Cryptos and the Blockchain — what does it mean for tech jobs?

by Cameron Blackwood, Client Executive at talent.io

“Bitcoin hits record high”

“Smart contracts will revolutionise payment processes”

“LiteCoin gains over 1,500% in one year”

You’ve seen the headlines. Chances are, you’ve at least considered investing in cryptocurrencies — exchanges providing the ability to trade them have seen huge growth recently — the volume of cryptocurrency trades increased on Etoro by 4,500% in the last year. American potential retirees are putting their entire pension pot into cryptocurrency based IRAs. It’s a dream investment for many — if you bought one bitcoin in February 2011, you’d have paid $1. Today (1/09/2017), the value would be $4,886.95. Pretty simple maths, but that’s an ROI of 4,886% — aka a little better than your savings account.

What the headlines don’t focus on however, is why the value of cryptocurrencies are skyrocketing — and what it means for the employment market.

Simply put, these currencies are the future. By utilising the blockchain (a secure network where virtual transactions are verified repeatedly), payments can be made seamlessly, without the need for a third party — and more importantly, no associated cost — meaning time and money is saved, with the additional bonus of the whole transaction taking place in a single currency.

So, onto the main point — what does this mean for tech jobs? In short, tons of exciting startups are jumping on the blockchain train. The appropriately named London based startup “Blockchain”, a specialist in BitCoin payments, recently raised an additional $40m in funding, bringing their total funding to in excess of $70m. Multiple members of Level 39, a prestigious tech community based in the heart of Canary Wharf, are blockchain companies — all experiencing very high growth. If you perform a job search for “Blockchain Developer” in London you receive in excess of 200 current vacancies. In short, this isn’t going to stop. The other aspect of this to consider is that it isn’t just direct blockchain development roles that will be required. As more blockchain related startups receive funding and grow, they will require general engineers too — a “ripple effect” (pun intended) on the employment market.

What is for sure is that blockchain is not going to be stopped, and the increase in jobs will continue. Uptake of cryptocurrency payments in e-commerce is still in its relative infancy in particular — as this happens, we will see a large influx of development roles associated. In the United Kingdom, we are seeing a monthly increase of 25% of blockchain development positions, according to Joblift. With a focus on London in particular, it brings a strong hope as large financial establishments begin to pledge to move to the continent — the FinTech revolution could be our economic saviour.

Sources:

CoinDesk. (2017). CoinDesk — Leader in blockchain news.. [online] Available at: http://www.coindesk.com [Accessed 1 Sep. 2017].
London startup Blockchain raises $40 million in fresh funding. [online] Available at: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-blockchain-funding/london-startup-blockchain-raises-40-million-in-fresh-funding-idUKKBN19D2OQ [Accessed 1 Sep. 2017].
Information Age. (2017). The UK’s blockchain job market growth. [online] Available at: http://The UK’s blockchain job market growth [Accessed 1 Sep. 2017].