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January 7, 2020 3:28 pm

Number of Israeli Blockchain Companies Up 32% in 2019, Survey Finds

avatar by Lauren Izso

A symbol of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Photo: Pixabay.

The number of active crypto and blockchain companies in Israel has increased 32%, according to a survey by the Israeli Bitcoin Association.

While 150 companies were operating as 2019 wrapped up, according to the survey only 113 were active the same time last year. But, between 2017 and 2018, that number more than doubled, with a 113% increase from just 53 companies in 2017.

This growth was modest in comparison with the larger Israeli high-tech scene. The tech industry in Israel saw the number of unicorns (private ventures worth more than $1 billion) rise from 11 to 20 this year, and according to a recent report by accounting firm PwC, the total value of exits doubled from 2018 to $9.9 billion in 2019.

The survey also found that out of the 113 companies still standing in 2018, just 63 continued to be active today in the field. The report did not provide data about whether the outlying companies closed operations altogether, so some could still be operating, but with a different focus.

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The report noted that while 150 blockchain companies are operating, over the last year most companies had significant employee loss and difficulty in raising capital. Now, more than 60% have less than 10 employees.

Very few of the companies on the list are startups younger than three years old, with 60% of them launching in 2017 and 2018. Nearly half (about 44%) of the companies are entirely self funded, while around 42% get some money from investors and just 7% rely on independent income.

Geographically, the survey noted that 91 out of 150 companies are located in Tel Aviv, nine in Herzliya, six in Jerusalem and six in Netanya.

Israel was ranked 49th out of 190 countries in the ease of doing business index, in the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business report. In areas such as paying taxes and enforcing contracts, the country ranked 90th.

The blockchain and cryptocurrency sphere is strong in Israel, and the government wants to reinforce its international reputation.

In August 2019, Israeli financial news outlets reported that a division of the Finance Ministry had planned to accelerate the licensing procedure for around 2,000 blockchain and fin-tech companies.

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