The more blockchain-based startups there are, the more difficult it can be to separate out the ones that truly stand out. Essentially, every startup harnessing this powerful new technology aspires to transform the everyday world in some way or another. It's only natural that some will be more successful at achieving this goal than others will be. (See also: 4 Blockchain Contenders in Competition with Ethereum.)

Although these startups tend to publish detailed whitepapers, these documents are not always helpful to outside investors or to those not already intimately familiar with the blockchain world. Here are a few startups that may be worth special attention in 2018.

Agrello

Smart contracts are a huge component of the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, and Agrello hopes to revolutionize them. (See also: Are Smart Contracts the Best of Blockchain?

Agrello, an Estonian company, aims to combine artificial intelligence with legal documentation to bring smart contracts to people without extensive blockchain experience.

Agrello's interface allows users to easily create self-executing and legally binding smart contracts over the ethereum network, regardless of their level of programming experience or legal knowledge.

Bloom

Microlending has already upended the way that individuals in underserved parts of the world are able to access the broader financial system, and Bloom hopes to take that concept even further with the idea of a decentralized, blockchain-based network.

Individuals who do not have access to credit cannot develop a credit reference; Bloom aims to utilize non-credit-based payment info to generate a new type of credit score called a Bloomscore. With this, individuals who may not previously have had access to loans and other traditional banking mechanisms may finally be able to reach those things.

Everex

The financial world has long been dominated by contracts of all types. With Everex, an untapped market of roughly 2 billion people around the world who lack access to standard financial institutions will now have the opportunity to utilize services like currency exchange, microfinance, and remittance.

Everex plans to do this by using a technology called "cryptocash," which links up a cryptocurrency's token value to a specified fiat currency. Users will be able to convert their local currency into cryptocash through the Everex platform, providing them access to a large global network of services.

Selfkey

The above startups, and indeed many of the blockchain-based companies hitting the market at this point, all focus on the financial world. One of the promising features of blockchain technology, however, is that it has applications outside of that space, too. (See also: How Blockchain Is Changing the Energy Industry.)

Selfkey, for example, is a startup that strives to address self-sovereign identity issues. In past decades, as a digital identities have become increasingly common and complex, complicated issues of ownership have arisen. Selfkey provides users and organizations the power to completely own their digital identity using blockchain technology. With Selfkey, a user can control numerous aspects of digital identity, from citizenship to banking and more, all in one place.

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns cryptocurrencies.