Tech talent migrates to Web3 as large companies face layoffs

As inflation continues to rise, coupled with a looming recession, many tech companies need to cut parts of their staff. To put this into perspective, data from Layoffs.fyi found that more than 700 tech startups experienced layoffs this year, impacting at least 93,519 employees globally. It has also been reported that tech giants like Google, Netflix, and Apple are experiencing massive job cuts.

While many of these layoffs are likely due to an economic downturn, this has led to an overwhelming amount of talent pouring into Web3 companies early on. For example, Andrew Masanto, a serial entrepreneur who has founded numerous startups, told Cointelegraph that he recently launched Nillion, a startup specializing in decentralized computing, to help ensure the privacy and confidentiality of Web3 platforms.

Although Nillion is still in its early stages, the technological innovation behind the company has already proven to be interesting. Since the company’s inception in October of this year, top talent from companies like Nike, Indiegogo and Coinbase have joined the growing startup.

For example, Slava Rubin, founder of the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, told Cointelegraph that he recently joined Nillion as the company’s chief business officer thanks to the opportunity to join a startup with an innovative business model. .

“The technology behind Nillion is extremely innovative, as it focuses on the advancement of secure multi-party computing (MPC). MPC is known to be slow and unable to function in certain use cases. The risk of failure does not concern me in this case as it is a huge opportunity to solve this problem, ”she said.

The idea of ​​building technology to advance MPC also attracted Lindsay Danas Cohen to Nillion. Cohen previously served as associate general counsel at Coinbase before joining Nillion this year as the company’s general counsel.

Although Coinbase announced in June that it would cut staffing by 18%, Cohen explained in a recent blog post that he left Coinbase to join Nillion with the opportunity to help improve privacy and data sharing via MPC. “This would be true zero-to-one innovation,” she wrote.

As the cryptocurrency industry continues to face a bear market, it is clear that the projects under construction during this period are seen as an exciting opportunity. “I built Indiegogo during the 2008 bear market and I think we will see the same thing in this market. In about three to five years, we will see some very strong companies emerge that know how to use capital efficiently, ”Rubin noted.

Indeed, well-funded Web3 companies continue to hire, while large tech companies face layoffs and hiring freezes. Sebastien Borget, co-founder and chief operating officer of The Sandbox, told Cointelegraph that the popular metaverse platform currently has a total of 103 job vacancies. “The excitement of working front row on Web3 is great and we are enjoying this interest in our open positions,” he said.

According to Borget, The Sandbox has grown to 404 employees this year, nearly double its workforce of 208 employees it had in December 2021. Borget added that The Sandbox’s virtual real estate known as “LANDs” is now worth over $ 1 billion in total market capitalization.

Additionally, as Web3 companies continue to bring in both new and existing talent, young job seekers seem to show a greater desire to acquire the skills needed to join these companies.

Priyanka Mathikshara Mathialagan, president of the Stanford Blockchain Club, told Cointelegraph that she has seen an increasing number of undergraduate students at Stanford take blockchain-focused courses in preparation for careers after graduation.

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“This year, we had more students enrolled in Professor Dan Boneh’s cryptography course than those enrolled in traditional computer science courses,” he noted.

Despite the bear market, Mathialagan also believes that significant improvements have been made within the Web3 space, resulting in a more positive outlook towards the industry. For example, you mentioned that the Ethereum merger on September 15 helped ensure a more energy efficient platform, creating appeal for students who may want to leverage the Ethereum network for Web3 projects. Mathialagan added that while a large amount of theoretical research has been performed for years in fields such as computer science, the Ph.D. students are considering Web3 due to new advancement opportunities. She said:

“The math used in theoretical computer science and cryptography is similar to the math needed to advance zero-knowledge proof-based applications. Now there is an industry that wants to pay for a PhD. students for their research and capitalize on these results. For example, there is a great demand for distributed systems engineers as every single blockchain is truly a distributed system. These are the people who can design consensus algorithms and new scalable and secure blockchain architectures. ”

This appears to be the case, as Masanto shared that Nillion has hired 10 engineers in the past six months. Borget added that The Sandbox is currently hiring 17 engineers, along with game designers, architects, and others who can support brand building in the company’s metaverse.

Skepticism remains

While it is noteworthy that Web3 companies are actively hiring, a number of concerns remain. For example, although companies remain focused on building during a bear market, fundraising could be problematic.

That said, it’s important to point out that Nillion is currently being bootstrapped by its founding team. A spokesperson for Delphi Digital, a cryptocurrency-focused research firm, also told Cointelegraph that while the company is currently hiring on a general level, no funds have been raised.

“We have been completely blocked until now.” While impressive, running a business based on personal finances or operating revenues can be troubling for job seekers. For example, Mathialagan noted that students starting careers at Web3 want to be sure the company will exist in two to three years.

Jessica Walker, chief marketing officer of Fluid Finance, a fintech firm focused on the banking industry revolution with blockchain, also told Cointelegraph that it’s a waiting game to see which companies have the strongest communities and teams that can stand up to it. to the winter of cryptocurrencies, adding:

“It is important for organizations to build partnerships and launch products, while being able to budget overheads during this time.”

Furthermore, Mathialagan believes it is difficult for students, along with people from the Web2 industry, to connect with Web3 companies. For example, while companies like Nillion recruited people from organizations like Coinbase, Indiegogo, and Nike, Masanto shared that he already knew a handful of these people prior to hiring.

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Walker also noted that due to the bear market, recruiters need to pay more attention to detail when joining new team members. “Some uncertainty comes from new hires about the safety of their role, especially during a bear market. At Fluid, we often try to hire from our community first, ”she said.

While strategic, Mathialagan said the Stanford Blockchain Club is compiling a list of job postings to help students better connect with Web3 companies as more hires occur: “For students, hiring remains the biggest problem. , even beyond the security problems that Web3 companies face today. ”