The cryptocurrency industry has experienced a significant surge in employment over the past four years, despite notable cryptocurrency failures. According to a report by crypto research startup K33, the number of individuals working in crypto-related roles has increased by nearly 160% since 2019. The estimated headcount of crypto employees in 2023 stands at approximately 190,000, compared to around 73,000 in 2019.
In 2021, the industry reached its peak with over 211,000 professionals employed, coinciding with Bitcoin’s all-time high price of $68,000 in November. Bitcoin’s price surge of over 300% from its 2019 average of $7,200 has seemingly influenced the growth in crypto employment, demonstrating a correlation between market dynamics and talent demand. While there has been an 11% decrease in crypto employees since 2021, the numbers remain significantly higher than four years ago.
Leading cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has experienced a substantial increase in staff numbers, growing by over 150% since 2019, according to Pranesh Anthapur, the firm’s chief people officer. Anthapur highlights the importance of securing the right talent to scale operations and states that Kraken maintains a consistent approach to staff retention regardless of market cycles.
Trezor, a major hardware wallet firm, has also seen significant workforce growth, expanding by 120% since 2019, as confirmed by CEO Matej Zak. Trezor’s focus lies in long-term talent acquisition and retention, prioritizing stability over short-term market frenzies. Their strategy includes hiring during bear markets to ensure continuous growth and avoid staff cuts.
However, the industry has also witnessed layoffs, with companies like Coinbase, Binance, Crypto.com, Dapper Labs, and even Kraken implementing workforce reductions. For example, Binance reportedly laid off over 1,000 employees recently, following a 20% staff reduction announced in May.
In a report by Todayq News on November 15, 2022, the crypto industry has seen minimal job losses compared to the broader tech sector. Research shows that crypto-related layoffs accounted for only 4% of total job losses in tech. At that time, approximately 4,695 crypto workers had been let go, while the tech industry as a whole experienced nearly 100,000 job losses in 2022.
As many countries are supporting the crypto sector and introducing laws either to regulate or make users aware, along with many asset management firms showing interest in Bitcoin spot ETF, this may cause an increase in the number of crypto employees in the coming years.