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There are lots of reasons to believe in the future of a decentralized internet. The promise of taking back control of your data holds a lot of allure for people all over the world.
Just as technology companies need to keep evolving or die, the same holds true for many of the industry’s employees.
While the world’s biggest technology giants have grown accustomed to raking in billions of dollars in advertising dollars and subscription fees, that business is no longer the exciting growth opportunity that it once was. These days, emerging technologies focused on blockchain and Web3 are displaying much higher growth potential, and some of the most experienced individuals in the tech industry have taken notice.
The latest figures from YCharts show that the number of daily active addresses on the Ethereum blockchain has risen from 200,000 in January 2020 to more than 559,000 today. That represents an increase of around 65%, which is impressive growth by the standards of any emerging industry. It’s a strong data point that suggests a growing number of people are participating in the emerging Web3 economy, which represents the idea of a newer, decentralized internet that enables users to take back control of their identities and data.
We should note that Web3 is a pretty vague term that has not been adequately defined, but it’s one that represents the much broader blockchain industry. Essentially, it can be thought of as a term that conceptualizes crypto development across multiple blockchains, in areas such as DeFi, NFTs, the metaverse and Web3 gaming.
Web3 Taps In Top Talent
However you define Web3, there can be no doubt that it is proving to be an extremely attractive space for a whole host of exciting talent in the technology industry.
It’s a trend that may well have begun with the so-called “creator economy”, which encouraged more entrepreneurially-minded people to seek opportunities to express themselves. The creator economy has encouraged numerous social media influencers and freelancers to go it alone, and the decentralized nature of the Web3 economy ensures that it has a similar appeal.
As a result, there has been an influx of top tech talent into the Web3 space. Earlier this year, Electric Capital reported seeing a 100% increase in developers collaborating on GitHub repositories associated with crypto and blockchain projects.
But it’s not only developers, as executives are ditching the world of legacy tech to embrace the potential of Web3. Over the last couple of years, a number of high-profile execs from companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have quit their jobs at those companies to take on the challenge of leading ambitious projects in the Web3 industry.
Blockchain-based projects like Circle and Polygon are just some of the startups that have pulled off impressive hiring coups, snapping up executives from the world of big tech. Earlier this year, for example, ex-Google executive Ryan Wyatt left his cushy job as Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Gaming at YouTube to take over the CEO’s chair at Polygon, a platform for scaling and building decentralized blockchain apps on Ethereum.
Similarly, Sherice Torres recently jumped ship from Facebook, where she held the role of chief marketing officer for its crypto and payments unit, Novi. That experience made her ideal for a leadership role Circle, a global internet finance firm that’s building crypto payments infrastructure for businesses of all sizes.
Another big name to make the move into the crypto space is former Amazon cloud executive Pravjit Tiwana, who left in January 2022 to become the chief product officer of the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini.
Some crypto startups can even say that nearly their entire leadership team is made up of talents that boast significant expertise in the industries they’re looking to disrupt. Nowhere is this more evident than in gaming.
Web3 gaming developer N3twork Studios, founded in the wake of its predecessor N3twork Inc.’s acquisition by Forte, is an example. Its President, Matt Ricchetti, previously served at PerBlue Entertainment, Kabam and Zynga, and others before taking on his current role. Julius Hong, N3twork Studio’s executive producer, lists EA, Glu Mobile and KIXEYE on his resume. Meanwhile, the Founder of N3twork, and now CEO of Games Industry at Forte, Neil Young, boasts more than 25 years of experience in the gaming development industry.
Another promising Web3 startup led by industry veterans is Taki, which bills itself as an “engage-to-earn” social media platform that rewards users for their participation. Taki was co-founded by Sakina Arsiwala, who previously held product and growth leadership roles at Nextdoor and YouTube. Arsiwala is actually credited as being one of the main persons responsible for taking YouTube international, launching it in 22 countries including India. In addition, she has also served as a product lead for Google Search. Taki’s other co-founder, Kevin Chou, was one of the co-founders of Forte. Chou also co-founded and exited the gaming company Kabam.
It’s becoming clear that the buzz around Web3 is attracting some of the brightest minds in the Web2 industry. While these individuals have differing motivations, it’s likely that most, if not all, are all attracted by the promise of Web3 to revolutionize the internet in a wholly positive way. It’s one of the most exciting and innovative areas of development in the technology space, in the same way that companies like Google and Facebook were once at the forefront of innovation. So it’s no real surprise that some of tech’s most creative minds are scoping it out.
A Lucrative Move
That said, it’s not just the revolutionary potential of Web3 that’s proving to be attractive. Equally, it’s a space that’s becoming flush with cash, meaning it has the money to bring its ideas to fruition and reward the ones who lead it there. According to data from Blind, which is a social network for technology professionals, the blockchain and Web3 industry currently offers some of the most lucrative salaries around. Coinbase, for example, was offering up to $900,000 a year in compensation for some software engineering positions.
At a time when many traditional technology firms are announcing wave after wave of layoffs, venture capitalists continue to throw big money bets at the Web3 industry. Last year, blockchain startups received over $25 billion in venture capital funding, according to data from CB Insights.
Web3 firms are not only offering big salaries though but also a chance to own a piece of their destiny in the shape of their native tokens. Whereas traditional tech firms provide stock options, crypto-native startups can tempt new hires with newly-minted cryptocurrency tokens whose value could go sky-high during the next crypto bull run.
It all translates to some very lucrative rewards for even the most experienced technology industry talents.
The Future Looks Bright
There are lots of reasons to believe in the future of a decentralized internet. The promise of taking back control of your data holds a lot of allure for people all over the world. Web3 could also prove to be a richly rewarding experience for users, too. Platforms like Taki provide daily cryptocurrency rewards for users who perform certain tasks and actions in its app each day. It’s a complete reversal of the traditional, ad-revenue-based business model that only sees users as a source of revenue.
Web3 isn’t without its critics. Some of the biggest names from Web2 have questioned its future. Its critics include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who once claimed that although it pretends to be decentralized, it’s actually just as centralized as the original internet, controlled by a handful of venture capital firms. In addition, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has accused Web3 of being more of a buzzword than anything else.
That said, it’s also true that many of the hottest new ideas in the tech industry have their skeptics. When cloud computing first emerged as a thing, it was widely derided by the database giant Oracle, which insisted that the trend was inconsequential and would never catch on. Today, of course, the cloud computing industry is one of the biggest and fastest-growing in tech, generating more than $368.97 billion in revenue in 2021 alone, according to research from Grand View Research. Moreover, Oracle itself has long since embraced the cloud, investing billions of dollars to build up its own infrastructure in the space.
The Web3 movement is still in its infancy, but many of the tech industry’s brightest minds are happily embracing the challenge of leading its most promising startups. As that trend continues to gather pace, we can expect to see better experiences and more blockbuster games and social apps emerge, and with that much of the criticism around Web3 will subside.