It’s a bold new world, and as cryptocurrency gains mainstream street cred, there’s a sizzling gold rush in hiring.
According to a new Indeed report, searches for careers in cryptocurrency and blockchain (the technology which supports it) have spiked, and postings for careers in the field have jumped by 118 percent as of July 2021, compared with the previous year.
Michael Hearne, CEO of Decentral Publishing and creator of “Uncensored Crypto,” an online docuseries, isn’t surprised.
“The boom seems to be here for the foreseeable future,” said Hearne. “Startup.jobs, VentureLoop.com, Angel.co and Upwork.com are all easy-to-use jobs sites that feature new companies. The hottest trends and short-term growth opportunities are working with nonfungible tokens (NFTs), gaming and anything related to the metaverse.”
Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum and more) are worldwide digital currencies represented by virtual and physical tokens. They are secured by cryptography and don’t rely on banks; instead, currency is stored in digital wallets. Its worth varies like any other currency, and, with its market open 24/7, it can be traded round-the-clock.
Cryptocurrency relies on blockchain technology, essentially a digitally distributed public ledger. NFTs are also stored on a blockchain and are associated with digital files like photos, artwork, videos and audio.
“The goal is for cryptocurrency to function as its own monetary system,” said Hearne, who hopes that candidates will soon negotiate tokens the same way they negotiate salary.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams is ahead of that curve: Hizzoner made good on a promise by taking his first biweekly paycheck in cryptocurrencies Ethereum and Bitcoin. “New York is the center of the world, and we want it to be the center of cryptocurrency and other financial innovations,” Adams said. His dollars were converted via Coinbase, a crypto-exchange, since currently it’s illegal for US employees to get their salaries in cryptocurrency.
“The blockchain and cryptocurrency industries have been around for over 10 years, but they’re still considered early in the grand scheme of things,” said Hearne. “Candidates looking to take the leap have literally thousands of jobs to choose from.”
Here are some hot jobs in the space, and not all are technology based. All salaries listed are according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020.
Blockchain engineers maintain and support blockchain-based networks or applications such as cryptocurrency exchanges, payment processing, document sharing and more.
“You need to be a very good coder,” said Nagaldinne. “You need to build great software, which means common engineering skills whether you’ve done fintech in the past or not. Do you understand the database, the security layer, do you understand the back-end, developer tools? Those are transferable skills.”
Technical blockchain evangelist
This role requires comprehending the ins and outs of the platform and helping people discover it. Think of it as a product manager or marketing manager with technical-support capabilities — communication and critical-thinking skills are important to thrive.
Alvaro Cadena, head of talent at Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based Ava Labs, emphasized the importance of “proactive education” if you don’t already have direct experience in blockchain.
“The entire space of blockchains is open, and there’s no lack of education resources or ways to get involved on your terms with projects you’re interested in,” he said. “Passion wins when it comes to hiring in this space.”
Manager of partnerships
Consumer-facing companies typically have a partnerships team, like business development or partner management. NFT collections typically include numerous unique digital items that need to be tracked and put through quality control, so content management skills are critical, along with effective communication.
Jeff Zeller, senior director of NFT partnerships and business operations at Crypto.com, works with partners such as UFC and Philadelphia 76ers’ licensing teams, who are launching NFT collections on Crypto.com’s platform.
The Forest Hills resident said, “Similar to the agency world, the best way to build experience in partner management is by starting in an assistant capacity where you get broad exposure but also specific task ownership. Partner management is typically more closely aligned to marketing rather than sales, but being able to work closely with a sales organization is also necessary — the two are closely related.”
Salary: $161,050 (for sales managers)
As companies grow, infrastructure expands, too. Paxos currently has 240 global employees — and they’re hiring 400 new employees this year. With more than 40 recruiting positions available in their remote-first organization, Nagaldinne stresses that your commitment to curiosity is key. Previous work in the crypto space isn’t a prerequisite.
“If you have this level of curiosity and get really excited about this, and think this is the place you want to be, most companies would take you very seriously,” said Nagaldinne. “Tell a good story and simplify that, saying, ‘This is what the crypto world is going through, this is what blockchain does.’ And, know how to spot great talent.”
Experience typically involves search strategies, interview training, employer branding and the ability to develop strong relationships with hiring managers, coupled with a passion for diversity.
These roles usually require a couple of years of compliance work along with an understanding of anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions regulations, as well as experience in transaction monitoring, sanctions screening or client onboarding. Strong writing skills are important as documents are reviewed by regulators, auditors and law enforcement.
“Compliance hiring is on top of our minds every single day,” said Nagaldinne. “Do you understand AML, have you worked on these systems in the past, do you understand regulations in the US? Compliance is focused on the technical aspect of products and customers, where legal can be corporate development and other things.”