5 people tell us what it’s like to work in crypto
The good, the bad, the ugly.
As crypto is becoming increasingly popular, so are its opportunities. Beyond price points and investments, there’s a lot of product building and development going on in the space. If you think about it, the benefits of crypto cannot be harnessed if there are no products to support them. And the thing about building products is that you need people to make it happen. Consequently, there has been a boom in the demand and supply of crypto jobs.
For this week’s crypto diaries, we spoke to 5 people working behind the scenes to share how they transitioned into crypto and their experiences working in the industry, especially during a time when fear, uncertainty and doubt are high. They had quite a bit to say.
Read their stories below:
Joy, Graphic Designer
Ten months ago, I landed my first crypto role as a graphic designer. At first, it was a 3-month contract, and I used that time to learn the ropes. It was the perfect arrangement because I had wanted to learn about crypto, but the volatility of the entire market scared me. The job sped up the process of diving into the crypto space and adapting to the ecosystem.
I was somewhat clueless in my first few months, which was scary. Sometimes, I sat in meetings and understood little about what was going on in them. I was constantly googling terms to understand what I needed to do. At the end of it all, I went with the flow and adapted as quickly as I could.
A couple of months have passed, and I can honestly say this is the place for me. I’ve seen the synergy between crypto and design and the role I play in it. For starters, people need their thoughts and vision about a product translated into imagery and I make that happen.
In addition, the rise in the popularity of NFTs sealed the deal for me because it unlocked a new way for designers and artists to make money — it’s the pinnacle of this synergy I talk about. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
I love the job because there’s an endless stream of interesting projects to work on. Putting together some new form of design is an experience that keeps me going, and this will continue for a while because there’s always something new to explore.
That said, there are the bad days too. For me, these happen during price dips in the crypto market because it fuels my scepticism — I can’t help it. At the moment, there’s a cloud of uncertainty hovering in the space. I’d say this has been the most daunting part. Nevertheless, I’ve made my peace with it. The market always bounces back, anyway. Some people say that hope kills, but I don’t believe that. I think that hope will make you live.
Josh, Social Media and Community Associate
I’m not going to lie; my transition into crypto was partly motivated by money. A few months before I joined my current company, a friend at another crypto startup mentioned his salary during a conversation, and I was intrigued. It wasn’t about the amount but the currency he was paid in. Earning in dollars or a dollar-backed stablecoin is a good way to hedge against inflation.
Besides, I was curious to know what went on behind the scenes of a product-led crypto company. I always talked about my plans to move into crypto with another friend in the industry. When a role I was qualified for opened at her workplace, she convinced me to apply. I did and I got the job.
I always thought I knew enough about crypto because of my previous experiences investing in cryptocurrencies. I quickly realised that this was untrue when I started the job. The first challenge was learning new terms peculiar to the products we were building. I was the new guy too, so I was pretty much playing catch-up. It got overwhelming at some point that I wasn’t sure what I was doing on the team. Ultimately, I made it a point to remind myself a better way to approach the job was to take my time to learn everything I needed to know.
I’m helping to build a crypto product that will change the way young Africans save and invest. It’s such an important product, and I can’t stress enough how much I’ve been loving the process. My favourite thing about the job is the quality of information I now have access to about the ecosystem. Most times, I have an idea of what’s happening in the space just from following conversations on the company’s Slack channels. It’s refreshing.
However, I’m not a fan of the endless meetings because it affects my workflow. In addition, we sometimes have to change plans and directions because of the stage the product is in and the current crypto market conditions. The thing about these changes is that I almost always have to restart tasks and projects.
Speaking of the market condition, I worry about what it could potentially mean for the company and by extension, me. I’m still very early in this, and there are still things to learn. But I also know that we’re building a great product. I’ve decided that’s where most of my energy should be focused. We’ll be fine.
Timmy, Software Engineer
I’ve worked in the tech industry as a web developer for a couple of years, so it made sense to transition here at some point. In a way, I had been preparing for it before it even happened.
I should add that it happened because I’m bullish on crypto and web3 technologies and what they represent. Besides, it’s still day one, and there are a lot of things we’ve not even unlocked. So what better time to join the industry, if not now?
I work as a full-stack developer building an amazing web product. Although the learning curve was a little steep when I joined, my knowledge of the crypto space has increased rapidly. A lot of this came from just interacting with my colleagues. It’s fair to say I’m not where I was this time last year.
I like that I made the switch and now work in crypto while it’s still relatively new. If anything, it means that there’s a lot to learn, and I relish that. I also enjoy being at the forefront of building and developing products that people around the world find useful. I mean, my favourite days on the job are the days when a feature I worked on is released to the public. Generally, I’m having a good time.
Working in the crypto space at a time when fear, uncertainty and doubts are at an all-time high is a mixed bag of feelings. However, I do not doubt that the market will recover. Will it take time? Probably, but it will happen. And to be honest, the financial markets beyond crypto are currently having a meltdown, and there are talks of incoming recession, so it’s not just crypto. The market will recover; the plan is to remain alive when it does.
Femi, Content Strategist
I started working in the crypto space last year. First, I worked for about three months at a Web3 startup before moving to my current role at another crypto startup. I’ve been there for three weeks.
I’m a non-technical person. While preparing for the transition, I brushed up on my crypto knowledge by watching videos and reading articles. I signed up for newsletters and followed a bunch of crypto Twitter accounts. By the time the Web3 company came calling, I had sufficient knowledge to work as a content strategist in the industry. Good for me because crypto startups tend to pay more than other tech startups.
Now, it was time to do the job. I’d say I had a soft landing because my work wasn’t crypto-focused per se, which allowed me to take my time to immerse myself in the world of crypto before the real challenges came. I’d also admit that I thought learning would be difficult, but it wasn’t. There are tons of helpful materials, like Breach. I’m still learning, but I know a great deal more than I used to.
One thing about working in the crypto industry is that most people here have progressive mindsets. They are often young and intelligent, cool and fun to work with. These qualities rub off on you.
However, working a crypto job during a bear market is somewhat unnerving. A bear market isn’t good for the ecosystem in general. However, it’s important to have faith in the utility of crypto beyond the market prices of coins. And I’ve learned to do that. Besides, I’m paid in a stablecoin pegged to the dollar, so I don’t even need to worry too much about the prices of cryptocurrencies.
I’ve been in and out of the crypto industry since I graduated from university in 2017. My first job post-uni was as a professional trader, leading research efforts for trades at a crypto startup. It was great until the 2018 bear market. It was honestly difficult to navigate because my day job required me to trade, deliver profits for investors and meet multiple targets, which was almost impossible to do. Eventually, I quit the job and took a break from crypto for about a year.
When the market started to recover in 2019, I volunteered to coordinate research efforts for a crypto community I belonged to. It was the safest way to dip my toes back in.
Fast forward to 2021, a crypto research company put out a call for community analysts for a crypto research writing programme. I gave it a shot, and I got in. A few weeks into the programme, a member of their research and due diligence department reached out to me to ask if I was interested in a full-time role as a research analyst on the team. Of course, I was. And now, here we are.
I work on a team that provides in-depth insight on crypto-assets. Our clients are typically institutions that are looking to list or invest in a crypto asset. The objective here is to provide sufficient coverage on these assets using research tools at our disposal to help them minimize risks and make informed decisions.
My favourite thing about the role is that I get exposed to a lot of projects. I believe that because of this, I have a better understanding of how to sift through the noise and decide on what projects are worth exploring in the space. This has also helped my personal investments. For starters, I don’t invest in too many projects anymore. The focus here is to bet on projects that will work for the good of the ecosystem. I’m glad I’m playing an important role and helping the space grow.