Why This Tech Executive Says His Plan to Disrupt Traditional Betting Is Different
You have served on the Board of Directors of the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association, held the position of Chairman of the Moscow Chapter of CERBA, worked as a partner in numerous European ventures and now own three engineering, security and telecommunications companies. What made you start an online betting business and change the course of your career?
While I still continue fulfilling my duties at CERBA, I currently devote all of my attention to Bettium. What made me consider getting involved with a blockchain project is the fact that blockchain technologies are gaining momentum for all the right reasons – they help disrupt industries that have previously been plagued by various problems that are typical for centralized systems. Our platform focuses heavily on giving betting a better image and we’re building an analytical platform with a built-in AI assistant and Big Data capabilities in order to level the playing field between the experts and amateur bettors.
You have served as General Manager and CEO of Bettium.com – which is a blockchain-based platform for P2P smart betting – since the company’s inception. Could you tell more about what Bettium does exactly and how is it different from other such businesses?
We provide P2P betting (and not just one kind – as you can learn from our white paper), low fees, instant transactions, transparency, and security. However, what sets us apart from our competition is the fact that we call Bettium an analytical platform – we’re going to develop a customizable and flexible AI Assistant (Merlin) that will help users make educated decisions.
Our competitors are, for the most part, simply bookmaking services built on blockchain, while we’re not a bookmaker that is interested in people losing to us. Our working model is similar to that of an exchange (a crypto exchange for example) – we match people who want to bet against each other and take the lowest fee possible to maintain the platform’s activity.
Secondly, on our platform, we support algorithmic betting and integration of bots. We allow users to design and execute their own betting strategies, share their algorithms, and cooperate on their development. Thirdly, we’re going to introduce a feature previously unavailable anywhere, at least not on a large scale – we’ll facilitate the creation of multi-signature trust managed accounts and bet mimicking.
Last but not least, we’re going to focus heavily on e-sports, seeing as it’s probably the kind of betting that will see the highest growth rates in the coming years. Our platform will interact with professional e-sports players, teams, and organizations in a unique way, not only through organizing and sponsoring tournaments but by rewarding the players participating in them if bets are made on their matches on our platform. These are just the main features and advantages of Bettium.
Why did you decide to disrupt the traditional betting industry? What obstacles have you met so far?
This is an excellent question, and I believe that someone who has tried betting at least a couple of times via conventional betting services already knows the answer. The betting industry is plagued with inefficiencies, hidden risks, and hidden costs, and this fact really hinders its development. Bookmakers are subject to excessive and inefficient legal regulations. They also depend on various payment service providers and banks, so they end up including a hidden commission in their odds and let their customers bear the burden (sometimes it’s as high as 7-10% of the bet amount). Using our token for transactions allows us to solve this problem, let alone the problems with low deposit and withdrawal limits and transaction delays. We also impose no artificial betting limits and do not impede successful players from receiving their winnings.
Fraudulent behavior and match rigging are not uncommon in betting, and we’re going to do our best to tackle these problems as well with the use of smart contracts. Solutions such as a decentralized oracle network and big data parsing (detailed description available in the white paper) will be in place to verify the outcomes of matches accurately and quickly. Moreover, all players who engage in betting on our platform will have their track record kept in open access with a rating system in place, all secured on blockchain, so the data can’t ever be tampered with.
Speaking of obstacles, we’re not really encountering any serious ones in particular, apart from the regulatory uncertainty that, without a doubt, each and every blockchain project is bound to encounter at some point. Crypto adoption is happening and there is no turning back, but we’re yet to see how quickly it’s going to happen and which countries will be the pioneers in this regard.
Where do you see your company in the next five years? Can you share any details about how Bettium and the technology behind it could potentially impact other industries?
The technology is advancing in leaps and bounds and we can hardly predict the future. We set realistic goals and act in accordance with our roadmap, so after rolling out our platform and its features in entirety over the next year, we’ll work on marketing it, expanding geographically and increasing the betting volume on our platform.
We’re looking forward to seeing what kind of developers of AI and algorithmic solutions our AI league will attract, and potentially bring them onboard to work on improving the existing features of the platform or possibly developing new ones. Apart from this, we’re looking to become a major player in the e-sports betting industry.
When starting a tech business, you must be extremely busy building a team tailored specifically to the creation of a blockchain-based product, partnering with other tech firms and advisors. How do you manage to get everything done? Could you share some tips on how to manage your workday efficiently?
It goes without saying that I have a large network of business contacts and it helps. Now that our core team is for the most part complete, we all pull our weight and coordinate our work in a free-flowing, decentralized fashion, much like the technical solution we’re building.
Everyone is welcome to come up with proposals of potential partnerships, and we always have fruitful discussions within the team. We’re always looking for potential partnerships with other tech companies (including blockchain startups) and new advisors, and since the scope of our project is huge, we’re getting involved with a lot of markets and industries.
I can’t say that I have to resort to any particular time-management techniques during the workday; it’s all about having trust in your colleagues’ competence to discuss important issues, about making sure that everyone is one the same page and passionate about the project. This way we ensure that we can develop our project in multiple directions at the same time.