Bitcoin Halving Is Always Interesting Whether People Believe In It Or Not, Says Gitcoin's Azeem Khan – Benzinga


Gitcoin, a platform that supports open-source software development through quadratic funding, actively supports local communities by fostering financing, development and protection initiatives. 
In this innovative mechanism, the emphasis is on the number of unique donations rather than their size. Gitcoin Grants 18 is in progress, consisting of four primary rounds with $1 million in matching funds available.
Gitcoin has already disbursed over $50 million in grants, contributing to a substantial global financial impact of over $29 billion. In a significant development, Gitcoin recently announced a year-long partnership with the multinational oil and gas conglomerate Shell PLC.
To discuss these developments and more, Benzinga recently talked with Azeem Khan, an accomplished entrepreneur, crypto investor and the head of impact at Gitcoin. Here is an excerpt from our interview with Khan. 
What is Gitcoin's present market position, and what are its expectations for the coming years?
The biggest expectation for us now is to get our products into the hands of users and achieve the traditional version of product-market fit. We have multiple offerings, including the Gitcoin Grants Program, Gitcoin Passport, Public Goods Network, Grants Stack and Allo Protocol. We're in a position where we're talking to all the communities who need or want to use each of these products for their communities and slowly working towards that version of PMF that every tech company aspires to. If I had to sit down and decide what success means, it would be along those lines.

Gitcoin recently revealed its partnership with the oil and gas giant Shell PLC. Can you provide insights into this collaboration and address the mixed reception it received within the crypto community?
Yeah, absolutely. The deal was a simple one where Shell, who has a deep Web3 team and has had one since 2016, came to us saying they were interested in using R&D dollars towards an experiment in quadratic funding using the Gitcoin Grants Program, specifically with a focus on the climate rounds we've successfully been running for some time now. Naturally, our community was less than thrilled about it. With that said, it's essential to step outside the bubble of a specific crypto niche Twitter was discussing. The media around it was ample compared to what we usually get during our grants rounds, and it was generally positive, outside of talking about the negative sentiment of people on Twitter. Things could have been better communicated from our end as Gitcoin, being stewards of such an essential brand in this space. I won't say it wasn't a complex and nuanced issue that could have been handled better. But at the end of the day, an obscure crypto company to the outside world did a six-figure cash deal with a Fortune 10 company. 
Also Read: Analyst Who Predicted May 2021 Crypto Crash Now Says Bitcoin Set To Surge To This Price By 2024
Please share your perspective on Gitcoin Passport and its potential benefits and drawbacks for users.
I'm a massive fan of Gitcoin Passport, even taking my bias out of the situation. There are many of the most intelligent people in the space ideating on how identity is very likely one of the most easily used and applicable use cases of a product in crypto out for the general population. We first created the product in response to wanting to make sure people weren't gaming our grants rounds because the way quadratic funding works is that people who get more votes get more money from the matching pool, so we wanted to make sure that one person wasn't voting from multiple accounts. Then, over time, that led us to conversations where this tool was helpful for airdrop farming, Gamefi, NFT drops, crypto gambling, potential Tradfi/Defi scenarios and more. 
What's the current state of the cryptocurrency market, and where do Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies stand regarding their prospects and challenges?
So many exciting things are happening in this space. Even though we're in a bear market, things are looking up for the first time in a long time. The trend is that we're starting to see what amounts to wins across the board in this space. Without getting too far into the weeds, it seems the CPI is leveling off, and we're not going to see any more interest rate hikes. There appears to be an increasing trend towards regulatory clarity in the United States with the SEC taking loss after loss. Once the Bitcoin spot ETF is approved, it will be a game changer even for liquidity coming into the space. The Bitcoin halving is always an interesting one whether people believe in it or not. And, finally, there's just global adoption starting to occur little by little globally. 
How do you envision the crypto industry's progress in the next five years, and what role will global regulations play in shaping its future?
It's always hard to make these kinds of projects since people who are as deeply into the industry as myself tend to be a bit more on the rose-colored glasses end of things. And because of that, I will give a more level-headed answer. The technology is still not there compared to how we discuss the possibilities across different verticals, including finance, gaming, entertainment, etc. On top of that, the people building the technology simply aren't doing so with the user in mind. There's been some talk about this, but the idea of consumer crypto that goes beyond speculative assets needs to arrive sooner rather than later. I often think about what the killer app ends up being. With those two main things in mind, my honest belief for where we're at five years from now is what the early 2000s looked like for companies like Facebook and Google. Many companies will look like they're building incredible things with growing revenue, userbases and potential. But that's the extent of what I see for where we're at five years from now. 
Now Read: Bitcoin On The Cusp Of 'Final Correction,' Says Crypto Analyst
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