Ashutosh Ukey, a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was eager to be offered a job by Coinbase, but now that emotion is gone.
Less than two weeks ago, 23-year-old Ukey was thrilled day after day to work at Coinbase – the most significant money exchange in the U.S. He is not too fanatic about cryptocurrencies. It doesn’t even have a Coinbase account when he accepts offers of employment here. His interest is focused more on machine learning – the technology he is considering for his doctoral program in Illinois.
However, Coinbase then canceled the invitation with Ukey and hundreds of others, in addition to firing more than 1,100 personnel. He felt uncomfortable and even began to be insensitive to his work in cryptocurrencies.
“There is a lot of potential to work in cryptocurrencies, but I realize they have equal challenges,” Ukey said. “In the immediate future, we do not want to participate in the digital money environment because it is far less stable than other major sectors and industries.”
Not only Ukey but many upcoming and recent graduates in the U.S., such as at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of California at Berkeley… have expressed concerns about joining the ranks of cryptocurrency technologists since they received invitations from blockchain startups.
A few months earlier, blockchain, crypto, and Web3 startups seemed to be the top destination for American technology students. And now, the labor-money market is plunging businesses into hardship quickly and being forced to shrink their spending.
Ryan Riahi, who graduated from UCLA late last year, went through interviews and challenges with Coinbase to be selected for the job. You even skipped the hot invitation from Meta. “Coinbase is a top company to me, but I probably don’t think that anymore,” Riahi said. He continued to be offered a job by Binance America but refused immediately.
“I will stay away from cryptocurrency companies and the Web3 altogether,” he said.
The money market is predicted to enter the most intense phase of the “crypto winter.” From a capitalization of more than two trillion USD in July last month, the market is now down to less than a trillion USD and continues to go down. From a peak of $69,000, the price of Bitcoin has also risen to $18,000 for the first time since 2020. “We are on the path of recession, and I think there will be a lot of employees who will be laid off, “commented Michael Adler, senior management partner at AC Lion.
So far, the dismissal has mainly focused on cryptocurrency exchanges due to the recruitment of too many new employees over the past year. Coinbase had 1,250 employees in 2021 but grew to 6,000 earlier this year. The company is now forced to reduce its workforce by 18%, or 1,100 jobs. Meanwhile, BlockFi laid off 20% of the employees, and Gemini cut 10% of the employees.
Besides those who are afraid of working in a digital money environment, some students are still excited about the field. “Even if the ecosystem is not thriving, I still love DeFi (decentralized finance). In the distant future, I greatly believe in companies that build trading systems based on blockchain and digital money. I am still very optimistic about the development aspect in general, “said Jongwon Park, a second-year student at the University of Illinois.
Anatoly Yakovenko, the co-founder of Solana Labs, also said that the ongoing volatility was just a short-term shake. “One of the best periods to join a field is as soon as they happen,” Yakovenko said. “Crypto is probably the best choice for new graduates right now.”
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