Research report - employment trends in the digital asset industry commissioned by the Blockchain Association

Quick Take

  • The Blockchain Association commissioned a research report on human capital trends in the digital asset and blockchain space
  • 85% of professionals in the digital assets industry are employed by exchanges, development firms, or mining businesses
  • Huobi is the largest employer, followed by Coinbase and OKEx
  • 67% of the largest employers are domiciled outside of the U.S.
  • Singapore increased its market share and became the jurisdiction of choice for companies with utility tokens with nearly 40% of launches based there in 2019

The Digital Asset Human Capital Trends Report was commissioned by the Blockchain Association, an association of industry leaders advocating for the innovation and collaboration necessary to support American leadership of the digital assets industry. Read the brief here. For the avoidance of doubt, the firms included in the sample were independent of the Blockchain Association’s membership base.

The digital asset industry grew from a nascent cluster of startups in 2016 to a high growth, professional space with 20,000 employees in 2019. Research found that the growth has been concentrated, with 85% of professionals employed by exchanges, development firms, or mining firms.

There are currently 48 firms with 100 or more employees. The largest employer is an Asian exchange, Huobi Global, followed by two other exchanges, OKEx and Coinbase. Nearly 46% of employers with more than 100 employees are digital asset exchanges.

Source: The Block

About 67% of the largest employers are domiciled outside of the U.S., while two of the five largest employers are domiciled inside. Coinbase is the largest company by headcount in the U.S., followed by ConsenSys, the Ethereum venture studio and development firm.

Singapore established itself amongst the go-to jurisdictions for companies with utility tokens in 2019. Nearly 40% of projects that launched a token sale in 2019 were based in Singapore. This could be a result of Singapore being known for its business-friendly practices as well as its progressive government. The 37 companies that launched tokens raised more than $160 million from investors, of which many were retail.

Source: The Block

According to The Block’s survey findings, a majority of firms believe that regulatory uncertainty constrains their ability to operate in the U.S. Singapore stands to gain additional market share and become a top hub for industry employment, investment, and corresponding revenue if the trend continues.

The survey shows that 91% of firms believe unclear regulations and guidelines in the U.S. regarding the operation of digital asset and blockchain businesses are barriers to entry. About 43% of the firms said that regulatory uncertainty impose burdensome legal costs to their operations and 91% of respondents want regulatory clarity from U.S. policymakers.

The full report can be viewed and download here and the brief here.

© 2023 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.