Cryptocurrency has become so popular that you can’t go a day without hearing about the asset class from starry-eyed investors and Musk fanboys on Twitter. And this isn’t without reason. Standing at a revenue of USD 1,542.9 million in 2021, the cryptocurrency market is projected to reach USD 2,302.5 million by 2028.
Despite ongoing volatility in the nascent market, demand for crypto adoption is on the rise and the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, in particular, is witnessing strong interest from investors and financial services providers alike.
In APAC, state-of-the-art technology is rapidly driving the growth of digital assets and blockchain innovation. The region has shown strong on-the-ground demand for the digital asset class, almost doubling its crypto user base in 2021.
However, the area remains fairly conservative when it comes to marketwide cryptocurrency adoption. As of this year, there is no legal framework for owning, trading and using cryptocurrencies in Vietnam. Over in the Philippines, the industry is growing and branching into retail banking. Unionbank, one of the largest banks in the country, just announced in May this year that it would launch crypto trading and custody services.
Malaysia, meanwhile, is home to cryptocurrency exchange platforms such as Coingecko and the country’s first regulated exchange, Luno. In Thailand, citizens own up to 10% of the world’s crypto assets, ranking at the second-highest ownership globally with four approved digital asset exchanges (DAX) such as Coins TH, Satang Corporation, Bitkub Online Co, and Bitcoin Exchange Co.
cryptocurrency regulations in singapore
In Singapore, the crypto market is surging. As the financial hub of Southeast Asia, the city-state houses more than 490 fintech firms and 630 global crypto companies. Crypto and blockchain start-ups will also soon take over payments as the largest investment bucket. KPMG reported that investments in 2021 crypto and blockchain firms amounted to US$1.5 million over 82 deals, a sharp increase from US$109.8 million in 2020.
The combination of well-regulated entities and a willingness to try out new technologies has spurred tremendous growth in the market. The Singaporean government however maintains a conservative and cautious stance about cryptocurrency activity to safeguard investors. After all, the space is relatively new, as it landed on Singaporean shores only in 2018.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has granted licences and in-principle approvals in the past two years to 11 digital payment token service providers, including stablecoin players like Paxos, cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinhako, and traditional financial institutions like DBS Vickers.
As the use of crypto assets gains more traction in APAC, we should expect to see more regulatory adjustments to continue driving innovation while enabling safe adoption.
To maintain a strong risk governance culture, MAS expects crypto service licensees to consistently conduct risk assessments and comply with guidelines where cyber hygiene requirements are concerned. Project Guardian, for instance, is a new collaborative initiative that explores the uses of asset tokenisation while managing risks to financial stability. The first industry pilot will explore potential decentralised finance (DeFi) applications in wholesale funding markets.
how cryptocurrency is transforming the job market and why does it appeal to talent?
As emerging markets continue to drive greater crypto and blockchain adoption, the wide variety of new jobs in this space are more appealing than ever to job seekers around the world.
Cryptocurrency is a breath of fresh air for those with experience working in the financial services industry. After working in traditional banks which typically come with an abundance of red tape and regulations, the entrepreneurial spirit and start-up energy of the cryptocurrency industry give talent the unique opportunity to build something from the ground up.
Working in cryptocurrency gives people the chance to branch out of their traditional roles. Crypto companies offer plenty of regional and global exposure as employees have to juggle myriad responsibilities even if they are in a specialised role like compliance or sales. For ambitious and entrepreneurial talent, this poses the perfect opportunity to grow business acumen and expand their skill sets in a disruptive new space.
Another draw for those looking to branch into cryptocurrency is the unconventional career progression opportunities some talent desire.
As there aren’t many professionals with cryptocurrency-native skills or experience, crypto companies often hire talent from adjacent industries such as technology and banking and financial services. Employers may also recruit junior workers who have a specific set of attributes to grow into their roles. For example, a highly self-driven business development professional who is able to think outside the box, is passionate about the cryptocurrency industry and has the right network to execute strategies is ideal.
cryptocurrency wants the big thinkers and problem-solvers
From front-office roles such as sales, marketing, social media and community management, to support functions such as finance, legal counsel and compliance - talent is high in demand across the board.
As the cryptocurrency market thrives on the internet, sales and marketing professionals are required to manage social media communities on platforms such as Twitter and Discord. These roles are especially important in educating both retail investors and the public about how cryptocurrency works, announcing new releases as well as destigmatising the space.
Meanwhile, technology experts such as blockchain strategists and developers who know how to read smart contracts and white papers and apply them to the work environment accordingly are crucial for the success of cryptocurrency firms. These professionals are crucial to helping their stakeholders understand and navigate new and evolving regulations and protocols as they crop up.
Besides the opportunity to work with new and exciting technologies, one big pull factor for those looking to enter cryptocurrency is salary. Interested job seekers will expect a premium for jobs that bear high risk. One can never be too certain of the longevity of their jobs in such a volatile space and may yearn to return to safer employment options in traditional banks after a stint in cryptocurrency.
In recent times, an increasing number of crypto firms have undergone hiring freezes and headcount reductions in the industry amidst a challenging macroeconomic climate and interest rate hikes. Gemini joined the likes of Coinbase and Middle Eastern crypto exchange Rain Financial in announcing job cuts in May 2022.
Talent who switch jobs can typically expect pay increments of at least 20 per cent in their base salary, with companies often giving their employees equity in their own cryptocurrencies or shares to boot. Meanwhile, those moving from junior positions to fill more senior positions may expect to be commensurated generously for the wider scope in responsibilities.
how do you land a crypto job?
Beyond technical experience, employers in cryptocurrency-based or blockchain companies search for talent with highly innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets. More than simply being creative beings, professionals looking to enter cryptocurrency jobs should be decisive and adept problem-solvers.
Cryptocurrency companies will typically ask these interview questions:
- are you someone who’s gone out of your way to complete projects beyond your job scope?
- have you completed any exciting and innovative ad-hoc projects?
- how do you manage your stakeholders?
- have you identified a gap in your work and how have you solved this?
Organisations are looking for talent who not only keep abreast of industry developments but have a vested interest in digital assets. As most individuals will typically take on roles that require them to communicate with stakeholders, switched-on individuals who are good communicators are also highly sought-after. And with many cryptocurrency firms such as Binance and Huobi originating from China, having business-level proficiency in Mandarin is a huge bonus for talent looking to break into the industry.
Due to the desire for talent with strong analytical and communication skills, cryptocurrency companies often take on a strategic or consultative approach to interviews.
Talent can expect take-home or scenario-based exercises to showcase the way they may plan and execute initiatives or problem-solve existing issues such as lobbying or the recent crypto market collapse. For example, employers may draw up a scenario where a market crash is deemed inevitable due to inflation and rising interest rates destabilising financial markets for talent to problem-solve.
Companies may also pose hypothetical scenarios about applying for digital banking licences to compliance professionals to test their knowledge and skills. Meanwhile, those working in sales and marketing can anticipate similar interview processes as technology firms. Their interview exercises may include planning a short-term marketing or public relations campaign, or developing a proposal on how they would grow the business while adhering to the advertising regulations unique to crypto firms.
Find out more about our specialised talent recruitment services and connect with us if you’re looking to hire exceptional talent in the cryptocurrency space. We hire across specialisations for cryptocurrency jobs from sales and marketing to compliance and technology. Let us help you build a winning talent attraction strategy with our bespoke HR solutions.
about the author.
senior consulting manager in banking & financial services, singapore
Daniella has a dedicated focus in roles like anti-money laundering (AML/CFT), sanctions, and transaction monitoring. Her valuable market and talent insights makes her an asset to her clients’ talent acquisition strategies.
senior manager in sales & marketing, singapore
With four years in the recruitment space, Rumi is committed to partnering with employers ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500s in the technology and professional services space to build their sales and marketing talent and skills capabilities.