Cover photo

What I’ve Learned as an Insider in the Blockchain Industry

I’ve been working in this industry for several years now, it’s a strange field…

Illustration by me

I’ve spent many years carving a freelance career within the blockchain space. In the beginning, I got my clients from Upwork, but eventually, I made it out of those murky waters and started getting clients via head-hunting and recommendations.

I figured I’d write a few insights I’ve picked up on while making my way through this cutting-edge landscape. These are not tips or guidelines for any new and upcoming freelancers, but more so observations on what I’ve seen in my experience.

Bull markets are a circus

I’ve been a freelance writer in this industry during several bull markets, and I’ve noticed that each one feels wild.

Every time one arrives, I find myself getting headhunted by numerous companies, and potential clients are always more willing to pay my rates without negotiating. A lot of money (and optimism) goes around during a bull market. It can be a fantastic way to propel your career and make new connections.

Working with blockchain-based companies during these times is always exciting as they always have a lot of moving parts and side-projects they are trying to launch. Plus, there is always a sense of eagerness from all parties as the threat of the bull market ending is constantly looming.

These can be stressful times, but usually, there is a LOT of money to be made here, even if you don’t directly invest in any coins and tokens.

You will be judged on your investments

One interview question I regularly get asked by clients is what I invest in (if anything). At the start of my career, I assumed this was more of a small chit-chat type of query, but as I got more experienced, I learned that this is actually a supremely important question, and your answer will determine how your clients view you.

When presented with this question, it’s best not to lie (although it is extremely reasonable to simply refuse to answer if as you’d rather keep your investments under wraps), as you could get caught out on it later on which could erode any professional trust. What I do is usually just list two or three of the coins I’m most invested in.

Tip: you will be judged for investing in stuff like Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, and Bitcoin clones/forks. You might also get judged for investing in XRP, as many view it as an enemy of the crypto industry as it works so closely with centralized organizations and banks.

(Btw I don’t invest in any of these coins).

If you mainly invest in smaller, or lesser-known coins and tokens, then tread carefully because it can sometimes come across like you’re trying to shill them. I’ve learned this from experience myself.

Safe bets would be to say you invest in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero, as these are three of the most highly praised crypto projects in the field.

It’s a strange interview question, because it can oftentimes seem deceptively innocent, and yet it can be the most important question you’ll get asked during the recruitment process.

Bear markets will eat into your finances

Bear markets are tough for most crypto traders, but if your career is within this industry, then they can significantly damage your cash-flow. During bear markets, I retain fewer clients. And during dreaded “crypto winters” (or extended bear markets) I am lucky to have two clients at all.

Prepare for these times. Network your ass off, and make sure you’re saving up, because bear markets can rip a hole through your professional life.

The industry is heavily ideology-driven

The blockchain field may essentially be a cousin of FinTech, but in many ways it does not act like it. Unlike most other technological and economic fields, the blockchain sphere places a huge focus on ideological thinking.

I think this is natural, as Bitcoin was created as a direct reaction to the 2007 Financial Crisis, coming to life just one year after the atrocity. Even after all those years, the industry is still filled to the brim with figures who are driven by their own ideological ties.

You will find clients and peers who fervently support ideas such as decentralization, privacy, anti-authoritarianism, economic equality, socialism, libertarianism (so much libertarianism…), and occasionally anarchism. There are also a lot of people who get into heated debates trying to argue what “Satoshi’s true vision” is, and what types of cryptographic principles are most robust.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it certainly makes the industry passionate. But it can make for strange business relationships. I’ve worked with people before who agree with things that are very different from where my moral and ideological compass lies, and sometimes that can be tough. This is especially the case when I’m given free rein to pick and choose the subjects I write about. It makes some client-freelancer relations fraught and confusing.

This industry moves at a far slower pace than it thinks it does

Despite this being a relatively new and extremely experimental industry, its progress still comes at a slow pace. This is for three reasons:

  1. Sometimes businesses need to wait for the technology to catch up with their ideas. Some clients and companies have genius ideas, which are certainly theoretically possible, but that have never been done before. This means they need to spend a lot of time researching and buildings the tools they are planning to use.

  2. Ideological differences cause in-fighting. Just look at the Ethereum team. Of its many, many, co-founders, Vitalik is only one from the original team who stayed. The rest left, with some even starting their own rival blockchains. Ethereum’s work environment is clearly an odd place, as even to this day there are disputes at its top level of developers. This significantly slows down progress.

  3. Bear markets cause apathy, and lead to funds drying up. Founders and creators get dissolutioned during bear markets, and many slow down on their work or even call it quits. And with the lack of money circulating in the field during those time, it makes external funding as hard as getting blood from a stone.

If you’re reliable, then you can make it here

If I had to guess, I’d say the blockchain industry is filled with an equal amount of highly professional, and highly unprofessional people. This is an industry that used to heavily play into the idea that it was an alternative to the old, stuffy, and bureaucratic ways of traditional finance. And while this has helped it to appeal to a younger and more economically skeptical demographic, it has also caused it to attract a lot of people who have a low work ethic.

I learned this quickly when I found out that many clients favored working with me largely because I could hit my deadlines. Don’t get me wrong, they liked my writing style, but a good few clients were impressed with the simple fact that I did my work on time and regularly communicated with them. It’s a small thing, but in this industry, it's also a rare thing.

Final words

Considering the youth of the blockchain sphere, there is still a ton of room for newcomers to build a career here, even if you don’t have programming or development experience. Non-technical jobs (such as the ones I take on) will always be in demand.

This is an unusual industry, but it is a fascinating and genuinely fun one to be in. I constantly look forward to seeing what’s going to come of it in the years to follow.

Collect this post to permanently own it.
Decentralized Soul logo
Subscribe to Decentralized Soul and never miss a post.
#blockchain#insider knowledge#personal
  • Loading comments...