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Exit Interview

An exit interview is a formal meeting between an employer and an employee leaving their job, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

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It is one last conversation with the employer, where the employer may ask you questions regarding the company and work environment to get feedback from your side via automated phone calls, websites, mailed questionnaires, or the traditional sit-down meeting.


Employers may avoid rehiring employees who left their job after the latter imposed ill will or threats against the former.

You may find the exit interview a waste of time, as you may be busy thinking about your future endeavors, smart career goals, plans, etc. You may want to say a harsh “no” to the company. But wait! You never know if you will need the company in the future, when you will want to return there, or when you have to give a good reference letter to your previous employer.

Whatever the format, you must remember to form a good impression in the exit interview. One may see much scope for growth and profit in another company, but after some weeks, they may experience a worse situation and want to return to their former employer.

Sometimes even fully engaged employees want to leave the organization. When this is the case, the employer becomes anxious about why such a sincere employee decides to leave.

A popular quote says, “The only bad thing about burning bridges is that the world is round.” You never know when you will travel across and end up in the same place. Hence maintaining proper co-worker relations with your former employers and managers is necessary.

10 Tips to Ace An Exit Interview

Here are some tips about how you should perform at an exit interview to secure professional relationships:

1. Plan the Conversation

While the exit interview sample questions don’t need as much effort as the recruitment interview, it surely needs little effort from your side to ensure that you speak what you’ll not regret.

Make short notes about your job, the work environment, superiors, colleagues, etc.

Note the things you loved at your workplace, things you didn’t like, and things you want to change.

Plan a proper way to speak up so you don’t reflect yourself as egoistic or negative.

Prepare common interview questions and answers such as why you want to leave, what you didn’t like here, what the other company has etc.

Pre-planning these things will help you properly showcase your thoughts to the interviewer.

2. Recommend a Replacement 3. Be Assertive

The most difficult question you’ll find weird in an exit interview will be, “Why are you leaving?” Which, if answered inappropriately, will dump you into a big problem. You don’t have to tell the whole truth. Mold your statements in such a way that coats the reason with sugar. You can give reasons like-

You want to move on

Easier to commute

The new field or industry is interesting for you

This is what you always wanted to do

The new job is in sync with your career planning strategies

Avoid saying you wanted better pay or find that particular company prestigious.

4. Appreciate the Good Things

Focus your discussion on what you liked about the organization, and appreciate what you learned.

You can list the following things for appreciation according to the situations and your experiences-

Liked the office locality

Find it easy to commute

Liked the parking system

Found the workplace comfortable and positive

Found co-workers who were supportive and friendly.

Got favorable support from Maintenance, HR, Administration, IT, Medical, Cook Staff, etc.

Great benefits include paid sick leaves, vacations, reimbursement, promotion, etc.

Be truthful in what you say, don’t just appreciate everything. Don’t compliment something you didn’t like.

5. Express Gratitude

Tell them about any task, project, or software tool you learned through the organization, how some of your superiors and employees proved to be your support system, etc. Thank your employer for giving you the opportunity to learn and grow through the challenges and tasks. Take instances from your job period, how your employer proved to be your mentor, what qualities they exhibited, what made them charismatic, etc. Don’t just say things in the air; express good feelings about a particular person or matter genuinely, not just to impress the employer. Leave your previous job with a good reputation with the former employees and the employer so that you have left multiple doors open even after the exit interview. Spoiling relations by speaking ill words about the employer in front of them will create a bad reputation.

6. Stay Positive 7. Give Proper Feedback

Generally, an exit interview policy is to get formal feedback from the employee about the organization before leaving. Hence they expect you to speak about things you liked about them, the things you didn’t like, something to be improved, etc. Be confident in answering these questions, but assertively as explained before. Proper feedback from you may help the organization to enhance its functions which may benefit other employees. Moreover, well-explained feedback from your side will help the employer and impress them, which may prove fruitful for you later in life.

8. Think Before Answering

There would be a case in the exit interview where the interviewer may ask you a question you were unprepared for. To fill the silence, you may say something you regret later. If you think you’ll be unable to answer the question appropriately, tell the interviewer about it. A wise interviewer will understand that you don’t want to answer a particular question because it’s discrete or inappropriate and will toss in other questions.

9. Don’t Get Too Frank 10. Finish on a High Note

A smile and the words-“Thank you for your time, Sir” wouldn’t consume much of your energy and will impress the job interviewer. Repeat some nice things about the company in a summarized way before leaving the exit interview. Don’t just express your joyous to leave this position and company, but express some regret. You may say-“I enjoyed and learned a lot here. I don’t want to leave, but they are offering me new opportunities for growth”.


The exit interview policy is a way of saying goodbye while extracting useful feedback from the conversation. It will ensure that professional relations remain intact and prove beneficial later.

Proper planning of your answer is crucial so you don’t regret what you said. An appropriate tone of voice, cheerful nature, and healthy conversation will impress the interviewer and make you more expressive. Exchanging views in this exit interview policy is also beneficial, as it may help the employer to know the hurdles. Present the case with a constructive approach that will save your relations while, on the other side, making the employer aware of their actions.

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8 Effective Steps To Prepare For An Internal Interview

Internal Interview

“When presented with an open door in your job, drive a Mack truck through it,” says the battle-tested leader, author, and speaker Miles Anthony Smith. Why not? Many people work diligently in the office, even overtime – without getting recognized or noticed. So, if an opportunity comes knocking at your door, do not hesitate.

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Effective resume making, job hunting, campus recruitment training & others

A job promotion you deserve typically does not land on your platter easily, even if you are a well-recognized employee.

In Simple Words…

No matter how familiar or friendly your superiors are, they can grill you like a first-time applicant when interviewing you for a higher position. The question is, will you be ready for this? Or did you take this as a routine before getting your promotion letter?

Since your company knows you, the internal interview will differ from a job application interview. The judges know your flaws, so they won’t be surprised by your skill or talent. When you applied for the job, they knew you only through the information you provided them through your resume. After your tenure as an employee of the company, you have shown them the value of those certificates, your work ethics and principles, your adaptability, and your creative ability to handle issues. Also, they are familiar with your temperament and characteristics; hence they already have some perception towards you which can either be positive or negative. The challenge is to brand yourself and create a package that can be tempting.

Let us go Step by Step for an Internal Interview

Consult and seek counseling from your boss

Ensure you are making a right choice

Re-do and revamp your resume

Gather information

Give it a professional approach

Prove your competency

Show your desire and enthusiasm


Step #1 – Consult

Do not burn the bridge; you may have to walk back on again. If your current boss learned from other sources that you are looking for a better position when he needs you, they might not be happy when you go back to work for him if the promotion does not work out for you. Remember, the job is not in your bag yet.

Aiming for a higher position in the same company completely differs from chasing after a job in a new place. You are not walking away from your previous colleagues and boss. Let your relationship be trusting, cordial, and friendly with the previous department.

Step #2 – Be Sure about the Choice

Though an internal interview will be something similar, the outcome will not have the same impact on your career. After attending a new job interview in a new organization, you often have a choice of whether you would prefer to take the new job. You must know that your company will assume you are ready for the job. When it comes to an internal interview, the company will expect you to accept the offer once you are selected since you already know the job, company culture and values, travel arrangements, and other relevant things. Hence, nothing can stop you from accepting the offer after attaining your salary raise expectations.

Job descriptions are supposed to lure candidates. Therefore, if you do not desire to spoil the cordial relationship you share with your employers, ensure you want the position you are applying for before you attend the interview. If you are doubtful, do not go for it. Consider the job perks, challenges, performance demands, and expectations before you move ahead.

The HR department will be willing to guide you if you approach them with your queries. Set your career path with proper guidance and help.

If you refuse a job after attending an internal interview, it seriously hampers your chances of being considered for a promotion in the future.

Step #3 – Re-do your Internal Interview Resume

Your resume, which you submitted when you joined the company, needs a serious facelift.

The position you applied for earlier was different. It is high time to change your profile for the better. Moreover, you have gained quite some experience and developed interpersonal skills. Customize your resume to fit the new position. Do not come out as a show-off but add your achievements in your tenure as the employee in the previous post.

If you have irrelevant or insignificant information, take it off your resume. The less and more specific data will be relatable. Honestly, no one loves an overload of information because it is boring to read through. When skipping some content, they may miss some important points as well. Highlight areas that need attention.

You must include points proving your candidature for the position they are considering. Even though it is an internal job interview, do not take your employers for granted and do things half-measure. Aim for the job as if doing it for the first time. Show your desire and passion through your profile.

Step #4 – Collect Information

Even if it takes 2 or 3 extra coffees or hanging around the water cooler longer, collect information regarding the new position requirement, interview methods, and the judging panel as much as possible. Find out who the hiring manager is, which team you will be joining with your new position, and, more importantly – who was the employee who left the vacant post and why they left. There could be a hidden warning.

Access to internal information is where the inside person comes in handy and works in your favor.

You should understand that others interested in the position are trying to gather information and have the upper hand at the interview. Try to be helpful but refrain from discussing your preparations, plans, or ideas with others.

The inside information will give you an edge over external candidates if your company is considering them for an interview.

Step #5 – Be a thorough Professional

With your familiarity and close relationship with your colleagues, you need a completely professional approach to the internal interview. It is easier said than done. Try to be as professional with your approach as possible, including job interview preparation, creating your resume, dressing up for the occasion, and entering the venue.

Refrain from assuming that the interviewer’s panel will know about your achievements in the company. Make sure you bring it to their notice through your answers or resume. Ensure you answer every question they ask without saying, “You know that about me.” Give precise, direct, and concise answers to the internal interview questions without elaborating on data.

Show them you have it in you what they are looking for. Do not come out as a person who already has assumed to have got the job because that can work negatively for you.

Also, avoid being too casual or friendly in your approach, but that doesn’t mean you act as though you do not recognize the people in front of you or act too stiff. Remember that people do not often prefer a ‘Know it all.’ Mind your body language and poise, and prove you are the right candidate for the job.

Step #6 – Prove your Competency

No one will hire you in today’s highly competitive world unless you give them a reason to hire you. Gather all evidence pointing to your professional experience, expertise, and excellence at the job.

Subtly draw panelists’ attention to your achievements in the present organization and your previous professional experiences, if you have any. Include pieces of evidence in your CV.

In an internal interview, it makes sense to mention your weakness since the panelists might already know them. The idea is to tell them how you plan to overcome your drawbacks or what strategies you have developed to fight your weakness. In the same manner, they will be aware of your strengths as well. All you have to do is point out how you will use your skills and strengths to improve your productivity in the new position.

Step #7 – Show your Desire

Gone are the days of being humble and simple. Today, the world belongs to the people who blow their own trumpets.

Do not shy away from telling the panelists why ‘you’ considered yourself for the job position. Tell them how much you desire the job and why you want the new position. Wear your enthusiasm and passion on your sleeve.

Ensure that the panelists will not assume that you applied for the job for a pay increase or just because it was available. Ensure you have enough substantiation that you want the job and are eager to be hired.

Step #8 – Wait

After the internal interview, write a ‘Thank You’ note to your panelists for their time and for considering you for the position. Though emails are good enough in the tech era, handwritten notes carry more weight. Make sure to point out some outstanding moments from the interview in your mail.

Only follow up on the results to an extent where the HRD will start avoiding you. You have done your job, and results will come to your table sooner or later.

The best way is to continue your present position enthusiastically until you have bagged the coveted job.

Sitting on the edge of the chair or looking at your watch too often does not speed up the pace of how things work. Relax and breathe easy.

Managing Organizational Change: Tips And Best Practices For Effective Leadership

Organizational change is a process of transformation, which can involve changes to the current structure and culture of an organization. It involves developing new systems, processes, and behaviors in order to achieve business objectives and respond to external conditions.

This includes activities such as restructuring departments or divisions within organizations; re-engineering processes; reorganizing operations; introducing new technology or products; retraining staff; changing organizational cultures; improving leadership styles; addressing customer service issues, among others.

Effective leadership is an important factor in managing change, as it can help to ensure that the transition from one state to other runs smoothly and efficiently. Good leaders are able to create a unified vision for their team or organization and provide clear direction on how to achieve it.

They also have strong communication skills, which allow them to explain the rationale behind changes, motivate staff members and keep everyone informed of developments throughout the process.

Identifying the Need for Change Identify the reasons why organizations need to change

By staying on top of trends and adapting their processes accordingly, organizations will be able to remain relevant and profitable in the future. Additionally, embracing change can help organizations become more innovative by encouraging them to take risks and try out new ideas that could give them an edge over their competitors.

Finally, introducing changes helps create a culture of continual improvement which allows for greater efficiency over time through process optimization or increased productivity from staff members who have been properly trained in using new tools or technologies.

Employees need to be informed about the need for change

Communicating the need for change to employees is essential in order to ensure that everyone understands why the organization needs to make certain changes. It provides an opportunity for employees to voice their opinions, understand what’s happening and provide input on how it can be done better.

Changes can often lead to uncertainty and fear among staff, so having a clear agenda with objectives and explanations helps alleviate some of these issues. Furthermore, communication helps instill trust between management and employees, which is necessary when implementing any type of change within a company.

Without proper communication about the need for change, organizations can experience delays or resistance from their staff members as they are not fully aware of why things are changing or what’s expected from them moving forward.

Adapting to Change Identify the importance of developing a change management plan

Change management is an essential element of a successful business venture. Without proper planning and implementation, organizations can be left scrambling to respond to changes in the market or customer demands.

A change management plan allows companies to anticipate and prepare for potential changes, allowing them to stay ahead of their competition and make smarter decisions. Additionally, it helps ensure that employees are informed about upcoming changes and have the necessary resources needed to implement them successfully.

Change management plans also help foster communication between departments so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to adjusting strategies as needed.

A change management plan should include the following elements

A change management plan is a document that outlines how an organization or company will approach, manage and implement changes. It should detail the steps required to transition from the current state of operations to the desired future state. The key elements of a change management plan include −

Identify Change Goals & Objectives – This includes considering why you are making this change and what goals need to be achieved as part of it.

Define Scope – What areas within your business or organization will the changes affect? Will it impact staff, customers, processes, etc.?

Establish a Communication Plan – How will people affected by these changes be informed about them? Who needs to know what information and when they need it?

Assess Impact & Risk Management – What risks might occur during this process and how can they be mitigated?

Monitor Progress & Outcomes – Have all objectives been met successfully? Are there any obstacles in meeting them that may require further attention or resources?

Change Implementation During the change process, it is important to communicate clearly

Clear communication is essential during any change process. Without it, the project can easily become muddled and unclear with no one having a firm grasp of the ultimate outcomes or how they will be achieved. By engaging in clear communication throughout the change process, team members are kept up to date on progress and objectives, allowing them to adjust their contributions as needed to best support the overall goal.

Clear communication also creates trust between stakeholders, allowing for better collaboration and problem-solving when issues arise. Additionally, by ensuring everyone understands each step of the transition process at all times, potential risks can be identified and addressed before they cause major disruption.

Describe the importance of creating a sense of urgency and momentum for the change

Creating a sense of urgency and momentum around a change initiative is essential for success. If employees do not feel that the need for change is pressing, they may be less likely to take it seriously and put in the necessary effort to ensure its successful implementation.

Establishing a timeline for implementing changes can help create an atmosphere of urgency, as well as give employees clarity on expectations and deadlines.

Additionally, providing frequent updates on progress can serve to generate excitement about the project, motivating people to stay involved and helping keep up the momentum throughout the process.

Identify common challenges during implementation and how to overcome them

Change is not easy, and the implementation process can be complex. One of the most common challenges that arise during implementation is resistance to change from those affected by it.

This resistance can come in many forms, including passive-aggressive behavior or outright refusal to accept the new changes. To overcome this challenge, clear communication and active engagement with stakeholders should be employed throughout the entire process.

Managing Resistance to Change Identify common reasons for resistance to change

One of the most common reasons for resistance to change is fear of the unknown. People may not understand how a proposed change will impact their work, and this can cause them to resist it out of uncertainty or concern. In addition, individuals may be reluctant to give up familiar routines and processes that they have grown accustomed to over time, even if those ways are inefficient or outdated.

Additionally, some people may resist change due to feeling threatened by its potential disruption of power dynamics within the organization, such as when an employee feels that their job security is at risk from changes in the management structure.


Organizational change is a complex process that requires effective leadership and thoughtful guidance. It involves the application of techniques and strategies to ensure successful outcomes. Leaders should start by clearly defining their objectives, setting realistic goals, developing a comprehensive plan for implementation, and building support from stakeholders.

They must also actively monitor progress, evaluate successes and failures, identify areas needing improvement or additional resources, communicate regularly with all involved parties throughout the process, provide feedback as needed and adjust plans accordingly.

Five Characteristics Of An Effective School Board: A Multifaceted Role, Defined

In Fayetteville, Arkansas, a parent complained about a controversial book in a school library and then threatened, “There will be a next step!” when the school board accepted the recommendation of a school-materials evaluation committee and let the book stay on the shelves. More recently, the Seattle school board required that high school administrators review a school newspaper before its distribution; students sued in federal court, claiming their free-speech rights had been violated. The ruckus in Washington continues.

Today, the relevance of school boards is dependent on doing what matters. A panel of educators from across the country recently convened by CTB/McGraw-Hill, the leading publisher of standardized achievement tests for children and adults in the United States, explored the role of school boards and outlined five characteristics of an effective board of education. Our direct experience in working with school boards over the years suggests the panel was right in its analysis. The five characteristics, and discussion about them, follow:

Certainly, we believe this. It’s not an exaggeration to say that decisions they make often have a greater long-term impact on our communities than those of any other elected body at any other level of government. However, in the dialog about meaningful school improvement and reform, due to a misunderstanding of their policy-making responsibilities and their relevance to the American way of life, school boards are sometimes left out.

Historically, school boards have been formed to keep the “public” in public education. They are uniquely American and provide the conduit that delivers the community’s values and will into its schools. This truth implies that in our democracy, the functions and decisions of school boards are important.

School boards often deal with controversy. That’s part of the job. But their predominant duty is to establish policies that serve as administrators’ guides for the day-to-day management of schools. Most school board decisions are not controversial or inflammatory, and few of them are reported in the news. As a result, the public often holds inaccurate perceptions about what they really do.

Effective Boards Focus on Student Achievement

The best school boards understand that student learning is job one. This emphasis necessarily means that policies and resources of schools are targeted to promote achievement for all students. School practices, which have their genesis in policy, ought to have a laser-beam orientation on high standards, a rigorous curriculum, and high-quality teachers. Issues a school board must consider are evaluated against the contribution toward student learning — the core business of schools.

Effective Boards Allocate Resources to Needs

Not all students walk through the school doors with the same needs. Good school boards recognize this fact and allocate resources such as time, money, and personnel and adjust practices accordingly. Documents of the school district, such as the annual budget, are viewed as tools to reach student-learning priorities, and the district’s spending and practices do not protect sacred cows.

Effective Boards Watch the Return on Investment

We are all accountable to somebody. Effective school boards are mindful of their own accountability to the communities that entrust their children to public schools; effective boards routinely and regularly measure and report the return on investment of the education dollars they spend. Effective policy makers today make their greatest gains by asking appropriate questions, and productive boards recognize the self-instructive value in making the following query an ongoing refrain: What services are we providing to which students at what cost and resulting in what benefits?

Effective Boards Use Data

It has been said, “In God we trust. All others bring data.” By definition, informed policy making requires using data. Otherwise, effective boards cannot be assured that all students, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status, are progressing toward and reaching high standards. The challenges to student learning, and particularly to providing equity among all students in achievement, are complex. Intuition-based assessment of student learning is tricky at best and certainly is an insufficient basis to determine education policy. Further, without data, reports to communities about the education return on investment are hollow and unconvincing. Communities expect measurable results, through data, from their tax dollars.

Effective Boards Engage the Communities They Serve

The best school boards look for ways to institutionalize parent and patron involvement in providing policy-making input. Specifically, effective boards have established mechanisms for community involvement in setting the vision for the school district, representing the values of the community, and identifying the district’s short-term and long-term priorities. The Blue Springs, Missouri, school board, for example, named as that state’s Outstanding Board of Education for 2005, strongly emphasized its shared partnership with its community in educating the district’s 13,000 students.

Do all school boards in the United States meet these five characteristics? Obviously not. Can all school boards in the nation improve their performance with some or all of the characteristics? Probably. It is noteworthy to mention that the CTB/McGraw-Hill panel believes school boards can best champion education initiatives when their members are trained to exercise responsibility, possess a vision, demonstrate progressive leadership, and provide accountability. Combined, these attributes result in school board decision-making that improves student performance. (Some states such as Missouri require, by law, training for newly elected or appointed school board members.)

Does the school board in your community measure up? If so, your local school district is likely to be headed in the right direction. If not, you might consider doing something about it — perhaps even serving on it.

Arthur Griffin Jr. is vice president for national urban markets for McGraw-Hill Education and served on the school board of North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for eighteen years. Dr. Carter D. Ward is executive director of the Missouri School Boards Association and a member of the CTB/McGraw-Hill Education Leadership Panel.

An Interview With Aax Head Of Strategy And Research

2023 was an exceptional year for Bitcoin. After facing a tumultuous time during the end of the 1st quarter, the largest digital asset performed admirably to end its year on a new all-time high. The asset has continued its rapid growth into 2023 as well, currently valued at just under $38,000. With institutions becoming increasingly involved with the digital asset, Bitcoin is presently undergoing a price discovery similar to 2023. The only difference is that BTC is in a much better position in 2023 in terms of interest, on-chain fundamentals, and market sentiment. 

With respect to Bitcoin’s future in 2023, Ben Caselin, Head of Research and Strategy at cryptocurrency exchange AAX, recently presented a research paper titled ‘Bitcoin in 2023’. It is a comprehensive paper categorized into three different sections describing Bitcoin from a perspective of an asset class, investable standpoint and future horizon. Structurally, it is a well-drafted research paper that is palatable to someone who is new to Bitcoin, but also to investors who are seeking to further understand the asset from a valuation perspective. 

AMBCrypto recently sat down with Mr. Caselin and discussed various topics from his research paper. We explored various insights with respect to Bitcoin and its future in the larger financial landscape. 

Good evening Ben! Thank you for your time for this interview. How are you? 

Ben- Hello! I am good, nice to meet you. How are you doing? 

I am doing good! Alright, let’s start off with one of the facts from your paper. Bitcoin’s first decade of emergence resulted in 9,000,000% ROIs in 10 years but it was widely led by high risk, skepticism, and FUD. What will be the major factors running Bitcoin’s growing valuation for the decade forward?

Ben- Yes, during the first 10-years of Bitcoin, there was a long period of stagnancy with Bitcoin. People knew about cryptocurrency but they were not paying too much attention. However, over the past 3-4 years, after the bull run in 2023, Bitcoin was pushed into this limelight when major publications and financial outlets were covering its price actions. Market analysts were trying to identify its intrinsic value and hence, there was a lot of criticism and FUD as you said. Now, 2023 changed public perception, and Bitcoin has finally completed its decade of emergence in its own right. 

In terms of what is ahead, it is fair to state that we might be heading towards a decade of adoption. We have already witnessed Bitcoin being part of important discussions. 

If we see Bitcoin being mentioned more and being understood in relation to monetary policies, when we see great political instability, if we see Bitcoin being part of that conversation, then those are signs of adoption. So in this decade of adoption, we should also see regulators open up more to Bitcoin, but we definitely should not be surprised if we also see clashes as well. The decade of adoption is not some smooth, beautiful process. Certain regulations would make it very difficult for exchanges to operate effectively. So, as a part of the Bitcoin community, we will have to deal with these challenges to stake a presence in global finance. Then, as Bitcoin gains force and more institutional investors integrate the asset into their strategies and outlook, then there’s no reason to believe that we can’t find a proper balance. 

Well said. Alright, speaking about balance, there is a constant discussion in some Bitcoin communities that BTC should overhaul Fiat U.S dollar as the main mode of currency. While Bitcoin has performed admirably well whenever there has been some socio-economic turmoil, the fall of the US dollar might not happen anytime soon, how do you see Fiat and Bitcoin co-exist together in the future?

Ben- So, you know, this is a very interesting question. I think one way to look at it, is from a generational perspective. If you ask, let’s say someone who is a teenager, they might be very open to this idea and they don’t necessarily think of the wider impact and consequences. However, a veteran economist may find it ridiculous. Now, although maximalists might wish to see Bitcoin overtake the U.S dollar or Fiat, it doesn’t seem to be very realistic at this point in time. There are so many interests tied into the U.S dollar. Hence, if anything, we may see fiat being converted to central bank digital currencies, right? Like, there’s no reason that we cannot move into a kind of digital form of fiat. But central bank digital currencies are a fiat currency.

Bitcoin is more censorship-resistant, decentralized and then there are utility tokens and security tokens. So these, these are very different. Just because they share a similar technological architecture doesn’t mean that they’re the same. And so yes, they can coexist. I think the coming years is more about rebalancing. I think the whole world is rebalancing at the moment. The world is one giant portfolio and it’s re-balancing money, political power, everything. So, I think it’s really interesting to see that Bitcoin was part of the historical transformations we’ve seen in 2023. 

Bitcoin’s volatility has been one of the most talked-about characteristics in recent years. In 2023, while the asset underwent strong uncertainty, it maintained lower volatility levels than some of the major stocks. From a purely market perspective, is volatility still important to describe the crux of Bitcoin?

Ben- When we talk about Bitcoin volatility, there are different opinions. Some love it and others like to criticize it. First of all, volatility was not intended to be part of Bitcoin’s identity, but over the past 10 years, or at least five or six years, it’s definitely become part of Bitcoin’s ethos. But at the same time, I think everybody understands that as an asset matures, such high volatility is not realistic. Let’s say if 2% of global wealth was locked in Bitcoin, it would not be possible to think of 30% price swings that would kind of upset everybody. So it’s very logical that over time, some of that volatility should decrease. From a payments perspective, that’s of course great. However, from a store of value perspective people say, it’s so volatile, you cannot store your, well, it depends on how long you want to store it for. 

If you want to store it for five years, maybe volatility is really great, giving you plenty of buy-in opportunities. If you want a store your wealth for five minutes, maybe it’s really awful. I think Bitcoin is a great trainer of the mind and people that deal with Bitcoin, there’s a certain effect that it has on you as a person and how you deal with the volatility of life. Now things are changing. Others have come into the market, the institutions have come into the market and some don’t like that, then some do like that, but it’s a reality and it will impact volatility one way or another. 

One major comparison following Bitcoin’s rise over the past few years is its similarities with Gold. While traditional economists and market analysts continue to trust Gold as a true inflation hedge, in terms of ROIs, Bitcoin has completely blown Gold out of the water in recent months. How would you define Bitcoin being a better inflation hedge against Gold?

Ben- So, there are two answers for this. One is actually more profound than the other one and lets me start with the other one. The other one is kind of technical and common. It goes that gold as a hedge against inflation and it has been around for thousands of years and it’s scarce. And then people will say Bitcoin is also scarce and it’s easier to keep track of and transact. All of that is fine. 

The point is, and this is, I think the more important answer, if we agree that Bitcoin is just a very awesome technology that can offer the same type of scarcity as gold. So let’s just agree on that because it’s not that complex. The reality is it depends on what we agree on because yes, we can say gold is a great hedge. And the reason why it’s a great hedge is not because it’s yellow. It’s not because it’s hard and because you can melt it. And not even because it’s scarce, it’s just because over time, this has become the habit.

Now are in the process of agreeing that Bitcoin is a wonderful store of value and now gold is going to have to share the market. It’s simple, but also profound because it’s quite a big shift. Newer generations prefer Bitcoin now. Gold may carry the weight of history and tradition, but Bitcoin offers a vision for the future. 

Liquidity is a key aspect of Bitcoin but according to recent data, it was revealed that 78% of Bitcoin in the current market is illiquid. Does that affect Bitcoin’s long-term affinity as an investable asset?

Ben- Now, it is important to note that the 78% coverage is only counting the coins that are currently in circulation. We know that a whole lot of Bitcoins are already lost and we should stop saying that there are 21 million Bitcoins. The 78% figure is an indication that people have some trust and confidence in the coin and that they want to hold it for the long-term. Investors are taking the asset off-exchange but again it is only a metric. It is a helpful metric to look at but there is nothing more to that and it does not affect Bitcoin’s long-term credentials as an investable asset. 

Tomorrow, illiquidity may drop down to 72%, or 64%, or 10%, so these are just numbers, metrics. Additionally, Chainalysis, reported that much of the liquidity now that we see in the market is actually provided by long-term holders that have been holding on to Bitcoin for a long time and are now just selling some of it on the market because you know, why not? And so, that means that it’s also new investors coming into the market. It’s is a continuous cycle. 

Alright! Now coming to the last question Ben. Predicting the price direction of Bitcoin is always extremely difficult. The paper suggested that maintaining current momentum would lead Bitcoin to breach $55,000 by end of Q1. Now, we have witnessed some corrections over the past few days, so without putting you on the spot, what kind of price range are you looking for Bitcoin by March 2023?

Ben- Haha, yes. It is very difficult to estimate Bitcoin’s price in the short-term and as you just said, it registered a massive crash recently. We are currently looking at a parabolic rise and we do not know if it is sustainable. So, Bitcoin’s price may depend on different sociological and economic factors. We should not see Bitcoin in seasonal terms like altcoin seasons and crypto winters, although they sound nice, and we should understand instead its position with respect to the state of the world and global markets. 

Now, coming to predictions, our paper mentioned a moderate target of $55,000 by March 2023 and I feel it still holds. If support at $36,000 is held, Bitcoin may continue to build on its momentum but again, we continuously need to account for different factors. Over the long-term, we’re very bullish on Bitcoin, but Bitcoin is no stranger to 25% drops, and when we’re at $40,000 price levels, those spikes can be intimidating. Let’s see how everything pans out in 2023. Lots of things to worry about, but I don’t think Bitcoin is one of them.

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Rug Pull Comeback? Pixelmon Ceo Opens Up In An Exclusive Interview

What happens when you wake up with $70 million in the bank and a tattered reputation? If you’re Martin van Blerk, the former head of Pixelmon — the infamous NFT project that spectacularly failed to live up to its promises, enraged swindled community members, and whose floor price tanked as a result — you get humbled.

Before Pixelmon’s fateful February 7 launch this year, van Blerk had done an undeniably fantastic job of building up a mountain of expectations for the project, accruing more than 200,000 Twitter followers in the span of roughly a month. He did this mainly by promoting the idea that Pixelmon, an open-world MMORPG in the tradition of the much-beloved Pokemon IP, would be the first AAA game in the NFT space.

Disaster soon struck. When the project was minted, community members paid an average of roughly 3 ETH each for the 8,079 NFTs in the collection, and van Blerk had amassed 23,000 ETH in total — worth more than $70 million at the time. Fast forward to the Pixelmon art reveal two weeks later, and community members were met with amateur artwork, glitchy designs, and a character so hilariously absurd that it became known simply as Kevin.

Pixelmon #5866 – Kevin

Pixelmon seeks a new way forward

The backlash on Twitter and in the project Discord was severe, with community members accusing the Pixelmon team of doing a rug pull. There were also accusations that he took funds from the project to go on a blue-chip NFT shopping spree that saw him acquire Bored Apes, Azukis, CloneX, Invisible Friends, and others. Eventually, the Pixelmon founder admitted he was in over his head, but promised to do good by the community and see the AAA game he’d promised through to completion. Few, if any, believed he could pull it off.

Keeping a low profile in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic February mint, van Blerk reached out to potential partners to see if there was a way forward for the project. That’s when he came across Giulio Xiloyannis, Co-Founder of the Web3 VC studio LiquidX and the person who would eventually become the new Pixelmon CEO.

“In February 2023, LiquidX was a concept more than a reality,” Xiloyannis told nft now in an interview. “It was incorporated. We knew we had backers. But the reality is we weren’t even in the process of fundraising for it without finding a target project.” Xiloyannis brought more than a decade of investment banking experience to LiquidX, which gave him a ground-level view of the power of blockchain gaming to change people’s lives.

“I’ve been a big believer in [the potential of ] NFTs and blockchain in games,” Xiloyannis explained. “One of my previous companies was affected indirectly by what happened with some of those games. We saw dozens of our customer service agents in the Philippines, where we had a large customer service center, resign. They said, ‘I’m going to play video games.’ That’s when play-to-earn hit my radar because resignations are rare in that market, especially during the pandemic.” 

“We’re not willing to work with someone who would have rug-pulled if he’d had the chance.”

Giulio Xiloyannis

“[Kendrick and I] both joined the call skeptically,” Xiloyannis recalled. “We did the most basic due diligence and said, ‘We’ve heard the news about this project. Are you willing to show us the wallets?’” When van Blerk obliged, sending them the Etherscan links to back it up, Xiloyannis saw that there was indeed over 23,000 ETH available in project funds. “At which point, I decided to get to know Martin a little better,” Xiloyannis recalled. “In a market where everybody thought that Pixelmon had no funds because they’d been rugged, we knew it had funds. So, we knew that there could be an opportunity there.”

The risk in new leadership

But deciding to manage the Pixelmon project presented a significant risk for the LiquidX founders. Xiloyannis wanted to ensure the project wasn’t just a significant trade-off in terms of a value bet — it needed to be something the company was willing to believe in and back for years into the future.

“We’ve both been around the block a few times,” Xiolyannis explained of his and Wong’s entrepreneurial backgrounds. “We’re not willing to work with somebody who would have rug-pulled if he’d had the chance. So, with that in mind, we decided to get to know [van Blerk] and the project a lot more. It was a process.”

That process began at the end of February, and by the end of March, Xiloyannis decided Pixelmon was something LiquidX could take on. The gameplay possibilities are immense, he emphasized to his cofounder, and a play-to-own dynamic with creature NFTs could form the basis of a new, creator-driven gaming economy.

Redesigned Pixelmon Generation 1 Art via OpenSea

But Xiloyannis still needed to learn more about the 20-year-old van Blerk. He began to speak with his family, hopping on calls with his father and getting to know the person behind the rug-pull reputation.

“I realized two things,” Xiloyannis said of the Pixelmon founder. “He was a very strong creative mind and hard worker but he was too young to have to shoulder the size of the task, especially given the success of the mint. The story of Martin is a story of somebody who, if he had done a smaller NFT mint, would have probably grown personally into being able to lead a small project into becoming medium-sized and then big over time. And who knows, from there, maybe grown beyond that, if he’d received other funding and coaching.”

The LiquidX founders wanted to be able to believe in van Blerk’s abilities to execute the project’s comeback, but they simply couldn’t. Xiloyannis believed in the solidity of the young man’s ethical compass. Still, as van Blerk had himself admitted previously, he was just too out of his depth to make good on the project’s promises. So, Xiloyannis decided to step in and make it happen himself.

“That was the hardest decision, actually, from LiquidX’s point of view,” Xiloyannis said. “Whether I would go and lead this personally on an operational basis, for a couple of years at least. We looked at the potential of what we could build with, at that point, 50 [million] plus in the bank, as ETH has gone down a bit since February. By that point, we had convinced Martin to convert them to USDC. We were very categoric — no algorithmic coins. In the end, I took the leap.”

Rebuilding the Pixelmon community from the ground up

Last week, LiquidX Studio officially announced that it had taken over leadership of the project, having acquired a 60 percent controlling stake in the company. The announcement comes after months of Xiloyannis taking to the project Discord every day to rebuild trust in the project.

“This space believes a lot in big actions, big announcements and stuff like that,” Xiloyannis elaborated on the build-back. “I don’t think you could come back from Pixelmon that way. The project had to go to a completely different level of trust building, [which was] the slow and steady, building a relationship with the community.”

Xiloyannis decided to try something simple but effective. He created a channel on the 35,000-strong Discord server called “Ask The CEO” and devoted three hours of every day to going in and addressing community concerns and questions. “I’m going to come in and answer anything,” Xiolyannis said of the decision and following experience. “And I did that consecutively for four months. Then, I started speaking to them through AMAs and voice chat. Even today, I come in and I answer that chat for 15 minutes every day.”

Engaging a community that has been rug-pulled hasn’t always been a pleasant experience, Xiloyannis noted. 

“If we let this sit in the current negativity for two and a half months, there’s no community left at the end of it.”

Giulio Xiloyannis

“To face a Discord community of over 30,000 people that are angry on a daily basis — they don’t know who you are, and they’re rightfully going to raise their concerns with strong tones,” Xiloyannis recalled. “That was humbling.”

However, those outreach efforts could pay dividends. Anyone who spends time in the project’s Discord might notice an atmosphere of community optimism. Questions remain about the project’s marred history in the Discord’s channels but, to LiquidX’s credit, community members routinely respond with enthusiasm. For example, a server search of the term “trust” yields a fascinating record of community conversations that slowly evolve from hostile, to skeptical, to downright hopeful.

Xiloyannis attributes this change to two things: the team’s focus on consistency and transparency, even while van Blerk and LiquidX were finalizing the paperwork for the acquisition. “We said, if we let this sit in the current negativity for two and a half months, there’s no community left at the end of it,” Xiloyannis said of the need for urgent action. “So, well before we had completed any documentation [for the acquisition], I took a leap, and I started addressing the community, saying I’m the new leader of this project.”

With van Blerk’s help, Xiloyannis then implemented a multi-sig wallet setup where his signature would be crucial to any transactions. Xiloyannis credits van Blerk for allowing him to do this quickly and without too much paperwork, an act that further led him to believe this was an individual he could trust. 

“I think the consistency of tone is what turned the Discord tide,” Xiloyannis continued. “Beyond that, our thinking is don’t overpromise, just overdeliver. That’s why we’re so transparent with our wallets. Even when I move some money from any wallet to fiat, when I do an off-ramp, I alert the community before doing it.”

Concept art showing Pixelmon’s design process for their holders’ NFT evolutions. via Pixelmon

The complete revamp of the collection’s artwork, courtesy of Pixelmon’s new lead 3D artist Cosmo Midias, has also done wonders for the project. As have live Twitch streams with Xiloyannis and Midias, walking community members through the process of creating these characters. “Something that I’m realizing now is that [the community] loves that they get to see the inner workings of game development,” Xiloyannis explained. “And the more technical we go, the more interested they get.”

Martin van Blerk also had a role in redesigning the collection’s artwork, which the company rolled out in early August. Xiloyannis hired new artists for the task and asked Martin to sit down and conceptualize the new creatures. The concept artists then sketched out his ideas, and the 3D art team built them. “It was important to him,” Xiloyannis said of van Blerk’s involvement in the redesign. “He saw art as his failure, in a way, and his redemption was being part of the new art process.”

LiquidX has also brought on talent from gaming industry heavy-hitters like Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Riot Games. They’ve also tapped Hong Chan Lim, the lead character artist at Blizzard Entertainment who worked on Overwatch 1 and 2, to design their next airdrop.

Taking Pixelmon into the future

LiquidX’s next focus is on delivering the long-awaited Pixelmon game to the community, which the firm says will include a play-to-own model that also features a free-to-play option to support mass adoption. “Building a game is a long process, and NFT communities are not very patient,” Xiloyannis said of the timeline with which they’re working. “So, what we realized early on is that we needed to play two things in parallel. We needed to gamify the NFT holder experience while building a game.”

They achieved this by introducing gasless soft-staking to the Pixelmon economy, which rewards users who register their wallet and Pixelmon on a front-end interface that periodically confirms the NFT’s presence in the wallet. Unlike a hard-staking contract, which takes the asset from a holder, users get to keep theirs. So long as they soft-stake, they’ll earn a statistic called “Affinity.”

“I don’t think there’s anything I can say to change their minds. There’s only something I can do.”

Giulio Xiloyannis

Affinity is important because, after 30 days of soft-staking, holders will receive a Trainer NFT. In the Pixelmon lore, this is the creature companion that trains them and journeys with them throughout the in-game environment. If holders then soft-stake their Trainer NFT for 30 days, they’ll receive the right to claim the 3D source files behind the Trainer with each piece of gear that comes with it. Once the Trainer and Pixelmon have been together long enough, that will trigger the next stage in that Pixelmon’s “evolution,” which further incentivizes community members to hold.

“The average MMORPG takes around seven years to build,” Xiloyannis said, underscoring the LiquidX team’s challenge in building the game. “We don’t have seven years, so we decided to split the game into different instances so that each is actually a separate file that can be played on its own. Ultimately, we can bring them back together into one file.”

Taking place in a world called Nova Thera, these game instances will range from the social, where players can roam and speak to one another, to the exploratory, involving open-world wandering, to a combat-based experience (known as Battle Arena) that lets users fight with their Pixelmons.

The LiquidX team hopes to start alpha testing the game in early 2023, with internal testing scheduled to take palace in the second half of December this year.

The project’s future holds far more work

What happens in the next year with the Pixelmon project and community could prove to be a litmus test for how the Web3 world decides it wants to approach issues like condemnation, understanding, and forgiveness when it comes to individuals and organizations that do wrong by their communities.

Therein lies the great challenge. In the last few months, LiquidX has done a remarkable job turning the project from a dead-in-the-water rug pull to a dynamic and growing ecosystem with promising community reception. But the struggle isn’t over yet for Pixelmon: Goodwill can always be lost again, which means the firm must continue to give its best before it can rightfully claim its spot amongst recovered projects like Pudgy Penguins and DeGods that have rescued themselves from collapse. The cusp of a comeback is an inspiring yet precarious place to be. Luckily for the community, this is something that Xiloyannis seems to appreciate.

“I don’t think there’s anything I can say to change their minds,” Xiloyannis offered as a response to critics who still hold the project suspect. “There’s only something I can do. I think too much was said in January and February already. It’s not a time for promises. It’s a time for delivering. I can work on this for the next 18 months, taking us to the first alpha of all three [gaming] environments. And at that point, there will be a lot of people that wish they had bought a Pixelmon when they were priced low.”

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