Bright Habitat is VizLore Labs Foundation spinoff, with mission to lead regional ICT technology related innovation and seed entrepreneurship culture. Bright Habitat promotes wider usage of cryptocurrencies with its AI based cryptocurrency trading solution and lowers the blockchain technology adoption bar by providing ChainRider Blockchain as a Service solution for simplified, user-friendly and fast blockchain development.

As part of their journey on BlockStart’s Acceleration Programme, as a DLT/blockchain startup provider, they were looking for new opportunities for collaboration with end-user SMEs that could validate and help them improve their two “ChainRider” blockchain BaaS and AI-based cryptocurrency trading solutions.

We spoke with Bright Habitat’s CEO Ognjen Ikovic to know more about Bright Habitat and their participation in BlockStart.

In one paragraph, what is Bright Habitat?

Bright Habitat is an innovative ICT startup from Serbia, Novi Sad, focused on promoting wider adoption of blockchain technology. We are a spinoff of VizLore Labs Foundation with the mission to lead regional ICT technology related innovation and seed entrepreneurship culture. We aim to provide zero code solutions with seamless user experience in two blockchain verticals: blockchain as a service and cryptocurrency trading. We are a team of young entrepreneurs, with just the right mix of technology and business development experience, highly devoted to deliver flagship services to our customers. Our ChainRider platform provides an ecosystem of tools and services built around public and private blockchain which help you to prototype and build proprietary applications on the blockchain in a matter of hours instead of months. We are also dedicated to driving wider adoption of cryptocurrencies through our AI-based cryptocurrency trading solution. We believe that artificial intelligence based on DRL is able to identify market patterns and trends beyond human comprehension by data mashup of off-chain, on-chain and trading data.

Can you tell us how the idea for your startup began?

We were building Dash payment gateway solution for the market of legal cannabis in US 3 years ago. It was a B2C solution which included a lot of B2B integrations through APIs for sending cryptocurrency payments, listening for blockchain events, integrating with solutions for tax calculation, etc. The stability, scalability, and documentation for these API services was almost non existing. That’s when we decided to implement or own blockchain as a service solution ( focused on the fintech sector. ChainRider has been launched in July 2018 offering initially API based service for Dash and Bitcoin. Since than we have enriched our offering by providing blockchain as a service solution for fast prototyping of permissioned blockchains based on Hyperledger Fabric.

As ChainRider BaaS platform operators we have gathered extensive amount of data related to cryptocurrency trading. In order to capitalize on this data, lately we have launched AI based cryptocurrency trading solution, with quite impressive results so far.

What is Bright Habitat passionate about achieving?

We are dedicated to deliver full potential of blockchain technology to our customers. As blockchain as a service provider, we aim to become market leader in specific verticals of blockchain applications including energy and finance. Our first step in that direction was building the blockchain marketplace within the BlockStart Prototype phase where our users can find deployment ready blockchain network and smart contract templates mapped to real life business workflows. We are passionate about building large community around our ChainRider BaaS solution by opening the blockchain marketplace for contributions from large industry and academic players in the energy and finance domain.

Our vision in the cryptocurrency domain is to deliver seamless trading experience to cryptocurrency day traders with impressive return of investment.

Who are the team members and what backgrounds do you have?

Our team has strong knowledge and experience in business and technology aspects of launching products on the blockchain market. We have 2 commercial products, 2 patents and more than 30 years of experience combined. Milenko Tosic (MSc engineering) is CTO in Bright Habitat. He is a seasoned internet industry executive with 10 years of experience focused on technology innovation and research strategy. Stanimir Ilic (MSc economy) is operation manager in Bright Habitat. He specializes in cryptocurrency trading. Stanimir is dedicated to exploring innovative business models powered by blockchain technology. Sasa Pesic (MSc economy) is an R&D Blockchain Engineer in Bright Habitat and a guest researcher/consultant at Arizona State University Blockchain Research Lab. His research interests include blockchain technology and context-aware edge computing systems. Mirjana Samardzic (MSc mathematics) is our R&D data analytics engineer specialized in Deep reinforcement learning and LSTM.  Marko Razumenic (MSc engineering) is skilled software developer mainly focused on Angular frontend development.

Finally, I am CEO at Bright Habitat with 10+ years of experience in building innovative IT services. I am leading Bright Habitat projects aimed at building AI and machine learning solutions, cloud platforms and blockchain based solutions.

Can you tell us about the prototype you have developed with the support of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?

We have actually developed two prototypes. The first one is ChainRider blockchain as a service platform and the main problem we are solving is scarcity of blockchain developers.

Many companies want to use blockchain technology but building internal competencies is expensive and time consuming. Existing solutions are self-centred, incomplete and have a high adoption bar. Building blockchain MVPs usually takes months.

Our solution drives wider adoption of blockchain technology by offering fast prototyping and development of blockchain based MVPs. With ChainRider you can create an integration ready blockchain solution in less than 15 minutes and deploy it on a cloud provider of your choosing. At the moment we support Google, AWS and Azure cloud platforms. Hybrid deployments are also an option. Our platform is based on Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework. With the support of BlockStart Acceleration Programme we have added blockchain marketplace to our existing ChainRider BaaS platform. The marketplace comprises set of blockchain network and smart contract templates mapped to specific use cases. Our goal is to open the marketplace for customer contributions and create a community around ChainRider.

The second prototype is AI-based cryptocurrency trading solution. Cryptocurrency day trading is extremely difficult, emotionally taxing and requires strong background knowledge. It is estimated that 95% of cryptocurrency traders lose money. The main reasons behind it are manual order execution and usage of bots relying on individual financial indicators. As a solution, we have employed AI which combines multiple financial indicators in order to generate cryptocurrency trading signals and automatically execute orders on the specified exchanges. Cryptocurrency trading has huge market potential: the average daily trading volume for 2019 was 9 Billion EUR, while that number has doubled in the first 5 months of 2020. Our current machine learning models provide return of investment which ranges from 0.82% to 1.95% per closed trade, depending on the portfolio spread. Currently, we support 5 cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Dash. On average, the return of investment for the first 5 months of 2020 was 101% which includes exchange trading fees of 0.15%. BlockStart Acceleration Programme helped us optimize our AI models and build trading bots for CoinBase Pro and Bitmex exchanges. We have also done extensive market research, generated quite valuable business leads and acquired a few customers during the BlockStart Acceleration Programme. Our solution is already used by a premier cryptocurrency investment fund from New York.

What were you most excited about in taking part of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?

The opportunity to test our solutions with SME adopters and to gain feedback on how and what needs to be improved in order to have a good product market fit. We have also received a lot of beneficial tips and advices from our mentor, Mr. Ugnius Ramanauskas on how to increase the efficiency of our marketing and business development efforts. Feedback received from mentoring sessions helped us to better position our service with respect to the market and improve market visibility.

Which were the major challenges you have faced during the development and market/fit validation of your prototype?

We have faced two major challenges during the prototype phase. The first one was developing two MVPs simultaneously: ChainRider BaaS marketplace and AI-based cryptocurrency trading solution. We were asked by the BlockStart consortium on several occasions why are we building two MVPs simultaneously. Why not chose only one, and which one would that be? Our AI-based trading solution originated from our ChainRider BaaS platform. As platform operator, we have gathered close to 1 billion data points of executed trades from 16 relevant exchanges over the past three years. We were seeking the way to capitalise on this data and due to our team background, we found that AI-based crypto trading solution would be the best way to go forward. For us, at that particular time, choosing between these two services would be as separating a mother from her child. In the end, we promised to deliver both MVPs within our original project proposal, and we tend to keep our promises.

With the support of BlockStart Acceleration Programme and thanks to our hardworking, dedicated team, we managed to finish both MVPs within the specified deadline. However, we have recognized the business reasoning behind choosing and focusing on the “favourite service”. To that end, as part of our exploitation strategy and the result achieved within the Acceleration Programme, we have founded a new company which will exploit the AI-based cryptocurrency trading solution though B2C business model, as we believe that our AI trading baby bird is now ready to leave the nest. The solution will be branded as VLADAM (VizLore AI Digital Asset Management). Hope you will hear for VLADAM soon. Bright Habitat will remain focused on positioning itself as BaaS service provider market leader.

The second challenge we have faced was in the domain of business development. The BlockStart Programme is quite demanding and it’s not just about developing the MVP. In line with MVP development you need to have a proper strategy in place for marketing, business lead generation, finding the right SME adopters and gaining first customers for your solution. The end goal is actually to elevate your MVP to a level of Minimum Saleable Product (MSP), and you need to be focused on fulfilling your milestones and KPIs on time.

What unique aspects does your company and the prototype you have developed have to offer to the market sectors/type of companies you wish to enter/sell and to the blockchain ecosystem in Europe, as a whole?

ChainRider BaaS

We strive to offer technological leadership through 3 segments: developing domain and use case specific blockchain templates mapped to real life fintech workflows, lowering the blockchain adoption bar by providing simplified, user friendly tools for blockchain Dapps development and integration of public and private blockchains with automated payments.

The European Blockchain Partnership, has, together with the European Commission launched the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure initiative, to deliver EU-wide cross-border public services using blockchain technology. We embrace these initiatives by promoting ChainRider solution for cross-sector blockchain applications in Finance and Energy domains. ChainRider aims to achieve significant economic impact by supporting fast prototyping and development of novel blockchain solutions and business models in Finance and Energy domains. We are also targeting online and offline educational platforms to include blockchain technology into their curriculums and promote cross-border cooperation. We are in the process of integrating ChainRider toolsets in syllabus of Arizona State university and creating a blockchain certification programme with multiple business and technical courses.

AI-based cryptocurrency trading

Our AI-based cryptocurrency trading solution is an unbiased, personalized, transparent and affordable. It offers to generate and maintain passive income from cryptocurrency trading with efficient cost optimization, and error-free execution. Main value propositions of the service are:

  • Automated execution of asset and derivatives trading orders based on AI-generated trading signals for multiple cryptocurrencies and exchanges;
  • A minimum of 0.5% ROI per closed trade for all cryptocurrencies;
  • Transparency of historic trading signals on a public blockchain and
  • Seamless account setup with automated trading.
  • Having a unique approach using DRL with strategically selected financial indicators based on 2 years of research

As a socially engaging component, our product roadmap includes designing a pooling feature, enabling customers to join their resources in order to reduce individual trading costs and act with a larger investment capital.

The ways to become a crypto-holder are increasing daily: purchase on exchanges, airdrops, crowdsourcing initiatives for data sharing, token-based community initiatives, etc. However, once you become the crypto-holder, there are no centralized authorities which would guarantee security and value of your digital assets. Among the 43 million crypto traders ~10M are Europe based. The total EU Bitcoin trading volume is equal to the trading volume of Japan (17% and 16%). Our solution enables novel crypto-holders to capitalize on their commodities. It provides economic safety for novice traders in cryptocurrency markets.

Is collaboration with SME adopters important for piloting your solution?

Collaboration with SME adopters provides credibility to our solutions and help us learn how to further optimize our solution and achieve better product market fit. The pilot stage would definitely be a good playground for testing our solution and even gaining long term customers. We had the opportunity to meet quite interesting SMEs during the matching phase of the BlockStart Programme (Tickets for Good, Copy Rage) that could benefit from our solutions. Some of them we met during our business development efforts (ProudSource IT, Blinking, and more than 10 cryptocurrency investment funds).

Where do you see your company in 5 years?

I see Bright Habitat as a market leader in the domain of blockchain as a service solutions, specialized for providing zero code blockchain solutions in energy and finance sectors. We will have a large community of blockchain developers and SME adopters around our ChainRider platform exchanging best practice and know how in applying blockchain to specific use cases and generating revenue through the blockchain marketplace.