In brief

  • The blockchain and cryptocurrency industry is experiencing meteoric growth, but there's a shortage of talented hires to fill vacancies at crypto firms.
  • Blockchain is the most in-demand hard skill of 2020, according to LinkedIn.
  • For jobseekers, there are opportunities to work at some of the biggest names in the industry.

If there's one thing that can be said with absolute certainty about the cryptocurrency industry, it's that it's growing at breakneck speed.

In the last decade, blockchain and cryptocurrency has gone from an obscure field populated by cypherpunks, cryptographers, and developers, to a phenomenon that’s widely expected to disrupt industries across the globe. 

It’s a common misconception that you need to be some sort of computer whiz to make a career in the industry—which certainly isn't the case in 2020.

The industry is struggling with the fact that there are more jobs than there are people to fill them. Because of this, crypto firms are now taking it upon themselves to break down the barriers to entry and make the industry more accessible and more attractive than ever before—meaning that now is a great time to embark on a career in crypto.

Help develop future technologies

Most blockchain platforms are still very much a work in progress, while the majority of crypto firms have only reached a tiny fraction of their potential.

Current estimates indicate that the global cryptocurrency market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32% between now and 2024, while the overall size of the global blockchain industry is slated to reach $39.7 billion by 2025—equivalent to a CAGR of 67.3% between 2020 and 2025.

Blockchain engineers typically earn over $100,000/yr, compared to around $77,000 for a standard developer. (Image: Hired)

This projected growth positions the crypto industry as a potentially lucrative one to enter, particularly when you consider that many crypto firms are having a hard time finding skilled talent to fill their open positions. This has led to a wage war of sorts, as competition for talent has forced crypto firms to offer up top dollar for qualified candidates.

This means that many working in the crypto industry can expect to earn more than they might have for a similar job in other industries—particularly for blockchain engineers. Based on data provided by Hired, blockchain engineers can expect to earn north of $100,000 in most cases, compared to just $77,000 for a developer working in other sectors.

“There is a huge demand for experienced people from companies moving into the [blockchain] space.”

Addison Huegel

“Blockchain and crypto will be one of the biggest growth industries in the coming years, especially in developing regions like Africa, SE Asia, and South America,” Addison Huegel, principal of blockchain marketing firm BlockGroup, told Decrypt. “It’s a separate industry from tech, finance, and software, so there is a huge demand for experienced people from companies moving into the space.” 

Learn desirable skills

According to a recent report by LinkedIn, blockchain is the most in-demand hard skill that employers are looking for in 2020—beating out other options like artificial intelligence, affiliate marketing, and cloud computing.

However, because the industry is so new, would-be applicants might mistakenly believe that they need to complete one of the newfangled blockchain degrees or volunteer at a crypto firm for an indeterminate amount of time to make their start in the industry. Fortunately, this is rarely the case.

“Crypto needs everyone from engineers to marketers to customer support,” said JP Richardson, co-founder and CEO of Exodus.io. “What’s more important is a genuine interest in crypto, which is still volatile and young.

Many crypto firms are willing to accept applications from individuals with little to no knowledge on the subject, so long as they have demonstrated proficiency in similar fields. As an example, it's quite possible to get a job working in decentralized finance if you've got a finance degree, while people skills, an eagerness to learn, and marketing experience can get you set up in the industry in no time—since most firms are heavily oriented towards growth, user acquisition and sales.

"As clichéd as it may sound: The key skill for entering the industry is to be able to embrace change and not be scared of it,” Eric Demuth, co-founder and CEO of crypto exchange Bitpanda, told Decrypt. “We now have over 200 talented people from around the world working at Bitpanda and every day poses a new challenge; the company is evolving and so is the industry. We’re growing up, and that’s something we see as a positive thing rather than something negative." 

"The key skill for entering the industry is to be able to embrace change and not be scared of it."

Eric Demuth

Many crypto firms offer entry-level positions or internships to help train suitable candidates up for more demanding roles, while some also accept general applications—and will potentially open a custom position for the right applicant.

There’s also a wealth of educational material available, which can help job seekers brush up on their knowledge before jumping into the industry.

Get paid for your work in cryptocurrency

Although most firms in the cryptocurrency sector still don't offer payment in cryptocurrencies, the process is now becoming easier thanks to platforms like BitWage and PaymentX, which help employers pay their workers in cryptocurrencies by automating and streamlining the process.

Receiving salary or other work-related payments in cryptocurrencies can be beneficial for some employees. Payments made in cryptocurrencies are typically processed and confirmed within just minutes—compared to hours or days for wire transfers—allowing users to get their hands on their money much faster. Crypto payments also typically have low to no processing fees, allowing workers to avoid the sometimes high fees that can come with accepting international bank transfers or receiving payments through a payment processor.

Taking part or all of your salary in cryptocurrency is an increasingly feasible option (Image: Pexels)

It isn't just faster and more cost-effective; there’s also a financial incentive to get paid in cryptocurrencies too.

According to dcaBTC—a site that helps you calculate how much your investment would be worth now if you gradually invested in BTC from an earlier date—anybody who'd received their monthly salary payments in Bitcoin from the beginning of this year would now have a profit of around 10%. Scaling this further back, anybody that averaged into Bitcoin using their salary from the start of 2019 would have made a profit of almost 40% by now.

Of course, it’s important to point out that the price of cryptocurrencies can go down as well as up, so taking your entire salary in crypto could be a bold—or foolhardy—venture. Instead, stablecoin payouts can be a simple way to completely avoid the risk of price volatility while still benefiting from the efficiency that comes with taking your pay packet in cryptocurrency.

Which crypto firms are hiring now?

The past few months have been a worrisome time for many companies, with coronavirus-related lockdowns causing businesses to close premises and institute hiring freezes. Those that can have mostly transitioned to a remote working setup.

Crypto businesses have proven to be remarkably resilient in the face of the pandemic, with many firms having already adopted a remote-first approach. That means they’re well-equipped to scale up their operations by hiring in remote talent.

Some of the industry's biggest names have recently opened up positions ranging from entry-level to middle-management and above. For instance, Bitpanda has a range of engineering and business development vacancies open, as well as a new internship program. Likewise, Binance—currently the largest cryptocurrency spot exchange—is also hiring. The exchange behemoth currently has remote positions open for various marketing and entry-level design roles, and is also on the lookout for an animator and video creator.

For those with a knack for marketing, BlockGroup is taking spontaneous applications from account managers, social media growth hackers, and anyone else passionate about marketing and crypto, while Exodus has positions open for several fully remote engineering roles.