In this interview, we catch up with , a partner at - a German venture studio and fund that focuses on innovative solutions in the education and web3 industries. Zohair Dehnadi XVentures Follow along as we discuss regulations, web3 conferences, and the overall growth of the industry and what the future might hold for web3. Hello, Zohair. Proof of Talk is happening this month and it’s super exciting. Please tell us how you and your partners at X Ventures came up with this idea. How is PoT different from a typical Web3 summit? The inception of Proof of Talk (PoT) arose from a pivotal moment of clarity, a recognition that our beloved web3 industry hovers at a transformative crossroads. As we've observed its growth from infancy to its current state of vibrant potential intermixed with youthful miscalculations, we found ourselves stirred by the sight of some industry colleagues choosing to metaphorically "smoke POT" instead of crafting future-focused decisions. This sparked an inescapable urge within us to incite a change. As partners at X Ventures, we discerned an imperative need for the influential change-makers of our industry to congregate, to collectively reflect upon our journey thus far and consolidate our learnings. We believed it was time to rally the pioneers of our industry and stimulate critical dialogues, conversations that go beyond the surface, diving deep into the heart of our shared mission. But more than that, we want to hear also what the public wants these leaders to change going forward. Our industry has had its share of tumultuous periods, beset by scams, unprofessional conduct, and unfortunate instances of eroded trust. Thus, we felt the need to carve a path towards a more prosperous future by uniting leaders, provoking thoughtful questions, and soliciting authentic, impactful commitments from them. What sets PoT apart from the usual web3 events are three elements: The distinctiveness of Proof of Talk (PoT) within the vibrant world of web3 events is underscored by three fundamental tenets: 1. Anti- Conference: We've all attended traditional conferences, where panels and keynotes often end up being business-oriented or surface-level. The consensus seems to be that while these events are great for networking, the content tends to be repetitive, offering little room for learning or genuine exploration. In response, we envisaged PoT as an 'Anti-Conference'—an event orchestrated not by mere organizers, but by passionate believers in blockchain technology, seasoned entrepreneurs, and invested investors. By bringing together a gathering of such minds, we aim to generate valuable outputs, all curated by world-class orchestrators. 2. Convergence of Industry Leaders and the Public Secondly, we prioritize the convergence of industry leaders and the public: What began as a lofty dream—to assemble all the trailblazers of our industry—has materialized into a reality that has magnetized most CEOs and founders of the top 50 blockchain companies. We are proud to host a distinguished lineup of over 95 industry leaders, boasting a seniority level unprecedented in recent event history, with over 80% being CEOs or founders, collectively leading a total market cap exceeding 200 billion. But our scope extends further. Our guest list features carefully handpicked high-potential startups, government representatives from Germany, the UK, and France, and regulatory experts spanning multiple global jurisdictions. Additionally, senior representatives from esteemed global institutions like the World Economic Forum, OECD, and European Commission will be in attendance. Numerous top 50 VC firms and selected startups, collectively raising over 500m (such as Aleo) will be present, and our VCs have invested in over 2080 companies cumulatively. This is no mere gathering of enthusiasts - this is a hallowed space for the pioneers, the pathfinders, the leaders of the web3 industry to come together and collaborate. 2. So, ‘ ’ is the main theme for PoT. Can you briefly explain how trust has been undermined in Web3? Bringing Back Trust into Web3 Trust in the web3 industry has been challenged by several issues. Instances of scams, "rug pulls" (where developers abandon a project after raising funds), and overall unprofessional conduct have unfortunately been present. The transparency and decentralization that make blockchain technology revolutionary have, paradoxically, also made it a fertile ground for malicious actors who take advantage of the pseudonymous and borderless nature of these systems. This has resulted in significant skepticism and mistrust among both participants in the industry and observers on the outside looking in. An additional issue that has contributed to the erosion of trust in the web3 industry is the proliferation of conferences and events aimed at wider audiences. While inclusivity is a vital aspect of the decentralized ethos, this often results in a dilution of substantive content and a focus on hype and promotional gimmicks, rather than robust dialogue and education. This "noise" can overshadow the real innovations happening in the sector and create misconceptions about the industry's true potential, leading to inflated expectations and subsequent disappointment. It also provides a stage for bad actors to spread misinformation, further undermining trust. Our approach is to curate an audience consisting of industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and serious investors. We believe that by focusing on this core group, we can foster more meaningful and substantive discussions, minimize the "bullshit," and ultimately help restore integrity and trust in the web3 sector. Our aim is to offer a platform that emphasizes quality over quantity, with rigorous content that truly delves into the issues and opportunities in our industry. 3. Web3 and crypto’s total market has gone from roughly $3 trillion in November 2021 to about $1 trillion in May 2023. But do you think some areas still show great promise despite this? Which sectors or use-cases will drive the industry forward in the coming days? Indeed, while the overall market cap of web3 and crypto has seen a significant contraction, it's crucial to remember that these are still early days in a very dynamic, rapidly evolving industry. Yes, the market has faced challenges, but this is a common trajectory for disruptive technologies - there are peaks and troughs, but the overall trend is upwards. From our interactions with over 200 startups competing in our Web3 Startup Competition, it is evident that innovation within this space is far from slowing down. Despite the market downturn, these startups are successfully raising seed-stage funds, demonstrating the continued investor confidence in their potential. Four sectors stand out as particularly promising: NFTs, DeFi, tooling for web3 services, and tokenization of real world assets. The innovative applications of NFTs continue to expand beyond the arts and into areas like real estate, intellectual property, and more. DeFi, despite facing regulatory challenges, is still redefining the possibilities of financial services. And tools for web3 services are key to developing the infrastructure necessary for broader adoption of decentralized technologies. Tokenization of real-world assets is a remarkable trend, transforming the way we view investment. It allows for physical assets—like properties, artworks, or shares—to be represented as digital tokens on a blockchain. This not only democratises investment, opening up traditionally inaccessible markets to a broader range of investors, but also enhances liquidity and transparency. Startups are leveraging cutting-edge innovations like Zero-Knowledge Proof, Soulbound/Non-Transferable Tokens, account abstraction, and new programming languages. The use of such technologies shows that builders are still building, iterating, and improving. In conclusion, while market conditions might seem unfavorable at the moment, I believe that it's also a period of great opportunity. It's during times like these that the industry can focus on building robust, scalable solutions that can drive the next wave of growth. And that's precisely what we're seeing and hearing from the developer community. I'm confident that these sectors and use-cases will play a pivotal role in moving the industry forward in the coming days. 4. PoT is perhaps the only summit till date that simultaneously hosts business discussions and a well-curated NFT exposition, that too at a prestigious location like Louvre. Please explain the vision behind this. Historically, great art has served as a hallmark of credibility and status, shaping perceptions and solidifying reputations. By hosting an NFT exposition, we aim to tap into this universal understanding, leveraging the power of art to cement our brand's standing in the digital space. Furthermore, we see the intersection of NFTs and the business sphere as a powerful tool to showcase the potential of web3 technology in a tangible, accessible format. The NFT exposition brings the abstract concepts we discuss into a relatable context, bridging the gap between the technical jargon of blockchain and the tangible, familiar realm of art. In essence, our goal with this amalgamation of business discourse and NFT art is not just to educate and inspire, but to foster an environment of trust and credibility. By combining the time-honored prestige of the art world with the forward-thinking dynamism of the web3 industry, we hope to build a robust, transparent, and trusted foundation for the future of digital conversations. 5. With MiCa around the corner and U.S. authorities cracking down on various crypto-based firms, where do you see the global regulatory landscape going from here on? It's an interesting and dynamic time for global regulation in the web3 space. As the CEO of Proof of Talk, I've observed firsthand how policy changes can create significant shifts in this industry. In Europe, the proposed MiCa (Markets in Crypto-assets) regulation certainly represents a comprehensive effort to create a clear legal framework for crypto-assets. This kind of regulatory clarity, in my opinion, is essential for the growth and maturity of the web3 industry. It can encourage more traditional institutions to participate in the market and help protect consumers from scams and market manipulation. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the regulatory climate has been a bit more contentious. However, the ongoing dialogue between crypto businesses and regulatory authorities indicates a recognition of the industry's potential and a desire to develop a regulatory framework that balances innovation with investor protection. Moving forward, I see a global regulatory landscape that is increasingly defined by cooperation between industry and regulators. There's a growing understanding that we need rules that promote innovation while protecting consumers and the integrity of financial markets. Regulation should not be viewed as an obstacle but rather as an opportunity to establish a foundation of trust, which is vital for the mass adoption of blockchain and other web3 technologies. Involving regulatory experts and policymakers in Proof of Talk reflects our belief in this collaborative approach. By bringing together leaders in the field, including regulatory authorities from leading European nations, we aim to foster dialogue and understanding that will drive the industry forward. Remember, blockchain and crypto have the potential to revolutionize many aspects of our lives, and we're still in the early stages of this transformation. By engaging in these important conversations, we can help shape a regulatory landscape that supports the healthy growth of the web3 industry. 6. Thanks for this enriching conversation. Please share how to book a spot for PoT and witness one of Web3’s biggest milestones up close. Booking a spot to attend this ground-breaking event is quite straightforward. Simply head to our official website www.proofoftalk.io where you can find all the details about the event, the speakers, and, importantly, the 'Book Now' button. Proof of Talk isn't just another event, it's an opportunity to engage with some of the most influential leaders, CEOs, founders, legal experts, and regulatory authorities in the web3 industry. The exchange of insights, ideas, and visions for the future of web3 will be invaluable. By participating, you'll be part of a concentrated effort to re-establish trust and shape the future of the web3 industry. We're looking forward to seeing you there, at what promises to be a significant milestone for web3.