Launched in 2017, BlitzPredict.io is currently focused on rolling out an Augur-based betting exchange. We chatted with ceo brett richey to find out more.
Can you talk us through the background of BlitzPredict?
Brett Richey: BlitzPredict started in mid-2017. We had previously built BlitzPick, a mobile app for FanDuel and DraftKings users, with the goal of preparing for legalized sports betting in the US. That industry had cooled off by 2017 but the main problem we ran into was FanDuel and DraftKings never opened their mobile APIs, which really hurt our business model. I don’t blame them at all, they were fighting for their lives due to the government cracking down, but it showed us first-hand the risks of building on centralized platforms.
Instead of staying in Daily Fantasy, around May 2017 we decided to head into the blockchain space to focus on sports betting ahead of legalization. We spent months educating ourselves on how blockchain technology could improve our original vision of a sportsbook aggregator and then headed into a token sale in Q1 2018.
Our first big feature we released was recording predictions to the Ethereum blockchain, time-stamped against true market odds. We also built a sportsbook odds aggregator, expert marketplace, and a leaderboard system to track results. Since late 2018, our main focus has been on building out a betting exchange on top of Augur and 0x, which we will be launching on testnet later this month. Our goal is to provide low fee, high transparency markets with zero counterparty risk.
What are the advantages of building BlitzPredict on the Ethereum blockchain, and utilising Augur?
BR: There are a lot of advantages to building in the decentralized world. One of the biggest advantages to building on Ethereum (and the decentralized web in general) is the collaborative environment where each participant is incentivized to see the overall ecosystem grow. For example, Augur focuses on complex smart contracts, 0x on providing off-chain token swaps, and we are focused on implementing the most relevant parts of these protocols into our platform to make betting more efficient. Essentially, we don’t have to boil the ocean and do everything ourselves. If we succeed in our goals, then we are driving usage and adoption to these protocols as well, which can create powerful network effects.
“Our goal is to provide low fee, high transparency markets with zero counterparty risk”
BR: The reception has been mostly positive, although running an ICO at the peak of the market certainly led to some negative sentiments once the market started dropping. People are excited for what we’re building and I’m really proud of the work our developers have put in to get us to this point. We don’t have betting yet so the volume is at zero but we are building a base of passionate users. We haven’t really marketed at all due to market conditions – so many people in this space are impatient and want to see immediate results from working with incredibly complex technology, which just doesn’t make sense. As such, I think it’s a strong advantage for us to be able to tune out the noise and focus on our longterm objectives.
What is on the roadmap for BlitzPredict?
BR: We are launching our testnet exchange this month and then we will be preparing for mainnet launch this summer. We will be adding features, fixing bugs, and making sure the infrastructure is in place to scale. Our core focus going forward is on the exchange, with the goal of driving liquidity into these markets. Liquidity in these markets will open up a lot of additional avenues, like easy-to-use apps that tap into the liquidity from the exchange. People can check out blitzpredict.io to see how the exchange will look and we will be launching the alpha testnet version later this month.
How do you see cryptocurrency gambling growing and developing over the coming years?
BR: I think there will be massive growth in cryptocurrency gambling as crypto becomes easier to use. I’m a firm believer in the promises of the decentralized web and decentralized financial systems and I think they will continue to get adoption and become easier to use, at which point there should be a tipping point where mass adoption occurs. I don’t know when that moment will be, but our goal at BlitzPredict is to position ourselves for that moment. Given the amount of talent and money that has poured into this space, I think people may be surprised at how fast adoption occurs.