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The Flip: The Return of a Candidate-Driven Crypto Hiring Market

  • Posted: 13.05.24

Bitcoin ETFs in January.

All-time highs for BTC in March.

The halving event.

Solana’s return.

A new memecoin frenzy.

We are so back.

 

And with the resurgence in the crypto economy, we’ve switched from an employer-driven market to a candidate-driven one.

For the first time in a couple of years, qualified candidates will likely have multiple job offers to choose from – if they want to.

Let’s dive into what a candidate-driven market means for employers and candidates.

More Crypto Jobs in More Sectors

For the first time in a while, crypto jobs are on the rebound. Startups, and startup investment money, is moving back into the space. Big exchanges, like Coinbase and Binance, are hiring. And even traditional financial institutions are looking to expand their crypto-centric teams, especially with the emergence of BTC ETFs to bridge the gap between crypto and tradfi.

In a nutshell, the market is back, with signs that a significant bull run might be looming. This has set the stage for a candidate-led jobs market, often tied to the bull market. In a bull market, there is considerably more VC investment, resulting in development teams moving aggressively to hit GTM deadlines set by their investors. Often they’ll have an ambitious roadmap, with pressure to scoop up the best talent they can find before their competitors get there first.

This results in candidates going off market much faster. Candidates will also carry higher salary expectations with multiple competitive offers, often including counter offers from current employers.

But we’re already seeing a problem; even while more and more positions open up, fewer high-end candidates are willing to make the transition to a new job.

Employee Stability, Memecoin Ability

One reason that employees stay put? The ongoing success of memecoins.

It’s easy to forget that most memecoins and altcoins are the work of particular projects. Those projects have dev teams, and those dev teams receive token packages. If those tokens go on a run – or if it looks like they could – those team members might not be willing to change jobs and risk missing out on a slowly-vesting but potentially lucrative token package.

And these days, memecoins are on a run. FLOKI is up 340% for the year; BONK has risen 3800% just since November 2023.

It certainly feels like new memecoins are going to the moon every day. Against that backdrop, why risk a good token package?

It’s not just memecoins, either. Many core tokens, from Solana to Ethereum, have risen significantly. That rising altcoin tide lifts the boats of many up-and-coming projects. If you’re an engineer or dev with a good token package and competitive pay, why risk what you have? As Shaun points out:

“At this point the best talent are being paid very well and have very good token allocations. A lot will not want to leave as over the next few months those tokens values will rise.”

Remember, in a candidate-driven market, experienced candidates will be flooded with opportunities on a daily basis. Any interest on their part will likely lead to receiving offers within a week or two of a first call, with a correspondingly big token allocation and a healthy base salary.

And even a generous package might not be enough to bring them onboard; they’ll likely have buddies with their own projects offering founding equity. Or their current project might be willing to counter-offer more money to keep them on, rather than having to go to market for a replacement.

To stay competitive for the best talent, companies need something more than a good compensation package.

Not sure how your token package compares? Check out our own snapshot on token benchmarking .

Compelling Narratives > Competitive Pay

What would entice a candidate to switch jobs now? The most likely answer is a company that combines competitive pay with a compelling narrative.

What’s in a compelling narrative? A good narrative raises and answers a number of questions:

  • What is the project attempting to do?
  • Is there a clear roadmap?
  • Can the candidate see themselves growing alongside the company?

Companies that can craft a recruiting narrative that answers those questions positively for the candidate stand a far better chance of landing their dream team.

Top-tier candidates can already afford to be picky, and that situation is only going to get worse for employers: Zeth points out that:

“April represented the end of the last quarter of value…This is the start of the talent squeeze so realistically it is only going to become more expensive to hire.”

Action Points

What does a candidate-led market mean for you? Here’s some actionable takeaways for both candidates and employers.

Candidates

  • Don’t jump at the first new opportunity; there will be more!
  • Look at the details beyond the pay package
  • Consider how your professional growth and the company’s growth align

These points apply alike to experienced Web3 professionals and to candidates jumping from Web2 to Web3 for the first time. If you’re in the latter category, check out our guide to the perfect Web3 CV.

Employers

  • Pitch the opportunity, not just the job
  • Show a clear progression path for candidates
  • Highlight chances for growth, upskilling, and earning potential
  • Emphasise company culture
  • Steamline interview processes to finish within 2-3 weeks
  • Avoid long take-home assignments or 6-stage interviews
Candidate-driven markets are, by definition, major opportunities for both candidates and employers. If you’re seeking to add top-tier talent to position your project to take advantage of the bull market, contact the team at Plexus today!
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The Reality of Fake Developers in Crypto and Web3

  • Posted: 17.04.24

In an industry that thrives on innovation and precision, the presence of fake developers is akin to finding a glitch in a meticulously coded program. Imagine hiring what seems to be a skilled developer, only to discover their expertise is as authentic as a photoshopped image on a resume.

Sadly, we’ve seen this very scenario before; up to 10% of the applications we receive are from fake devs. And when we posted something about it on LinkedIn recently following the Munchables hack, the responses quickly let us know that lots of others have also.

 

The consequences of fake devs? Delayed projects, squandered resources, and a tarnished reputation. 

Let’s dig a little deeper into fake devs, explore their implications, and discuss strategies to mitigate the risks – for real devs and the companies who want to hire them.

What is a “Fake Dev”?

A ‘Fake Dev’ is simply a person (or persons) acting under an assumed identity or fraudulent LinkedIn profile to secure jobs within the tech and blockchain space.

These people are essentially scammers: you think you’re hiring John Smith, Rust developer from a top-20 DeFi protocol, when the actual truth is much more sinister. 

Typically the fake dev (or fake devs) run this scheme on 100s or even 1000s of job applications per month. They secure multiple development contracts or permanent positions, deliver average or sub-par work, and aim to collect at least a month’s wages before being spotted and promptly fired.

It sounds fantastical – but imagine you did this and secured 5/100 positions per month. That’s 5 monthly salaries on a 5% return. And these aren’t cheap salaries, either – many are asking for salaries in the 10k per month range. Potentially, a fake dev could make upwards of 50k per month – not bad for a few weeks work!

Making the scam even worse, often these false actors run in ‘Dev Shops’ – sites with 10 or more developers in a room. Some will be working on projects they’ve already been hired for, some are scouting for hiring managers/recruiters to dupe; all in the same room, at the same time! 

In fact, the dev you chat to may not even be the dev who ends up working on your project. Dev shops also tend to work in a syndicate controlled by a centralised, higher power..

 

Why Do Fake Developers Exist?

There can be a myriad of reasons why people choose to operate in this fashion. From a relatively innocent just-trying-to-get-by to the more sinister options – we regularly hear stories of protocols and companies hiring what they think are legitimate developers but who are actually criminals, opening them up to various hacks and exploits.

The tech industry’s insatiable appetite for talent has inadvertently fueled this dilemma. With high stakes and even higher rewards, there are at least three potential motivations for fake developers:

  • Increased wages: The mildest form of the fake dev is the applicant who invents positions in his previous work experience. It’s easy enough to add “Senior Developer at Startup X” to your resume, and invent a few connections to support your claim.
  • Wage fraud: A more extreme form of fake dev is the applicant who fabricates all or part of a resume and then works multiple jobs, often at the same time, claiming any initial wages while doing very little work.
  • Scams: Fake devs stealing wages is its own type of scam, but there’s also the potential for malicious actors to creep into a company as a fake dev. In the worst-case scenario, these fake devs can create backdoors or learn weaknesses that they can exploit later. 

What are the implications for the hiring team?

Whilst it may seem like a minor inconvenience at first – okay, we hired someone who wasn’t who we thought they were, but if they do the work, what does it matter? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Hiring a false actor can have severe ramifications for companies trying to run legitimate businesses.

If you hire someone you believe to be working in America, for example, but later find out they are based in China – this can cause issues and illegitimacy around taxes and financial reports that the company publishes. It also impacts how they pay their employees, as well as issues involving interactions with counterparties based in countries that are sanctioned (Russia, North Korea, Iran) which is obviously illegal.

More so, it’s not ideal to be duped into hiring a team of average-level developers when you were looking for one superstar. More often than not, despite completing some work remotely, these false actors are unlikely to show up to meetings, stand-ups, respond to emails, engage with other team members or contribute to the project in any way other than basic code. This does nothing to contribute to the success of the project itself and can create more problems than it solves.

To sum it all up:

  • Project Failures: Fake developers can lead to critical errors and delays, jeopardizing entire projects.
  • Financial Losses: The cost of hiring, training, and then rectifying the mistakes of fake developers can be astronomical, especially for startups and smaller companies.
  • Distrust and Demoralisation: Often, genuine team members end up shouldering more of the burden in the wake of a fake dev’s hiring (or firing), damaging team cohesion.
  • Operational and Reputational Damage: Being caught with fake devs is bad enough; being the target of a scam is even worse. The recent Munchables hack resulted in losses of roughly $63 million from a similar scam.

Identifying Fake Developers

So how do you spot a fake developer? In short, learn to look for warning signs, and then take the time to verify candidates. These are all preliminary steps, long before we get to the point of matching candidates to particular jobs. 

 

At Plexus, we tend to notice the same warning signs with fake devs: 

  • Generated background on video calls that conceals actual location
  • Poor communication skills combined with bad connectivity issues; as one recruiter states,

“I always make sure to get developers on a face-to-face Zoom or Google Meets interview. If they have their face super close to the camera and have a background filter to hide others, they’re likely fake and probably working in a Dev shop somewhere.”

  • Lack of awareness or knowledge about the location they claim to be from (e.g – a fake claiming to be from Stockholm being unfamiliar with the Royal Palace, or someone claiming to be in New York having no idea what Times Square is)
  • Generic email address/usernames (e.g CryptoDev267)
  • Insistence on freelance agreement, even if the hiring company is directly based in the same country as they claim they live in
  • Incessant background noise (typically typing/talking from other devs in the room)
  • Unknown or genuinely fake projects listed on CV that lead to dead links
  • Inability to explain in detail what technologies they have worked with beyond some simple googling
  • Asking for a standard salary; for some reason, fake devs always seem to want $10k per month  

Verification Steps

At Plexus, the verification process involves a number of steps

  • Audio and visual checks
  • Verification through our network
  • Deep dives into technical platforms and social media
  • Social verification 

We verify candidates the old-fashioned way first – talking to them by video and getting “eyes-on” to make sure that there’s a living, breathing person behind the PDF resume that popped into our inbox. 

After that, years of working in the space has given us numerous contacts all over the globe who we can talk to and ask questions. Do they know the candidate? Is there someone in our network who worked at one of the previous locations the dev listed in their resume? These are great ways to weed out fake devs.

Github, Telegram channels, Discord – following up on candidates’ work on those platforms can be a quick way to verify quality developers with a lengthy history in the space. There’s also a basic level of social verification that works, assessing a dev’s social and cultural background, social media profiles, and more.

 

Avoiding the Fake Developer Label

What about employees?

If you’re just starting out in the space, you might be concerned that you could accidentally look like a fake dev. You’re probably worried for nothing – true fake devs are in a category of their own.

But to avoid any confusion, here’s some steps to follow, per our own Lauryn Ifill, a delivery consultant here at Plexus:

  1. Keep your CV clear and concise
  2. Links to any projects you’ve worked on (dead links are always a red flag, especially in crypto where fake dead projects can be spoofed easily)
  3. Github access (the more contributions the better)
  4. Updated LinkedIn profile with active use
  5. Interactions with people in the space – Crypto is a who’s-who most of the time, chances are if you interact with people in projects/communities you enjoy, people will recognise you as a contributing figure

Legal and Ethical Considerations

While embellishing skills might seem like a grey area, crossing into outright deception for personal gain veers into unethical and potentially legal territory. Companies must also reflect on their hiring practices to ensure they are not inadvertently encouraging this behaviour.

Developing Authenticity

There’s a persistent problem with bad actors in the crypto and web3 spaces, and fake devs are just one aspect of that problem. Fortunately, fake devs can be detected easily with appropriate due diligence. Plexus makes that due diligence part of our overall recruitment process, and we know what to look out for. That can be harder for smaller startups or new projects that don’t have extensive connections or resources. 

At Plexus, we are committed to in-depth screening of candidates we interact with in our network. All of our consultants are educated on what red flags to look out for when dealing with technical candidates across the globe, and generally, we’re pretty good at spotting a fraud.

It’s always a benefit to work with a trusted and legitimate talent or staffing partner or organisation who will easily spot and identify false actors before their CV makes it to your inbox. Without a recruitment partner, the responsibility to vet and screen these candidates falls on hiring teams, who may not be as accustomed to spotting fakes – especially whilst working to fill roles quickly. 

By implementing rigorous hiring practices and nurturing a culture of honesty, companies can protect their projects, people, and reputation, ensuring that the only thing fake in their environment is the placeholder data in their test databases.

 

If you’d like to avoid any confusion around hiring, drop us an enquiry and let us do the rest!

Written by
Lauren (2)

Lauryn Ifill

Consultant

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The Ultimate Guide to creating a Web3 CV

  • Posted: 26.03.24

Introduction to a Web3 CV

Here at Plexus, we see CVs every day – good ones, bad ones, and ones that need improvement.

And that got me thinking – what goes into a good Web3 CV? So I decided to ask some of the team of crypto recruiters here at Plexus to send me over their ‘best ever CV’. They all came back with the same question – ‘format or experience?’ which made me realise it was uncommon to have both… However, I secured the bag and spent some time analysing these CVs to find all of the commonalities.

Right away, I realised that many employees miss vital parts of a good Web3 CV. They tend to emphasise either experience or good formatting, but not many CVs featured both.

That led us to another insight: in a young and growing field like Web3, candidates with a great resume tailored to the Web3 industry can really stand out.

A dedicated, specialised Web3 CV can be a breakthrough tool for workers who want to jump into the exciting field of Web3, DeFi, the blockchain, and the whole evolving crypto world.

In the right hands, a good Web3 Resume:

  • marks a pivotal tool for job seekers within the blockchain and decentralised application sectors
  • is not merely a resume, but a showcase of one’s journey through the evolving landscape of decentralisation
  • sets you apart in a competitive job market, highlighting not only your skills but also your commitment to the ethos of Web3

So after combing through dozens of the best CVs, we’ve put together a guide to the basics of any good web3 or blockchain CV. Include these elements on your next CV, and you’ll be taking the first step towards a whole new world of employment potential.

Want to get ahead in Web3? Sit down with your CV and align it with these three core elements.

Match the Three Core Elements of a Web3 CV

When they first look at an applicant’s CV, our recruiters look for three things:

  • Companies you’ve worked at before
  • Length of time you worked there
  • Experience that matches the desired role

It might seem obvious, but the companies you’ve worked at previously and the length of time you stayed there are still the biggest elements of your CV. This is especially true as your career progresses. It matters where you choose to work now, because it will impact your future recruiting potential.

To that end, when you’re formatting your CV, you need to keep the critical information (previous work experience) easily accessible. No crazy fonts or unusual formatting; recruiters still need to see, at a glance, where you’ve been and what you’ve done.

Matching projects to skillsets is the third core element, and one that you aren’t able to control as well as the first two. Be aware that different projects will require different skillsets.

As George, one of our recruiters, says,

“I’m not likely to send someone who has been a solo marketing lead at a startup to a company with a large marketing department or vice versa as the way they work is quite different.”

Demonstrate an Understanding of the Web3 Industry

Web3 is not just about technical prowess; it embodies a shift towards decentralisation, transparency, and community-driven development. Applicants must demonstrate a deep understanding of these principles, aligning their skills and experiences with the unique challenges and opportunities of the Web3 space.

On the practical level, at Plexus we look for similarities in the role and similarities in the type of company. For example, If we are hiring for a client running a DeFi protocol we will likely look to see if you have experience in the DeFi sector, unless they are open minded to candidates without Web3 experience.

Transferable Skills for Non-Technical Positions

Beyond technical skills, Web3 values community engagement, content creation, and strategic thinking. Highlight experiences that showcase your ability to foster community, drive engagement, or strategise in a decentralised environment. These skills are invaluable in roles from community management to marketing within Web3 companies.

Experience with Web3-Focused Projects

Direct involvement in Web3 projects, whether through development, marketing, or community initiatives, demonstrates real-world application of your skills. Detail your contributions to these projects, emphasising your role, achievements, and the impact on the project’s success.

Problem-Solving Skills and Adaptability

The Web3 sector thrives on innovation and rapid evolution. Showcasing your problem-solving skills and adaptability through examples of overcoming technical challenges or adapting to new technologies reinforces your value as a dynamic and resilient professional.

This can also extend to extra-career events or skills. This candidate included several short sections in a row to highlight a wide range of interests and achievements related to their career, if not directly part of it.

Technical Skills and Projects

For developers, a Web3 CV should list proficiency in languages and frameworks critical to blockchain and DApps, like Solidity for Ethereum or Rust for Solana. More importantly, showcasing actual projects or contributions to open-source initiatives provides tangible proof of your capabilities and dedication to Web3 technologies.

Identify a clear list of projects and outcomes. We’re not only looking for “worked at ___ as community developer” but also looking for both project and outcome.

Contrast that with the example below:

“Grew an active Telegram community at blank leading DeFi lending protocol from 500 users to 10,000 in six months.” 

Right away, we learn where you worked, the kind of project (DeFi lending protocol), the general role you held (social media marketing), and key deliverables (community growth and participation).

And don’t worry if you’ve covered the breadth of the Web3 ecosystem, moving from DAOs to DeFi and on to NFT projects. A wide range of experiences can be helpful, especially if you’ve got clear deliverables to match.

Embrace Simple Formatting

Here’s your typical reminder that the “usual stuff” is a great way to stand out. Don’t forget to format clearly and cleanly. Recruiters don’t want five-page CVs full of extra info. A survey of some of the best CVs we’ve seen at Plexus show that they share some common features which you can and should incorporate into your Web3 Resume:

Look

Black text on white background, length at most 2 pages.

A summary (optional) – at most this is one paragraph. Some examples are third person, some are written in first person, some are neutral. The tone is less important than the length (short) and the info (lots of it).

Work experience listed as follows:

  • Job title, followed by company name, followed by date.
  • If the company was smaller, put in brackets what the company did / the sector; for example: LoftIQ (A fintech startup marketplace lending analytics and financial products firm)
  • Each job then has bullet points which list clear achievement and stats / outcomes rather than responsibilities

A skills section

Here’s a great example:

  • Showcasing specific languages or software you have experience with
  • Short education section towards the end of profile
  • Included a section with any hackathons or projects they had been a part of – one short line for each. (Example: UW dubHacks 2021 Team, 2nd Place, and then a link to the project)
  •  Include (as bullet points) any speaking panels or awards won

Remember, whatever you do, keep it simple. That doesn’t mean all CVs should look the same; there are ways to use different formats.

But whatever you do, don’t get carried away – keep the information easy-to-access.

Extra Insights

If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering – what about my intro?

It’s true that a typical CV usually starts with some sort of high-level summary of your career to-date:

There’s certainly nothing wrong with this kind of summary – it does deliver a lot of information quickly.

But there’s also no set requirement for it; out of the seven of our favourite Web3 CVs, three omitted a summary entirely, and one included a single sentence.

Those who did include a summary kept it short; the example above is only three sentences long. CVs without a summary just jumped straight into the meat of the matter – technical skills and work experience.

This approach has the advantage of getting recruiters to core information quickly – no extra steps required.

Conclusion

Crafting a compelling Web3 CV is about more than listing skills and experiences; it’s about telling your story within the Web3 narrative. By effectively communicating your journey, skills, and dedication to decentralisation, you position yourself as a valuable asset to any Web3 enterprise.

Got your CV up to scratch? Why not check out our jobs in Web3 + Crypto and get applying! 

Written by
Sarah (2)

Sarah Akwisombe

Marketing Lead

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Highlights from the Plexus Annual Crypto Hiring Report 2024

  • Posted: 15.02.24

If there’s a constant factor in the crypto market, it’s turmoil and constant change. 2023 was no exception – if anything, it proved to be a particularly challenging and dramatic year.

At Plexus, we have the privilege of working with leading companies and top talent in the space, giving us an unusual perspective on the entire market. Here’s what we learned about crypto, web3, and the broader sector in 2023.

Market Insights

The Rise of a Candidate-Driven Job Market:

The job market is increasingly becoming candidate-driven, especially for those with specialised technical expertise in fields such as blockchain development, cryptography, and programming languages like Rust and Solidity. These candidates are now in a powerful position, often receiving multiple job offers and having a stronger negotiating stance for higher salaries.

Balanced Demand Across Varied Technical Skills:

While there is a high demand for specialised technical skills, there is also a growing appreciation and demand for roles that require a broader range of technical abilities. This equilibrium highlights the industry’s recognition of the importance of diverse skill sets, with positions in DevOps, frontend development, and design becoming as sought after as more niche roles.

Trend Towards Cautious Optimism and Steady Growth:

The industry is navigating a recovery phase with a focus on cautious optimism and aiming for steady, sustainable growth. Companies are striving to offer competitive salaries while maintaining sustainable business practices. At the same time, professionals are seeking positions that offer not only immediate advantages but also the potential for long-term stability and career development. This approach suggests a balanced path forward, mindful of past hurdles while optimistic about future opportunities.

A Move Towards Alliances, Not Just Products:

Product-focused roles decreased in 2023, while business development and sales roles boomed. This trend follows a market that largely consolidated in 2023, with less focus on new offerings and more on strategic alliances and building out web3 ecosystems. Skilled BD experts proved invaluable for companies looking to build a foundation for the future and seeking to clarify their spot in an evolving market.

Developers Doing More:

On the language and development, languages shifted again in 2023. Solidity remains the leader, especially for Ethereum-based projects. But farther down the list of popular languages, the situation gets more complicated. Languages like Rust and Go are growing, while there’s a dual focus on both niche specialist skills and developers that can work across different projects.

Candidate Insights:

What are today’s crypto candidates looking for? Increasingly, top talent in the space prioritises positions that:

  • Encourage professional growth. A strong career path, autonomy within the position, and the opportunity for a leadership role down the line are all growing points of emphasis.
  • Foster personal development. Top talent looks for positions that provide chances to learn new skills and develop career networks. Research and development opportunities are an added benefit.
  • Emphasise collaboration, not competition. Job seekers prefer working in innovative and collaborative company cultures. They seek environments that promote creativity, risk-taking, and teamwork, indicating a preference for dynamic, forward-thinking workplaces.
  • Value open communication. Candidates repeatedly express a preference for workplaces with open and transparent communication within a flat organisational structure. They value settings where their opinions are respected and considered, and where decision-making processes are transparent and inclusive.

The Outlook

The year 2023 was a pivotal moment for the industry. As we move into 2024, the trend shifts towards a candidate-driven market, with experienced professionals gaining more control over their career paths, leading companies to offer more competitive packages and attractive work environments.

The year ahead is anticipated to be one of strategic growth and diversification, especially in the crypto and Web3 sectors, with emerging areas like gaming, AI, and new blockchain technologies driving innovation and job creation. Key developments, such as the approval of the Bitcoin spot ETF and significant regulatory milestones, have boosted investor confidence and regulatory acceptance, contributing to industry growth and increased hiring.

Plexus views 2024 as a crucial year, full of promising opportunities and advancements. If you’d like to learn more details about salary trends, promising programming languages, and deeper market analysis, you can find the full report here.

Written by
Sarah (2)

Sarah Akwisombe

Marketing Lead

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The Success of Solana

  • Posted: 29.01.24

Currently #5 among cryptocurrencies by market cap, the success of Solana has exploded in the first half of 2024, riding a suddenly-revived crypto market.

How big has Solana’s move been? After reaching nearly $200 in 2022, $SOL crashed to $10 in 2023. Now, the token is riding high again, cresting $145.

What’s driving Solana’s success? What’s going on behind the scenes in the Solana ecosystem, and what does it say about the future of Solana? We’ll cover all that and more in this breakdown.

Solana’s Performance in 2024

Solana’s 2024 performance began in 2023. In the last quarter of the year, the crypto market rebounded. A rising crypto tide lifted Solana’s boat, but that wasn’t all.

That quarter, memecoins based on the Solana ecosystem went absolutely crazy. Pyth Network ($PYTH) and Jito both arrived as airdrops in November, and both prompted a memecoin feeding frenzy.

And then, of course, there was bonk.

A memecoin worth basically nothing, bonk built momentum throughout 2023, generating huge returns (up to 7,307%!!) for enthusiasts. Bonk’s success fed back through to Solana, pushing daily transactions on the Solana blockchain higher; on the list included at the link, Solana ranked sixth, with over 900% gains for 2023.

The memecoin rush and SOL’s performance had a couple of curious side-effects.

Bonk coins could be airdropped to Solana Mobile phones. This drove a surge of interest in the mobile devices, resulting in fantastic demand for a product that otherwise had been largely overlooked. Saga mobile phones were originally priced at $1,000, and struggled to sell, even with a limited run of only 20,000.

But once bonk went nuclear, investors discovered a loophole; all Solana Mobile Saga phones came with 30 million bonk tokens. Those tokens could be worth more than the phone itself, given how many of the remaining Saga phones had been heavily discounted.

Once that fact became public, the remaining Saga supply vanished, nearly overnight. And with demand now peaking, Solana Mobile announced a new, improved, and cheaper version of the Saga for 2024.

Fad or fact?

So far, so good – but is Solana built on anything more than memecoins and low-production Android phones?

There’s certainly room for concern. The crypto market rebounded in 2023, particularly in the final quarter, largely because of the intense focus on a potential Bitcoin-based ETF. Once that ETF was approved, the market promptly cooled, at least slightly.

Solana’s performance, buoyed as it was by a memecoin feeding frenzy, could follow suit. Memecoins are notoriously volatile, even by crypto standards. And there’s no way to accurately predict what will happen with broader market trends. Some of the recent wins for Solana might not continue. The new Saga phones, as an example, might not sell better than the first ones did initially.

But a closer look at the Solana ecosystem, and a different picture emerges.

Solana: Developers Rust-ing Away

The market downturn drove away hordes of developers from the booming crypto scene; according to one report, open-source developers working in crypto declined to just over 22,000 by the end of 2023. That number was down nearly a quarter from the year before, when there were over 29,000 developers in the field.

But at the same time, the number of active developers who’d been working in crypto for two years or more increased, by almost a third.

Why the seeming contradiction?

One answer is that the bear market forced a lot of projects to close, decreasing demand. At the same time, some devs started looking for greener pastures. The ones who remained tended to believe strongly in the future of crypto, as evidenced by their greater experience.

Back to Solana. Underneath the memecoin frenzy, there’s a growing number of Solana developers steadily working away. The 2023 year-end report from the Solana Foundation found that three-month developer retention increased significantly over the course of the year, from roughly 30% to over 50%. That increase reflected better onboarding, increased opportunities, and a positive outlook for the Solana ecosystem.

The Plexus Viewpoint

Here at Plexus, we’re seeing something similar. In 2022, the Rust programming language, a core language for the Solana ecosystem, accounted for only 4% of languages hired. But in 2023, Rust programmers featured in over 10% of our hires. In addition, Rust and Solidity senior software engineers have seen salaries steadily climb in research conducted by the Plexus team.

Memecoins factor prominently in Solana’s rebound. But even memecoins are gaining respectability as institutional investors increase their memecoin holdings.

A strong developer community, steady developer retention, and the growth of Rust all point to a promising future for one of 2023’s best-performing crypto ecosystems.

Interested in getting involved? Want to put your Rust skills to work in a fast-growing ecosystem? Check out our crypto jobs board to see our vacancies as a Rust engineer.

 

FAQ

1. What is Solana?

Answer: Solana is a high-performance blockchain platform designed for decentralized applications (dApps) and cryptocurrencies. It aims to provide fast, secure, and scalable blockchain infrastructure by using a unique consensus algorithm known as Proof of History (PoH) combined with Proof of Stake (PoS). Solana’s architecture allows for high throughput and low latency, making it capable of handling thousands of transactions per second (TPS).

2. How does Solana achieve high scalability?

Answer: Solana achieves high scalability through its innovative Proof of History (PoH) mechanism, which timestamps transactions before they are added to the blockchain. This reduces the workload for nodes in the network and allows for faster consensus. Additionally, Solana employs a combination of technologies, including Turbine (a block propagation protocol), Gulf Stream (a mempool-less transaction forwarding protocol), and Sealevel (a parallel smart contracts runtime). Together, these technologies enable Solana to process thousands of transactions per second.

3. What are the transaction fees on Solana like?

Answer: Solana is known for its extremely low transaction fees, often costing fractions of a cent per transaction. This affordability is one of Solana’s key advantages, making it an attractive platform for developers and users who require a high volume of transactions without incurring significant costs. The low fees are a result of Solana’s efficient design and high throughput capabilities.

4. Does Solana have a future?

Answer: Solana’s future looks strong. Having recovered from 2022 lows, $SOL has gained over 800% in the past year. Solid fundamentals, growing interest, and a healthy ecosystem prove that Solana will continue to be a major player in the crypto market for years to come.

5. Is Solana better than Ethereum?

Solana lacks Ethereum’s market share, but has made headway as a home for popular NFT projects and memecoins. Solana is a versatile and flexbile ecosystem that may be better-suited to certain applications.

 

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What is MEV in Crypto?

  • Posted: 03.01.24

What is Maximal Extractable Value (MEV) in Crypto?

Hang around the crypto trading world long enough, and you’ll likely come across the term “maximal extractable value,” sometimes rendered “miner extractable value.” Like many terms in the crypto world, it’s a new one; MEV didn’t really originate until 2019, and has only become widespread in the past couple of years. So what is MEV in crypto?

Here at Plexus, we try not to get too technical on the blog. But the growing popularity of MEV, and its significance for crypto participants from traders to investors to DEX participants, makes it a topic worthy of a more detailed discussion.

Maximal Extractable Value (MEV) in the crypto world refers to the maximum potential profit a miner or a network participant can extract from block production and transaction ordering. It has become an emerging topic in the field of blockchain technology, particularly in the context of decentralized finance (DeFi) and Ethereum. MEV is a concept that has grown in importance as users and developers have come to understand its potential impact on the functioning and security of decentralized networks.

Maximal Extractable Value vs. Miner Extractable Value

MEV is closely related to the idea of miner extractable value, which refers to the potential profits that miners can gain by intentionally including or excluding certain transactions from the blocks they create, thus increasing the value of the block rewards the miners earn. As the value of transactions on blockchain networks has increased, so too has the potential profit that miners can extract. In some cases, miners may engage in activities such as front-running, where they anticipate and exploit the potential profit from a pending transaction, or sandwich attacks, where they manipulate the order of transactions to their advantage.

In the context of DeFi

In the context of DeFi, MEV has become particularly relevant due to the complex and interconnected nature of decentralized financial applications. In DeFi, users can interact with smart contracts for trading, lending, and other financial activities. As these transactions are recorded on the blockchain, there are opportunities for miners to extract value by manipulating the order of transactions or exploiting vulnerabilities in the smart contracts.

To better understand how MEV works, let’s consider an example. Suppose there are two traders, Alice and Bob, who are both trying to execute a trade on a decentralized exchange. Alice wants to buy a certain crypto asset, while Bob wants to sell the same asset. They both submit their transactions to the blockchain, and miners have the ability to determine the order in which these transactions are included in a block.

In this scenario, a miner could potentially engage in front-running by prioritizing Bob’s sell order before including Alice’s buy order. By doing so, the miner could benefit from the price movement caused by Bob’s sell order before executing Alice’s buy order. This would allow the miner to extract value from the trade at the expense of Alice and Bob.

Implications for security and reliability

MEV also has implications for the security and reliability of blockchain networks. As miners have the ability to manipulate the order of transactions and potentially profit from doing so, there is a risk that this behaviour could undermine the trust and integrity of the network. Additionally, MEV can create an uneven playing field for network participants, as the potential for profit extraction may incentivize miners to prioritize certain transactions over others, leading to a lack of fairness and transparency.

In response to the growing concerns around MEV, there have been efforts to develop solutions to mitigate its impact on decentralized networks. One such approach is the introduction of MEV auctions, which aim to create a more transparent and fair mechanism for miners to compete for MEV opportunities. Through MEV auctions, miners can bid for the right to include and prioritize transactions, thereby creating a more competitive and market-driven approach to MEV extraction.

Another potential solution to address MEV is the development of protocols and technologies that seek to minimize the opportunities for MEV. For example, the use of decentralized order execution or the implementation of privacy-preserving techniques can make transaction ordering less predictable and exploitable.

Benefits of MEV

At its core, MEV is a product of the decentralized nature of blockchain technology. Unlike traditional financial systems, where a central authority determines the order of transactions, blockchain transactions are included in blocks based on the rules set by the protocol. This opens up the possibility for miners to engage in what is essentially a form of front-running, where they can prioritize certain transactions over others to their advantage.

One of the most common examples of MEV is the front-running of decentralized finance (DeFi) transactions. In DeFi, users can engage in various financial activities, such as trading, lending, and borrowing, without the need for intermediaries. However, this also means that the execution of these transactions is public and can be observed by miners. Miners can take advantage of this transparency by reordering transactions in a way that allows them to profit from the price movements that occur as a result of the transactions.

Another example of MEV is the manipulation of blockchain consensus mechanisms. In proof-of-work blockchains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum (formerly), miners compete to solve complex mathematical problems in order to validate transactions and add them to the blockchain. This process involves selecting transactions to include in a block and determining the order in which they are included.

By controlling the order of pending transactions, miners (or validators in proof-of-stake) can reap two primary benefits:

Financial gain

By front-running transactions or manipulating block order, miners can profit from price disparities and market movements. This can be particularly lucrative in the highly volatile world of cryptocurrency, where small price movements can result in significant profits.

Competitive advantage

By being able to strategically include and order transactions, miners can gain more control over the network, potentially leading to increased mining rewards and influence in the blockchain ecosystem. This can be done by front-running transactions, inserting their own transactions, or even censoring certain transactions altogether.

MEV, Crypto, & Decentralized Exchanges

One of the most common examples of MEV is front-running. This occurs when a miner observes a pending transaction in a block and quickly submits a transaction of their own with a higher fee to get ahead of the original transaction. As a result, the miner can profit from the price movement caused by the initial transaction, at the expense of the original user. This practice is especially prevalent in decentralized finance, where users often interact with smart contracts that execute trades or provide liquidity.

Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) are particularly prone to MEV, as they rely on on-chain order books and automated market-making algorithms to facilitate trading. When a transaction is submitted to a DEX, it can be observed by traders looking for arbitrage opportunities.

To illustrate this, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario on a DEX. User A submits a trade to buy a specific token at a certain price. Before this trade is processed, the transaction rests in a “mempool”, a publicly-viewable ledger of pending transactions. There, a miner observes the pending transaction and quickly submits a trade to purchase the same token at a slightly higher price. The miner’s trade is prioritized, and the price of the token increases before User A’s trade is executed, leaving them with less of the token than expected. In this case, the miner has extracted value from the order of transactions, to the detriment of User A.

Impact of MEV on crypto networks

The impact of MEV on DEXs extends beyond individual users to the overall efficiency and fairness of the ecosystem. As MEV becomes more prevalent, users may become hesitant to interact with DEXs, leading to decreased liquidity and overall market efficiency. Additionally, MEV can exacerbate the existing challenges of front-running, slippage, and price manipulation in decentralized trading environments.

Despite the challenges posed by MEV practices, the impact is complicated. Increased arbitrage opportunities are just that – opportunities for savvy network participants. MEV is increasingly applied to more than just mining situations; there are opportunities for MEV with liquidation fees on lending protocols and transaction fees in crypto networks as well.

At the same time, there are ongoing efforts to control the impact of MEV on DEXs and other DeFi applications. One proposed solution is the integration of MEV protection mechanisms directly into the protocol layer. For example, the concept of “fair sequencing” aims to establish a fair and transparent process for ordering and executing transactions, regardless of miners’ actions. This could potentially limit the ability of miners to manipulate transaction order and extract value from the system.

As blockchain networks continue to evolve, it will be crucial to address the vulnerabilities associated with MEV and explore innovative solutions to ensure fair and efficient trading environments.

Potential Issues with MEV & DEXs

Another approach to address the potential issues with MEV in DEXs is the implementation of governance mechanisms and community-driven initiatives. By empowering users to have a say in the governance of DEXs, it is possible to establish rules and regulations that can help prevent the abuse of MEV and promote fairness and transparency in the decentralized exchange ecosystem.

It is also important for regulators and industry stakeholders to work together to address the potential issues with MEV in crypto and DEXs. Through collaboration and the implementation of regulatory frameworks, it is possible to establish guidelines and best practices that can help mitigate the negative impacts of MEV and ensure the integrity of the decentralized finance ecosystem.

In conclusion, while MEV has brought significant benefits to the crypto industry, particularly in the context of decentralized exchanges, it is important to recognize and address the potential issues that may arise from its use. By implementing MEV-resistant protocols, fostering community-driven governance, and working with regulators, it is possible to mitigate the negative impacts of MEV and ensure the fairness and integrity of DEXs in the decentralized finance ecosystem.

MEV, HFT, and evolving crypto trading

Increasingly, MEV is a trading strategy used by high frequency traders (HFTs) to capture profits from arbitrage and other inefficiencies in the cryptocurrency markets. It involves exploiting momentary price discrepancies between different exchanges, or between the same exchange’s spot market and futures market. Through algorithms that scan for discrepancies between different order books, HFTs can quickly execute trades at a profit.

MEV has become increasingly popular in the crypto industry as the markets mature and technology advances. With HFTs looking to capitalize on price discrepancies as soon as they arise, it is important for traders to stay up-to-date with evolving trading strategies and technologies in order to remain competitive.

Interested in crypto jobs? Check out the latest jobs in MEV or other web3 roles.

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How Luxury Brands Are Embracing Web3 and Driving Crypto Forward

  • Posted: 31.10.23

Crypto is down.

NFTs are hurting.

The broader market is… shaky, at best.

So why are luxury brands pouring money in crypto? And whatever happened to broader adoption?

This is something we’re seeing firsthand here at Plexus, as more and more luxury brands, from cars to auction houses, are turning to crypto even in the middle of a crypto winter.

What’s going on? Let’s take a closer look.

Luxury X Crypto: Exploring 2 Use Cases

In general, luxury brands are turning to crypto for two primary use cases:

  • Payments
  • NFTs

Why those two?

Payments

First, payments. Luxury payments have always existed in a world where money and wealth take many forms; many luxury goods are (or where) currencies themselves. Think gold, jewelry, etc.

Accepting crypto payments for luxury goods fits with the broader trend.

NFTs

From the general to the specific; while crypto payments make perfect sense – after all, luxury brands aren’t the only ones moving towards crypto – NFTs might initially seem to be a less natural fit.

But NFTs hold a certain appeal to luxury brands that goes beyond any idea of utility. The core value of an NFT is that each one is unique. More broadly, any given collection of NFTs is, almost by definition, rare.

And rarity is a core element of every luxury brand. After all, if everyone had a Lamborghini, or if everyone owned a Rolex, or if Tiffany jewelry was commonplace, then those brands wouldn’t be luxury brands at all.

For that reason, luxury brands have turned to NFTs even when the broader market hasn’t. NFTs carry built-in utility for luxury brands, simply by existing.

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Luxury X Crypto: 3 Matches Made in Branding Heaven

Three examples illustrate how the luxury industry blends crypto payments and NFT rarity.

NFTiff

In 2022, Tiffany’s launched a collection of diamond-studded pendants based on the iconic CryptoPunks NFT collection.

250 pendants sold out in 20 minutes, and netted Tiffany’s over $12 million.

In early 2023, the company began dispatching the pendants. Tiffany’s embraced the rarity of Cryptopunks, combined it with the natural exclusivity of high-end jewellery, and found a winning luxury product even in a down market.

The NFTiff collection also demonstrated a way forward for phygital items – physical items with a clear digital footprint. In essence, the pendant is forever tied to the NFT, and the NFT to the pendants, blurring the line between the two.

Louis Vuitton VIA

Fashion house Louis Vuitton took things even further with their VIA collection in June 2023. The VIA collection consisted of a soulbound NFT to unlock a “box” – an evolving collection of collectables both physical and digital, rolled out over weeks and months.

Soulbound tokens are NFTs that can’t be resold, bound forever to a single wallet. VIA owners – and only the original VIA owners – would be able to access exclusive Louis Vuitton releases.

The idea of soulbound tokens has long been suggested as a way to draw more utility to the world of NFTs. Soulbound tokens could be used to integrate medical data, for instance. But in the world of consumer luxury goods, soulbound tokens can also be used to achieve the ultimate in exclusivity.

Ferrari Crypto Payments

Add Bitcoin, Ether, and USDC to the ways you’ll be able to pay for your next Ferrari.

The luxury carmaker is working with BitPay to process cryptocurrency payments in the three currencies mentioned above. New payment methods can also be new paths forward for potential customers, particularly when those customers are often crypto investors.

The intersection between crypto user and luxury goods consumer isn’t an accident. Most crypto investors aren’t millionaires – but despite the downturn, crypto still gave tens of thousands of people seven-figure wealth.

One report estimates that over 88,000 people, worldwide, turned millionaires due to crypto. That’s not a large number of people in total, but luxury brands are well accustomed to working with smaller-but-wealthier markets.

A Luxurious Web3 Ahead

There’s little sign of the luxury industry turning away from web3, crypto, and NFTs anytime soon. Blockchain technology and its built-in exclusivity are powerful draws for luxury markets, and even as broader adoption of cryptocurrency marches slowly on, the luxury sector is racing ahead.

That’s a good thing; adoption is adoption, no matter how limited the market, and even an NFT exclusive community is a community of crypto customers. And despite the well-covered struggles of the NFT market, the luxury industry continues to support that particular sector.

On the employment side, luxury companies working with web3 companies opens the door for new skillsets to enter the market. Salespeople with high-end customer experience, employees with a background in luxury retailers, and programmers and designers able to craft the fully immersive experiences the luxury goods industry craves.

It’s a luxurious web3 ahead.

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

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The End Of The Fake CTO

  • Posted: 30.10.23

There has been a rise of Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) joining early stage start-ups. However, over the years the responsibilities of what is expected of a CTO have become slightly muddled, with expectations of both client and candidate not always aligning.

So, is it time to end the CTO title and make way for the Founding Engineer?

CTO’s relationship with start-ups

With any tech based project, you obviously need someone to build out the product for you. But many start-ups may not be able to afford the expertise of a seasoned CTO who has many years of experience.

In order to mitigate this problem, start-ups tend to seek help from talented candidates that don’t have as many years’ experience but are equipped to be able to build a product from scratch. Usually they look for someone that has full stack experience, who will be able to deliver the back and front end code of a project.

As this role still requires candidates to have some experience, knowing what title to offer has always been somewhat ambiguous. And more often than not, brands have landed on the CTO title as this has felt the most appropriate at the time.

However, as start-ups begin to grown and receive significant rounds of funding, most of the time brands require someone with a little more experience to lead the strategy, development and growth of a product and team.

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Why the title, CTO, can be problematic for start-ups

Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that candidates who have less experience are incapable of building a successful product. But the title CTO can be problematic and lead to a number of issues in the long run.

The expectation for the company vs. that of the candidate/employee is more than likely to be different based on the job title alone.

CTO’s are usually hired when the company needs someone to lead the strategy and vision of the product and aren’t normally required to build/code the product itself.

Whereas, in the early stages of a start-up, you’ll want someone who is a generalist engineer wanting to still be hands on in their approach.

So when it comes to the point in a company’s journey when they need someone more strategic to come onboard, there could be a conflict with the existing CTO.

So what’s the solution?

A new era – The Founding Engineer

Enter the era of the Founding Engineer.

The title Founding Engineer encompasses everything start-ups want from their first engineering hire, as they will be the person to shape the beginnings of the product and engineering team.

Ultimately, their role is to write code and deliver the product to market, whilst also implementing the processes and project managing the development.

It’s a title that suits both the company and the employee. For the company it provides flexibility and room to continue to grow the team/brand in an sustainable way.

For the candidate/employee, it provides the opportunity to take ownership of a product, elevate their skillset and drive initial product growth.

What skills does a Founding Engineer need?

There are certain skills that Founding Engineers require as they’ll be required to do a bit of both strategy and delivery.

Companies will need someone with an entrepreneurial mindset, that’s potentially worked in start-ups previously and understands the ins and outs of growing a product.

Founding Engineers will need to be able to work autonomously, quickly and efficiently, especially in the early stages of start-up when there are tight deadlines to get the product to market and satisfy the VCs.

Finally, they need to be able to wear multiple hats at all times – employees need to be skilled in front end, back end, devops to be able to fulfil this role.

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

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Whatever Happened to NFTs?

  • Posted: 26.10.23

At Plexus, we don’t always like to talk about the downsides of the crypto world. WAGMI, after all – crypto is here to stay!

That said, we should probably all sit down for a hard conversation about NFTs.

Maybe you remember them? You know, collectable digital art? Jpegs, as enthusiastic investors often referred to them. Non-Fungible Tokens; totally unique digital tokens, fully tradable on the blockchain.

You’d be forgiven for having forgotten about them. While the downturn in the crypto market is well-known at this point, NFTs did a particularly impressive job of collapsing – and in the process, calling into question the whole future of the NFT sector.

So what happened to NFTs, and where did all those blue-chip collections go? We’ll dive into more detail in this article, plus we’ll discuss what it means for the sector more broadly.

The Life and Death of NFTs

At its lowest point (so far), the crypto sector collapsed to roughly $1 trillion total market cap, from a height of over $3 trillion. Two-thirds of total market value, gone in a matter of months.

That’s bad; but somehow, NFTs did even worse.

According to data from Defillama, NFT marketplaces peaked at over 250k ETH trading volume, back in April 2022. Volume declined from then on, slowly at first, then all at once. About a year later, in spring 2023, there was a brief resurgence of interest (and correspondingly, a boost in trading volume). 

But even that quickly died out. For most of 2023, trading volume has stayed well under 50k ETH daily.

Crypto, as a whole, declined by two-thirds; NFTs lost four-fifths of its total volume.

The picture gets even worse – somehow – when you look at it more closely.

Much of the trading volume that is still happening is awash in controversy. Yes, that’s a pun – wash trading has been around for years in the stock market, but is becoming a well-known problem in the sector. The idea is that large collectors purchase their own NFTs, essentially swapping the digital assets between wallets they own. 

On the surface, these look like legitimate purchases, and the NFT marketplaces record them as such. But in reality, nothing changes hands; wash trading simply gives the appearance of intense activity, but without any indication of genuine underlying value. The purpose of wash trading is, of course, to drive legitimate sales by inflating the value of an NFT collection. 

It’s difficult to tell exactly how much volume, on a given day, is wash trading. But what is evident is that nominal trading volumes are almost certainly inflated. 

The upshot? Total NFT sector volumes are likely even lower than they appear.

3 Collections in Trouble

Ok, so the sector as a whole is down. But isn’t this the same as crypto more broadly? Or web3? Or DeFi? Some projects are down, but certain blue-chip projects are leading the way forward.

Perhaps. But what stands out about NFTs is the extent of the collapse. Even notable blue-chip projects have been impacted. In turn, that has raised important questions about the future for the sector as a whole.

Time for some specific examples. We’ve stuck with collections that aren’t fully dead; there’s a huge list of NFT projects that are functionally extinct, with zero trading volume and few (if any) collectors. In fact, a damning recent report from the folks over at dappgambl says that up to 95% of all NFT collections are worthless.

But rather than kicking a dead horse (.jpeg), let’s look at collections with signs of life, but a much darker future than once imagined.

Bored Apes/Mutant Apes

Another crypto/NFT comparison. Since the dark days of early 2023, Bitcoin has rebounded to over $30k. It’s currently trading at a little over 50% of its 2021 peak ($66,000). That’s down drastically, obviously, but let’s compare it to two of the leading NFT collections: 

That’s a decline of 80% for BAYC and 76% for MAYC.

That’s… not great, especially for two collections well-regarded as NFT royalty. In fact, we’ve previously covered Yuga Labs, the studio behind both collections, here on the blog. Yuga Labs has big ambitions, from a related cryptocurrency to a metaverse project, all tied into the BAYC empire.

The collapse of the underlying BAYC price has, in turn, impacted Yuga’s plans. They recently announced a restructuring of the company – although the full details for that move are still a bit unclear.

What is clear is that sailing has gotten a bit rough for the Yacht Club.

DeGods

Frank DeGods is a bit of an NFT legend; the collection that bears his name is a definite blue-chip amongst NFT aficionados.

But the collection itself has fallen on some hard times. The price floor dropped from 10 ETH to a little over three from June ‘23 to October the same year. And unlike BAYC, DeGods didn’t launch until well after the market downturn. That drop in price came entirely after the market crashed.

DeGods (the man) is still active and a regular on various NFT-related X Spaces. DeGods (the project) illustrates the strength of the headwinds still facing NFT projects.

Azuki

The key to Azuki’s decline sits plainly in its description: a brand for the metaverse. As went the metaverse, so went Azuki, which declined from 21 ETH to just over 4 ETH. In real-world dollars, that’s a decline of roughly $56k.

Azuki was supposed to be an owner’s ticket to a world that blended the physical and the virtual worlds, with a dedicated space in the metaverse for Azuki holders. The metaverse isn’t dead yet, and neither is Azuki – but there’s much less interest in both.

What’s Next For NFTs?

Each of the collections above illustrates a different use case for NFTs. Yuga Labs positioned their collections as gateways to a crypto-based ecosystem. DeGods went big on the exclusivity and art-related aspects, while Azuki and numerous other collections built their use cases on the metaverse.

The fact that each collection declined so rapidly indicates underlying weaknesses with the use cases themselves. In short, NFTs still don’t know what, exactly, they want to do with themselves. 

Are NFTs simply another form of art? If so, adoption will always be limited to artists and art fans.

Are NFTS tied inextricably to the metaverse? If yes, then NFTs will only find success when the metaverse does – if it does.

Maybe NFTs work as the foundation for an integrated ecosystem? Perhaps, but if front-runner, blue-chip collections like BAYC struggle to build a firm foundation, smaller projects are going to find it nearly impossible.

Is there a way forward? Only time will tell. At Plexus, we see a growing use case for NFTs as tools to integrate real-world assets with digital platforms. The authors of the dappgambl report agree: going forward,

NFTs need to either be historically relevant (akin to first-edition Pokémon cards), true art, or provide genuine utility.

What happened to those NFTs? The same thing that happened to the rest of the crypto sector; they fell down.

Now let’s see if NFTs can get back up.

Interested in any NFT-related jobs? Reach out to our recruiters to see what’s available.

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Why Tech Founders Should Be Hiring Product Designers First

  • Posted: 24.10.23

For tech founders in the early stages of start-up mode, your initial hires to your team are crucial for the company’s development. Your founding hires will be the foundation of your product/company.

Some people tend to go straight into the build of a product, recruiting engineers as their first hire with the aim of launching quickly. Although engineers are important to any company, their focus tends to be on the technical function of a product, rather than understanding the customer.

That’s where product designers come into play.

So why should you be hiring product designers first? Well there are a number of reasons that will help your company but our top 3 reasons are:

  • Ensure there is a product market fit
  • Build a customer focused product
  • Stay ahead of your competition

Let’s dive in and unpack this some more.

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Ensure there is product market fit

Anyone can have an idea for a product but building one that is fit for market is a different ball game. With so many products already available to customers and more entering the market each day, it’s important to create something that solves your customer’s problems.

Product designers are able to take teams through the whole process of building a product, starting with understanding the market itself. They’ll initially ask key questions such as; “Is there a need for the product?”, “Who are the current competitors?”, “How does your product differentiate from others and answer the target audience needs?”

Essentially they are the gatekeepers to making sure you build a product fit for the market.

Build a customer focused product

Through the use of different tools, they create solutions for their target audience ensuring that the product is fit for purpose.

Product designers are problem solvers, with their role covering everything from:

  • User Experience (UX)
  • Customer Experience Architect
  • User Interface
  • Information Architect

As you can see from the areas they specialise in, everything they do is extremely customer focused to ensure they build a useable product.

With this in mind, when hiring a PD at the beginning of your journey, they can spearhead the development for the customer including market research to help identify pain points and build solutions for this.

They’ll not only build a product that drives customer acquisition but also helps with customer retention, as their job is to build every touchpoint of the customer journey that will keep the customer coming back year on year.

Stay ahead of the competition

If you really want to stay ahead of your competition, then you need to understand your customers and you need to know them well. With the market flooded with so many products, customers have a lot of choice when it comes to picking a product, so you want to make yours stand out from the crowd.

This is exactly what product designers do.

Final Thoughts

Product designers do much more than make your product look aesthetically pleasing, they make sure your product will be successful by ensuring that everything you do is focused around the customer.

By including a PD as your first hire, you’re sure to be setting yourself up for long-term success and not just a one hit wonder.

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