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China's Government Censorship Agency Is Hiring a Crypto Expert

The state-level Chinese government agency responsible for censoring media output in the country may soon have a cryptographer on the payroll – and with expertise in blockchain technology.

The research center of the State Administration of Press – which is directly administrated by the State Council – is looking for a cryptographer who “keeps abreast of the most advanced cryptography applications in areas such as blockchain.”

According to the job description published by the government agency on Tuesday, the ideal candidate would be a technologist with strong skill-set in cryptography algorithm and performance optimization.

Other responsibilities will be researching and developing tools for measuring the security level of different cryptography applications.

Although the job description does not offer any detail around the agency’s plans regarding blockchain, the stated requirement still signals a notable move by the high-level central government agency.

Intriguingly, the job post comes at a time when blockchain is being increasingly used to bypass China’s pervasive web censorship – often dubbed the “Great Firewall” – in an effort to keep censored articles available to the public. Examples include an expose of a firm involved in China’s recent vaccine scandal and an effort by the #metoo movement in the country to not be silenced.

Founded in 1946, the State Administration of Press directly is administrated by the State Council, but reports to the propaganda department of the Chinese Communist Party. It is known for its role as a top censor with the remit of controlling information produced by all types of mass media in China, including TV, radio, newspaper and the internet.

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Florida Is Creating Its Own Crypto Czar

Florida is set to have its own cryptocurrency czar.

The Sunshine State’s chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, said in a statement Tuesday that he has created a new position to supervise the state’s cryptocurrency industry. He explained that the new overseer will be tasked with enforcing applicable regulations to protect investors from potentially malicious actors.

“Florida can no longer remain on the sidelines when it comes to cryptocurrency. I have directed my office to create a position that will oversee how current securities and insurance laws apply to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies as well as shape the future of these regulations in our state,” Patronis remarked.

Similarly, Patronis said that the position was needed in order to prevent any form of exploitative investment pitches. And while it’s not clear when the position will be filled – or by whom – Patronis said that the steps to be taken are necessary ones.

Indeed, Florida has seen several lawsuits filed in connection with the BitConnect cryptocurrency scam, and the U.S. state was once the home of Cryptsy, the now-defunct exchange service that collapsed in early 2016 and resulted in allegations of fraud, a class-action lawsuit, and a multimillion-dollar judgment.

While he wants to “keep pace with demand and not deter innovation,” Patronis added that “it is absolutely essential that Florida create safeguards to protect our consumers from fraud.”

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Crypto Job Interest Waned with Price Decline, Says Indeed

Interest in cryptocurrency-related jobs has declined in parallel with a slump in cryptocurrency prices, according to employment search engine Indeed.com.

According to a new report released Wednesday, cryptocurrency-related searches on the site climbed from June through mid-December of 2017, peaking at 39 searches per million for the term “bitcoin” and 46 searches per million for the term “cryptocurrency.”

Notably, Dec. 16 saw bitcoin prices surge to an all-time high of close to $20,000.

Since then, though, the aforementioned searches have dwindled by 76 and 41 percent respectively – a trend that Indeed attributes to the simultaneous slide in cryptocurrency prices since the peak.

“Over the last year interest in cryptocurrency jobs on Indeed has risen strongly. However, in recent months the prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been volatile and (in some cases) declining,” the company said. “Job seeker interest on Indeed for bitcoin and cryptocurrency jobs has fallen, too.”

However, Indeed reports that interest in blockchain-related roles has endured, with the search term garnering 47 searches per million at the time of the report – only slightly lower than during its February high.

“The sustained interest in blockchain jobs is perhaps a sign that job seekers believe non-financial companies will pursue blockchain applications, even if financial companies see cryptocurrencies as a fad,” the company writes in the report.

Indeed concludes:

“Rightly or wrongly, blockchain is seen by job seekers as a viable innovation whether or not bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are.”

In December of last year, Indeed also provided CoinDesk with data regarding blockchain jobs posted. The report indicated that the number of blockchain jobs posted in the U.S. had increased by 207 percent since 2016, and by 631 percent since November 2015.

Indeed app image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Crypto Jobs? Where We're Going We Won't Need Jobs

Kade Morton is a security consultant and open source enthusiast. In his spare time, when he isn’t volunteering for Mozilla, he’s working on his own open-source decentralized application, Aletheia. Follow him on twitter @cypath


In a recent CoinDesk op-ed, Sandro Ro urges the blockchain community to “construct and act by a new culture whereby our companies care deeply about its people and society’s problems and act accordingly.”

Making work more rewarding for employees is an arguably noble goal, but it’s one that I believe is doomed to fail.

Moreover, particularly in the blockchain space, it misses the point of this era’s innovations.

A critical look at employment

According to the oracle of the age, Wikipedia, slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration (unless you count room and board).

In the modern form of employment we work under, employment contracts stipulate what we must and must not do. It’s very close to ownership. A lot of people are unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement because work is often hard to find.

Sure, people can quit. But quitting without another job can literally kill you. We need money to survive. We live in a world with enough resources to go around, but we need some way to distribute them since we don’t trust each other to share equally. So, humankind invented money, items granted for effort expended that can be exchanged for resources.

Money is effectively a ledger. It’s incredibly unequal, but it’s still a record of a transaction.

And money is the remuneration many would say, so working is not slavery by our definition. However, examine the situation many are in. People work for food, housing and health care. But homeownership, a healthy diet and proper medical care are a dream for many, and only growing more distant.

So what are we getting in return for work? Not a lot, it seems. Employment is basically slavery. This is not to belittle historic atrocities or the plight of those trafficked for slavery in the modern age. We’ll call employment wage slavery to differentiate it from true slavery.

When people say we should make employment better for employees, they’re saying we should make wage slavery better for wage slaves.

The forces against improving conditions

Wage slavery is also, by its very nature, antagonistic to making things better for the wage slaves. Wages are the largest overhead most companies have and the point of business is to make as much money as you can with the smallest overheads possible.

Companies actively fight against raising wages and at some point, as an employer, you’re going to look at your profit/loss statement and say “employees will have to live with how things are, I can’t eat into my profit margins any further.”

Assuming your profit margins, if even present, are not already razor thin. An employer might not have freedom to move in improving work conditions.

The forest for the trees

It doesn’t have to be like this, though.

Humankind is capable of breathtaking wonders. We have entire factories staffed by almost nothing but robots. We have artificial intelligence that can outthink humans . We can 3D print houses.

As time moves on, the strict necessity of having a human to do a particular job will ebb away, and with it our need to work.

But what is not ebbing away is our need for food, shelter and healthcare. We still have the fundamental issue of trust. We don’t trust each other to share.

Imagine if we had a decentralized immutable ledger, that allowed people to distribute things because they can verify all the transactions themselves and build consensus. Surely then we can build a system that people would have faith in to distribute resources equally.

Oh wait.

We have such a ledger. It’s called a blockchain.

Blockchain’s first breakout implementation was a currency. It’s like saying “we have a ledger we can trust. What should we distribute? I know, other ledgers!” It’s absurd.

To say that blockchain entrepreneurs should make employment better for employees is only a part step on a long road because the path you’re on can render money useless if we walk it to the end.

Wonders

The UN has already tried distributing aid using a blockchain. What’s stopping us from creating a universal basic income of fresh food and water ? A lack of political will?

Did a lack of political will stop the invention of Bitcoin?

Yes, blockchain entrepreneurs should try to make employment better for employees. But that’s like stepping into a cavern with a candle and only acknowledging what you can see with the candlelight.

Everyone working in blockchain should realize the transformative nature of this and other technologies. Some I’ve mentioned and there are many more. We have the ability to create wonders. Not just companies that create a lot of value for shareholders, real world changing wonders.

When your time in this world is said and done, which do you want to say you built?

Image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk strives to offer an open platform for dialogue and discussion on all things blockchain by encouraging contributed articles. As such, the opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of CoinDesk.

For more details on how you can submit an opinion or analysis article, view our Editorial Collaboration Guide or email news@coindesk.com.

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Blockchain's Big Year: Competitive Job Market Grows More Than 200%

The number of blockchain jobs posted in the U.S. this year has seen a dramatic increase, according to data provided to CoinDesk from one of the largest jobs sites.

The just-published statistics from Indeed.com indicate that, since last December, that number has increased by 207 percent. Even more dramatically, the number of blockchain jobs has increased 631 percent since November 2015.

Showing how hot cryptocurrency has become this year after being generally overshadowed by blockchain in 2016, 15 out of the 18 most popular industry jobs specifically mentioned “cryptocurrency” in the description.

Moreover, when seen as a percentage of the site’s total number of job postings, the blockchain industry overall increased from only a few jobs per million to roughly 30 jobs per million, showing a slight increase relative to the overall available positions on the site.

While many industry observers likely didn’t need the numbers to know the blockchain industry has grown massively over the course of the last year, the quantification is interesting, especially as it relates to the divergence in the number of jobs searched compared to the number of jobs posted.

At the beginning of this year, the number of jobs searched neared parity with number of jobs posted, at about 20 searches each per million, according to the chart below, also provided by Indeed. Then, over the course of this year, the frequency of blockchain jobs searched increased by five times to almost 100 blockchain jobs searches per million.

This combination of explosive blockchain jobs growth and the interest of jobs seekers has created a tumultuous environment, where the leading employers are duking it out over top-notch talent.

Vice president of product at Indeed.com, Terence Chiu told CoinDesk:

“While the number of opportunities and searches are still quite small, Indeed data shows that companies are increasingly seeking experts to focus on this new technology – and job seekers have been quick to react.”

Not just technicians

While nearly all the jobs on Indeed.com were technical in nature, not all employers are after developers or engineers.

This year also marked the birth of the Crypto Jobs List website, dedicated exclusively to crypto industry jobs. Launching in September with the promise to not scrape job postings from other sites, and instead only to publish original opportunities, the site has discovered a niche in the non-technical side of the industry.

With an average of two job postings per day, the site has listed 90 blockchain jobs so far, with about 20 more currently being “curated” for possible inclusion. Among those that have been posted are positions for writers, traders, marketers and lawyers.

The site’s founder and director of growth, Raman Shalupau, described the diverse demand, saying:

“Even though demand for Solidity smart contracts engineers and core engineers is through the roof, there are plenty positions that are accessible for non-technical people.”

As an example of this diversity, one of the largest industry employers, Deloitte, currently employs about 800 people across its various blockchain efforts, but only 400 of those are either blockchain developers or architects, according to numbers provided to CoinDesk.

The other half of those jobs include positions such as business analysts, strategy and technology consultants, and tax and accounting experts. An estimated 75 percent of all blockchain jobs result from cross-training existing employees – an increasingly popular trend, according to Eric Piscini, a Deloitte principal who oversees much of the firm’s blockchain work.

“Every morning when I wake up the first thing I think about is, where can I find more people to join the team?” he said. In addition to cross-training employees, Deloitte hires many of its staff from educational institutions and is one of the largest posters of jobs in the provided Indeed.com data.

The top employers

But it’s not just the types of opportunities that differ greatly from job site to job site. It’s also the types of employers.

On Crypto Jobs List, the top three biggest blockchain employers are interoperable smart contracts startup Wanchain, ethereum client software startup Parity Technologies and asset management startup Cindicator.

On the flip side, Indeed.com appears more attractive to legacy firms, with industry mainstays like Deloitte and JPMorgan, as well as interesting newbies including eBay, ESPN and Uber using the premium Indeed Prime service to actively seek out candidates.

CoinDesk also reached out to several other large blockchain companies to get an idea of how employment numbers have changed.

Distributed ledger consortium R3, which earlier this year raised $107 million in venture capital, has grown its staff from 30 in early 2016, to 90 at the beginning of 2017, and as high as 150 today, according to the consortium’s head of global talent, Simon Clarke.

Clarke said R3 has had to become more competitive with its compensation packages, while focusing on creating a culture that encourages employees to stick around.

“It’s no secret that blockchain expertise is in huge demand right now,” said Clarke. “Firms are fighting to hire the best talent, and candidates are able to be incredibly picky about the role they ultimately choose.”

Computing giant IBM said that other large enterprises aren’t the biggest threat in attracting talent. According to the firm’s vice president of people and culture, Mike Schade, it’s rather the blockchain startups that are most attractive to job seekers.

Since the beginning of the year, IBM has grown the number of blockchain-focused employees it has from 400 to 1,500, primarily by giving those employees access to its biggest clients (whereas startups generally offer equity in the company).

Yet, if that doesn’t work, Schade said the tech giant works to keep friendly relations with even former blockchain employees, in case the startup life doesn’t work out.

“We keep in touch with them closely,” he told CoinDesk.

A new kind of employee

Beyond just changing the relationship these companies keep with former employees, blockchain technology is also changing the nature of employment itself, according to Andrew Keys, an early employee of ethereum startup incubator ConsenSys.

Formerly the head of global business development for the firm, Keys is himself as an example of the evolving arrangements that are helping change what it means to be an employee.

Keys is now the co-founder of ConsenSys Capital, which is just one of more than 25 so-called “spokes” of ConsenSys as a larger company. Each spoke has its own founder, who interacts with the corporate hub in his or her own way.

But along with their job titles, Keys and other employees identify as “members” of ConsenSys, an allusion to their varying vested interests in the company’s success.  

The company, which grew from about 100 employees in January to about 470 today, offers a spectrum of compensation arrangements, including varying degrees of equity, salary, token distribution arrangements and other affiliations.

“We’re blurring the lines of what employer-employee relationships are,” Keys told CoinDesk.

Threat to jobs?

In the end, though, the total number of blockchain jobs in the economy will likely be more difficult to calculate than any other profession, as will their impact on other jobs.

While jobs numbers are always an estimate, blockchain roles in particular will likely always be tough to quantify due to the pseudonymous or anonymous nature of many in the industry.

That’s not the only reason why the impact of blockchain on the jobs market could prove difficult to calculate, though.

The often touted “increased efficiency” achieved by a shared, distributed ledger has increasingly become a widely used euphemism for cutting jobs.

Earlier this year, Digital Asset Holdings founder Blythe Masters warned that there was no guarantee blockchain would be a net win for the jobs industry.

Echoing that sentiment is Mizuho Bank senior digital strategist working with blockchain, Ikuma Ueno. Following an address Ueno gave at banking conference Sibos earlier this year, he argued in interview with CoinDesk that employers might eventually have a responsibility to retrain the employees that blockchain makes irrelevant – if they can.

“It’s always hard to tear off the people who have been dedicated to that service for 25 or 30 years, and then tell them to do sales. It’s not going to work,” he said, concluding:

“But that must be taken into consideration when you are trying to do new approaches.”

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