The burgeoning cryptocurrency sector is valued at approximately $280 billion at the time of writing. While this may suggest a surge in well-paying jobs for much-needed skilled workers in the sector, reports suggest the contrary in South Korea.
Cryptocurrency Projects not Great Recruiters
On July 8, 2018, The News Asia reported on the Blockchain Job Fair held in Seoul, South Korea. Companies like Boscoin, Hashed, and Bluewhale were present to recruit software developers, marketers, and blockchain experts. While these companies together command over $500 million in capital, they are apparently not keen on loosening their purse strings to employ top talent, offering less-than-attractive packages to job-seekers.
South Korea is arguably a large part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Initially, regulations resulted in what officials acknowledged as a talent drain as crypto ventures took their firms to crypto-friendly countries. Regulators have since changed their tune, and talks are scheduled for August 2018 regarding the development of a crypto zone in the country. With all of this in mind, the reluctance of crypto firms to compensate the talent they need seems to point to what The News Asia called “an epidemic issue in the Korean blockchain industry.”
Low Pay a Dealbreaker
Despite that the country is seeing a significant unemployment crisis, highly-qualified Koreans refuse to take up positions that pay low wages, considering it beneath them. This aspect, when coupled with the low pay scales offered by cryptocurrency firms, leads to the startling unemployment rate leaking into a sector where top-talent is paramount to ensure sustainable growth.
Local reporters present at the Blockchain Job Fair venue observed a thin footfall, regardless of its vicinity to the offices of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, UpBit and Bithumb, alongside several other cryptocurrency startups.
The Blockchain Job Fair 2018.
(Source: The News Asia)
Job-Seekers Express Opinions
A few Ivy League graduates at the event were reportedly unhappy with the strict job requirements and low-pay grades, with a job-seeker stating:
“Korean blockchain companies are cheap. The top guys have no clue what’s going on in the market so they are going to be hurting in the long run.”
Hashed, one of the main sponsors of the event, rose to fame in 2017 after famously investing $600,000 into cryptocurrencies and making over $250 million. Additionally, Dunamu, a Korean conglomerate which owns stocks in Kakao and UPbit, offered dismal salaries for a demanding position of exchange security, smart contract maintenance, and quality assurance. Given the valuation of these firms, it is undoubtedly detrimental to value skilled labor at low prices.
For context, an job candidate at the fair noted that a company that raised more than 8,000 BTC (worth $54 million as per data collated on CoinGecko) limits the salary of new hires to $3,000 per month. The company refused to hire the candidate because he makes “too much money.”