Polychain CEO: Tech Giants are Losing Talent to Cryptocurrency Startups

Blockchain Consensus

While large technology giants like Google and Facebook may provide their employees with great benefits and perks, this is apparently not enough to keep many qualified developers from leaving Silicon Valley to explore the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries.

“What we’re seeing is an absolute exodus from many of these major tech giants like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Snapchat of really high-quality talent who are now starting cryptocurrency startups,” said Olaf Carlson-Wee, CEO of Polychain Capital, the world’s largest cryptocurrency investment fund.

According to Fortune, Carlson-Wee based his claim on the pattern he noticed in the San Francisco Bay area.

Carlson-Wee also mentioned in an interview with the Ledger that many people have decided to leave tech giants with their friends or colleagues to launch their own companies. “I do think it’s happening in ways where it has never happened before,” said Carlson-Wee.

Prices are a Poor Metric of the Growth of Cryptocurrencies

Carlson-Wee is confident and excited about the growth of the cryptocurrency industry. Bitcoin’s value currently sits at $6,277.89 as of July 15, 2018, which, unfortunately, is less than one-third of its all-time value of almost $20,000 in December 2018. While Bitcoin’s falling prices cause great fear and despair for many cryptocurrency investors, Carlson-Wee believes that price is a poor metric of the growth of the cryptocurrency industry.

“What I pay attention to is not the month-to-month market prices of assets but developer momentum around building novel applications,” said Carlson-Wee. Carlson-Wee also mentioned in the interview that he looks at GitHub repositories and the number of projects forked to assess developer enthusiasm in the industry. He noted that after joining the cryptocurrency industry in 2011, levels of developer enthusiasm for the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector are unprecedentedly high.

Although the number of engineers who know how to code on the blockchain is currently quite low, Carlson-Wee sees a bright future for the industry. He commented on a few different projects. One is Dfinity, which focuses on blockchain interoperability, and WASM compiler, which helps developers build blockchains using existing programming languages.

Carlson-Wee is confident that these tools could increase the number of people working in the blockchain industry by ten-fold. Furthermore, the Polychain CEO also believes that the blockchain sector could be the first industry built by outsiders, rather than specialists in the tech or finance industry.

“The best stuff is being built by people who sound deeply unqualified to be doing what they’re doing,” said Carlson-Wee.

Wall Street and Fintech Lose Talent to Crypto Startups As Well

Speaking of finance, tech giants are not the only companies losing talent to cryptocurrency and blockchain startups. According to Bloomberg, many large cryptocurrency exchanges like BitFlyer have been looking to poach talent from Wall Street as they aim to grow and expand internationally.

“My target is to be number one in the world,” said Yuzo Kano, the founder of BitFlyer. “To get there, I need to grow headcount. And those with the best skills come from global banks.”

Razin Ashraf, the head of recruiting firm Divine Solutions Japan, shared a similar opinion. He believes that cryptocurrency companies are always looking for people from the finance sector so they can fill in important roles like business development, account management, operations, account management and compliance.

A great example is Steven Hunt’s recent move in May 2018 from Chief Technology Officer of Jump Trading to the Vice President of Engineering at Kraken. Hunt is now responsible for ensuring that Kraken’s system remains operational.

“Where a Wall Street vet may not have the most relevant experience (i.e cryptocurrency gateways), they could certainly help us with trading system technology,” said Jesse Powell the CEO of Kraken to Business Insider.

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