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Bit Capital rolls out comprehensive solution for Pix and open banking based on Google Cloud tools

About Bit Capital

Bit Capital is an open-finance platform offering infrastructure for other companies to develop their own digital products and financial services in a secure, quick and scalable way.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Brazil

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Non-financial companies, fintechs and banks can add the solution to their systems to provide Pix’s and other banking solutions’ features with the security and high availability offered by the cloud.

Results

  • 20-cluster environment with more than 1,500 pods.
  • 250GB in data per month.
  • Cost around two-thirds lower than other providers.

Solution built in less than three months.

In the past few years, a series of new technologies and regulatory changes has been transforming Brazil’s financial industry. The concept of blockchain added security and agility to financial transactions. The open banking system being deployed by the country’s Central Bank (BC) allows for platform integration and data sharing -with the user’s consent- between financial institutions. Recently, the launch of Pix, also by the BC, has shaken the market by creating a new payment method that is instant, free for individuals and 24/7.

Since 2018, the startup Bit Capital has been working on the development of 100%-digital financial solutions in the cloud to help its clients adapt to this new scenario in a convenient way, without the need to build an infrastructure for that or hiring different providers. Pix was not the exception.

In less than 3 months, the team was able to build and go live with a solution that can be used by both direct participants (i.e. those with banking licenses granted by BC) and indirect participants (i.e. companies depending on direct participants to offer payments on Pix) through Bit Capital’s platform.

Besides this differential, Pix and the startup’s other solutions are based on blockchain and Google Cloud’s cloud, ensuring greater security, scalability and availability for customers and allowing for an easy integration between Bit Capital’s platform’s solutions and those from other companies.

“Now we have a platform with an API and various microsservices, allowing clients to connect and develop their own financial product without having to start from scratch.”

Francesco Miolo, CFO, Bit Capital

A robust structure to handle Pix’s high demand

Bit Capital was established with a certain urgency to develop its platform. The idea was well-developed and customers were interested. The fast deployment of Google Cloud’s tools was one of the main factors that attracted the company to use it as a basis for its infrastructure.

“We managed to deliver everything we have today in Google Cloud with a small team. That was another challenge: being able to grow with a few people,” says Juliano Souza, the startup’s head of IT infrastructure. “We sought other cloud partners, but they had a steep curve. We chose Google Cloud because we needed quick, quality scaling.”

The same thing happened when they built the solution for Pix, despite the specific challenges involved. The BC had performance requirements that led the company to spend some time experimenting until they reached the best suite of tools to meet those requirements. The startup wanted to create a unique architecture that could help both large and small customers and be integrated to the platform’s other microservices.

With the support from Google Cloud’s team to answer doubts and make the best decisions, the solution was built in a few months, at a cost about two-thirds lower than other providers.

The solution’s architecture is based on apps running in Docker in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), with interconnected microservices. The blockchain system runs on Compute Engine, its rows are managed in Pub/Sub and Dataflow, and persistent data, in Cloud SQL. Cloud Interconnect is used for the connection with BC. Cloud KMS and Secrets Management store the company’s pre-credentials. All of this is supported by Cloud Load Balancing for load balancing and autoscaling.

According to the team, GKE was essential for the solution’s success. Using infrastructure as code in the tool made uploading of a group of microservices significantly easier. Developers are able to help set up this environment, which has helped spread the DevOps culture in the team. Besides orchestrating and integrating apps, GKE also provides an elastic structure to handle demand peaks and visibility to monitor internal components.

“Google Kubernetes Engine was the only way to ensure availability, observability and elasticity for all clients, whether small, middle-sized or large.”

Juliano Souza, Head of IT Infrastructure, Bit Capital

Nowadays, the solution’s environment has 20 clusters with over 1,500 pods - 250GB in data per month, providing a robust structure to support a service involving periods of intense demand such as Black Friday.

Ease to monitor, fix and improve

Just 10 days after Pix’s official launch date, the company had its first test: Black Friday. This allowed a major e-commerce customer to test the scale and see the success of the architecture that had been built. “It worked great regarding what the cloud could deliver. And we found what we needed to fix very quickly. Operations [formerly Stackdriver], in particular Cloud Trace, showed us clearly what needed to be done to improve performance,” Souza explains.

Using Operations added reliability by putting deliveries into production. Checking Cloud Trace to see if there were any performance issues and the exact point where they were happening became routine for Bit Capital’s developers. Google Cloud’s security tools and Google Safety Center provided the resources needed to monitor and secure the environment, with automatic data encryption at rest and in transit.

“Google Cloud has security as a premise. When we upload any kind of component, like a database or a virtual machine, the drive is encrypted by default. With other providers, you must specify that you want it encrypted.”

Juliano Souza, Head of IT Infrastructure, Bit Capital

The easy service monitoring and management accelerates product and technology development because the team no longer needs to worry about infrastructure. Automated management allows professionals to spend more time on new projects and the company’s business. Also, the deployment of services in a Google Cloud multi-region impacts on customer experience, providing high availability for their solutions.

In the coming months, Bit Capital aims to ramp up service usage and the creation of new projects in Google Cloud by adding more customers to Pix’s solution and Banking as a Service (BaaS) solutions. Anthos will be incorporated to the tool suite to make it easier to connect apps with the customers’ on-prem environments. And the deployment of open banking has the potential to be a business driver for the company.

“We joke that we’re already doing open banking, because we have various connections with different providers, which allows us to offer an integrated solution,” says Francesco Miolo, the startup’s CFO. “With the arrival of the new regulations, something we are waiting for since we started out, we will be able, through our platform, to take our customers to the open finance ecosystem, enabling the development of disruptive business models.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Bit Capital

Bit Capital is an open-finance platform offering infrastructure for other companies to develop their own digital products and financial services in a secure, quick and scalable way.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Brazil