Why The Crypto Community Is Paving The Way For Digital Nomads And Remote Work
Last April, I attended a Summit event in Tulum, Mexico.
While there, I met a guy who had been couch surfing around the world for the past seven years, living a very minimalist lifestyle and funding it all through crypto.
That lifestyle may sound wild to anyone with a nine-to-five, but he’s hardly an anomaly.
There are plenty of people who’ve been getting paid in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for years.
And if you look at that community, many of them are independent contractors who work in a decentralized, distributed fashion.
They’re leading the way in the digital nomad movement, the use of foreign transactions and a radical change in lifestyle.
Here’s why going remote is gaining so much traction in the crypto space, and why more and more of us will soon have the option for decentralized work:
There’s a closely held historical relationship between people participating in the cryptocurrency evolution and digital nomads.
The crypto community is naturally decentralized and distributed across the globe because nationality doesn’t predict who will be attracted to new technology and ways of thinking.
So, as people begin looking for a community of like-minded individuals, they have to push past borders, getting to know people around the world, attending conferences together and sharing knowledge.
One reason this community has grown so quickly in the space is that the crypto and blockchain projects people work on are usually at a global scale, so they quickly gain users from around the world.
Not surprisingly, regulations also play a role as they vary greatly from country to country. People tend to move to where they’re actually allowed to undertake crypto projects, and spoiler alert, that’s not New York. Instead, they’re going to Thailand, Singapore or Puerto Rico. But because many people have to move around, they tend to adjust their lifestyle to that constant motion.
Of course, the technologies that support and enable this type of remote work have come into their own over the last decade. If all your work can be done from a laptop — including holding meetings — then it doesn’t make quite as much sense to stay in one geographic location. This is especially true now that a universal currency has entered the field.
Crypto will soon allow remote workers to manage foreign payments more seamlessly.
Most remote workers in the space are being paid with a mix of denominations and cryptocurrencies.
At the moment, it’s still difficult to juggle all of those payments, especially with the crypto tax implications in countries like the U.S. But that doesn’t mean the space will stay that way. People are working on concepts like Lightning Network and stable coins that will become the backbone of frictionless payments.
Once that happens, digital nomads will begin to have a better idea about local exchange rates on a global scale. It will be easier to agree on the value of a coin or currency, and that’s going to make it easier to travel while working.
I’m really intrigued by the possibility of traveling around, cashing in, cashing out and seamlessly knowing exchange rates throughout a trip. As it becomes simpler to use crypto worldwide, the number of people who will be able to travel and live that nomadic life while working will only increase.
As the community rethinks the financial system, it’s creating space to rethink all aspects of lifestyle.
The shift in work and lifestyle is already happening.
Take Basecamp, for example. Their entire team is distributed, and they’ve been in business for 20 years without following the standard path of getting an office and focusing on continuous, unlimited growth.
The best talent isn’t grouped in one geographic area. And even when talent does become concentrated in one spot, that in itself causes plenty of problems.
Just look at San Francisco. The tech industry there has created a cutthroat climate where people are constantly job hopping for better pay and perks. Why would you locate yourself right next to all of the companies that want to poach your talent? Not to mention, an influx of people generates an absurd living environment for anyone who wants to work in that area.
People are finally waking up and realizing it makes no sense to spend half their salary to live in a shoebox, or to commute two hours both ways for a job.
Remote work gives people access to a different type of lifestyle — one where getting a corner office in a massive city is no longer a marker of success.
Instead, success is measured by being able to do what you want, where you want, when you want.
Now, “making it” may look like someone who lives in a beautiful small town somewhere in the mountains or on the beach. They get their work done and explore the world around them with the rest of their day.
As lifestyle changes, so will the future of work.
I’m loving how many companies I see embracing remote work and accepting reality, as opposed to digging in their heels and holding on to values that made sense 20 to 30 years ago.
For many people, the idea of buying a house and settling down is either outdated or simply out of reach. Even for people who want to go that route, the environment is not set up in the same way it was for their parents. It’s no longer easy to buy a house, knowing you’ll be working for the same company, or at least in the same city, for a decade.
That may be an aspect of a changing world we have to learn to live with and make the most of.
Personally, I’m embracing that change. I currently work with a network of freelancers — about 50 people — and our commitment to each other and our projects is more than most traditional, full-time jobs could hope to cultivate. It just goes to show that if you compensate people with what they deserve and allow them to conduct their lives the way they want to, you’ll retain talent.
Digital nomad doesn’t mean disconnected or unmotivated. It just means people are no longer tied down to one spot.
And in my opinion, that only opens up more opportunity for everyone.