Challenges in the cryptocurrency sector (Part I) — Human Resource
Every business, regardless of the industry, faces its own set of challenges. They can be loosely put into two categories: Common and Industry Specific. Cryptocurrency sector is no different. In this piece, I want to focus on the largest pillar of almost any business — Human Resource and the Industry Specific challenges it brings.
Earlier this year, Commercium, under Anthony Clark’s leadership, began a process of restructuring its core team to adopt a strong industry-oriented executive, administrative, regulatory and advisory approach. This very restructure was inadvertently triggered by the very public resignation of one of the high-level core team members in April this year.
Many of us seem to forget that business is an entity in its own right, therefore, very much like you and me, it is faced with changes during its life-cycle. Businesses lose people and gain people, we also, throughout our lives, see people come and go. Whether in business or in life, those largely expected arrivals and inevitable departures can either be a source of new found strength or breed fragility and anxiety. In Commercium’s case, this unexpected departure didn’t weaken us, it made us stronger.
This brings me to my short list of some of the main HR challenges cryptocurrency sector faces today:
- (Very) Public engagement — crypto projects, more than any other business projects I can think of (and I have been involved in many) choose to openly engage with the community in a manner that is not widely adopted in the existing markets. Slack, Discord and other platforms ultimately act as business support functions, community outreach and source of news, all in one. Team members are often put under unnecessary pressure from a few unrelenting members of the public, which ultimately may lead, or at the very least, contribute to a resignation.
- ‘Cash’ is King — unless the project is a successful ICO with many ETH or BTC on their balance sheet, many blockchain projects are self funded, rely on community donations or on a pre-mine, which usually is worth very little to start with because the project is new and slowly building on its White Paper and roadmap promises. This may bring many challenges to the ability to build and retain a team around any project especially skilled blockchain developers who are so very few and far between.
- As and when — in direct link to the point above, many team members continue with their day to day life and fit their crypto-project responsibilities in between main job, family, and hobbies. Those who experience some serious balancing difficulties and/or pressures from their loved ones may also be more prone to giving their crypto project up, which results in higher than normal attrition rates in the industry.
- ‘Oh! Look at this shiny new thing!’ — blockchain and cryptocurrencies have inspired a whole new wave of entrepreneurs. More often than expected, you will see that some of the team members you may have seen fulfilling some (usually) non-exec function in one project, suddenly appear to be promoting their own ICO, building their own app or getting appointed to a senior level role in another project. Let’s just say that team/project loyalty is a rarity in the crypto projects sphere.
- Hi, my name is @gr3a7 — to my surprise, digital anonymity in the cryptosphere projects continues to be quite popular. Team members that choose to remain anonymous and go by their online usernames unfortunately no longer inspire the level of confidence they once projected. Crypto is moving into the real world and the legend of Satoshi Nakamoto cannot be replicated. Unsurprisingly, some projects choose to continue to work with anonymous team members simply because finding and retaining good development talent in this industry is extremely difficult.
I briefly contemplated adding ‘Lack of professionalism’ as point no 6, however, this is probably the most common challenge any business faces, therefore, it would not meet the Industry specific criteria this blog entry is about.
I would like to hear your views with regards to the challenges you and your projects are facing or may have faced in the past.
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