The Impact of Blockchain Technology in the Workplace
The cryptocurrency industry has experienced massive growth in the last several years resulting in a frenzy of media coverage about how digital currency may disrupt global payments systems and the world economy. The attention is merited: the cryptocurrency market is expected to achieve a $1 trillion valuation in 2018. 1
But, in spite of all the publicity, it’s probably safe to say that most people still don’t understand how digital currency works and what effect, if any, it will have on our daily lives. But, hiring managers need to know this new form of currency is ushering in a new way of doing business which will directly affect how they go about doing theirs.
Behind all the buzz, the reality is that, digital currency’s underlying technology—blockchain—is rapidly being adopted by a wide variety of businesses and organizations. The technology is transforming a number of industries, generating many new jobs in the process.
What is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency (crypto) is an open-source, global, internet-based, decentralized form of currency that doesn’t consist of paper, coins or credit cards and is not linked to any particular government, corporation or individual. Crypto transactions aren’t processed by a central organization, such as a bank, as conventional transactions are. Rather crypto transactions are recorded on a transparent, decentralized public ledger, known as a blockchain (more on this below). This virtual currency derives its value from users’ and investors’ belief that it has value—not because it is linked to something tangible like gold.
The first established and best known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was created in 2009 by an enigmatic developer (or group of developers) known only by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto.
In the course of the last decade, more than 1,500 different cryptocurrencies have been introduced to the marketplace as a result surging demand, with more being introduced regularly. They’re slowly transitioning from use exclusively by early adopters to a more mainstream audience—close to 16.3 million Americans (8 percent of the country) own some form of cryptocurrency. 2 In addition, cryptocurrency is gradually being accepted by an increasing number of online retailers.
Cryptocurrency experts and enthusiasts say digital currency offers its users many advantages, including the ability to perform fast global transactions while remaining anonymous. By contrast, naysayers maintain that cryptocurrency—rather than being a long term game changer—is really just a speculative flash in the pan, akin to much-heralded, fizzled fads such as Google Glass. They say the industry is reminiscent of the dot.com boom and bust of the 1990s.
In the absence of a crystal ball, it’s impossible to predict the trajectory of the digital currency industry, especially considering it’s still in the early days. But, the tech’s disruptive influence is already manifesting in a number of industries.
Experts say the real value of digital currency lies in its underlying blockchain technologywhich has a variety of applications outside of the global digital currency exchange which we’ll discuss below.
What is Blockchain Technology
A blockchain is an open, shared database that serves as an immense, transparent ledger of transactions or public records, on a decentralized network of computers that allows viewing and verification by everyone in the ‘chain’. Interested parties can access the distributed ledger technology (DLT) blockchain through a special system of digital authentication and protocols, otherwise known as ‘smart contracts’.
Advantages of DLT Blockchain
- Security. There is no central server so the ledger can’t be controlled by one individual or organization, and is, therefore, difficult to hack and resistant to fraud.
- Reduced operating costs (limited transaction or processing fees)
Blockchain technology will have far-reaching effects beyond the financial services industry, as businesses and other organizations are increasingly focused on adopting it to solve their data privacy and security challenges. For example, the technology has obvious applications in healthcare, law, law enforcement, real estate, credit reporting and renewable energy management to name a few.
Blockchain Jobs Abound
Experts have documented a surge in recruitment for DLT blockchain jobs – not just in tech roles, but in a myriad of roles across the board. Blockchain development is among the top 20 fastest-growing job skills. 3 About 23 percent of larger enterprises are now actively working on blockchain apps. 4
Typically, the hard skills needed for blockchain developer jobs include: Java, C++, machine learning, Python, NodeJS, CSS, and HTML, among others. Sought-after soft skills include communications, creativity, problem solving, a self-directed entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to work as a team player.
In addition to software development, related roles include business development specialists, data scientists, financial analysts, machine learning engineers, marketing managers, research analysts, security architects, and technical writers.
Currently, salaries are higher for blockchain roles than in most other areas of tech, since there are relatively few qualified candidates.
Blockchain Technology In The Human Resources Industry
As with other industries, blockchain technology will ultimately make inroads into the human resources world, securing data and streamlining a number of processes, including, most notably, recruiting and hiring. It may not be too long before hiring managers have access to a secure blockchain which will allow for seamless verification of job candidates’ credentials. In fact, various tech firms such as IBM and Sony have already developed a blockchain platform to secure and share student records. In the not-too-distant future, employers and employees will be able to add relevant work experience data as well.
The ability to reliably verify a candidate’s background and skills will be particularly helpful when hiring contingent workers to ensure they can get up to speed immediately.
Other human resources applications include safe, secure maintenance of health records and secure, streamlined payroll processing at reduced cost.
The concept of digital currency can be hard to grasp and engenders a certain amount of skepticism. It remains to be seen whether this virtual currency will replace our current system of bills and coins. But, the underlying Blockchain technology is sound and is already being implemented by a number of organizations to help secure the mountains of private data floating around cyberspace. Before too long, it will be affecting all of us.
Contact LINK Staffing today for help acquiring Tech and IT staff conversant with blockchain technology.
1. Browne, Ryan and Kharpal, Arjun. “Cryptocurrency Market will Hit $1 Trillion Valuation this Year, CEO of Top Exchange Says”. cnbc.com. February 13, 2018.
2. Holger, Dieter. “Over 16 Million Americans Now Own Cryptocurrency, Survey Finds”. bitcoinist.com. March 19, 2018
3. Kyselov, Eugene. “How Cryptocurrencies are Changing the IT Industry”. infoq.com. February 12, 2018.
4. Mearian, Lucas. “The Top Blockchain Jobs You Need to Know About”. computerworld,com. June 5, 2018.