The Cryptocurrency Industry & Coronavirus

Perhaps this is naive on my part as a 30 year old American, but I don’t recall a situation in the past where the very fabric of everyday life has seen so much upheaval (with likely more on the way).

Schools are closed. Sports are cancelled. Travel is postponed. The markets are crashing. Hell, you can’t even buy toilet paper anymore.

In the grand scheme of things, the world of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is a blip on the radar for most, especially when it comes to the emerging coronavirus situation. But I happen to run a recruiting firm that works exclusively with companies in the Bitcoin/crypto industry, so you best believe I’m paying attention to how coronavirus is impacting the industry.

Yesterday as I was rapidly scrolling through Twitter like the dopamine addict that I am, I came across David Hoffman’s tweet on how coronavirus might affect the crypto industry.

As someone who has the chance to work with about 20 different companies in the crypto industry and hundreds of job seekers at a time, I figured I’d provide some thoughts as to the good and the bad of this situation. Hopefully this is helpful perspective, from the eyes of a recruiting firm owner.

The Good

The cryptocurrency industry is primarily built on the back of Bitcoin, in one form or another. Bitcoin happens to be “decentralized” and “digital”, so it would make sense that companies in the industry are primarily decentralized and digital, right?

While I’d venture to say the majority of companies in the crypto industry are not fully remote, decentralized teams, many companies have had some type of work from home policy in place for an extended period of time.

The industry is primarily comprised of young companies (Bitcoin has been around for about 11 years and most of the well-known firms have been in existence for less than 7 years), with young founders, who have modern technology stacks and a predisposition to virtual flexibility.

Due to the already modern nature of companies in the crypto industry, the transition from office work to remote work should be relatively seamless.

For example, Coinbase published their planning and response to COVID-2019 on March 3rd which included “suggested” work from home for all employees, globally.

Effective Monday, 9 March, Coinbase will move to our tier 1 posture, including optional — but suggested — work from home for all employees globally. If you want to work from home, please partner with your manager to work out the details.

From time of announcement to the implementation of their response, it took Coinbase, one of the largest companies in the industry, less than a week.

Adding to the industries relative ease switching to remote work, we should also take into consideration what the majority of jobs are comprised of. The crypto industry is almost entirely comprised of blue-collar positions. Software engineers, product managers, marketers, sales, operations, executives.

The necessity of face-to-face contact for performing one’s duties is not essential and can typically be replaced by Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.

While many industries around the world will likely be decimated by the challenges presented due to coronavirus, IE travel, restaurants, hospitality, sports, events, etc, the cryptocurrency industry appears much less vulnerable. But is that fully the case?

The Bad

Interest is the cryptocurrency industry, at least from a hiring perspective, is highly correlated with the price of Bitcoin.

As seen in the image above, the number of professionals searching for jobs in Bitcoin, crypto and blockchain tends to rise when the price of Bitcoin (see 2017’s 326% increase in job searches), while searches dwindled following the 2017 bull run.

So, how is the global uncertainty affecting the cryptocurrency markets?

Bitcoin and crypto prices from COVID-19
7 Day Performance YIKES

While I’m red/green colorblind, even I can see how the market has performed in the last 7 days.

Surely, the price collapse of Bitcoin (and the other cryptocurrencies), primarily taking place on March 12th, isn’t the end of the world. It’s not like Bitcoin all of the sudden stopped producing blocks. But negative prices tend to have a negative impact on the industry at large.

Perception is everything and the perception of Bitcoin following a 50% price dive, after many industry pundits have been pitching the asset as everything from digital gold, to the world’s best store of value, to totally uncorrelated, to a decentralized safe haven, has taken a hit.

Outside of asset prices, the only area of the industry that’s effectively unable to operate are the events.

Consensus 2020, the cryptocurrency industry’s flagship event is moving “virtual”. Numerous other events have either been cancelled or moved virtually.

While I feel terrible for the companies and individuals that hold these events, which usually make up a massive portion of company revenue, I don’t think the cancellation of said events will have any material impact on the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency at large.

Where to from here?

As the industry moves forward in the face of coronavirus, I believe we are at a point where work will likely continue as usual. Thankfully, the blue-collar, modern nature of the crypto industry’s work force should be less impacted than other industries that rely more heavily on face-to-face contact and in-person meetings.

However, I’ll be keeping an eye on the overall perception of the industry from job seekers and the psyche of hiring companies if we continue to see wild price swings, especially towards the downside.

Most crypto industry participants have already seen similar swings to the past week, but that’s usually been contained to the crypto markets. This time is different due to the life changing impacts of coronavirus for so many people.

All of these details are relatively meaningless without health and safety, so we wish you and your family the best in this general time of uncertainty.

Proof of Talent

For the companies and job seekers who are still trucking on in the face of adversity, we’re here to help.

Hiring companies: Proof of Talent works with over 15 companies in the Bitcoin, crypto and blockchain industry to support their hiring goals. We pride ourselves on our ability to identify, source and qualify hard-to-find talent that you need to grow your business. If you’re hiring and need support, email [email protected]!

Job seekers: Looking for a new career in the crypto industry? We’re here to help you find the ideal next step in your journey. Submit your resume on our site and our Senior Recruiter will reach out to you to assist you in your job search.