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Cryptocurrency and Web3 Interview with: Phillip Alexeev – Chief Growth Officer
Uruba Niazi

VP of Marketing - Content

04 Apr 2024
7 min read
0 comments

I recently sat down with Phillip Alexeev, our Chief Growth Officer, to discuss his professional journey to CrossFi, his experiences, and the different industries he has worked in.

I recently sat down with Phillip Alexeev, our Chief Growth Officer, to discuss his professional journey to CrossFi, his experiences, and the different industries he has worked in. Key discussed points include his role in growing companies from early-stage startups to large adoption and eventual acquisition, his excitement for blockchain technology’s potential to revolutionize finance, and his optimism about CrossFi’s solutions bridging Web3 and traditional payment systems. Read on to learn about his recipe for success, CrossFi’s GameFi strategy, the secret to successful crypto projects, and why he believes this bull run will drive real-world utility and adoption. 

1. Tell us about your career and how you found your way to CrossFi?

I started my career early when I established a marketing agency during college, ultimately leaving college to focus on running my agency. This decision stemmed from the college's requirement to intern at any company but my own, which clashed with my responsibilities of running a 30-person organization. Moving on, I ventured into the realm of 3D printing with Shapeways. Shapeways gave me the opportunity for my first exit when the company went public. Subsequently, I delved into augmented and virtual reality with Sketchfab, witnessing the company's growth from its early stages to its acquisition by Epic Games. During my tenure at Sketchfab, my interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency blossomed, leading me to invest in various tokens and consult for projects like Decentraland and CoinList.

Following Sketchfab, I embraced a period of consulting, dividing my time between the crypto space and B2B SaaS sector while living as a digital nomad across Mexico, Colombia, and Europe. Eventually, I joined Binance as head of growth for their DeFi portfolio, gaining insights into the inner workings of one of the world's largest crypto exchanges. However, I eventually moved away from Binance due to the increasingly political nature of the environment. After Binance, I helped found Sazmining, a hosted Bitcoin mining service running entirely on renewable energy sources. After Sazmining, I returned to consulting, and continued to work with early-stage companies, until ultimately finding alignment with the vision and potential of CrossFi. With CrossFi, I see an opportunity to bridge the gap between Web 3 and traditional payment systems by utilizing my experiences to contribute to the growth and success of the project. My excitement for CrossFi's potential is palpable, and I am eager to see where the journey takes us in the coming years.

2. What is the next significant catalyst to propel crypto forward?

I believe several factors are at play here. First, we seem to be entering the early stages of the next bull run, where increased capital leads to heightened attention in the market. Skepticism about the industry prevailed previously during periods of price decline or stagnation. However, it's worth noting that we've seen these cycles repeat themselves numerous times. Much like the stock market, cryptocurrency operates in cycles, albeit with different durations due to the rapid pace of movement in the crypto space.

What's particularly noteworthy in this cycle is the shift from questioning the viability of cryptocurrencies to focusing on their practical applications. This emphasis on usability is crucial, especially in driving user adoption during a bull run. Improved user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designs make it easier for individuals to understand and utilize crypto technologies effectively.

Security is another significant consideration. Given past incidents within the industry, there's a heightened emphasis on enhancing security measures. Regulatory bodies are also playing a more active role in cleaning up the industry, shifting power dynamics away from the previously dominant cypherpunk ethos toward more regulated and secure protocols.

Furthermore, the influx of traditional financial industry capital into crypto adds to its long-term stability. Developments such as approving Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) signal increasing institutional interest and participation.

Combining these factors, we see the groundwork for onboarding the next billion users into crypto. Projects like CrossFi offer tangible utility to crypto enthusiasts beyond traditional exchange and DeFi activities. By bridging the gap between Web 3 and real-world applications, CrossFi aims to empower users to seamlessly integrate crypto into their daily lives, contributing to the industry's growth and success in the current bull run.

3. Who do you think is the core demographic for this next bull run?

Yes, that's an excellent question, though it's pretty complex. A significant demographic of individuals have long been intrigued by cryptocurrencies but remained hesitant due to concerns about safety and perceived risks, previously keeping them at arm's length from the industry. However, many of these barriers are now being overcome, particularly with the emergence of ETFs, which enable individuals to hedge against traditional markets using cryptocurrencies.

Furthermore, there's a growing recognition of the potential of cryptocurrencies to serve the unbanked population worldwide. Utilitarian tools are now becoming available, empowering individuals in regions lacking banking infrastructure to participate in global financial activities. This includes facilitating cross-border payments and providing easy financial maneuvering, which can substantially benefit people in real-life situations.

Moreover, there's a broader demographic shift towards cryptocurrencies among those who have grown up in the digital age, particularly younger generations who are inherently web-native. Cryptocurrency is increasingly seen as the next evolution of finances for this group, as trust in traditional banking institutions wanes due to past financial crises and bank failures. Many are now reconsidering the wisdom of placing complete faith in those institutions and are gravitating toward personal financial responsibility.

It's essential to note that this isn't necessarily about replacing traditional institutions outright; instead, it's about bridging the Web 3 crowd and with a population looking for tangible financial solutions. The goal is to create a common language and facilitate access to financial infrastructure for individuals historically underserved by traditional banking systems.

4. For growth, do you need the whales or the shrimp?

There's a fascinating overlap, not dissimilar to a venn diagram, when considering growth strategies. With emerging technologies like ours, there are several layers to navigate, and this hesitancy isn't unique to financial matters but relatively common with innovations across various industries I've encountered. We focus on establishing foundational relationships within the banking network and engaging with significant players. While we don't solely depend on their involvement, their endorsement adds credibility, fostering trust and stability as we strive to deliver on our promises. It's essential to address both ends of the spectrum: from these influential entities to the broader user base who will ultimately utilize our product. This entails not only building trust with individual users but also with longstanding institutions. Our growth strategies encompass cultivating relationships and partnerships that resonate with both demographics, ensuring a balanced and comprehensive approach.

5. How interested are you in GameFi? Is CrossFi doing something in GameFi?

GameFi is particularly intriguing because of the immense scope of the gaming industry globally. Across various generations, including my own, gaming holds significant sway. The substantial revenue generated by games worldwide underscores its importance not just in terms of entertainment but also as a driver of financial activity, including the burgeoning field of esports. In this context, CrossFi's involvement in GameFi revolves around providing an infrastructure conducive to developing, expanding, and launching successful gaming projects. As an L1 blockchain, we remain open to supporting various projects, including those in the GameFi space. Our interest lies in facilitating the growth and scalability of these initiatives, ensuring they have the potential for widespread adoption and robust distribution, aligning with our overarching goal of supporting projects on the CrossFi chain.

6. You've launched projects and probably seen a hundred more from the sidelines. What do you think makes a winner, and what makes a loser?

Absolutely. There's a crucial distinction that I frequently discuss with the team. Winners in this space prioritize long-term value over short-term hype. While losers may chase after quick bursts of user engagement, capital influx, and market cap growth, often fixating on superficial metrics, successful companies focus on enduring value creation. While token price, user acquisition rates, and blockchain activity are important indicators, they are not the sole determinants of success. Instead, they reflect the outcomes of genuinely successful enterprises. Overemphasizing these metrics can lead to short-sighted decision-making that ultimately fails to scale or deliver sustainable results.

Furthermore, winning companies require years of dedication and effort to develop products that prioritize delivering tangible value. Such companies' core competency lies not in artificially inflating token prices or expanding market capitalization but in creating products that address real needs and integrate seamlessly into users' lives. Success is achieved by building a product with genuine utility and impact that resonates with users and becomes an integral part of their daily routines. This approach transcends the realm of cryptocurrency and applies universally to successful enterprises.

We've witnessed numerous companies rise to prominence through intense media coverage and widespread attention, only to falter when the substance behind the hype fails to materialize. At CrossFi, we consciously reject the temptation to pursue short-term gains through token price manipulation or marketing blitzes. Instead, our unwavering commitment lies in building robust, successful products that drive actual adoption and provide tangible utility to our users.

7. Tell me when you were excited about the crypto market and how it currently compares.

I've had a keen interest in cryptocurrency from the very beginning, ever since I made my first Bitcoin purchase. I recognized its fundamental potential to revolutionize how we perceive finance, challenging conventional notions of value storage and prompting me to delve deeper into economic principles. I've always questioned the status quo, refusing to accept traditional systems at face value. Just as I've embraced advancements like 3D printing in manufacturing and immersive technologies like AR and VR, I saw crypto as a solution to the broken aspects of the banking industry.

During the hype of 2016-2017, when money poured into the industry, I was drawn in, like many others, by the excitement and perceived opportunities. However, I've maintained a healthy skepticism grounded in a realistic assessment of the industry's prospects. Even in my previous experiences, such as at Sketchfab, where VR was touted as the next big thing, I tempered enthusiasm with pragmatism. I've consistently observed the smoke and mirrors surrounding crypto, recognizing the genuine potential amid the excesses of hype and speculation.

Instances like FTX's arena sponsorships raised red flags for me, indicating a lack of underlying stability and a reliance on superficial tactics to establish credibility. Winning companies, in contrast, focus on long-term value creation rather than short-term posturing. They prioritize delivering genuine utility through their products, which resonate with users and withstand market fluctuations.

The proliferation of tangible, real-world applications distinguishes the current bull run from previous ones. Unlike earlier cycles where projects disappeared during bear markets due to a lack of utility, today's infrastructure is embedding itself into our daily lives. Regardless of market volatility, I'm excited about our projects' lasting impact, as they enable people to transact in their daily lives using our app and cards—a testament to our commitment to delivering tangible value.

8. Is there any exciting news to share or look out for? From CrossFi specifically?

What truly excites me is the ongoing testnet we're conducting, which is progressing remarkably well. We've kicked off with a significant industry partner, CoinList. Yet, I'm eagerly anticipating the mainnet launch, where we'll unveil our application and core product—the virtual and physical cards. I'm eager to witness the emergence of incredible projects built on our blockchain over the next three, six, nine, and twelve months. As we release our core product into the world, I anticipate seeing the culmination of our hard work as users begin to benefit from it. I'm especially looking forward to the reactions of individuals when they make their inaugural transactions using the CrossFi app and card, realizing the transformative impact we've had.

Beyond our core product development, we're also engaged in various compelling initiatives, including cutting-edge web3-native endeavors like our DeFi component. Our work extends beyond practical utility; we're delving into more exploratory aspects of Web3, pioneering new frontiers in DeFi. I foresee the next few years at CrossFi as an incredibly thrilling period, and I'm grateful to be part of a team poised to facilitate these developments. It's immensely satisfying to witness our efforts materialize in the real world and observe the impact we're making.

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