications, launch modern financial infrastructure, and access the decentralized web.
Its product suite — composed of Infura, Quorum, Truffle, Codefi, MetaMask, and Diligence — serves millions of users, supports billions of blockchain-based queries for its clients, and has handled billions of dollars in digital assets.
Based in Brooklyn, New York City, ConsenSys was founded in 2014 by Joseph Lubin. Having raised a total of $725 million in funding over five rounds — the latest a $450-million Series D funding round in March of this year — the company is now valued at an incredible $7 billion.
Autograph is an NFT platform that brings together the most iconic brands and legendary names in sports, entertainment and culture to create unique digital collections and experiences for users around the world.
Co-founded by football superstar Tom Brady, Dillon Rosenblatt and Josh Payne in 2021, Autograph is headquartered in Los Angeles and is ushering in a new era of collecting through a streamlined and inclusive process, authentic and creative products and exclusive partnerships.
To date, Autograph has raised some $205 million in funding in the short time it has been operating. As of 2021, its pre-money valuation after its $35-million Series A was reported to be $700 million.
A fantasy football game developed by Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montfort that was released in 2019, Sorare is a place where players buy, sell, trade, and manage a virtual team with digital player cards.
Leveraging blockchain technology based on Ethereum to secure the ownership and distribution of cards — which are limited and cannot be altered, duplicated or deleted — each player card is represented as an NFT that uses the ERC-721 token standard on Ethereum. Each player card is unique and is owned personally by the gamer, validated through the blockchain, allowing its value to appreciate or depreciate based on the market.
Based in Paris, France, Sorare has raised an incredible $739.2 million in funding over four rounds at a $4.3-billion valuation, according to some sources.
Aptos is a new and independent project focused on delivering the safest and most production-ready Layer 1 blockchain in the world. The team is composed of the original creators, researchers, designers, and builders of Diem, the blockchain that was first built to serve this purpose.
Based in Palo Alto, California, Aptos was founded last year by Avery Ching and Mohammad Shaikh. In that short time, the startup has raised an incredible $200 million in funding over one round.
Coinlist’s mission is to accelerate the advancement of blockchain technology by finding the best emerging blockchain projects and helping them succeed. Now a global leader in new token issuance, helping blue chip projects like Filecoin, Solana, Celo, Algorand, Dapper, and others connect with hundreds of thousands of new token holders, CoinList supports the full lifecycle of crypto investment, from token sales through token distribution, trading, lending, and crypto-specific services such as staking and access to decentralized-finance opportunities.
CoinList’s customers include validators, miners, founders, CEOs, crypto funds, bitcoin OGs, as well as a broad array of crypto enthusiasts.
With headquarters in San Francisco, California, CoinList was founded in 2017 by the six-person founding team of Andrew Bromberg, Brian Tubergen, Graham Jenkin, Joshua Slayton, Kendrick Nguyen, and Paul Menchov and has raised a total of $549 million in funding over seventeen reported rounds.
19. Kraken Digital Asset Exchange
Founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell and Thanh Luu, Kraken Digital Asset Exchange is one of the largest and most trusted digital asset platforms globally, empowering people to experience the life-changing potential of crypto.
With over eight million consumer and pro traders, institutions, and authorities worldwide — its unique combination of products, services, and global expertise is helping tip the scales towards mass crypto adoption.
In the past Kraken has been backed by investors including Money Partners Group, Hummingbird Ventures, Blockchain Capital, and Digital Currency Group. By the summer of 2022, it was estimated Kraken’s valuation was somewhere in the region of $10 billion.
A Singapore-based company, Crypto.com was founded in 2016 as “Monaco” (renamed Crypto.com in 2018) by Bobby Bao, Gary Or, Kris Marszalek, and Rafael Melo. Serving more than 50 million customers, it is the world’s fastest-growing global cryptocurrency platform.
Built on a foundation of security, privacy, and compliance, Crypto.com is committed to accelerating the adoption of cryptocurrency through innovation and empowering the next generation of builders, creators, and entrepreneurs to develop a fairer and more equitable digital ecosystem.
21. Chainlink Labs
Chainlink Labs is a decentralized blockchain oracle network built on Ethereum and a provider of secure and reliable open-source blockchain oracle solutions, enhancing smart contracts by connecting them to a wide range of off-chain data sources and computations, such as asset prices, web APIs, IoT devices, payment systems, and more, and is dedicated to the development and integration of Chainlink as the standard decentralized oracle framework used by smart contracts across any blockchain.
Chainlink Labs empowers the broader Chainlink community and builds world-class oracle solutions for global enterprises such as Google and Oracle and development teams at the forefront of the smart contract ecosystem, including Aave, Synthetix, and many more. Through a fusion of principled academic research and an industry focus on user needs, its mission is to enable the next generation of smart contracts and usher in a new age of economic fairness, transparency, and efficiency.
Created in 2017 by Sergey Nazarov and Steve Ellis — co-authors of a white paper introducing the Chainlink protocol and network with Cornell University professor Ari Juels — Chainlink Labs’ estimated annual revenue is currently at $52.6 million annually, according to some sources.
One of the most high profile on the list that needs no introduction, Blockchain.com is known as the world’s most popular crypto wallet and is on a path to revolutionizing the $14 trillion financial services industry.
Founded in 2011 by Benjamin Reeves, Nicolas Cary and Peter Smith, Blockchain started life in York, the UK, but is now headquartered in Luxembourg.
Blockchain.com has raised a total of $490 million in funding over seven rounds and is backed by leading investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and Google Ventures. As of 2021, the company was valued at $5.2 billion.
Ripple (originally called Opencoin) is yet another company leveraging proven crypto and blockchain technology that it has honed since its founding in 2012 by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb. Based in San Francisco, Ripple’s enterprise-grade solutions are faster, more transparent, and more cost-effective than traditional financial services. Its customers use these solutions to source crypto, facilitate instant payments, empower their treasury, engage new audiences, lower capital requirements, and drive new revenue.
Ripple’s vision is to enable a world where value moves as seamlessly as information flows today — an Internet of Value. Ripple is the only enterprise blockchain company today with products in commercial use. Ripple’s global payments network includes over 300 customers across 40+ countries and six continents.
Ripple has raised a total of $293.8 million in funding over 14 rounds. In 2019, Ripple’s post-money valuation hit $10 billion; since then, its value has climbed to some $15 billion, per some estimates.
24. Bitcoin Depot
Bitcoin Depot is an INC 5000 company and is the largest cryptocurrency ATM network offering users the ability to buy and sell Bitcoin and over thirty other cryptocurrencies instantly at thousands of locations across the United States.
Its mission is to provide the most secure, convenient, and fastest cryptocurrency transaction. Its vision is to bring the cryptocurrency market to the masses.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Bitcoin Depot was founded in 2016 by Brandon Mintz and has an estimated annual revenue currently at over $30 million per year, according to Growjo.
Alchemy is a developer platform that empowers companies to build scalable and reliable decentralized applications without the hassle of managing blockchain infrastructure in-house.
Many top projects in the space, including Augur, Cryptokitties, Kyber, Radar Relay, OpenSea, etc rely on Alchemy to support their core infrastructure needs. The team consists of top engineers (from Stanford, MIT, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and many more startups) with decades of industry experience in big data and scalable infrastructure and is backed by A-list investors (Charles Schwab, Coinbase, founders of LinkedIn and Paypal, Chairman of Google, etc)
Founded in 2017 by Nikil Viswanathan and Joe Lau, the San Francisco-based startup has raised a total of $563.9 million in funding over five rounds. As of early 2022, Alchemy was valued at $3.5 billion, according to Reuters.
What are the benefits of Web3 companies to business?
Web3 companies, unlike their predecessors in the era of Web 2.0, give businesses total control and ownership, pushing out the middleman or intermediary, and making services more efficient. They also build trust and transparency, which — in turn — creates an efficient ecosystem, better for the development and nurturing of ideas.
What is the future of Web3 companies?
Web3 and open-source software, built on the shoulders of blockchain technology, are going to revolutionize the way entrepreneurs and commercial enterprises do business, while, at the same time, fashioning how customers interact with products. On the entertainment side, Web3 companies are creating more of a community, a place where the user/player can make many of the decisions on how, when, where and why they play. This has been made possible via decentralized networks, which have eroded the big social media players’ ability to shape the rules of the game. And the shift to this modality is set to step up a gear, as more companies make the full transition to Web3 companies.
The twenty-five Web3 companies included in the list are part of the future, one where we will observe a sea change in attitudes to how business is done, both in terms of the product/service and how the customer interacts with the product/service.
As more legacy companies shift to a Web3 state of mind, and the number of Web3 startups grows, a pattern will emerge, one where the old world, that of Web 2.0, will slowly disappear, being replaced by the new order — the twenty-five Web3 companies mentioned in this post are some of the earliest.
Better get ready for the deluge, folks!
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