Vaibhav Kadikar is the Founder and CEO of CloseCross, a decentralized prediction market platform that leverages patented blockchain technology to allow users to engage in multi-party trades on a range of financial benchmarks. Vaibhav has been leading the development of a decentralized prediction market platform to drive democratic participation. Prior to founding CloseCross, he worked as Global Head of Strategic Partnerships, Digital Business Development and Global Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at multinational companies, including Syngenta, a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security. Driving corporate development functions in various industries and conglomerates, Vaibhav has held positions at Oerlikon, Unisys, and DotComRupees as well as seven years’ experience in derivative trading. Vaibhav obtained an MBA from INSEAD Business School, France, and a Bachelors and Post Graduate Diploma in International Finance from Gujarat University.
CryptoNewsZ: Thanks for joining with us. Please tell us about yourself.
Thank you for having me. My name is Vaibhav Kadikar, I’m originally from India and spent the first two decades of my life there studying and developing initial entrepreneurial projects such as opening an internet cafe and starting an academy with the aim of educating senior citizens on how to use computers. I then moved to Switzerland and began working in the finance sector while trading derivatives as a hobby. My hobby left me curious and determined to find a way to deal directly with people in a peer-to-peer trading setup, rather than only interacting with large institutions.
CryptoNewsZ: How was the idea of CloseCross born? What was the motivation behind it?
The idea for CloseCross came about when I was initially looking for a provider of peer-to-peer trading and prediction market interactions. I presumed someone must already be doing this, but I soon discovered that wasn’t the case. This motivated me to write down what could be done to create this kind of platform, which eventually became the CloseCross whitepaper I produced in 2007 and subsequently, our CloseCross Virtual Prediction Floors patent. CloseCross’ aim is to open up and democratize the world of prediction markets by allowing individuals to interact with each other and reduce the level of exclusivity that’s typically associated with the finance sector.
CryptoNewsZ: Can you tell us a bit about CloseCross? What has been the most significant achievement of CloseCross so far?
CloseCross is a company that is conscious of not running before we can walk. We want to make sure everything is in place, with no stone unturned, so our users have a platform that is entirely straightforward to use and will actually benefit them. For me, CloseCross’ greatest achievement has been our team. We have been strategic in our hiring and recruited the right people for the right areas of the business so that we can build a solid culture from the get-go. Without a strong and dedicated team, I don’t believe a business can thrive or benefit its users.
CryptoNewsZ: What do you think is the biggest problem CloseCross will solve? Why is the problem important to solve?
I believe CloseCross will make the idea of participating in not only prediction markets but also trading and investing, more accessible and common for people who wouldn’t have otherwise thought it possible. By making prediction markets straightforward and community-led, I feel that CloseCross can make the area more tangible for many. This is important because the financial sector is currently dominated by large institutions and with two-thirds of the world unbanked, it’s essential that we capitalize on technological developments to open up this exclusive sector to the masses.
CryptoNewsZ: Who are your peers in this space? What makes CloseCross the leader in the market prediction revolution?
We see ourselves as being in the same sphere as traditional financial markets, except that we offer a decentralized service offering, unlike the large institutions in the sector. Typically, participation in the financial markets requires large minimum stakes, high levels of risk, and specialized expertise held by a select few. We facilitate participation for users who don’t have large sums to put forward as their initial stake, who want to mitigate the risk involved in their trading, and who don’t necessarily have to be well versed in the jargon typically used throughout the financial markets.
Augur and Gnosis are other platforms in the space that are looking to open up the world of prediction markets, trading, and investing. While Augur and Gnosis are working towards similar goals, at CloseCross we are specifically dedicated to democratizing investing opportunities and offering our users the additional benefit of crowd wisdom whereby they can see the predictions of other users in real time, how many other participants there are, and what the spread of money is across the predictions, allowing them to make more informed decisions when investing. CloseCross also simplifies participation by providing 3-click trading. Once you have selected the asset Virtual Prediction Floor (VPF) you would like to trade in, you simply make a prediction and commit any amount you like, starting from as little as $0.01.
We have also eliminated the unquantified risk existent on these other platforms by converting the 1-on-1 relationship to 1-to-many. By participating in a multi-party VPF, you have access not just to one counterparty but multiple counterparties who take a different position within the VPF. This, therefore, gives access to a much higher potential return, whereas the risk is fixed to the amount put into the VPF. You can never lose more than you put in, and your return is theoretically limited only by the amounts put in by all the counterparties. By providing these various features, we at CloseCross are looking to make prediction markets more commonly accessible.
CryptoNewsZ: What is your opinion on Bitcoin? Where do you think it is heading to?
The common perception of Bitcoin as digital gold is a partially accurate reflection as it gains more traction and the vision of mainstream adoption is looking like an achievable goal in the short term. So, while some growth may be attributable to money moving between different markets, this spike in demand is the primary driving force behind it.
Speculation has been at the core of the cryptocurrency space since its emergence, but Bitcoin mining is set to halve in the near future, and 7/8ths of all Bitcoins will have been mined. This has had the effect of raising awareness of the genuinely limited supply in the market. Moreover, we are seeing clear signs of adoption with companies like Wholefoods and Starbucks starting to accept Bitcoin for payment. These factors, combined with the momentum-based trading we’re seeing, have contributed to the upsurge and the possibility of surpassing the previous high in the coming half year still remains.
CryptoNewsZ: Can you tell us more about the team behind CloseCross? How passionate and supportive is the team?
The team is very much the driving force behind CloseCross and, in my opinion, is the foundation for the company’s success. I believe that the diversity of ideas, backgrounds, and experience is the most important ingredient for building an impactful and inspiring business, and this is what CloseCross’ various team members bring to the table. The team is incredibly driven and zealous when it comes to achieving CloseCross’ goals, and we continue to set new objectives to propel us towards our mission of democratizing the world of prediction markets.
CryptoNewsZ: What’s in the roadmap for CloseCross in 2019-20?
In the coming year, we’re looking forward to our mainnet launch so we can fulfill our goal of opening up the world of prediction markets to those who have traditionally been excluded and creating an ecosystem of peer-to-peer interaction in the financial sector.
We’ll work with resellers and affiliates of our platform around the globe to decentralize derivatives trading and prediction markets access, initially focusing on the USA, Europe, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
We’re also looking forward to rolling out our social layer on an opt-in basis, whereby users can become visible participants in the CloseCross community and demonstrate their derivatives trading and prediction market prowess, in as much detail as they wish. This will open up the sharing of expertise and experience among our users to further democratize derivatives trading and prediction markets participation.
CryptoNewsZ: Moving on to some personal stuff, what does a typical day in your life look like?
My days are always busy but varied and enjoyable. I always like to chat with various team members to check in, see how they’re doing and liaise on what needs to be achieved for the day. For this reason, I hold a standup each morning at 9 am with the wider developer team to discuss challenges, successes, and to set objectives for that coming day. This is then followed by a standup with the executive team to make sure we’re aligned. The rest of the day is then spent conversing with potential partners, processing regulation compliance documentation, and continuing to map out future developments for CloseCross.
The team at CryptonewsZ is grateful to you for your valuable insights and thoughts.