Hisham Khan, founder and CEO of Aldrin, an advanced trading platform, comes from a decade-long background in building robust and innovative financial technology. Hisham brings his expertise as a UX project lead at Bloomberg to the world of blockchain, building comprehensive trading and risk management tools through Aldrin. Built to be a trader’s all-inclusive digital trading companion, his mission is to make advanced crypto trading and strategy development accessible for all.
Q. Please give us an introduction of yourself. What’s your background?
I’m Hisham, the CEO and co-founder of Aldrin. I’ve been a product builder for 10+ years and started my career helping enterprise software deployments which eventually led me to Bloomberg where I got introduced to financial technology. It was in early 2017 when I started to take notice of Blockchain and Crypto and decided to look into the space. As a product guy I realized right away that this industry was still in its infancy and that it would transform the world of finance and many other industries eventually.
Q. How did you get into cryptocurrency? What’s your motivation?
Seeing the crypto space in 2017 it was like a movement happening in front of my eyes and there was so much energy in the industry. I had to be a part of it. I began to see the lack of good user experience with crypto products and that was my motivation to build products which will drive mass adoption.
Q. How did you start with your current company, Aldrin? Could you tell us about the business?
For me personally, I really wanted to do something to help the overall crypto industry grow. This could be done via different ways but I leaned into my strength which was to design products which empower the retail traders so they could win more often. I started to put together a team and began working on a Smart Trading terminal which offers advanced trading tools to all traders but is also really easy to use for anyone.
While building this we saw the rise of DeFi in 2020 and learned about the Solana blockchain pretty early on. Being a team which was focusing on UX we realized the cost and speed of Solana was perfect for how we envisioned DeFi to be able to bring on hundreds of millions of users. So we got started on turning our initial product into a Decentralized exchange on Solana.
Q. What would you say is the unique selling point of Aldrin? What makes it different from other exchanges?
We want to simplify DeFi is how I would describe it. While we offer many advanced trading tools some of which have been released and some in the pipeline, our mission is simply to bring the best user experience DeFi has ever seen and become the go to exchange on Solana which is quickly becoming the blockchain in the world.
Q. What about your previous company, Bloomberg? Were you in a similar role over there? What was your job function?
Running a startup as a CEO is a completely different role as it involves working many different areas at the same time. However, I’d say it is a similar role in a sense that I was helping build products internally working with some of the best engineers I had worked with. It was a great time and I really enjoyed working at Bloomberg. I learned a lot in the few years I was there.
Q. What do you personally think about DeFi and NFTs?
When I witnessed the rise of DeFi in 2020 it gave me a lot of joy as I had joined this industry due to the promise of decentralization even though we were building a centralized product at the time. I believe DeFi is going to only get more innovative and we will see some really interesting products come out in the future. We are still in the early phases of what’s possible. As for NFT’s, I haven’t been following that space too closely but anything that brings crypto adoption I am a fan of. NFT’s show us that there are many different ways in which we can get the masses excited and get them interacting with crypto.
Q. Please share your thoughts on the future of Blockchain technology and Fintech evolution.
Crypto industry is at the forefront of financial innovation and the speed at which it is evolving is unprecedented. This is the future. What I love the most is that with crypto and our work at Aldrin we aim to level the playing field. Anyone in the world with an internet connection can participate. A kid from Bangladesh has the same access as someone sitting in London. That is really powerful and is what motivates us at Aldrin to build the products that would be used globally.
Q. Why did you choose the Solana ecosystem and not Ethereum as a base for your project, Aldrin?
As mentioned, we are a team that believes that the best user experience will bring the masses into crypto and DeFi. This means that products have to be cheap and fast to use. Ethereum unfortunately has not been able to provide that and Solana with its lightning speed of sub-second transaction time is perfect for building financial products which are decentralized and doesn’t sacrifice user experience.
Q. You’ve talked about providing tutorials and toolkits to enable people to adopt DeFi before. Aldrin’s Medium is also full of how-to and what-is posts. Do you think the only obstacle standing in the way of widespread adoption is the lack of knowledge, or are there more hurdles the crypto community has to get through?
It will take time for DeFi to become mainstream but things move fast in this industry. There are still some barriers, for instance a regular user doesn’t need to care about which Layer 1 solution they’re interacting with but rather how they can earn the best yield on their crypto. This needs to be abstracted away if we want to see hundreds of millions of people using DeFi. We’re at a time when everyone expects convenience while using any application and we aim to bring that with Aldrin over the coming years.