New companies in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space are popping up each month in Texas. And they’re growing fast — going from startup to the Nasdaq in less than a year in some cases.
It’s “insanely competitive,” said Giorgi Khazaradze, CEO of Dallas crypto startup Aurox. “If you don’t read updates on crypto news for one day, you’re behind,” he said.
With competition springing up left and right, Khazaradze said it comes down to who can hire the best developers the quickest to build out the product.
Here are 10 companies in the space to watch in North Texas. Most of them started within the last five years and have ambitious plans for the next five.
Hedera was founded in Dallas in 2018 by Mance Harmon and Dr. Leemon Baird, who won “Emerging Company CEO” and “Technology Inventor,” respectively, this year from Tech Titans, the largest tech trade organization in Texas. The founders met in the Air Force in 1993 while doing machine learning research and both ended up teaching computer science at the Air Force Academy.
The company is built on the technology they created, Hashgraph, an alternative to blockchain that is “far more secure and is faster,” Harmon said. Hedera is the largest blockchain organization in North Texas. It has a governing council of 26 top-tier organizations, including Google and Boeing, that govern the network, and conduct activities such as setting pricing and the regulatory posture of the company, among other tasks.
Blockmetrix is a crypto-mining company founded last May in Dallas by five North Texas investment leaders and industry experts. Blockmetrix has raised over $50 million in venture funding and $25 million in debt financing, largely to fund additional mining rigs. The team of five has an office in the Rolex building in the Harwood District. The founders said the company is revenue positive and that they are considering the option to take it public.
Applied Blockchain started trading on the Nasdaq in April, less than a year after it began operating last summer. The company makes money by buying land and building co-hosting facilities to rent out to miners and other customers. It raised about $50 million last summer. The company originally started in 2001 to provide staffing services to film productions. Before jumping on the crypto wagon in 2021, it had been a shell company since 2015. Applied Blockchain has 47 full-time employees and seven independent contractors on its team, which works out of an office on Turtle Creek Boulevard.
Riot Blockchain, which focuses on mining bitcoin, is based in Castle Rock, Colo., but its facility operates in Rockdale and it’s working on an expansion in Corsicana. The company, which trades on the Nasdaq, reported revenue of about $80 million for the first three months of 2022, representing growth of 244% compared with the same quarter last year.
Dallas-based crypto software company Aurox helps route crypto traders to different exchanges and collects fees on the order volume. It launched to the public in September 2020 to help simplify trading crypto. In 2021, its trading volume exceeded $600 million and its users grew to 70,000. In February, it announced a $5 million investment round. With plans to go public in 2022, Aurox has plans to release a web3 wallet to simplify the user experience in decentralized finance.
Ali Agha founded Olypsis in Dallas in 2017 using money he made as an early investor in Ethereum. The company uses the blockchain to create software applications for companies. Agha said he noticed in 2017 that, in spite of the excitement around blockchain, not a lot of companies were focusing on the enterprise opportunties, he said. The company does about $500,000 in sales per year, he said.
Shardus is building a distributed ledger software to address problems it sees with traditional blockchains, including scalability. Shardus co-founder Omar Syed has 30 years of experience building distributed systems for organizations that include NASA, where he worked for 12 years, as well as Yahoo and Raytheon. The Richardson-based company has 10 people on its growing team.
The Arcadia Group
Rasikh Morani founded The Arcadia Group in Dallas in 2017. The company provides security and development services to blockchain companies to assist in the mitigation of security vulnerabilities. The global organization has about 45 employees, who all work remotely. Morani said the company has seen “insane growth” since starting.
Dallas startup Zabo, a crypto account aggregator, was bought by leading U.S. mainstream cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in August 2021. Zabo lets users see all of their accounts in one place by connecting data to crypto wallets. The company was three years old when Coinbase bought it.
The world’s largest bitcoin ATM operator, Coinsource, is based out of Fort Worth, where it was founded in 2015. Coinsource’s fee is 11% nationwide, and it has over 2,500 bitcoin ATMs. The company says it has a bitcoin ATM within a 15-minute drive of 80% of the U.S. population. This month, it announced a partnership with Kwik Trip, a convenience store and gas station with more than 800 retail stores.
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