How Crypto Is Conquering Traditional Markets (While Building New Ones)

  • Posted: 28.09.23

Why reinvent the wheel?

After promising to be the most transformative tech in a decade, crypto seems to have lost a bit of its edge lately.

Blame some of that on a down economy, blame even more on an uncertain regulatory climate. Either way, there’s a distinct impression that the crypto engine isn’t running quite as hot as it used to.

But take a closer look under the hood, and all is not as it seems.

Crypto innovation hasn’t slowed down, as much as it has matured. Two main trends within the tech look set to drive the next wave of applications forward – and possibly set the stage for the next bull market.

Here we go.

Why reinvent the wheel?

The old marketing adage goes that if you want to know what will sell in a particular market, look at what people are buying. With crypto, entirely new markets have emerged – but old ones are also making the jump to adapt crypto and web3 principles.

We’re seeing moves in two major areas recently – one older sector that’s making big waves with blockchain tech, and one cutting-edge tech that’s coming to prominence.

Social media crypto apps

A couple years ago, the big traditional vs. crypto crossover was gaming. Axie Infinity and others dominated the discussion, and the market, drawing millions in TVL.

Crypto gaming isn’t dead, but the downturn exposed the inherent weakness of Axie’s model. In the meantime, there’s a new market that’s drawing attention: crypto social media. 

The big name to remember is Friend.Tech. Combination marketplace and social media app, Friend.Tech allows users to “buy” access to well-known influencers. The more followers an influencer has, the greater the price of new followers, thanks to a dynamic, bond-based pricing system.

Friend.Tech launched in August 2023 and immediately caught fire. Then it dived. Then it caught fire again. Then crashed again, then grew once more.

That’s a wild ride for a social media app that’s only 2 months old. But Friend.Tech is part of a rapidly-growing segment of social token-driven platforms. The idea has been around for a while, but Friend.Tech was the first to capture the imagination (and participation) of a broader audience.

The result? $14.4 million in revenue for users and influencers, on an app that’s still in beta! The app boasts a cumulative $294 million in trading volume since launch. And the competition is taking note, with imitators like Post.Tech and Words.Tech. The former notched its own victory, with over 60,000 cumulative active users in under a month.

The social media-to-web3 push comes on the back of increasing censorship concerns with current major social media titans. X (formerly Twitter) has its own issues, and OnlyFans once famously tried to ban porn, forcing a major outcry (and quick reversal).

Will Friend.Tech prove to be the model that works for everyone? It’s too early to tell, but the decision to take proven markets (social media) and integrate them with web3 tech may yet prove to be the right call.

It’s also worth noting that many of these social token-driven platforms are built on a diversity of platforms, including Solana and Arbitrum.

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Pushing the frontier

But the crypto economy isn’t just about taking existing models and reworking them. The push to create something new, and to develop the tech as far as possible, is very much alive even in a tough market.

So let’s look at zk proofs.

The idea for zero-knowledge proofs is nothing new – the principle was first proposed back in 1985.

But the advent of technology that relies on real-world application of cryptographic principles – the blockchain – moved zero-knowledge applications from the theoretical to the practical.

The upshot? Zero-knowledge proofs allow users to provide vital information (bank account details, personal identification, etc) without having to pass on that information. No more trusting a financial institution to store your info securely somewhere; with a zk-proof, you can actually meet the data requirements without sacrificing privacy or security. 

Hence the “zero-knowledge” part; at the end of the process, the institution (the verifier) doesn’t hold copies of the proof. There is no knowledge, directly, of the information – therefore, nothing to be compromised in a hack or data breach. 

As expected, zk proofs are technically complicated to conduct. But the resulting applications can be remarkably simple. The idea has strong significance for social media apps, including the crypto-based ones mentioned above.

The maturing crypto finance market continues to draw heavy investment. Now, zk-specific apps and platforms are beginning to capitalise on the push. The zk-based DEX Brine Fi just raised over $16 million from Pantera Capital. Canto, a formerly overlooked Layer 1, has pivoted to become a zk-proof based Layer 2 on Ethereum.

And in recognition of the focus on zk-proof applications, Polygon recently released a ZK-based Chain Development Kit (CDC), to make it easier for developers to build custom ZK chains. 

Going from “trad” to “crypto”

Here at Plexus, we see the shift first hand, as more and more traditional markets adapt crypto and web3 tech.

That’s why stablecoins keep growing and bridging the gap between crypto and fiat currencies.

It’s also why DeFi continues to mature as a sector, drawing increased attention from the traditional large institutional investors of the world of finance.

On the hiring side, this helps to explain why there’s a continued focus on experienced developers, even when new projects are less common than they used to be. It also highlights the emphasis on marketing professionals who can bring high-level crypto concepts down to earth and demonstrate the value of new projects with cutting-edge technology.

Crypto continues to transform even old-school industries, like traditional finance or modern social media, into web3-based platforms. And for professionals in those industries, that means the opportunity is ripe to be on the cutting edge of a move towards a high-growth environment with nearly limitless potential.


Need help with hiring the best talent onto your team? Check out our services and how we can help you grow!

How to structure a great CV from a recruiters perspective

  • Posted: 18.09.23

As a Web3 and Crypto recruitment consultancy, we receive hundreds – if not thousands of CVs everyday (okay, we may be slightly dramatic here but we do receive A LOT each day).

All of our consultants try their best to look through and respond to each applicant we receive but as you can imagine, it can be difficult to respond to all of them, especially as we don’t use AI or robots to help us. We take a more consultancy approach to helping you find the right job!

So, how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd when you only have a few seconds to do so?

Our experts have shared their advice on what makes a great CV, from what to include and how to structure it – all of which will make it easier for our recruiters to notice you and find your dream Web3 job.

What to include on your CV

Let’s start with the basics of a CV, looking at what you do and don’t want to include. This may sound obvious but sometimes it’s good to take things back to basics.

Contact Information

We like to speak to our talent community on a more personal level, so we can get to know each of candidate we represent. Whether that be through phone calls, video calls or simply through Telegram messages, we want to speak to you directly.

It’s important to include your accurate contact details on your CV, so we can reach you quickly and easily. This also includes accurate location information as well. As a UK based company that is able to provide talent worldwide, knowing your time difference helps when we’re trying to contact you.

Career Timeline

Ensure that your career timeline makes sense. It’s okay to have gaps on your CV, which you can easily explain to your recruiter but you need to make sure your experience is listed in chronological order (your latest job role needs to be at the top of your CV).

Top Plexus Tip: Include the month AND the year on your timeline, not just the year. This will help paint a more accurate picture of your career journey.

Own Your Achievements

When providing an overview of your role, don’t just list the standard role description on your CV, highlight your personal achievements or what you actually did on a day-to-day basis.

This way, we know exactly what your skillsets and accomplishments are from a quick glance.

Remember this is about YOU, so it’s okay to brag a little on your CV.

Structuring your CV

When you’re structuring your CV, there are a few simple rules to follow that can help you stand out.

First off, it’s important to include a personal statement, this is your chance to sell yourself quickly and for us to pick out the keywords that align with the job they are recruiting for.

Keep your personal statement short, sharp and to the point. Much like this sentence.

Next up, ensure that you have listed the companies by their name and the dates you worked there. Including hyperlinks to the companies is extremely helpful, as it means we can quickly understand the type of business you worked for.

Be sure to include what type of business they are. For example, if they’re a consultancy include this or if you have your own company make this clear.

If you’ve been freelancing, it’s key to include a list of engagements and timelines for each of the different companies you’ve worked with.

A top tip from our experts: you don’t need to include lots of bullet points of waffle, include actual insights into what you did including any technology you used.

Finally, in the Web3 and Crypto space, it’s so important to provide examples of your projects – what have you been working on, achievements and what interests you.

This is especially important if you are looking to transition over from Web2 to Web3.

Want to know what roles are available? Speak to a consultant about our open roles.

Analysing the Current State of Venture Capital in Crypto

  • Posted: 07.09.23

Where did all the crypto venture capital go?

What’s going on with venture capital (VC)? 

Start-ups generated $162 billion in VC investment in 2022. A year later, that figure is down to $76 billion – over 50% drop.

But the story with crypto is even worse.

True, there’s no year-on-year 50% drop. But that’s only because the VC market for crypto start-ups has been downright abysmal for years.

From the highs of January 2022 ($5.4 billion) to the crippling lows of August 2023 ($0.5 billion), VC investment in the crypto market has decreased by an order of magnitude.

So what’s next? Is anything happening at all in the VC market? Where does it go from here?

Where did it all go wrong?

VC investors play a high-stakes game. Venture capital firms sink capital into emerging and early-stage start-ups, giving those companies a major boost in the hopes of scaling things quickly and reaching profitability as fast as possible.

That’s where all the talks of “funding rounds” comes in. From pre-seed to seed, start-up, early stage, and expansion stage – funding rounds focus on attracting venture funds to keep a startup running prior to product launch and full profitability.

But because there’s no formal project, and therefore no track record, VC funding is a bit of a gamble.

Projects stall, never get off the ground, or collapse entirely, with VC investors losing out each time. Just looking at cryptocurrencies, over 2,300 crypto projects resulted in “dead coins” between 2013 and 2022. The months since then certainly haven’t improved those numbers.

That has led to an increasingly “risk-averse approach” by investors, according to Kyn Chaturvedi of DeFi (decentralized finance) start-up Minterest.

But even with coins collapsing, investment plummeting, and markets shrinking, there’s still room for some optimism.

“There is a discernible increase in investor interest” – Kyn Chaturvedi, Minterest

What happens next?

For starters, venture capitalists, and their money, follow the broader market. Here at Plexus, we’re seeing strong interest in developers and marketers for new projects. And with industry bellwethers Bitcoin and Ethereum having a banner year, there are good signs that sentiment in the broader market is beginning to turn.

That turnaround can also be seen in how the existing VC investment behaves. Despite the ongoing headwinds, “the latter half of 2023 has shown promising signs for Web3 start-ups,” Chaturvedi reports. “There is a discernible increase in investor interest.”

Key Events in Crypto Venture Capital Investment

Why the recent optimism?

It’s worth reviewing quickly how crypto got to be where it is. Three key events or trends have shaped the VC market as it stands today – it’s worth outlining what they are.

The fall of the FTX empire

FTX collapsed in November, 2022. At the beginning of the same year, FTX had announced the launch of a $2 billion VC fund of its own, FTX Ventures. FTX Ventures didn’t have time to develop into a major player in the crypto VC field; by the end of 2022, FTX had collapsed, Sam Bankman-Fried was a pariah, and the crypto rout was on.

Famously, investors had mostly ignored SBF’s own eccentricities in their rush to pour money into FTX. The result was a wildly over-hyped crypto exchange that eventually collapsed due to mismanagement, pulling down a number of other players along with it and leaving VC firms feeling the pain.

In the aftermath, other big players – from VC hedge fund Andreessen Horowitz and a16z, to industry players like Coinbase Ventures and Binance Labs – have started to play their cards close to the chest.

Why the caution? In large part because since FTX’s collapse, US-based regulators such as the SEC have turned increasingly close attention to crypto companies, both established players and emerging start-ups.

The threat (and promise) of looming regulation

SEC regulation is typically viewed as a threat; just ask Coinbase. But at the same time, any regulation, however harsh, would at least provide much-needed clarity for projects and digital assets – and, crucially, for the VC investors who might want to support those projects.

That expectation of clarity is driving some of the recent renewed interest. Projects that are well-run and closely managed are more likely to come out on top when the regulatory dust settles; those are the same projects attracting the most attention.

It may also explain why some VC funds are finding success focusing on early-stage start-ups in the crypto space, giving them more time to adjust to changing regulatory environments. 

The AI potential

What’s changed since 2022?

In part, the continued explosion of AI.

Unsurprisingly, AI-focused start-ups outside crypto have taken a growing share of available VC capital. In the US, nearly $1 out of every $4 of VC investment went to AI-focused start-ups.

Not that crypto is without its own AI-based projects. There’s room for AI and crypto together – and future projects that blend generative AI and DeFi, NFTs, or cryptocurrencies are sure to draw strong interest.

Some projects are already capitalising on the trend; recently raised over $8 million for a project leveraging AI algorithms to boost security.

File this one more under “potential” rather than “proven,” but at the very least, AI’s success demonstrates that VC money is still out there – for the right projects.

What today’s venture capital wants: strong fundamentals

Look long enough, and you’ll see VC success stories, even in today’s market. Recent raises show strong variety – blockchain scanners (Lore), traditional/crypto payments (Moneygram), and DeFi (Maple Finance, Kinza Finance), among many others.

What’s the common bond that VC investors are searching for?

Projects with a good framework and strong fundamentals.

The increase in investor interest means that certain projects “are starting to take a lion’s share,” Chaturvedi says, “particularly for projects that demonstrate strong fundamentals, which is evidenced by oversubscriptions in recent funding rounds.”

VC firms learned a painful lesson when the market dived. Blockchain companies built on max potential, but without a solid foundation and proven business models, failed hard.


For crypto firms, attracting VC investment certainly is a tougher game than it used to be, with smaller amounts of cash going around. 

But the emphasis on solid fundamentals has led to a knock-on effect here at Plexus. Solid fundamentals require a top-notch team. The crypto market is increasingly mature, and that’s reflected in everything from vastly-improved design to an increasingly sophisticated pool of potential employees. 

And according to Euan Wilson, Managing Consultant at Plexus,

A focus on customer acquisition and revenue generating products has led to a greater focus on usability, UX & customer experience. Similar to the traditional tech market 10-15 years ago, I think there will be a new appreciation of the discipline and what “good” looks like from a user perspective. 

Projects need top-tier candidates who can deliver user-focused projects to dominate a rebounding market – and to attract VC investment.

Have any questions about how to attract the right talent to your team? Reach out, and we’ll help you build a team that can guide your project and attract investment from pre-seed to expansion.

A guide to tokens as an employee benefit

  • Posted: 01.09.23

Web3 and crypto is a growing market, more people are starting to realise it’s potential and slowly moving into the space – although, there is still a lot of growth yet to happen.

If you’re new to the space, you may be unfamiliar with the benefit packages that Web3/crypto companies tend to offer. Although there are some similarities, such as equity options, the main difference is the option of tokens.

New to the space? Check out our guide to transitioning from Web2 to Web3 here.

Navigating the world of employee benefits can be difficult in the space, especially when it comes to tokens.

We’ve put together a guide focusing on tokens as an employee benefit to help you with your decision making.

What are tokens?

Before we get into the reasons why tokens are beneficial to you, lets first unpick what tokens actually are.

According to Investopedia, crypto tokens are ‘a representation of an asset or interest that has been tokenised on an existing blockchain.’

It’s possible for there to be confusion between cryptocurrencies and crypto tokens but there are two very different offerings. Tokens are used as a way to raise funds for a project(s), which are usually created and sold through Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Cryptocurrencies are to be used as payment.

There are different types of tokens:

  • Utility Tokens: a token that can access a blockchain product or service
  • Security Tokens: a token representing a share in an external asset or organization
  • NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens): a digital asset that represents ownership of a specific asset (virtually or IRL), such as, artwork, videos and/or audio

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What is the value of tokens as an employee benefit?

Tokens as a benefit could seem like a riskier option for most, in part due to the volatile nature of the current Web3 and Crypto space. However, there is a lot of value in tokens, which can ultimately be very lucrative for you.

Gain earlier liquidity with tokens

Traditional methods rely on an IPO or liquidity event in order to see any gain from shares. This usually can take between five to ten years before you see any financial gain and is entirely dependent on the company’s exit strategy.

Unlike traditional stock options, tokens provide a faster route to market, allowing you to gain liquidity immediately. As soon as you are given your token, you can sell or buy these as soon as your lock-up period is over.

Create a sustainable and future-proof product

With tokens, the benefit to the employee is directly linked to the product/community instead of the financial backing of the company.

This means that the better the product, the more users it will attract, which then grows the value of the token.

As the value of the token is directly linked to the success of the product, there is emphasis on creating a sustainable and future-proof product that is scalable.

Fair compensation alongside base salary

No matter what your salary or package offering, tokens allow for a fair compensation as they belong directly to you, with the ability to control when you receive liquidity.

N.B. some companies may have a vesting period/lock-up for tokens, something which you need to discuss during your interview/offer stage.

Long-term advantages of tokens

As we’ve mentioned above, tokens can help facilitate product growth – the more people want to invest in your product through tokens, the more your token will be worth.

It’s simple, believe in the product and you’ll see the rewards.

Eventually, you may be able to exchange tokens with your peers. If you’re a longstanding employee, you may be able to sell their tokens to newer employees allowing them to cash in earlier.

This essentially allows individuals to buy into the success of a company without any external influence.

How do tokens as an employee benefit work?

So, how do tokens as an employee benefit work exactly? What do you need to be aware of when joining a company that’s offering tokens as part of their benefit package.

When you’re offered tokens, the company/employer will allocate you the token(s) from a reserved patch they have available. Depending on whether these are pre or post launch, their value will be different, so it’s worth finding out about this before you sign the dotted line.

From your initial start date, most tokens will start vesting, however, there could be restrictions around what you can do with your tokens initially – this is called a lock-up.

Lock-up periods usually last for around a year, meaning you can’t sell or transfer your tokens during this time.

There is a lot of financial gain to be had with tokens and it’s definitely worth exploring this further with your future employer.

As we anything to do with your work package, negotiating is key so make sure you really understand what the value of your token is, know what the growth plans are for the company and product before committing.

Ultimately, you can control the value of this by helping to create a product that people want to get involved in.

Want to know what roles are available? Speak to a consultant about our open roles.