Analyzing the labor market is a passion of mine. In my past life, I worked as a labor market analyst for a Canadian think tank specializing in the IT sector. Tech employees always enjoyed higher demand, higher pay and lower jobless rates than workers in the rest of the economy. 

Although blockchain and crypto were virtually nonexistent during my tenure, these emerging technologies are now leading exponential growth for an industry evolving from Web2 to Web3. This week’s Crypto Biz newsletter highlights the growing demand for crypto professionals in the traditional finance and payment industries. We also survey the latest funding news from the world of blockchain. 

Visa seeks new college grads for Crypto Development Program

Credit card giant Visa is inviting new college graduates to join its Crypto Development Program, an 18-month “rotational development experience” designed to usher in the next generation of cryptocurrency professionals. Visa says it’s looking to build a “fully fluent cryptocurrency team now and for the future” as it continues to roll out crypto-focused products and solutions. Visa has made it abundantly clear that it won’t miss out on the digital asset revolution. In December, the company announced it was launching a new crypto consulting service for merchants and banks. In September of last year, the company confirmed that it was working on a blockchain interoperability project designed to serve as a “network of blockchain networks.”

Dedicated crypto teams booming within traditional financial firms

As digital assets continue reaching the masses, specialized crypto departments are fast becoming the norm within traditional financial institutions. Perhaps the most notable example is Nomura Holdings, a Japanese financial holding company that recently set up a new digital asset department. In an interview with Cointelegraph, bitFlyer USA executive Christopher Temme said this trend is likely to continue as more clients ask their financial institutions to provide exposure to crypto markets. As it turns out, Goldman Sachs is already listening to its clients by offering access to Galaxy Digital’s Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) funds. As financial institutions establish dedicated crypto shops, you can expect to see a lot more crypto-focused job openings in the near future.

ConsenSys raises $450M in Series D funding, doubles valuation in four months

Crypto Biz wouldn’t be complete without another massive funding announcement from the blockchain industry. This week, blockchain infrastructure provider ConsenSys announced that it had raised $450 million in Series D financing led by ParaFi Capital with additional participation from Temasek, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Microsoft, among others. ConsenSys managed to double its valuation to over $7 billion just four months after Cointelegraph reported that the firm’s valuation had crossed the $3 billion mark. Valuations grow rapidly when you operate MetaMask, one of crypto’s leading wallet and browser extensions. As ConsenSys reported, MetaMask now has over 30 million monthly active users. 

Crypto quant firm Gauntlet valued at $1B following Series B

In keeping with the funding news, a crypto quant led by a former Wall Street executive this week managed to raise $23.8 million in Series B financing, bringing the firm’s total valuation to $1 billion. Gauntlet, the new “crypto unicorn” in question, provides financial modeling tools to the decentralized finance (DeFi) industry. In other words, it helps DeFi platforms set optimal lending and collateral levels to enhance capital efficiency and reduce risk. Gauntlet’s most notable clients include Aave and Compound, which are among the top-ten DeFi projects based on market capitalization and total value locked. While the DeFi sector may be flying under the radar for now, don’t be surprised if it starts making front-page news again. This could happen sooner than you think.

Before you go! 

2022 is shaping up to be an unpredictable year for crypto, but that shouldn’t stop you from building a well-diversified portfolio of digital assets. The latest edition of The Market Report features the top crypto picks for 2022 by resident analysts Jordan Finneseth, Marcel Pechman and yours truly. We each picked a basket of four cryptos we think could outperform the market in 2022. You can watch the replay below.

Crypto Biz is your weekly pulse of the business behind blockchain and crypto delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.