Barely a day went by in 2017 without bitcoin making the headlines.
Yet, a quick buck aside, to the man on the street the use or benefit of the cryptocurrency de jour was difficult to see.
However, 2018 will see bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies, and the underpinning technology blockchain enter the public conscience more widely.
The bitcoin phenomena has inspired thousands of startups across the globe to drive new opportunities using the technology, with around 1,500 listed on AngelList alone. Consequentially, an untold amount of job-seeking opportunity ensues.
The one thing each of these new crypto-based startups have in common is their use of blockchain technology. In essence, they make use of a vast, globally-distributed ledger that runs on millions of devices and is able to record anything of value.
Money, bonds, contracts, CVs and many other forms of asset can be transferred and stored peer-to-peer, privately and securely, because trust is established through network consensus and cryptography.
Skills and salaries
This has led to a meteoric rise in the demand for skilled technical workers, such as software engineers, business analysts, project managers, and UX designers to manage and develop startups’ complex blockchain projects.
The market for these jobs has never been more favourable for candidates who have these digital skills, or for those in the process of upskilling themselves.
Last year also saw a handful of companies around the globe start to pay their staff in bitcoin rather than traditional currencies – including a few in the UK, such as Leeds-based firm Victvs.
While there are those who might shy away from accepting their pay in this form, accepting either your full salary or part of your wages in cryptocurrency could give yourself a real edge when looking for roles in these new crypto-based startups. Not only do founders want to know you’ve got the right digital skills – they also want to see you’re invested in the future of the cryptocurrency industry.
Schools and universities are also looking into the benefits of accepting bitcoin, with the rise of blockchain-based, pre-verified, CVs.
These “Intelligent Profiles” store every aspect of a career profile on a blockchain – from GSCEs to degree classifications, and even volunteering positions. Every assertion added is automatically verified by the native organisation, making the CV extremely credible for employers.
In 2018, we’ll start to see universities and schools earn bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for verifying that candidates have the qualifications they say they have.
In turn, candidates will be able to build up crypto-credit by having their profiles verified by universities. They use this to gain access to cheaper courses, helping them to upskill and gain new knowledge in areas such as coding and programme development.
Ultimately, this will make them more employable to hundreds of companies that are looking only to get a slice of the bitcoin pie, but also to tackle the ever-widening digital skills gap and ensure their companies are protected from cyber-attack.
New startup landscape
It’s not an overstatement to say that bitcoin has created an entirely new ecosystem: one that has brought blockchain technology to the forefront of innovation, established a whole new startup landscape, and changed the way we look at how we apply for jobs.
The bitcoin phenomena may have been for the few in 2017, but this year it will be for the many.
£ Gary McKay is managing director of APPII.