Web3 drives top talent out of Big Tech and Wall Street

By Morris Huling

What’s behind this talent exodus, and why is Web3 winning?

Big Tech and Wall Street be warned. We may be seeing the beginning of a proverbial passing of the torch when it comes to attracting top talent.

Recruiting firms are reporting that the market has become more competitive than ever, as promising Web3 projects lure high-profile talent from top tech and finance firms.

The likes of Amazon, Google, and Meta are seeing some of their top executives and developers leaving for the chance to build the next big thing in Web3. Likewise, top talent from within traditional finance is being successfully courted by developing DeFi and crypto projects.

What’s driving this talent exodus to Web3?

From Web2 to Web3

For those departing jobs at top tech firms, the narrative seems obvious. Web3 is the new frontier. The next progression in the evolution of the internet.

These are professionals who joined big tech firms to work on the most exciting technology with the most explosive growth potential. Right now there’s no space more exciting and more explosive than Web3.

“For the product designers and developers, Web3 represents a fresh slate to imagine and improve on a rapidly evolving infrastructure.”

Aspects of the Web3 experience such as DAO governance, tokenomics, and permissionless protocols are new areas to explore and innovate. Novelty and nuance are exciting, especially to creative people who love to build for a living.

“For ambitious tech professionals, explosive growth potential combined with token-based compensation represents a chance to cash in.”

The incredible growth potential of Web3 has already been demonstrated. In 2020 we saw the meteoric rise of DeFi (decentralized finance). In 2021 we had explosive mainstream adoption of NFTs. Now, in 2022, the market seems to be preparing for a massive expansion of the DAO market.

Many professionals making the jump from Web2 to Web3 are likely hoping to get climb on board. And the token-based compensation structures in Web3 make being aboard very profitable.

Unlike traditional equity, Web3 professionals who are compensated with a project’s token have instant liquidity. This means they don’t need to wait for a company to be acquired or to file for an IPO. They can access their liquidity immediately. In a market that grew by more than 300% in 2021 to more than $3.3 trillion, that’s a major perk.

“Idealists may be drawn to the Web3 ethos of decentralization.”

Web2 has come to be dominated by a small group of tech giants. They own our data, and they determine the rules of engagement online. Web3 promises a future with greater decentralization where users own their data and determine how it can be used.

Critics argue that Web3 has its own issue related to centralization, with a small group of venture capital firms (Andreessen Horowitz/ a16z, Sequoia Capital, etc) controlling much of the space. Still, the opportunity to build a fairer, more decentralized world is very real in the Web3 space, and likely to be a powerful draw for tech professionals.

Web3 projects also offer competitive advantages like remote work, in line with the ethos of decentralization. And the compensation packages at successful projects like Coinbase are more than competitive. According to Blind, an independent salary comparison tool, the crypto exchange is offering new developers up to $900,000 a year in total compensation.

Some high profile examples making the jump from big tech to Web3 include:

  • Ryan Wyatt: Left his position as Head of Gaming at YouTube in February to become CEO of Polygon Studios, the home of all NFT, Gaming, and Metaverse projects on the Polygon protocol.
  • Sherice Torres: Left her position as Chief Marketing Officer of Facebook’s crypto and payments unit in January to join Circle. Circle helps businesses transact using crypto.
  • Brian Roberts: Left his position as the CFO of Lyft to join OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace.
  • Jack Dorsey: Stepped down as CEO of Twitter to spend more time on cryptocurrency and Web3 efforts at Block, formerly Square.

From Wall Street to Crypto

Traditional finance firms have seen a similar exodus of employees chasing the explosive growth and disruptive potential of crypto and decentralized protocols. Citi in particular has become a launchpad for crypto careers. More than 15 high-profile employees have left the large investment bank for roles in the DeFi/crypto space, according to the Block.

JP Morgan recently lost their newly appointed Global Head of Metaverse, Christine Moy. Yes, JP Morgan had a Global Head of Metaverse. Moy left for a new venture in the Web3 space. She is one of many making the leap during what feels like a generational transition in finance and technology.

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Are you interested in pursuing a career in Web3? Do you have an idea for a Web3 project? Apply to TOA’s Crypto Founder Klub:

  • Connect with top-notch business and tech talent
  • Join interactive sessions with leading blockchain founders and experts
  • Join an existing project or become part of a founding team

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TOA Klub

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TOA Klub is a virtual space to connect, grow and forge your own path. 4-6 weeks of cohort learning with expert speakers and peer-to-peer learning.

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