Our new Disruption by Blockchain series aims to highlight companies that are leveraging the incredible potential of blockchain technology to disrupt and revolutionize their industry. Through one on one interviews, we'll speak directly with industry leaders to cut beyond the hype and get directly to the heart of practical use cases and examples of how it will change the world, one industry at a time.
The following is an interview we recently had with João Alberto Martins, VP of Business Development and ICO Ambassador at Birdchain.
1. What’s the history of Birdchain? How and where did you begin?
JM: My first statement is: “Birdchain is not a startup”. In fact our concept is the product of the experienced core team of Vertex.lt, in our midst we combine different successful businesses such as a social networks that counts today with one million unique users, an advanced microlaser manufacturer that manufactures the smallest lasers in the world, a rent-to-buy service that was the first in the region, and VertexSMS, the trigger of Birdchain’s project, a profitable A2P SMS business running for almost 10 years, trusted partners of companies like Western Union, SalesForce or TransferGo, and that delivered over 200 million SMS in 2017 alone.
The original concept of Birdchain focused on the A2P SMS industry. But the concept evolved organically and quickly, driven by the concept’s own potential to grow and the combined experience and work chemistry of our team, made of the core members that run the projects under the Vertex.lt umbrella.
Today, Birdchain is the DApp that rewards. An Instant Messenger App designed for mass-adoption by easily providing a cryptocurrency income to its users. The tokens are stored in their in-app wallet and can then be spent also in-app or traded to any other currency in exchanges.
2. Who are the founders and key team members?
JM: The core of the Birdchain team overlaps with Vertex.Lt core team members, most of which grew and proved themselves in the different projects that the company developed over the years and actively contributed to Vertex.Lt success. The Birdchain team counts with over 20 members, plus community managers and the precious super-specialists advising our team (more team information on our website). The key members are:
Ernestas Petkevicius, Co-Founder
Entrepreneur and Blockchain enthusiast. Co-Founder of Vertex.Lt, Serial Founder and investor of companies in Nothern Europe. His entrepreneurial vision helped Vertex.Lt to become one of the leaders in international bulk messaging, social networks, Rent2Buy services and laser manufacturing.
Aurimas Sabaitis, Co-Founder
Technical guru and Blockchain enthusiast. Co-Founder of Vertex.Lt. His extensive technical experience was key to Vertex.Lt success and includes tools and systems with PHP, Ruby, Perl, NodeJS and Java. SMPP protocol implementations in Perl and NodeJS, and some peculiar work with PHP Threads.
Audrius Vrubliauskas, CEO
Leader of the team and Blockchain enthusiast. CEO at Vertex.Lt. His dedication, innovative and performance-driven resolution steered the team into success.
A professional with many years of experience in marketing and innovation that launched over a thousand online advertisement projects.
Arminas Keraitis, Head of Development Team
Magic-maker and Blockchain enthusiast. Team Lead at Vertex.Lt. Specialist in Big data infrastructure building. His large experience working in different projects and leading all parts of the development team provides him with the knowledge and clear understanding the of the full structure dynamic.
Marius Petrauskas, VP of PR
Image builder and Blockchain enthusiast. Part of the Vertex.Lt team as CMO of one of their successful projects. A public relations and marketing professional that worked on multiple projects of well established international IT&T brands and released over a thousand press-releases in his career.
João Martins, VP of Business Development and ICO Ambassador
Bridge builder and Blockchain enthusiast.
Brand ambassador at Vertex.Lt. Enthusiastic and empathic communicator with a broad experience on Business development, establishing bonds and B2B relations in distinct areas as Architecture, Legal, Tourism and Hospitality, Food industry and Blockchain.
Simonas Radkevicius, V.P. of Marketing
Community builder and Blockchain enthusiast.
Marketing specialist at Vertex.Lt. Traveled, lived and worked in over 40 countries from South America to Asia, was part of product teams in Brazil and China, which gave him the ability to adapt, understand and effectively reach to different cultures.
3. What problem are you solving? Who are you solving it for?
JM: Birdchain aims to solve different specific problems to corporate clients, users and the community in general.
The centralization of industries that is not healthy for any party, except their own profit:
– The A2P SMS industry is highly centralized with overpriced services, shady and overcomplicated SMS routes.
– Personal data collection and marketing engagement campaigns services are in the hands of a few massive companies that dictate the price.
Our users have resources that they undervalue:
– Wasted resources, like the unused SMS on their “unlimited” SMS phone plans.
– Resources that are preyed on by giant companies that make a promiscuous amount of profit out of them, such as your personal data.
– Or simply your time and span of attention, also capitalized by someone else, such as the ads you are compelled or lured into watching.
Cryptocurrency is still only adopted by a fraction of our society. A lot of people see it as something complicated, distant and even with distrust.
4. What is your solution to this problem?
JM: Across all fields, an efficient quality service built on decentralisation, transparency, and simplicity. All enabled by our blockchain solution and our token, the BIRD.
Our disruptive blockchain A2P SMS solution brings lower prices and higher reliability to our clients, providing a simpler route and transparent information of all transactions. To our users, it allows them to easily monetize the unused SMS of their phone plans (respecting fair usage policies).
Any client can connect to Birdchain and buy A2P SMS with our utility token – BIRD – sending it via internet to the best-positioned App user. In turn, the app automatically sends the SMS to its final destination, through this user’s phone, and receives the reward in BIRD.
At the same time, the app will provide the user with surveys about his personal habits and give consent. Filling these forms will provide the user rewards in BIRD and enable the engagement with targeted marketing campaigns. Engaging with these campaigns, such as watching video ads or using promotional codes, will also reward BIRD.
Birdchain data collecting and marketing campaign process is simple and transparent, with all transactions and rewards recorded on the blockchain.
The in-app wallet enables internal economics. Nano-transactions and 3rd party features make the token environment simple and convenient. Users can also easily convert BIRD into any currency in exchanges. By rewarding cryptocurrency in the simplest way, providing the opportunity to own and spend it easily, we see Birdchain as an education tool, promoting engagement and mass-adoption of cryptocurrencies.
On a final note, Birdchain also provides an extra monthly income, we will not make anyone rich, but we can surely help you pay some bills.
5. Why is your industry ripe for disruption?
JM: On the one hand, the numbers of our industries are on the rise and predicted to grow exponentially year after year. But these industries are controlled by a few players that dictate price and rules in very opaque modus operandi.
On the other hand, Blockchain technology enables transparency and decentralization disrupting the status quo of these industries and creating a fairer and inclusive market.
The A2P SMS market is a growing market worth $62.8 billion in 2017 and expected to grow to $69.3 billion in 2019. The growth is clearer when it comes to transactional SMS notifications, messages like 2-factor authentications, service confirmations, pins and temporary passwords, are on the rise because of SMS high efficiency, working in any phone by default without internet connection.
Tech giants, like Facebook and Google, dominate the global digital advertising market year after year. Google is likely to make $72.69 billion in ad revenues in 2017, while Facebook will make $33.76 billion. Together, that equates to a 46.4 percent share of advertisers' total global digital ad spend.
Pushed by the massification of shared economy platforms, that allows everyone to easily and directly monetise otherwise undervalued resources, and the growing popularity of decentralization, the level of awareness of people’s “hidden” resources is on the rise. When we put the numbers together with this social shift, we understand that we are the verge of an economic revolution.
6. What’s the future of your industry?
All the other questions already set the tone for this answer. Sooner or later, with or without our project, the future brings Decentralisation, Transparency, and Inclusivity for these industries. Disruptive projects, like Birdchain, are bound to be the building blocks of this future.