Is blockchain the next big tech career?
Blockchain’s popularity can be traced back to the creation of Bitcoin, the first decentralised cryptocurrency, in 2009.
As Bitcoin’s underlying technology, it became synonymous with cryptocurrencies, and it wasn’t until the mid-2010s that blockchain started gaining more attention and popularity beyond the cryptocurrency world.
In 2015, Ethereum was launched, and introduced the concept of smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code.
Now we are seeing blockchain being increasingly adopted across various industries, including finance, supply chain management, and healthcare, among others, due to its potential to improve efficiency, transparency, and security.
It can be used in the verification and traceability of multistep transactions; it offers scope to reorganise supply chains, and it can be used as a platform for smart contracts. It can even help to audit the origin of a product.
As far back as 2017, IBM had engaged in a project to build blockchain technology for a consortium of seven of Europe’s largest banks, including HSBC and Rabobank. The aim was to facilitate international trade for small- and medium-size enterprises.
These days, the technology is also used in the day-to-day operations of many big and household name companies, including Microsoft, Oracle, JPMorgan, Amazon and Facebook.
Lawrence Landeloos, founder of OneGrid, which aims to make NFTs more accessible, told EY that “I’m convinced that blockchain can transform business models and even entire organisational models.”
Landeloos also says that it will get easier to implement. “Just as no-code solutions like WordPress and Wix have democratised website creation, we want to radically lower the barrier to experimenting with blockchain technology. The more we experiment, the more valuable concepts will emerge.”
Blockchain technology isn’t without its controversies. Bitcoin mining has come under heavy criticism for its huge drain on energy with Bitcoin consuming 127 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity each year. In context, that is more than the annual electricity consumption of Norway.
2022 also saw several high-profile companies flounder as crypto came crashing back to earth with a bang. Cryptocurrencies Terra and Luna failed, as did the trading platform Voyager.
Other failures included crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, BlockFi and Celsius. In November, crypto giant FTX collapsed, and the shock of its failure deeply impacted the volatile crypto market, which lost billions, falling below a $1 trillion valuation.
For those working in the crypto space, job losses hit hard. Around 23,600 employees lost jobs in the crypto sector up to December 2022, the industry’s highest number of layoffs ever recorded within a year. Coinbase shed around 1,160 workers, Kraken laid off 30% of its workforce and Bybit carried out 1,020 layoffs.
Despite all that, blockchain has a bright future. Beyond digital currencies and finance, the field is wide open. Cloud storage and cybersecurity are obvious areas for career growth, as the decentralised nature of the blockchain helps to keep data safe and secure.
Governance and compliance roles are likely to increase too, and software developers will continue to be in high demand, especially those with skills across C++, Ruby, Go, C# and Simplicity.
Gartner predicts the business value generated by blockchain will increase, reaching $176 billion by 2025 and $3.1 trillion by 2030, and VCs continue to invest billions of dollars into sector startups.
For those looking for a job in the sector now, there are a variety of roles on offer, with many more to discover on the TechInformed Job Board.
The UK-based fintech startup Plutus, which is bridging the gap between the traditional payment infrastructure and the blockchain. The company is hiring a Compliance Co-Lead to support the development of the compliance programme. You’ll use your experience to help maintain an excellent compliance-aware culture.
Ripple provides crypto solutions for financial institutions, businesses, governments and developers, and is looking for a Software Engineer with two to five years’ of hands-on experience on large-scale distributed systems, with the last two years’ in Java or similar (Go, C++).
Recruiter Third Republic is seeking a Kafka Platform Engineer with a passion for cryptocurrency as well as expert know-how of infrastructure as code, Docker, Linux and Kubernetes, for a London-based role.
For more exciting opportunities in tech, visit the TechInformed Job Board today
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