The role of blockchain developer has leaped straight to the top of LinkedIn’s list of emerging jobs for 2018.
LinkedIn has released a report showing that the role of blockchain developer is the fastest growing emerging job in the U.S. this year.
In the course of preparing the report, LinkedIn used data from its Economic Graph to analyze the positions that companies are hastily hiring for, as well as skills related to those positions and roles that have emerged over the past five years.
The professional social network found that the role of blockchain developer has registered an increase of 33 times in the past 12 months, while cities with the highest demand are San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta. Among major skills required for the role, LinkedIn notes solidity, blockchain, Ethereum, cryptocurrency, and Node.js.
This year’s top emerging jobs also include artificial intelligence (AI) specialists, wherein “six out of the 15 emerging jobs are related in some way to AI,” and machine learning engineers, with 12 times growth year-over-year. For the latter roles, LinkedIn names deep learning, machine learning, tensorflow, Apache Spark and natural language processing as major required skills.
As Cointelegraph previously reported, 645 vacancies tagged with the words “blockchain,” “Bitcoin,” or “cryptocurrency” were published on LinkedIn in 2016. By 2017, the number surged to around 1,800 and to 4,500 vacancies by mid-May of this year. As of recently, LinkedIn’s search system displays 13,816 records related to blockchain and 2,479 records related to cryptocurrency.
A report prepared by job review site Glassdoor shows that as of August 2018, U.S. companies had posted 1,775 vacancies related to blockchain technology, which is three times more compared to the previous year. 79 percent of the vacancies are concentrated in the 15 largest American cities, and the most saturated demand regions show that New York and San Francisco account for 24 percent and 21 percent of the total number of crypto-industry job offers.
Social network Facebook listed five new blockchain-related jobs on its careers page within the past three weeks. In the job description for blockchain engineer at the Facebook Blockchain Data Engineering team, the ad characterizes the position as technically and intellectually challenging work, which “will have massive global impact.”
Newly published public documents indicate that one of the co-founders of employment data platform LinkedIn is raising as much as $20 million in a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) sale.
The Form D published on June 1 shows that Eric Ly – LinkedIn’s first chief technology officer and one of its founders – is raising funds for the Hub Token, which is tied to a forthcoming platform called ICOHub. ICOHub was launched in April, as reported at the time by VentureBeat, with the goal of creating a platform for more reputable token sales – a noteworthy effort given the prevalence of ICO fraud in the ecosystem today.
As of the Form D filing, the Hub Token SAFT sale has generated $13,588,722 out of a total $20 million being offered. Twenty investors took part in the sale, according to figures included in the filing.
According to the project’s white paper, the token is designed to function as an incentive for building trust among network participants. Ly told VentureBeat back in April that the platform as a whole is aimed at building a more verifiable source of data on token projects and the teams behind them.
“The reputation of an entity might come from individuals but also past business dealings the entity has had, such as past financings, partnerships, and customers, that would increase their trust score. ICOHub will rely on a ‘web of trust’ from multiple data sources to determine trust scores,” he told the publication.
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Cointelegraph had a chance to talk to Eric Ly, Chinese-American investor and businessman and co-founder of LinkedIn, where for years he also served as founding CTO.
In the beginning of his career Eric held technical positions at prominent companies such as Steve Job’s NeXT, IBM or General Magic, before co-founding LinkedIn with his Stanford classmate and other colleagues in 2002. There, among other things, Eric was responsible for developing software integrations with software such as web browsers and Microsoft Outlook. Eric left LinkedIn in 2006 to develop his own projects.
Now Eric is launching a reputation system around the initial coin offering (ICO) ecosystem that aims to help people make trustful decisions while buying and selling something.
We talked about Eric’s new project, the role of reputation for everyday communications, social media, and cryptocurrency development.
On the recent crypto ads bans by social networks and Internet giants like Facebook, Google, Twitter
I believe that these kind of platforms are conservative protective approach for themselves. Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been asking a lot of questions and subpoenas for information from people and companies. I believe that is a protective measure from a lot of these companies to not engage in new form of not advertising, but activities by ICOs, they probably want to avoid potentially uncertain interactions with SEC.
But I do believe that this is a temporary period because like many domains, advertising has an incentive to support as many domains as possible. So when regulatory clears itself up, I believe there will come a time again when advertising of this nature around token sales will be re-permitted on these platforms.
On protective measures against scams and other motivations behind these bans
This is the only one that I can think of because back in the early 2000s there was this Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allowed all of the online platforms to disassociate themselves from the responsibility of the content that their users would put onto their platforms. So that is very key act made it possible for web 2.0 to really flourish. Advertising really should be covered under that regardless of whatever domain is advertising.
But I do believe that the ban is fundamentally around just kind of a conservative protective measure that these platforms have to not have to be entangled with the answering the SEC’s potentially interesting questions, which they don’t have to deal with.
On cryptocurrency related ads on LinkedIn
I don’t believe LinkedIn has yet made a decision, you know, like the other social platforms, and it remains to be seen whether they will go in that direction. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a similar decision based on similar reasons. But at this point we’re just conjecturing what the reason might be.
Eric Ly left LinkedIn in 2006, founded an event app platform in 2007, and now is developing a sophisticated project for the crypto community. He is CEO and founder of a Blockchain based trust protocol Hub.
Hub protocol in a glance
I have many simplified versions – I am trying to pick the best one. Hub is trying to put reputation on the Blockchain. What we believe is that trust and reputation are really valuable to people and right now they’re all locked up in centralized databases. What we’re trying to do is basically put that information onto a Blockchain so that people can control that information, so they can bring it from one marketplace or a community to another and really derive the economic benefits from it. We believe that in the coming years, billions of people around the world are going to be creating trustworthy relationships with each other using a Blockchain.
It’s sort of like a meta social network if you will. Our project is building a protocol. It’s underlying many different kinds of applications, both new and existing. So we’re not necessarily building one social network. We’re trying to enable a trust layer that can work across many different social networks and many different marketplaces, so that people can use their reputation across multiple of these networks or communities.
We have the initial protocol implemented and nearly ready for release – and we’re working on finishing the first proof-of-concept on the protocol, which will be a reputation system around the ICO ecosystem. We figured that was a great place to start and, you know, it provides a really great opportunity for us to kind of showcase the value of the protocol itself.
On sharing information in everyday interactions
We definitely see a lot of use cases around buying and selling and that exists across many different industries and different domains. We believe that transactions actually start with just interactions: people interacting with each other and basically sharing information and engaging with each other in conversations. There also needs to be an element of trust and reputation as well.
How do you know that the information that you are reading or somebody that you’re interacting with is a trustworthy source? We want to solve that problem as well. Because that is really the basis on which people make sometimes very important decisions about what they’re going to buy, what they’re going to sell.
So the whole process starts much sooner than just a transaction itself. So that’s what we want to cover the interaction part of it.
On tokens in a trust establishment
Tokens are really designed to incentivize trustworthy interactions and the building of reputation data on the Blockchain, which hopefully further creates trustworthy interactions. One of the design goals that we had for our token was that it is impossible to buy trust. We really wanted to design that in – you cannot buy the tokens and have more trust.
So what the tokens allow you to do is staking mechanism for various kinds of interactions that people might have – we define interactions very broadly. But you can imagine a buyer-seller scenario or a people sharing information with each other. Across all of this – the idea is that people can stake tokens on the interaction. It’s almost like a bond that says I’m going to act in a trustworthy way in this interaction. If I do that and the other parties agree, I’m going to get those tokens back, I’m going to get my bond back and I’m going to get rewarded with some additional tokens that I can take for some future interactions. But if things don’t go well, then the tokens that I have staked, might be at risk and might be given to somebody else who sort of lost out on a certain transaction, for example. So, that’s how the token works.
How to measure reputation
The important point is that you cannot buy your reputation. Otherwise, the whole purpose of the reputation system is defeated. So the way that we measure reputation is really on all of those granular interactions that are happening with the staking going on. So we remember, on the Blockchain, all the different interactions and transaction builds up a reputation history. That could be scored by different kinds of scoring systems.
So imagine a FICO score in the US that is designed for credit worthiness. Now we can have scores across multiple domains, even beyond credits and worthiness, where reputation and trustworthiness make a difference.
How this whole idea should work
One of our favorite scenarios is a kind of a service marketplace, where maybe somebody is a designer and they’re offering website design services, and then there’s a client who wants to find the right designer to build up their website. So, we can capture this transaction in a smart contract that records the participants and most importantly – it records the outcome. At the beginning of this transaction, both sides stake their tokens and say: we’re going to act in a trustworthy way. For the consultant, this means: “I’m going to do a good job, I’m going to successfully deliver the design”. For the client, this means: “I’m going to pay for that once I believe that this is a good outcome”.
So the participants will go through the process and the project, and they’ll come up with the results of the design. If everything goes well – both participants act in a trustworthy way. Somebody delivered, somebody paid – and they both get their tokens back, and a little bit more from the reward function that’s built into the protocol. When things do not go well – there’s a dispute and in this case it’s maybe not clear which side was correct: maybe the design was delivered correctly but the client just wasn’t happy for some reason.
So we have a mechanism where disputes can be handled by an arbitrator which can basically decide and is a trusted source for both parties to figure out who was right. In the arbitrator might, actually, have reputation himself or herself in the protocol. So however it gets decided: whether it’s the vendor, the consultant or the client – they get the tokens that have been staked on this transaction. There’s one party that basically loses out on that token.
There is basically an incentive that’s built into the overall process to incentivize people to act in a trustworthy way. Again, the reputation comes out of the history of that interaction and the outcome, and that it actually goes on to both the consultant and the client in terms of how they interacted. So, in the case of the consultant, if they do a lot of great projects then they build up a really great reputation for themselves – that maybe can reflect very effectively for them and get them new projects in a marketplace.
On losing tokens in a dispute
Maybe people might not always be able to perform perfectly, and that’s fine. The scoring algorithms and so forth will consider those situations and make sure that people have a fair chance to improve the reputation over time if in some cases they did not do it perfectly. So, we believe in designing a fair system that works in a fair and maybe even slightly generous way for people.
It is a professional network but it is falls into the broad category of a social network.
This interview was conducted at the Global Blockchain Forum, in Santa Clara, US, by Cointelegraph news editor, Olivia Capozzalo, in collaboration with Cointelegraph managing editor Lucrezia Cornèr.
What is personal data?
Personal data is tricky to define sometimes, but at its most basic level, its information which can identify a person either directly or indirectly.
One of the most significant laws governing privacy is the General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into force across the European Union on May 25th.
According to the European Commission, examples of your personal data include your name, where you live, your email address, location records gathered by your mobile phone, your IP address and medical history.
Even if your details have gone through an anonymization process, it still counts as personal data if the pseudonyms or encryption used can still result in you being identified.
What do social media companies do with my data?
This depends on their data use and privacy policies. Thankfully, many companies are starting to realize they need to become more transparent.
Up until now, users of the biggest social networks have been expected to read thousands of words to understand how their data is used. And, let’s all be honest now, we don’t always read the terms and conditions we agree to.
For example, if you request to download all of the data that Facebook has on you, it’s likely to include your entire history of messages, and a full list of your mobile phone contacts. The items that come up prominently in your News Feed are often based on the things you have liked and commented on in the past.
Staying logged into a social network can mean it can see practically all of the other sites you visit and this information is sometimes used to serve up adverts you might be interested in. Some companies also aggregate your data so advertisers can reach very specific demographics, such as a 30-something male, living in New York, who owns a dog and likes burgers.
Public awareness about the use of private data by social networks has been heightened by the recent scandal engulfing Facebook. Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company, allegedly harvested personal data from at least 50 mln Facebook profiles without consent developing an algorithm that targeted voters during the US election.
Is my data valuable to them?
For certain companies, Google, LinkedIn and Facebook as prominent examples, your personal data is extremely valuable.
Advertising represents a significant chunk of their annual revenues, with both companies becoming giants in this sector. Although many of their services are free at the point of use, the trade off is that the data gleaned from your online habits can be used to attract advertisers.
However, your personal data can prove profitable in other ways. For example, if you are a high-flying professional who has registered with a recruitment site, this company could make other users pay for access to your contact details and your full profile.
Can I profit from the data I give to social networks?
Blockchain has the potential to give the public greater control over their personal data and help them earn money whenever their information is used.
By using decentralized systems, people have the potential to decide who can obtain their information, and how much it is worth.
This exchange of data would normally be facilitated by the company running the Blockchain platform and in many cases, they will only take a small fee at the end of every transaction.
How would that work?
This would depend on the type of personal data you’re willing to sell, and the type of business that’s looking to purchase it.
For example, you might be able to bring together your social network profiles on a Blockchain-powered data exchange and opt into a scheme where you are rewarded when this information is shared with companies.
In other cases, such as a professional network or a freelancer marketplace, a business would search massive data sets for profiles that meet their requirements – and then pay a fee through a smart contract.
How much can I earn… and how would I be paid?
In many cases, this would be down to you.
Some Blockchain-based platform will allow you to set the price others must pay to see your personal data. However, it’s worth remembering that this information is only going to be valuable if it isn’t easy to access on your website or elsewhere online.
You might get paid in tokens which can then be used to purchase other services on the same platform or converted into other cryptocurrencies and fiat.
In other cases, you might be rewarded by different means. For example, allowing access to your personal data may help you gain cashback or generous discounts when purchasing items online.
Who is going to pay for my data?
For a start, companies trying to advertise their products ethically may prefer to use this system over one that captures data en masse without a person’s knowledge.
Some businesses and individuals might like to buy data because it allows them to be more specific with the people they are targeting. Plus, it prevents them from wasting money on reaching consumers who will never be interested in what they have to say.
In addition, because you have control over your data, the information you’re offering is much more likely to be accurate. Oftentimes, advertisers are working off “inferred data,” where conclusions are drawn based on the information you have given voluntarily and the data gathered automatically through your online activity. Incorrect conclusions would be more preventable if you knew the information being disseminated in advance.
One example of a Blockchain platform where you can be paid for your data is Profede. This company offers a protocol where businesses can search for talented professionals who match their requirements. And, whenever a business wants to access someone’s personal data to get in touch, it is the professional themselves, not a middleman, who gets the reward.
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