If you work in the tech industry, there’s a good chance that some of your co-workers or even managers have vacated their positions to work at a crypto company.
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Many typical Silicon Valley companies have placed a freeze on new hires and workers report higher rates of burnout. This stress is likely related to many workers being at odds with leadership over return-to-office plans. Most workers prefer to have greater flexibility where they work. The stock market dipping into bear territory has soured the mood further.
Crypto Jobs and Bears
Let’s address the bear in the room: in light of the market, some larger crypto companies have announced hiring freezes and layoffs and even rescinded offers. However, many crypto companies (including Hiro) are still hiring. In general, early-stage and pre-revenue companies will be less impacted by the macro environment. Later stage companies, and especially public companies, will face much higher pressure to react to any downturns.
In some ways, a bear market is actually a great time to be heads down and focus on building. During bull runs, there is a lot of hype and desire to make most of the attention –which can sometimes be a distraction. Bear markets can also weed out bad actors, those in crypto for the wrong reasons, or those who want to make a quick buck.
Those with a longer-term view, teams that are purpose-driven, and strong at execution will remain standing. Crypto is cyclical, much like the broader economy. Just like a lot of the biggest companies of today have their roots in the post dotcom era, many of the biggest crypto companies will likely be born during this bear market.
Crypto jobs: Why join now
I made the jump into crypto from Silicon Valley company Dropbox, where I led engineering for Intelligence. I joined the Web3 tools company Hiro. So I’m often asked about working in crypto. Here are three reasons why now, even amidst a market correction, is a good time for tech workers to join a crypto firm.
1. You’ll work on something innovative
In my 10 years in Silicon Valley, I never felt the sense that innovation was happening all around me. The Bay Area has been an innovation engine for the past few decades. But over the past five to 10 years, a number of factors are chipping away at any advantage it may have had. Some of that might be cultural.
At some level, most Silicon Valley startups and companies all start to look the same after some point. They fall into the typical playbook of a Series A company that focuses on growth. The careers that are formed in Silicon Valley are basically, “I did growth at Uber, so I’ll do growth hacking at Lyft or Cruise.” People fall into these patterns.
In the crypto industry, there is a lot of experimentation, and of course a lot of bad ideas, but that’s the process of innovation unfolding. Better yet, this innovation is coming at a pace that I have not experienced before. If you are the type of person who likes to feel you’re at the edge of the frontier, where there is creativity, problem-solving, and experimentation, the crypto industry is for you.
2. You’re more likely to be rewarded for success
There is a sense that a traditional company is more secure and has a more predictable path to success. For most people, however, unless they get lucky, their financial outcomes will be marginal.
I joined Dropbox in 2015, and the company went public in 2018 at a price above expectations. The windfall never reached most employees. I had led a fairly large team there, so you’d assume that I would have done well from the IPO. However, the reality is that venture capital money drives valuations high. The people working at Dropbox got restricted stock units (RSUs) that were priced higher than the current Dropbox share prices. Most of my RSUs are now underwater. Additionally, if someone gets stock options, they need to remain in their job to exercise those stock options.
Then there are extreme cases, like what happened to employees of one-click checkout company Bolt Financial. The company, which had an $11 billion valuation, offered loans to employees to exercise their stock options. But when its valuation crashed, the company laid off a third of its workforce. The small number of laid-off workers who took out loans had to repay them within 90 days.
My takeaway from my experience as well as others’ is that technology workers’ financial outcomes, even at a traditionally successful company, depend on so many factors outside our control. If that’s the case, then you can be lucky anywhere, including at crypto companies. At Hiro, the tokens we offer employees in place of stock options have no cliff and are already liquid.
3. You’re likely to have an interesting experience no matter what
As technology workers, we should acknowledge that we are lucky to work in an industry where the absolute worst-case scenario is that you take home a good paycheck and an interesting story. Compared to many other industries, that worst case scenario is actually positive. Given that, I tend to think about optimizing for the upside, rather than protecting against the downside.
The upside of joining the crypto industry for me was that it felt like an experiment. I, along with most in the technology space, had the comfort of knowing I could always go back to Google, Meta, Microsoft, or a regular Silicon Valley startup.
Ask yourself: What do you have to lose by working in crypto? If crypto has even a 1 percent chance of transforming how the world or the internet works, why not be on the frontlines? Take the chance.
About the author
Diwaker Gupta is the CTO of Hiro. He is passionate about applying technology to have a meaningful, positive impact. Hiro is a company for developers, built by developers. The name is taken from the hacker “Hiro Protagonist” from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.
All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.
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