Many have chosen to work in the crypto industry. Since the beginning of the fall, two Nobel Prize winners have been working at Cryptic Labs, the economist Christopher Pissarides and Harvard University professor Eric Maskin. Earlier, Oliver Hart, who is also the winner of a prestigious award, went to work for the Prysm Group. Not only beginning specialists are choosing a career in the field of financial technologies. Besides, more and more world renowned universities offer appropriate training programs. But are there any prospects on the labor market if cryptocurrencies are getting cheaper?
A Short-Term Decline in Cryptocurrencies and Demand for Industry Professionals Does Not Change the Overall Trend
The current slump of the cryptocurrency market should not overshadow the fact that Bitcoin has grown by 500% from January 2017 to the present moment, as reminded by eToro analyst Mati Greenspan. And this is in just less than two years. For comparison: gold, like the S&P 500 index, took 21 years to show the worst result in the eyes of investors, during which the metal went up by only 310%. Therefore, the decline in demand for blockchain and cryptocurrency specialists, which is being hotly spoken of in the recruitment company Indeed, can be perceived just as calmly as the collapse of the cryptocurrency market in the form of a temporary phenomenon that is not a trend. And the pattern itself is confirmed by Indeed. According to it, from October 2017 to October 2018, that is, including many months of decline in the cryptocurrency market, employers’ interest in industry professionals has grown by 25.49%. It is curious that managers are more active in posting relevant vacancies than job seekers. The increase in the number of CVs in this area for the same period was only 3.06%. It also speaks of a shortage of specialists.
It is worth noting that there is gradually more and more understanding that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are interrelated things. As Bitfury Group Vice President George Kikvadze points out, “to deny such a truth means to think that you can ‘love’ the Internet but not accept the TCP/IP protocol.” Otherwise, this would mean that the well-known crypto critic Nouriel Roubini is right, who considered that “blockchain is no better than an Excel spreadsheet.”
Employers Are Ready to Offer Cryptocurrency Specialists a Salary Higher Than the Market Average
Experts give an idea on the current situation in the labor market of cryptocurrency industry specialists in two studies: Glassdoor and Hired. In Glassdoor, considering the situation from last year, they note a threefold growth in demand on the market. Hired pointed out that the most substantial shortage of such personnel was observed in the United States: there was a fourfold increase in demand. As a result, this led to the fact that the salary of a technician with such a profile in the United States is almost 30% higher than the average for IT market professionals, which is $137,000 per year. This data is consistent with the results of a study of the labor market conducted by Janco Associates.
Glassdoor compared the average annual income in the U.S. (median), which is $52,461, with how much they estimate a specialist in the cryptocurrency industry actually earns. It turned out that such specialists earned $84,884, which is 1.6 times higher. Such dynamics are caused, among other things, by the fact that demand has started coming from the traditional IT sector companies, ranging from IBM and Microsoft to Amazon and Facebook.
The Hunt for Professionals Is in Full Swing
In the cryptocurrency space, Gemini and Coinbase have become landmark employers. Moreover, the case of Coinbase is remarkable. While losing customers to the competition, the crypto exchange has started losing some key top managers. During the second half of October, five people left the organization, but does this mean a crisis in the industry? Not at all. For example, Adam White, after having left Coinbase, took the position of a Vice President of operations at Bakkt, explaining that he saw more potential in attracting institutional investors to cryptocurrencies there than at Coinbase.
Old-Timers and the New Potential Points of Growth in Demand for Crypto Specialists: China and Russia
In terms of countries, the highest demand was recorded, in addition to the USA, in Great Britain, Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, and Germany. The British recruiting resource ITJobswatch shows that over the past six months, both the demand for blockchain specialists and their salaries have increased. But it is some other countries—namely, China and Russia—that have greater potential in this direction. Zhou Ping, head of research at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, writes that one of the main reasons for the lack of rapid pace of blockchain implementation in the national economy is the lack of specialists. By the way, this is also manifested in the “Chuanwei Zou case.” Analyst Zou critically examined cryptocurrencies on behalf of his employer, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), and, as a result, concluded that they are the future and went to work at Bitmain on the position of chief economist.
In Russia, where the share of Bitcoin in GDP was estimated to be at least 5%, there is an interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The U.S. sanctions may increase interest in these topics. On the other hand, Russia needs a clear understanding of how local authorities will regulate this area. Be that as it may, cryptocurrency professionals who fall under the section “Information and Communication Technology Specialists” are entitled to rely on the highest salaries in the Russian economy.
Work in the Crypto Industry: Love at First Sight
The arrival of specialists into the industry is an interesting phenomenon to observe, as they can look for employment opportunities, or are engaged in starting a business. Mike Dudas, the creator of cryptocurrency startups, said that he left the industry after reading one article about cryptocurrencies. He stresses that despite any circumstances in the market, he is glad that he made such a choice. Changpeng Zhao, in the midst of a “cryptocurrency winter,” recalls that he sold his last real estate three years ago and bought Bitcoin, after which it fell sharply in price. His belief in new financial technologies, however, was justified, as he was able to leverage out three times the amount of money in a short time, spending part of the funds to buy the best of real estate. It was this personal story that eventually led him to the idea of creating the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. Brian Norgard, a key top product manager for the Tinder application, quit his job to participate in a cryptocurrency startup, as he saw that this industry was at the very beginning of a great and flourishing market.
The newcomers in the crypto industry are not disappointed, despite seeing a decline in the market. This suggests that they are fundamentally guided by the fact that cryptocurrencies are a way to save money, as well as pay for goods in the future. Dudas believes that “we are six months from being able to buy our Starbucks lattes with cryptocurrency!" Ric Edelman, a man who joined Bitwise in October and was called “top Wall Street advisor” by the American television channel CNBC, continues to be confident in the correctness of his choice.
Just the Beginning
Further prospects for the labor market for cryptocurrency experts look quite promising. As analysts at KPMG and the American crypto exchange Coinbase note, the first stage of the industry’s development is “investment & speculation,” which is about to conclude, and the “institutionalization” stage is coming. The development of the infrastructure of the industry and the arrival of institutional investors has already begun, but this process will develop most actively in 2019, as billionaire investor Mike Novogratz is also convinced, who lured off the top manager of Goldman Sachs to work for him in November.
The best specialists are indeed being attracted to work in the crypto industry, including those with experience in public service. Perkin Coie, an international law firm, invited Kari Larsen, a former employee of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to work at the blockchain department, and she became a partner of the organization.
Analyst Gerald Fenech notes the fact that banks will start racing after cryptocurrency companies in 2019, and this will create strong demand for specialists in this new area for most credit organizations. The reason is obvious: banks are trying to find ways to survive when decentralized blockchain platforms are starting to perform their functions more effectively. At the same time, new financial technologies are a phenomenon that will lead to a reduction in employment in most other non-related industries.