Coming off the Bitcoin 2022 conference, you might feel a little down from the high of meeting and spending time with Bitcoiners. I've also found that going to these events leaves you with an additional sense of urgency to do something more, or to become more involved somehow. One way to do that is to participate in Bitcoin projects or work in a Bitcoin job. At Bitcoin 2022, I spent time at the Bitcoiner Jobs booth hanging out with some fellow Swan employees and Bitcoin-job-hopefuls. Here are a few insights:
First, Why Do This?
There are a few main reasons why people work in a Bitcoin job:
- You think Bitcoin is the most important thing, and you can't think of any other industry that would be more exciting or energizing to work in.
- You see a massive opportunity to be early in this space.
- Some Bitcoiners are unemployable in other industries due to their attitudes or mindset.
- You HODL a bitcoin bag and want to do what you can to help more precoiners and newcoiners find their way into Bitcoin.
- Bitcoin companies are generally remote-working friendly.
- Bitcoin companies will usually give you the option to be paid in bitcoin.
When working directly in a Bitcoin job, you work with other like-minded individuals on a shared cause. It feels great to have that shared vision about what's wrong with today's fiat world and to work together on building out the new world of tomorrow. When you work together with other Bitcoiners, you feel less need to self-censor than in a fiat job. You feel more connected and as though your work is making a difference.
Working at a Bitcoin company can give you a similar vibe to attending Bitcoin conferences and meetups.
The Trade-Offs Versus Fiat Jobs
To be clear, this isn't for everybody. Some people are just earning too much at their fiat job to think about giving it up. In these cases, it's “chop wood, carry water.” Keep stacking that fiat and converting it into bitcoin whether you are purchasing, earning or mining.
Taking a Bitcoin job would be trading off on income for those with specialized skill sets. It is similar to the trade-off of working at a FAANG company for the high pay and stock options versus the higher risk play of working in a small tech start-up where you get some equity and have more upside if the start-up gets bought out.
What Ways Are There To Get Involved In Bitcoin?
You could find a Bitcoin open-source project to contribute to, take a job in a Bitcoin company, or even start a company serving the industry. If you're an enthusiast closely following the industry, there's a good chance you can spot gaps or unmet needs — perhaps you could build out a product or service to help? Contrary to popular opinion, you don't necessarily have to be a developer to contribute. You could be a writer, work in customer service, have transferable skills from the energy industry, or perhaps work in sales, design, operations, or many other roles.
Bitcoin has a thriving ecosystem, much of it screaming out for the right talent to join. If you want to get into Bitcoin development and contribution, look into organizations such as Blockstream, Chaincode Labs, Spiral, MIT DCI, HRF Bitcoin Development Fund, and Brink. Various exchanges and Bitcoin companies sponsor developers. There are programs to support and train Bitcoin and Lightning developers, such as Qala (see my interview with Abubakar Nur Khalil) and Summer of Bitcoin. There’s also Base58.info by Lisa Neigut of Blockstream, and Programming Bitcoin by Jimmy Song.
Finding A Bitcoin job
So what does it take to find these kinds of jobs? You can search on platforms like BitcoinerJobs.com and post your profile there. You can network and meet people at Bitcoin conferences, events, and meetups. Having open-source contributions or prior Bitcoin company experience is a plus.
Building up your portfolio of work in the space and becoming known for a specific thing will help in any job application process, and it might even help jobs find you. In some cases, a person does a job in the area “for free” but later gets paid to continue doing that work, or at least something related. In other cases, I've seen people create their own jobs by starting or contributing to a side project that later becomes a full-time business.
For example, some individuals start by producing educational content on Bitcoin, Lightning, security, and/or privacy topics and later get hired by a Bitcoin company to continue creating this material in-house or working as customer technical support. Others start consulting services to teach these concepts.
Building Up Your Profile
There are various ways to support Bitcoin and open source projects, as you can make contributions in multiple ways:
- Helping with documentation or writing tutorials
- Suggest new ideas or features and feedback to developers
- Spread the word in some meaningful way
- Code or code review
- Research related to the project
If you want to hear more about making contributions to Bitcoin open-source projects and how this can dramatically improve your Bitcoin career prospects, check out my interview with Rockstar Developer and Pavlenex of BTCPay Server.
Make the most of Bitcoin conferences and events, especially if you meet Bitcoin company leaders or staff and outline how your skills or enthusiasm will help in a particular role.
Generally, Bitcoin companies benefit from hiring Bitcoiners. You get more passionate and motivated employees who genuinely care about the cause. Sure there'll be some Twitter shitposting while on the job, but this will be more than made up for by the reduced need for training on Bitcoin. Bitcoiners as staff will also help you recruit other Bitcoiners to the team and help create the right kind of company culture too.
If you've just got this background feeling that fiat job life isn't for you, definitely look into taking a Bitcoin job. I know people who have taken pay cuts to work in a Bitcoin company who did not regret their choice. It allowed them to work on something they were genuinely passionate about with a team that shared a similar purpose. Whether you want to contribute to Bitcoin open-source projects or work in a Bitcoin company, best of luck out there, there is a lot of work to be done!
This is a guest post by Stephan Livera. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.