Many tech companies are forced to lay off employees due to rising inflation and an impending recession. To put this in perspective, data from Layoffs.fyi revealed that this year, layoffs affected at least 93,519 employees globally and occurred at over 700 tech startups. Additionally, it has been reported that tech behemoths like Google, Netflix, and Apple have made significant job cuts.
Although an economic downturn is probably to blame for many of these layoffs, this has led to a massive influx of talent moving to early-stage Web3 businesses. For instance, serial entrepreneur Andrew Masanto revealed that he recently founded Nillion, a startup specializing in decentralized computation, to support the protection of Web3 users’ privacy and confidentiality.
The technological innovation behind Nillion has already shown to be appealing, despite the company’s still-early stages. Leading talent from companies like Nike, Indiegogo, and Coinbase has joined the growing startup since the company’s founding in October of this year.
For instance, Slava Rubin, the creator of the crowdsourcing website Indiegogo, claimed that he recently joined Nillion as the company’s chief business officer because he had the chance to work for a startup with a cutting-edge business model.
“The tech behind Nillion is massively innovative, as it focuses on advancing secure multiparty computation (MPC). MPC is known for being slow and unable to work for certain use cases. The risk of failure doesn’t concern me here since it’s such a huge opportunity to solve this problem,” he said.
Lindsay Danas Cohen was drawn to Nillion by the idea of developing technology to advance MPC. Before becoming general counsel of Nillion this year, Cohen worked as associate general counsel at Coinbase.
Cohen described in a recent blog post that she left Coinbase to join Nillion because of the chance to advance privacy and data sharing through MPC, even though Coinbase announced in June that it was reducing its staff by 18%. She wrote, “This would be a true zero-to-one innovation.”
Even though the cryptocurrency market is still in a bear market, it is evident that the projects being developed at this time are viewed as exciting opportunities.
“I built Indiegogo during the 2008 bear market, and I think we will see the same thing in this market. In about three to five years, we will see some solid companies emerge that know how to use capital efficiently,” Rubin remarked.
Admittedly, well-funded Web3 businesses continue to expand, whereas hiring shutdowns and layoffs are expected at major tech firms. The Sandbox’s co-founder and COO, Sebastien Borget, revealed that there are currently 103 job openings on the well-known metaverse platform.
“The excitement of working in the front row of Web3 is big, and we are enjoying this interest towards our open positions,” he said.
According to Borget, The Sandbox’s staff has increased from 208 employees in December 2021 to 404 this year, nearly doubling in size. Borget added that the market cap of The Sandbox’s virtual properties, known as “LANDs,” has reached over $1 billion.
Young job seekers also appear to be showing a greater desire to acquire the skills required to join Web3 businesses as these businesses continue to hire both fresh and acquired talent.
According to Priyanka Mathikshara Mathialagan, president of the Stanford Blockchain Club, more undergraduate students at Stanford are enrolling in blockchain-focused courses to prepare for careers after graduation.
“This year, we had more students enrolled in professor Dan Boneh’s cryptography class than those enrolled in traditional computer science courses,” she remarked.
Mathialagan also thinks that despite the bear market, significant advancements have been made in the Web3 space, leading to a more optimistic outlook for the industry. She mentioned, for instance, that the September 15 Ethereum Merge helped ensure a more energy-efficient platform, making it more appealing for students who might want to use the Ethereum network for Web3 projects. While extensive theoretical research has been conducted in fields like computer science for years, Mathialagan continued, PhD students are considering Web3 due to new opportunities for advancement.
“The math used in theoretical computer science and cryptography is similar to the math needed to advance zero-knowledge proof-based applications. There is now an industry that wants to pay PhD students for their research and put these findings to use. For example, there is a great demand for distributed system engineers since every blockchain is a distributed system. These are the people who can design consensus algorithms and new architectures for scalable and secure blockchains,” she said.
This is because, according to Masanto, Nillion hired 10 engineers in the previous six months. The Sandbox is currently hiring 17 engineers, as well as game designers, architects, and other people who can help brands develop in the business’s metaverse, according to Borget.