The job market in the bitcoin and crypto industry has exploded over the last 12 months. My team and I have built a standalone business that has become the largest employment and training company in the space. I asked Colton Sakamoto, CEO of that business, to put together a report on the trends in 2021. Below is the report. Enjoy!
2021 was an inflection point that accelerated mass adoption of Bitcoin and crypto. Led by El Salvador making bitcoin legal tender, Coinbase going public, and Square rebranding to Block, Bitcoin and crypto took the world by storm.
Out of fear of being unseated, the incumbents were also forced to adopt a Bitcoin and crypto strategy. Facebook underwent a rebrand and changed their name to Meta. Fintech companies like Robinhood, Webull, and SoFi adjusted their stances to accommodate crypto users. Even legacy financial institutions including Blackrock, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and State Street added or expanded their bitcoin and crypto offerings.
With disruption comes opportunity. In 2021, thousands of the brightest minds around the world left their jobs to join the Bitcoin and crypto revolution. According to LinkedIn, Bitcoin and Crypto job postings grew 395% in 2021, representing more than 3x the growth of the broader tech industry.
“Bitcoin changes absolutely everything. I don’t think there is anything more important in my lifetime to work on” - Jack Dorsey, CEO of Block, Inc.
Top talent is pouring into the Bitcoin and crypto industry. Here’s what the Bitcoin and crypto job market looked like in 2021:
Estimations of hiring in 2021 put the total well above 10,000 people joining the Bitcoin and crypto industry. The Block collected responses from just 27 crypto firms and discovered that the interviewed companies hired 8,400 people in 2021. A LinkedIn “crypto” search reveals close to 200,000 people working in the industry in total. Job seeker demand for the crypto industry continues to rise, and new openings are quickly filled.
“It feels a bit like the 1990s and the birth of the internet all over again. It’s that early, that chaotic and that much full of opportunity” -Sridhar Ramaswamy, CEO, Neeva
Exchanges were responsible for the most hires
Coinbase - 1,532
Binance - 1,500
Kraken - 1,035
BlockFi - 520
Gemini - 402
As retail demand for digital assets exploded in 2021, so did headcount at crypto exchanges. Coinbase more than doubled their headcount over the past year, and they expect to continue to hire aggressively in 2022. Retail demand drives infrastructure, and infrastructure drives hiring.
“Even though Kraken has increased its headcount by 50% since the start of the year — and we have plans to hire a further 1,200 in the second half of 2021 — our demand for staff continues to outpace the supply of suitable candidates,” - David Ripley, CEO, Kraken
All skill sets needed
There is a common misconception that bitcoin and crypto companies are only looking for shadowy super coders. 2021 job data ran counter to this narrative. Accounting, Marketing, Sales, and Business Development openings were on the rise in 2021, and we can expect the continuation of this trend as more startups are formed, more companies go public, and job seeker interest continues to rise.
36% of all crypto job postings allow for remote work, compared to just 7% for all other US job postings. Led by companies without headquarters like Coinbase and Kraken, crypto companies are looking for top talent and are often location agnostic. Gone are the days of commuting to a 9-5. Remote work is here to stay, and the crypto industry is leading the charge for remote-first work.
$30B in Venture Capital Funding
Venture funding in 2021 went parabolic in the crypto sector as VCs continue to place big bets on bitcoin and crypto companies. The crypto industry received more than $30B in funding across 1,700 deals in 2021, which represents a 709% year-over-year increase in total funding.
“The investments I’m making now are not in traditional businesses. In fact, 80% of the investments that I make that are not on ‘Shark Tank’ are in or around cryptocurrencies.” - Mark Cuban (Source)
$6B in Mergers & Acquisition Activity
2021 was also a big year for crypto mergers and acquisitions. The sector saw over $6B in M&A volume in 2021, which is a 730% year-on-year increase and is approximately 2x the amount of the industry’s previous 8 years combined.
“Bridge transactions” — deals between more traditional companies and crypto firms, rapidly accelerated in 2021. Some examples include Nike buying virtual products company KTFKT and Robinhood acquiring cross-exchange crypto trading platform Cove.
65+ companies in the crypto sector have reached unicorn status with a valuation of $1B or more
The past year created more unicorns than the previous 4 years combined. Entrepreneurs across the globe are taking risks and starting companies to solve real-world problems.
In 2021, crypto companies took invested capital and used it to build successful teams. With an increase in funding, crypto companies are now able to go toe-to-toe with top tech companies for talent, often paying equal salaries and offering greater potential upside.
“It’s not necessarily the case that you have to go take one-third of your Big Tech salary anymore, because a lot of these (crypto) companies are so well capitalized” - Evan Cheng, CEO, Mysten Labs
We are at an inflection point in history, where a better financial system is being built to replace the antiquated system. Talent is leaving the top companies of today to build the companies of tomorrow. 2021 was a massive year for the Bitcoin and crypto job market, and 2022 looks to be a continuation of the trend.
As bitcoin and crypto continue to go mainstream, we can expect more companies to go public, more startups forming, and job openings continuing to grow at an exponential rate.
Want to join the revolution and don’t know where to start?
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I hope this report was valuable for each of you. Hope you have a great start to your day. Talk to you tomorrow.
SPONSORED: Bitwise is one of the largest and fastest-growing crypto asset managers. As of December 31, 2021, the company managed over $1.3 billion across an expanding suite of investment solutions, which include the world's largest crypto index fund and other innovative products spanning Bitcoin, Ethereum, DeFi, and crypto equities. Whether you’re an individual, advisor, or institution, Bitwise provides intelligent access to crypto with your unique circumstances in mind. Visit www.bitwiseinvestments.com to learn more.
Certain of the Bitwise investment products may be subject to the extreme risks associated with investing in crypto assets. Visit www.bitwiseinvestments.com/disclosures/ to learn more.
Dylan LeClair is the Senior Market Analyst at UTXO Management, a digital asset fund investing in the analog to digital transformation of money and the emergent financial system.
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