March 13, 2018
Could Bitcoin Pave A New Career Path For You?

Being as close to the financial trading sector as we are at Roy Talman & Associates, we can see that a number of financial trading companies are jumping on the bandwagon of trading cryptocurrencies. The core of expertise of trading companies is, of course, trading. For these companies, it's often much more profitable to trade something with high volatility than little volatility. Despite the fact that there are lots of stories about how 2017 was one of the least volatile market years on record, that simply doesn't apply to cryptocurrencies.

Therefore, to the degree that cryptocurrencies will be used and traded by these trading firms, it represents an extremely appealing product to trade. Many trading companies in Chicago are already trading cryptocurrencies or gearing up very quickly to trade them. To fully achieve that, you need a whole infrastructure with real exchanges. Thus far, in my observation, we are still very early on in that lifecycle. The futures exchanges, CME and CBOE have not really gained much value in this area.

Nonetheless, in the future, we should see a point where, to some degree, various public or private cryptocurrencies will become ever more useful. That could have very positive career implications for people with a strong understanding of that technology.

The progression I’m speaking of reminds me a bit of how the Internet first burst upon the scene in the mid-'90's. At that time, very few people knew how to write code for this wonderful new thing called the Internet. As such, there were also few applications that were truly useful. Still, as time went on, we reached a point to where we are today – we see tens of millions, perhaps even hundreds of millions of people know how to write code continually. The code is much easier to write and from that development, there are tremendous libraries of information being created that others can, in turn, use and learn from.


So Is Bitcoin And Blockchain Here To Stay?

As new forms of funding have emerged worldwide, what we’re seeing are a very large number of ICOs (initial coin offerings). For the time being, you may have some spectacular successes – such as Ripple, a company that people can use to send money using blockchain – as well as a fair number of failures. It should be very interesting to see a variety of applications for these ICOs and the blockchains that underline them. It appears at this point that the cryptocurrencies that will garner the largest use will not only survive but also prosper.


Ripple's CEO is fond of pointing out that his transactions can be processed in three seconds and due to that, he's getting a lot of use out of his system whereas bitcoin transactions currently can take hours. And as far as transaction fees, it’s easy to see where that’s going to become a big issue for bitcoin – people are paying an average near $30 in order to make bitcoin transactions. Considering that the original premise was that bitcoin transactions were going to be a fraction of a penny, it seems we've migrated the wrong way – but the demand certainly appears to be there.

Still, there are so few people with an understanding of what these tools are and what they can do from a technological standpoint that it may very well open the door to new, exciting potential opportunities for candidates.

Case in point: A recent graduate with six months of experience writing code for GitHub in between classes is a highly desirable expert on a global basis. It is not a stretch to say that such a candidate, in Dublin, could attract a company in Montreal to want to hire him to work for a manager in Chicago.

We can foresee the same development likely happening over and over again. As with so many relatively new areas of technology, there can be a great deal of ups and downs. There will be high profile success stories and yes, some headlines about this or that promising company that ultimately went nowhere. So if you move your career toward a company related to cryptocurrency, be prepared to stomach what could be a high level of volatility. Some candidates thrive upon riding this kind of roller coaster. Others run from it as fast as they can.

We’ve Been Here Before.

And Ready For What Comes Next.

If you’re expecting the media to tell a consistent “straight story” on the future of cryptocurrency, good luck with that. We’ve seen wide-ranging predictions that run the gamut from a “bitcoin bubble” about to burst to how bitcoin is going replace all forms of money as we know it.

For our part, we see a future somewhere in the middle: Cryptocurrency will have its winners, its losers and doesn’t seem to be on the verge of suddenly disappearing.

It’s actually a cycle that we’ve seen several times over the last 30 years at Roy Talman & Associates. An emerging technology arrives, disrupting industries and bringing new questions with it. When those questions influence what your next career move could be, a degree of clarity is much needed. That’s where Roy Talman’s deep knowledge of where technology is headed next and what firms value most can be highly beneficial, providing you with keen insight on the opportunities that best align with your skills and goals.