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.


  • 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.


  • 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!