Where Have All the Crypto Bros Gone?
Crypto is going South! How about the Bros?
FTX’s collapse has had a domino effect on the cryptocurrency market, leading to a series of crypto-related bankruptcies. As expected, these events have had negative impacts on workers across the crypto space. However, signs of decline appeared in the crypto workforce well before the 2022 crash.
Attrition from crypto companies began to increase as early as July 2021. Meanwhile, employee sentiment in crypto companies started to decrease with the dip in crypto prices in January 2022. The Terra Luna crash and resulting downturn in mid-2022 was the straw that broke the bull’s back, leading to a steep drop in sentiment and exodus of talent. The high attrition from crypto companies during this post-crash period was mainly driven by companies in crypto futures, such as FTX and BlockFi.
The language used in employee reviews of crypto companies has shifted significantly over time. The word cloud below shows the words that employees used most frequently to describe their crypto jobs in 2022, relative to 2020. Employees discussed "leadership," "politics," and "transparency" more in 2022 compared to 2020, highlighting some of the issues that contributed to the crash. They also used words like "toxic," "unstable," "poor," and "layoffs" far more in 2022, showing signs of anxiety and pessimism in the industry that were not present before.
Where have the crypto bros gone? Ironically, a sizable fraction of crypto employees who left their companies over the past year ended up taking new positions in other crypto companies. Crypto companies were the third largest destination for crypto employees after software publishing companies, such as Microsoft and Tide, and internet publishers such as Meta and Google. Remarkably, many former crypto employees reported that they left their jobs but haven’t stated whether they found new positions. Are they cooking up cutting-edge startups or packaged ramen in their parents’ basements? Time will tell.
- Employee sentiment at cryptocurrency companies has been declining since mid-2021, well before the recent decline in cryptocurrencies’ prices. Attrition from crypto companies increased sharply after the Terra Luna crash in mid-2022.
- Between 2020 and 2022, crypto employees have started using negative vocabulary to review their companies, such as “toxic,” “unstable,” and “poor.”
- The crypto bros who left their companies between mid-2021 and mid-2022 took new positions in software and internet publishing companies, as well as other crypto companies.