Bitcoin surge fuels hiring spree in crypto industry

Economy


Kolkata | Bengaluru: The cryptocurrency craze and Bitcoin’s more-than-200% surge to trade at record $23,000 levels this year – is fuelling a hiring spree in India’s cryptocurrency exchanges and startups. CoinSwitch, Bitex, ZebPay, Unocoin and CoinDCX are among those hiring for roles across technology, product, finance, compliance and design. They are scaling up team sizes by 40-200%.

According to companies, 2020 has been a good year for the crypto industry, not only in India where the Supreme court, in March, reversed an RBI ban prohibiting banks and entities regulated by it from providing services in relation to virtual currencies, but also globally, with a rising interest both at the retail and institutional levels. According to data shared with ET by employment website Indeed, even in a pandemic year, November 2020 saw a 40% increase in cryptocurrency job postings from November last year.

“While most sectors have taken a hit due to the pandemic and the resultant global economic recession, the crypto industry has seen an unprecedented surge coupled with innovation, employment and investment opportunities,” said Sathvik Vishwanath, a cofounder of cryptocurrency trading platform Unocoin.

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Most of the crypto exchanges in India operate with small teams but are now scaling up aggressively, given rapid business growth and the bullish market sentiment.

CoinSwitch, which has been growing at 175% month-on-month since its India launch in June, has more than 70 employees. “We expect to add 150-plus people to the team over the next six months to support the growth we are witnessing,” chief executive Ashish Singhal said.

At crypto trading startup ZebPay, the workforce increased from around 50 employees in March to over 130 as the year closes. “We wish to hire for 25 roles in early 2021,” said CEO Rahul Pagidipati. UAE-Based crypto exchange Bitex, which entered India in October 2020, will be adding six members to its 14-member team in the next few weeks, said CEO Monark Modi.

Unocoin plans to expand its team to 50-plus members in the next three months from 35 now.

While there had been concerns about cryptocurrencies, recent developments have helped allay much of those. ET on Monday reported that over a million new investors in India had flocked to the bitcoin market in the last six months, with trading volumes growing multi-fold, despite experts warning about abrupt price reversals.

“Most people have realised that the crypto industry will rapidly scale and open up opportunities for the workforce. We see talented and smart people reaching out to work with us,” said Singhal of CoinSwitch.

All this is pushing up salaries as well. Demand for professionals skilled in blockchain technology that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies outstrips supply, given that technology and consulting companies, solutions /services providers and multinational investment banks are hiring them as well. Shiv Agrawal, managing director at ABC Consultants, said that the domestic market has just reopened for this sector and salaries command a premium of 12-18% on an average.

Crypto exchanges are a relatively new employer category, and they are hiring for roles like crypto analyst, blockchain developer, financial analyst, among others,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, cofounder of TeamLease Services. “Salaries can start at Rs 8 lakh at the low end and around Rs 50 lakh for a blockchain developer. At top levels, it can go above a crore,” she said.



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