Crypto companies are tempting top talent away from Big Tech to build ‘Web3’

Crypto companies are tempting top talent away from Big Tech to build ‘Web3’

Executives at tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon are quitting to take jobs in the buzzy world of crypto. Blockchain platforms such as Polygon and Circle have hired top talent from Big Tech firms lately, enticing them with the pitch of working on the next “big thing” in tech — Web 3.0, or Web3.Ryan Wyatt left YouTube earlier this month to join Polygon’s new gaming team. Wyatt joined the Google-owned video site in 2014 to spearhead a drive into video game programming and more aggressively compete with Amazon’s Twitch platform. “I was the first person there when I started at YouTube Gaming about eight years ago,” Wyatt told CNBC in an interview. “We didn’t have a team,” says the narrator. People were becoming increasingly interested in gaming video.””I see this possibility in the same light,” he continued, calling the current stage of blockchain development “early” and “exciting. “The buzz surrounding Web3 has attracted some of the brightest minds in tech. The Web3 movement proposes overhauling the internet in a way that would move popular online services over to decentralized technologies like blockchain. The list of Silicon Valley talent jumping ship for crypto also includes Sherice Torres, the former chief marketing officer of Facebook’s crypto and payments unit, Novi. She was hired by Circle in January. And Amazon cloud exec Pravjit Tiwana fled to join crypto exchange Gemini as its chief technology officer. David Marcus, the former head of Novi, resigned late last year. While he’s yet to unveil his next move, Marcus has been singing the praises of Web3 on Twitter.“ I’ve never felt this connected to a community of builders like the crypto/web3 one,” Marcus tweeted last month. According to experts, the nascent industry’s quick expansion is attracting tech executives. “Naturally, individuals will want to work on what they perceive to be the most exciting and inventive advances in the technology industry,” Alex Bouaziz, CEO and co-founder of payroll software business Deel, told CNBC.”Many regard it as the future of the tech industry, similar to how Facebook and Amazon were once appealing.”

Potentially lucrative career move

Another factor that is luring people from Big Tech firms to Web3 is money.Bitcoin exchange Coinbase, according to statistics from Blind, a social network for tech professionals, pays software engineers up to $900,000 per year.Crypto companies have seen a rise in investment, which means they have a lot more money to spend on attractive compensation packages for major employees. According to CB Insight data, blockchain startups raised a record $25 billion in venture financing last year.

Funding for blockchain start-ups soared eightfold in 2021

CBINS
CBINS

Tech start-ups also typically let staff own a piece of their company through stock option schemes. With valuations for private crypto companies soaring, that means early employees could be in line for a big payout in the event of a takeover or initial public offering. And the trend doesn’t just apply to the U.S. Recruitment firm Hays says it’s seeing crypto companies target talent from the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Apple in the U.K. and Ireland, too.“ As more crypto/Web3 companies emerge, we expect the market for tech talent across all levels to become even more competitive,” James Hallahan, director of U.K. and Ireland for Hays’ technology division, told CNBC.

Web3 has its skeptics

Web3 is still a phrase with a lot of ambiguity. It refers to efforts aimed at creating a decentralized version of the internet based on crypto networks in general. Platforms could theoretically compensate users for their posts with blockchain-native assets, effectively turning the advertising-fueled business of Facebook and YouTube on its head. However, some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names have slammed Web3. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey believes it is overly centralized and controlled by a few venture capitalists, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk sees it as a “marketing jargon” rather than reality. However, Wyatt said that when he started at YouTube, people were skeptical about the idea of watching others playing video games — even “endemic gamers.” Now, gaming is the second-biggest vertical on YouTube, according to Wyatt. Similarly, he thinks that some of the backlash against crypto and Web3 will subside as more fleshed-out experiences, like blockbuster video games and social apps, start to get rolled out. But don’t expect tech giants to take the challenge lying down. Meta started developing its Novi crypto wallet in 2019, and is reportedly considering rolling out new tools for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

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