Would you like to own a concept car in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT) issued by a global luxury car brand, advertise your product, or verify the identity of your “Avatar” in multiple metaverses? Seracle, a Pune-based blockchain infrastructure and digital asset services company, will help you realize this virtual possibility.
Founded by Shrikant Bhalerao and Akshay Soam in 2018, Seracle helps businesses enter the emerging Web 3.0 space with Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS). This Web 3.0 infrastructure company helps you connect your project to multiple Metaverses and gives you access to Metaverse applications for rental, advertisements and NFT compatibility.
Bhalerao and Soam are both from a defense family and they are also from the Army Institute of Technology (AIT), Pune. They both worked in the fintech space, for different companies, but met on a professional network on the internet.
Bhalerao says, “Before starting Seracle, I worked with BFSI domain clients in Europe and came to Singapore in 2017. I worked as a consultant and have been in the blockchain space, with a particular focus on supply chain management, healthcare, and retail areas. When starting the company, I was looking for someone on the technology side and I met Soam on a professional networking platform.
“We weren’t looking at crypto specifically on this, but we got 70% of our revenue from clients who are in the crypto space. We ourselves do not deal in buying or selling cryptocurrencies. We only provide the technology and we call ourselves tech-enablers. Our customers are mainly from North America, Europe and Singapore. In India, we are just getting started,” Bhalerao added.
Says Bhalerao, “To be honest, fintech is a very crowded space. In our early days, we realized that blockchain is an upcoming field. So we went from a consulting company in 2019 to a product company. First, we were creating a white label product, but then we found that maintaining the product was a huge task. We decided to convert it to a cloud or SaaS product where we don’t have to worry about maintaining the product for each customer. This has reduced costs for customers and effort for us. »
“People confuse blockchain with crypto which is just one of its applications. We are now starting to have a broader view of blockchain. Telangana State Government publishes its Land Deed Agreements on the blockchain verification, Startup India issues its startup certificate validation on Blockchain. Blockchain creates data sovereignty. For example, if you submit KYC information to a bank, that data will only be with that bank. When it’s Blockchain and say a bank has validated and verified it, the public information is available on the blockchain and other banks can trust the verifying bank, they don’t need to do all the KYC again (Know Your Customer) Users also don’t need to go through the KYC process again, it’s about sharing data without owning it or having any reason to share information private,” Bhalerao said.
Explaining the need for a unified system for blockchains, Bhalerao said, “Blockchain is a very fast growing industry in India. As it is fast, it is also not stable. Everyone comes up with their own blockchain and their own standard. Because it is about sovereignty, there is no governing body, standardization mechanism or regulatory framework. So to have this as a unified platform or system, we decided to build it ourselves with our SaaS product. The solution we have is that wherever anything is updated or any regulatory change occurs, we incorporate it. For example, the Indian government has made tax changes related to crypto. We serve Indian crypto exchanges and we have already included it in our trading engine. We have created a mechanism where TDS is deducted and GST is applied on trading fees. »
The duo secured their first big client in 2019, a North American-based crypto exchange. “Crypto exchanges have been one of our main sources of income. We work with clients who actually have custody of the funds and also with those who do not. Then we also created decentralized finance (DeFi) applications such as creating our own tokens, issuing those tokens to users, creating on-chain exchange mechanisms without having custody, etc. and we have also worked with companies providing wallets,” Bhalerao said.
“Any business from India or outside that wants to start a crypto exchange using our technology will not have to worry about compliance. We also have a licensing and policy engine that ensures KYC. We have of the complete data set that we can provide in case of future audit. Our system is also able to monitor transactions for on-chain data,” he added.
Web 3.0 infrastructure
“In Web 2.0, we have seen how cloud services have evolved. Similarly, in the Web 3.0 space, Seracle provides cloud solutions that are hosted in their environment as a SaaS product,” says Shrikant. Plus, he says, “it’s a SaaS product but on a Web 3.0 space. Our customers can launch a decentralized application like a cryptocurrency exchange, decentralized finance or wallet system and they can use our cloud solution to immediately leverage the “tech stack” instead of building it themselves.
“Clients essentially save a lot on development costs and ‘to market‘ time. Building a decentralized application from scratch would require setting up entire servers and database, connecting to various blockchains, and more. With Seracle, you just put the business logic, or we have engines for that too, and you just put your customization like skin, brand color and you can go to market immediately,” Bhalerao said.
Soam says, “It is difficult to recruit talent because the field itself is new. We hire people from non-blockchain but fintech backgrounds, integrate them, then train them for 3 months. We currently have a team of 85 employees spread over several locations like Bengaluru, Pune and Toronto.
Bhalerao believes that “identity validation”, like a KYC-based system, will enable identity for Metaverse. “The metaverse is booming. It will also lead to crimes in the virtual world. To protect the metaverse from it, we are building a solution where identity or KYC can be done for a user. When an Avatar is issued as an NFT to Metaverse, that Avatar will already be KYC verified through us. It will work the same as verified accounts on an existing microblogging platform. The user or entity verified by KYC by our chain will be marked on the Blockchain. Likewise, each blockchain wallet can be identified using the KYC solution we are building. This KYC is for Metaverse, decentralized applications and for everything on the blockchain.
“We have partnered with a London-based company since 2018 for identity verification solution. For identity verification and validation, you need to verify user sanctions and credibility. Our partner company is a leader in this field and covers 133 countries,” said Bhalerao.
Metaverse in India is emerging in two major areas – entertainment (including games) and the education industry, says Bhalerao. “The entertainment industry moved to OTT platforms during the Covid-19 outbreak, but it didn’t work. So now they’re looking beyond OTT and exploring the metaverse. Top game companies are entering also in Metaverse space.We enable them all with blockchain.
“We make NFTs only for intellectual property (IP) that can be translated to string and accessible for use. We are preparing the NFT metaverse. For example, when we play online games, we buy various in-game items. These items can be in the form of NFTs. It can also come from a specific brand. These items can also be sold in the market, creating an economy. This is where the gaming community can benefit from NFTs,” Bhalerao explained.
Sharing their future plans, the duo said, “We will soon be offering NFT solutions for startups in India. Since startups have a trademark, we can issue NFTs for them at no cost and only charge transaction fees. The same NFT will also be accessible in the Metaverse. Besides, we also want to provide “advertising in Metaverse” and space rental solution. The Metaverse layer or the aggregate layer that we introduce can also act as an advertising engine, where the NFT companies or the NFTs that we have can be advertised inside the Metaverse. These advertisements will be dynamic and when users click on them, charges will come to us. The identity solution will go live in September 2022 and the Metaverse solution in the first quarter of next year.