Bot Ocean AMA with Dragos Lipa and Lorena Tincu
Dragos: Hello everyone! Thanks for having us
Lorena: Hi everyone, happy to be here! Hope we’ll see some great questions today.
Eric: Thanks for taking the time. Can you please introduce yourselves to the group. @dragosL @loretincu
Dragos: Sure! Back in 2013 I initially started mining BTC with a small home setup but that quickly turned into a spiral which eventually concluded with me picking up trading and ever since then I’ve been doing that pretty much full time. After so many years though, I figured there must be a better way to trade, especially in a market that works 24/7 so that led to Orka Labs which is an algo trading fund. Right now, we are testing an average of 200M new strategies every month and we are in the process of increasing that.
After Orka Labs picked up we were able to relax a bit and so we turned our attention towards offering a similar way to trade to other people as well. To some extent, we really think that at the very least for markets that are live 24/7 algorithmic trading will become the new norm. After all, we’ve been aware for years now that automation will slowly become embedded in our system. The time has come for the same to happen in trading too.
Lorena: Sure, I’m an automation engineer and have been a developer for the past 6 years; from working on large teams that iterated on live products to building new ones from scratch. I’ve been involved both in startups and large companies but after all this while I decided it was finally time to choose a clear direction in which to go and at the time I had known Dragos for a while and decided to join as CTO and dedicate my time to Orka & Bot Ocean.
My specialization as a software engineer lies in machine learning & AI but over the years I’ve learned to become well-rounded enough to be involved in all the various parts of building an application. With the help of everyone else on the team, it’s actually been quite fun to build the whole infrastructure for Orka and now Bot Ocean so it’s something I see myself doing for the years to come.
Eric: Interesting backstories there.
So @dragosL what is Bot Ocean?
Dragos: BotOcean is our way of sharing with people something we’ve built and we know works. As you know from the Pitch Deck, we already own Orka Labs which is an algorithmic trading fund and for that, we built our own proprietary tools and having gone through the whole ordeal and knowing what it means we decided to open this up to people and allow them to build their own strategies with 0 coding skills. It really went from one checkpoint to another. From mining to trading, from trading to automation, and finally from having something that works to share it with people. We already have an initial live demo which you can see here: demo.botocean.com but I can also walk you through some of the things in there if you want.
Eric: Please do. #walkthrough
Dragos: Please note that demo.botocean.com is just a demo, it is by no means the final design or functionalities.
It’s there just to give you an idea about the product.
Dragos: The first picture shows you a general dashboard where you can see both portfolios of strategies you’ve copied while also seeing your own. It will also include our own charting solution that makes some things a bit easier to use.
This is where you can find strategies/portfolios that other people have published and you can decide to copy them for an amount you decide. You can see the various information about them and also, you will also be able to access a marketplace of indicators and other more minute components of a strategy.
And finally, this is our strategy builder, and as you can see it’s quite easy to use. Just drag & click, literally. We will also offer an alternative advanced solution for those who really want to get into it.
Lorena: Do keep in mind this is something we built in less than 2 weeks just to showcase what Bot Ocean will do and as Dragos mentioned it is by no means a final design.
Eric: Very cool. just tried out the demo now… good work @loretincu and team!
@dragosL what are the various components of Bot Ocean?
Dragos: Sure. First of all, there is the Strategy builder where you can build a trading strategy by drag&drop, then there is the backtester where you can backtest the strategies that you created. Besides this, we will have the Live Trading area, which consists of the trading bot which you can connect to your exchange account and trade the strategies you created.
And there will also be a strategy marketplace where people can rent out their strategies
Lorena: We will also have an indicator library to make people’s lives easier and eventually we will create a builder where you can make your own custom indicators
Eric: Nice. @loretincu can you describe the tech stack of the bot? Any info on how fast things are executed?
Lorena: Sure. The core of both the bot and the backtester is built in python and both are optimized with C so that the individual actions are executed much faster and to give you an idea from the initial “request” of making a trade to the trade being done the elapsed time hovers around 300ms
As for backtesting, for Orka, we test about 200M combinations in around 2 weeks. Until recently it would’ve taken us 4 weeks but we just made a new update which made it more efficient and reduced the time.
Eric: Wow. that’s quite fast.
@dragosL the product has a token, Can you tell us what the token is and its utilities?
Dragos: The first use is to pay the fees of BotOcean. Our platform has a very specific use and with the Bot Ocean Token, you can reduce the amount you have to pay for these services. Additionally, it will be used for governance in several scenarios. You can vote to add members to a particular index portfolio and even make proposals for the platform.
As for the fee reduction itself, this applies to both shipwrights (strategy creators) and anglers (people who copy strategies). As time passes we will also start offering exclusive deals to our token holders, from market reports to constant newsletters and much more. Token holders will also get exclusive access to custom portfolios made by us.
Eric: Very focused benefits here.
Can you tell me about Orka Labs @dragosL. What is it and what has it achieved?
Dragos: Orka Labs is simply an algorithmic trading fund. As for what we have achieved, I think our track record does a better job than me at explaining it: http://trackrecord.orkalabs.com/
We started in January 2020, you can check our results at the link above
Eric: Impressive record considering most of 2020 was a bear market
Dragos: Yeah the market conditions are not great at the moment, volatility is very low indeed.
Eric: I will now open the group for community questions.
Q: How fasts are the orders placed through your bots on BotOcean executed? In case of a sharp drop or rise in price, hope I won’t miss a good trade?
A: Hi! The exact time differs from exchange to exchange, but I can tell you for example on Huobi it takes around 300ms from the moment the bot receives the new candle to the order being filled. So if the move doesn’t happen in under 1 second you should be good!
Q: Can we use a previously successful strategy? How do your algorithms measure and evaluate the success of strategies? Can the strategies differ depending on the level of risk?
1. Yes, we will be offering some strategies directly from Orka as freebies.
2. There are over 30 different parameters we take into consideration when grading a strategy, from min/max/avg drawdown to Calmar and Sharpe Ratio, etc. This applies to both strategies created by us and users on the platform.
3. Yes. The simplest example would be our track record, those results are completely unleveraged. The maximum earnings could be higher with leverage but so would the maximum drawdown to draw a simple parallel. Additionally, it would also depend on what assets you trade, their volatility, etc.
Q: It looks like there’s no comparison with the popular 3commas, Gunthy, and Cryptohopper, who offers similar service. What is your advantage compare to them?
A: First of all, we’ve already proven that our strategies deliver consistently. Second of all, we offer an entire set of tools and not just some simple ones. Third and most important of all, we are building an entire ecosystem and not just a simple bot.
Q: Is a Botoceaninc platform for professional traders? What is the effect that ordinary investors who are not trading experts can feel from using the Botoceaninc platform?
A: The beauty of BotOcean is that everyone can use it regardless of their background. You can either create strategies and rent them out to other people and earn a commission or if you don’t know to create strategies you can just go to the marketplace and rent one that fits your risk level.
I’m most excited about the drag&drop strategy builder which enables anyone to create trading strategies without coding experience. This is the biggest barrier to entry in algorithmic trading in my opinion. Most people that know how to trade don’t know how to program and vice-versa.
Q: Common needs of exchanges are server overload protection and liquidity resolution. How does BotOcean solve server overload and liquidity issues?
A: We are actually in negotiations with some exchanges to have on location servers, as in having one of our servers at their location thus reducing or outright eliminating any delay. As for liquidity, I’m not sure that’s something that depends on us, but rather the exchange which is why we’ve chosen to work with top tier exchanges at first.
Q: How does Bot Ocean enable users to make profits in the algorithmic trading market and how does it offer users freedom in the market?
A: I believe the question is a bit self-explanatory but ok. It enables users to make profits by reducing the necessary level of skill to build an algorithm (1) and by offering you the option of copying someone else’s portfolio if you don’t want to build your own or don’t have the skill (2)
Q: Do I need to hold my funds on Bot Ocean or I can keep my funds on the exchange of my choice?
A: You can keep the funds in your own account. Bot Ocean does not hold your funds. We only need an API key.
Q: Feature Comparison section on Botocean Website shows you will use the Algorithmic Trading function to defeat giant competitors like : tradingview, atom finance…Can you explain more clearly?
A: Currently on the market, as you see in the competitor’s table there are lots of solutions, but nothing that has all the components needed for successful algo trading: backtester, strategy builder, live trading bot. That is the main differentiation from our competitors.
Q: Dragos, your mother is a very successful rower who attended six Olympic games and won five gold medals. What have you learned from her that will help you make BotOcean a success?
A: The most important thing that I learned from my mother is that failure is not an option and you have to do everything in your power to succeed.
Q: I liked the following part the most. “No grudges. It’s really an important issue. Can user assets be locked like on other platforms? I think you’re giving full assurance on this.
A: The assets will not even be on BotOcean, all the assets stay in your exchange account and you just connect that to our platform through API keys.
Q: When I read Competition Sector, I found your biggest competitor is tradingview. what is your advantage to this gaint (trading view)? Especially professional analysis tools for experts.
A: Sure. On one hand, as opposed to tradingview which uses their own programming language (pinescript) we allow users to build strategies with a simple drag & drop interface. Additionally, if you’ve used the TradingView strategy builder you know that one of the most commonly seen issues is something called “repainting” which means that the backtested strategy you’ve just developed has literally fake results because they trade as if they would know the result beforehand. Despite people having raised this issue several times over the years Tradingview has done almost nothing to fix it and it is still a usual occurrence, especially for inexperienced traders.
We’ve built everything in-house and as you can imagine we built it with these issues in mind because that’s what we needed for ourselves. There are other advantages too like the fact that we allow traders to copy others and also the fact that we allow traders to focus on what actually matters for them. Instead of spending time making a piece of code work you can now spend time tweaking an indicator and/or strategy.
Q: What is the SaaS Model? Can you explain more clearly
A: Software As A Service, our pricing model is based around each user’s trading volume so you only pay for what you use, that is the fairest way in our opinion.
Q: Can we become a social trader? What criteria are there to earn high profits from our followers and to both mediate your platform and earn monthly income?
A: Yes you can. Social Traders are called shipwrights on Bot Ocean and the people copying them are called Anglers. There are various levels for each user category, for shipwrights, it depends on how many people are following you and what your AUM is. Additionally, besides getting paid from the earnings of those following you, Bot Ocean pays shipwrights from the commission we take from those users as well.
Q: How does the BACKTESTER system work on market data and does it verify and compare all other stock market data? How was this system built on Bot Ocean?
A: It is currently limited to crypto. We’re already developing the stock market solution too but that will be ready in about a month as we needed to take into account a few other things. It was built from the ground-up with no open-source component or anything else. All of it is proprietary and our backtest results coincide with 99.8% accuracy to the actual results we’ve been getting ever since January of this year.
Q: I read your slogan “The DeFi trading revolution is here” on the website. But I read the whitepaper and haven’t understood clearly yet HOW your flatform can help users on the defi field.
A: DeFI means Decentralized Finance. Our platform is decentralized so that explains the first point. Now as for the finance point, if trading isn’t considered finance then I don’t know what is. I understand that due to a lot of dodgy projects that popped up in recent months perhaps the general view of what DeFi should be/mean has been skewed a bit, but let us remember where finance started from and what it’s supposed to represent.
Bot Ocean aims to allow people of all backgrounds to have an additional revenue through trading, whether that be as an angler or shipwright.
Q: BOTOCEAN Network looks good but it confuses me that there are so many other Blockchain projects. What should I pay attention to in BOTOCEAN Network to give it the importance it deserves?
A: That’s just a generic question. It’s like telling Facebook in 2004, but there’s already Friendster and Hi5, why would I pay attention to this?
There has always been and there will always be competition. We truly believe that what we bring to the table is unique and we are confident in both the technical capacity of our team and the execution so if you want to compare us with blockchain projects in general I’d say our biggest differentiator is we’re building something that people actually need. We didn’t come up with a solution and then found a problem as many projects do, but instead, we took a problem that’s been around for several years and actually solved it.
Q: What are the ways is BotOcean generating profits/revenue to maintain your project and what is its revenue model? How can it make benefit win-win to both investors and your project?
A: BotOcean generates revenue through transaction fees similar to those that you find on exchanges. So for each trade that a user makes us take a commission.
Q: Is BOTOCEAN Network already a profitable startup or not? If not, when do you anticipate it to become such one? Briefly, what is your financial model — where will the profit come from and how are you planning to grow it?
A: Orka Labs is profitable and has been since the first month but Bot Ocean isn’t launched yet so it would be hard for it to be profitable. We expect to be profitable within 3 months of launch to answer your question and as for where the profits come from, it comes from the fees paid by the users to use the platform.
Q: What are your packages like and how much fees do you charge to use your services, do I have to use the platform token to pay for your services or there would be more options like other crypto, Fiat, etc. available for payment?
A: No, you don’t have to pay using the platform token, but you will benefit from fee discounts if you do. How much we charge depends on your level on the platform, more info on that soon.
Q: Are you a global project or local project? Can anybody anywhere use this project without any restrictions?
A: Anyone can use the Bot Ocean.
Q: Is a Botoceaninc platform for professional traders? What is the effect that ordinary investors who are not trading experts can feel from using the Botoceaninc platform?
A: Bot Ocean is built for both inexperienced and professional investors. If you’re inexperienced you can either copy an existing portfolio or try to build your own strategy with some quick drag & drop whereas if you’re a professional investor you can simply use the advanced features and customize your own indicators etc.
Q: Have you planned some educational program or academy to introduce us to non-experts in trading and bots to use botOcean? Tell us more.
A: Yes, we will have educational videos explaining how to use the platform and more in-depth videos about how to create strategies, choose from the marketplace, and so on.
Q: What date exactly will be the launch of Beta, and how will we have access to it? Membership? ICO?
A: We’ll be launching it in about 2 months from now. As for access, the platform is open to everyone. Alpha will probably be restricted to a whitelist though.
Q: How to determine the best marketplace strategy? How will users make choices in terms of choice?
A: We grade each strategy in terms of risk, potential profits, etc to make choosing easier for users.
On the marketplace page, you will find all the statistics about each strategy together with a “Score” mechanism made by us so you can make the best decisions on which strategy to use depending on the risk level that you want to take.
Q: Is there a risk that orders placed on your boots will not be fulfilled or are made incorrectly? How does the bot system work and how does it prevent manipulations that may occur?
A: Highly unlikely unless it fails on the side of the exchange itself.
If you could detail the exact situation that you have in mind it would be great, but I can assure you that we have all the failsafes needed. We are trading live for over a year now and haven’t had major technical problems.
Q: Uniswap, IDEX, and other DEXs are gaining more and more ground. Botocean are you planning to build a bot adapted to this type of exchange?
A: We will implement DEXs as well, yes. We just focused on CEX exchanges first because as of right now they have better performance.
Q: Will connecting to the platform be enough to earn BTC and join your ecosystem? How will the platform verify users and how will the fair reward system work?
A: To earn without trading with your own funds you have to create a strategy and rent it out on our platform.
Q: Trading bots are usually susceptible to vulnerabilities like hacking and sabotage. How does BOTOCEAN solve this problem?
A: As we have a security expert on our team, the code of the bot will be reviewed in detail. We will also do a 3rd party private audit on our backend code to make sure we haven’t missed any vulnerabilities. On top of that, all of the instances of the bots will be dockerized(sandboxed), so in case of a breach, the attacker will not be able to escalate privileges and access the rest of the platform.
And to give a bit more info on our security expert, he’s a member of a top global CTF team (no.2 in the world in 2019), has developed his own pentesting challenges in web, blockchain, and even quantum coding and in addition to this, he even won several competitions including DefCamp for 3 years in a row, which is the most important annual conference on Hacking & Information Security in Central Eastern Europe.
Eric: With that, we can wrap up this AMA.
Dragos: Thank you, everyone!
Lorena: Thank you everyone for the questions! We hope to see you at our group at @botocean
Eric: Thanks @dragosL and @loretincu!