work in web3

Demystifying Work in Web3: Which Employment Style is Best for You?

Dear Web3 Academy DOers!

The Web3 industry is booming… In terms of adoption, awareness and development, everything is at an all time high!

Attention is highly present in the markets right now and a lot of developers and creators are adopting web3 to build their products and services. 

There are endless amounts of NFT projects, DAOs, Layer 1s, Layer 2s, Oracles and so on being built and developed on a daily basis, something that naturally creates job opportunities. 

If you haven’t made the jump from Web2 to Web3 yet, you may be asking yourself how to do it…

More importantly, why do it?

It’s simple. There are a few benefits that perhaps will easily convince you to make the switch:

  1. Better pay
  2. Remote work
  3. Contribute to the fastest growing industry

Today, we have one of our community members, Martin Ryoma who will help you evaluate the different types of Web3 Jobs you can get! 

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Working in Web3… What Does it Mean?

First of all, let’s establish what values you must subscribe to in order to work in Web3. 

Keep in mind that this space is all about decentralization, ownership and governance. It’s also about exploring new ways of working, building and using the internet. Subsequently, your employment should subscribe to all of these values. 

One thing that all of us can agree on (assuming we’re all Web3 fanatics) is that we all want to get our feet wet in this space and support the industry.

However, at the moment, the only way to fully work in Web3, at a 100% rate is through a DAO (we’re getting into this later…). But the industry is still relatively new and early, so the infrastructure, the organization models and the entire concept of a DAO has a lot to improve until it can sustain itself and the thousands of contributors. 

But this is not the only way to work, contribute and learn in Web3. There are some alternatives:

  • You can work for a DAO
  • You can work for a Web2 company servicing Web3 
  • Or… you can provide your Web3 skills through being a freelancer.

For the sake of this article, we will cover these employment methods.

Working in a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)

If you really want to embrace decentralization and live a “web3-style” life, you can dive into working for a DAO. A Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is an entity that is code-centric, with human input at its peripherals; it is a smart contract or a system of autonomous smart contracts.

In a nutshell, the code theoretically does it all and people interact with one another to make sure the entity works correctly while growing and functioning appropriately. 

This method of cooperation entails contributing and collaborating with other DAO contributors to function as a coherent unit without any central authority. You are a contributor, not an employee.

You can see it as a web3-native concept where governance and improvements are done through proposals, employees are autonomous and there is no hard hierarchy. Heavily popularized by DeFi organizations, the concept of a DAO has quickly risen in popularity and you can find DAOs catering to a wide variety of topics and purposes.

Within a DAO (or multiple DAOs), your role will change depending on the organization’s needs, on-going projects, and your compensation will change depending on how others perceive your work and/or how urgent the project is to the organization. 

To reward its contributors for their efforts, the DAO may distribute:

  • Governance tokens
  • Stablecoins
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Other means of compensation  

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Unlike standard web2 jobs, you don’t necessarily need to commit to one organization. You could give out several hours to different DAOs and get compensated accordingly. Generally, contributors find one main DAO to be active in and lightly engage in others in their spare time. 

Be wary of DAO fatigue if you decide to commit to many organizations!

Adding onto the freedom of commitment, DAO contributors are free of choosing their workplaces. Contributors can work from anywhere as long as they get the job done. This gives them a lot of freedom for contributors!

While it may sound fun to work for a DAO, there is a high risk related to it: it is still a relatively new work model and there are still a lot of iterations to go through before any mainstream adoption. 

For instance, legal intricacies, taxes and a lack of insurance are a few of the things that may stop people from joining a DAO full-time. 

Here’s an example of a well-functioning DAO: dOrg, a software development company registered as a Blockchain Based LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) that builds DAO-related software on the blockchain!

While dOrg is one instance of a DAO infrastructure, there are many ways that organisations could set up DAOs. 

Check out the Coordinape platform, for instance: contributors are displayed on a graph in a grid-like manner and whenever a project gets done, other contributors rate their experience working with each other. 

Thus, members of the organization are compensated according to their efforts in the community. Consult this Google Spreadsheet for an in-depth list of DAOs to participate in!

How does one work for a DAO, you may ask? Be involved and actively search for communities. 

Be curious, proactive and look for DAOs that are servicing causes or topics that you are fond of. Seek for the admins or moderators of those groups and be open about your willingness to add value to the community. 

Becoming a valued member comes from providing insights, skills and initiatives that are helpful for the community and with the right opportunity will come the right compensation! 

In various Discord channels, there will be prompts and call-to-actions for individuals who want to get involved. Community calls, onboarding sessions, AMAs, the list goes on.

Get your skin in the game, don’t be afraid to reach out and get shilling!

By the way… This is a reminder that Web3 Academy has formed a DAO, which you’re welcome to adhere to! Join our discord for further guidance and onboard the freshest and most exciting web3 community 🔥

Working in a Web2 Company Servicing Web3

Regarding the current standard employment infrastructure in our society, your highest chances of working “in web3” will probably be to get a job in a web2-functioning company offering services to onboard other web2 companies into web3. 

Think of it as working in web2.5 since in those scenarios, you would be salaried or working on a per-hour/annual basis, with or without benefits and insurance, pension plans, etc. 

You would have a direct superior and the work environment would be one of a web2 company, but your main tasks would revolve around web3 initiatives. 

For instance, with auditing firms such as the Big Fours or tech giants such as Meta and Google starting to cover web3 topics, being hired as a web3 consultant/engineer/analyst is a perfect example of working in web2 servicing web3. 

The reason why this would not be considered working in web3 is because the decision-making and data ownership is centralized. You, as an employee, do not own the data you produce and the decision-making is done by a leader; web3’s governance style does not apply in this context. 

You will be contributing to the adoption of web3 by putting your skills to use in the industry but keep in mind that true decentralized work is fundamentally different from working at a company that works in web2.

In order to get employed in “web2.5” as we say, the recruitment strategy is straight-forward : network, upskill, and sell yourself within your communities with relevant individuals, recruiters, executives, just like you would try to find a job in web2. 

As cheesy as it may sound, your network is your net worth. 

If servicing web3 in a web2 company interests you, here’s some skills that are very much in demand right now: 

  • Blockchain development (Solidity and Rust would be good starting points)
  • Technology consulting
  • Research and analysis
  • Marketing 
  • UI/UX design
  • Community management
  • And much more..

During this bear market, this type of job would be perfect for those who enjoy the standard 9-5 and who want to commit to web3 while keeping the employment advantages of web2.

Working as a Freelancer for Web2 or Web3 Companies with Web3 Related Services

A freelancer is an individual that sells their services to companies that are in need of a specific service for a specific period of time under a contract. 

In this context, a freelancer could cater to web3 focused companies without being part of its permanent full-time workforce. They are hired contractually, for a specific project, autonomously. 

How would you go about freelancing in web3? Easy. By going on Fiverr, Upwork, and other freelance job boards (such as web3 gig aggregators), you can easily shill any skill that is relevant to web3 and get noticed there. 

Create your profile, make a job board explaining your product, service and/or skill, and you’re good to go!

As for your compensation, you can negotiate between getting paid in cryptocurrencies, fiat, NFTs, etc. or a combination of those, while working on projects you find interesting without committing to a full-time position. 

This working environment is ideal for those who want to be their own bosses and choose their own hours. 

Here are a few examples of relevant skills for web3 freelancers: 

  • Community management
  • Content creation
  • Design
  • Consulting
  • Sales development
  • Business development
  • Whitepaper writing, etc. 

Working for a company building Web3

Let’s not forget that web3 is still in the making. Infrastructures are getting built, innovations are coming in at a rapid pace and the industry is still defining itself. 

Do you want to spearhead this unique revolution? Then work for a company building web3! Platforms such as OpenSea, UniSwap and Aave are pioneers in the space and are important contributors to the growth of the ecosystem.

If you have a strong tech background or have significant experience you can transpose into innovation, this section is definitely for you. Working for a company building web3 can be fulfilling, as your work directly impacts the industry’s transformation.

Since these companies attract a lot of attention, bear in mind that the competition for those roles can be challenging. However, there is a need for a wider variety of skill sets for large organizations in contrast to smaller startups for instance.

Working for a company building web3 can be the perfect bridge for individuals currently working in the web2 tech industry as both industries share similar perks and benefits related to big tech.

Conclusion

While working in web3 can be daunting and confusing, one thing is for sure: all of us can find a job in web3 and make a living off of it. May it be by working for a web2 company servicing web3, through freelancing or working for a DAO. 

Each and every one of them have their advantages and disadvantages and you will need to choose wisely in order to find what works best for you.

Web3 is a growing industry that is still young and infrastructures may not be ready yet for mass adoption. Be mindful of that when coming into the space and remember that being involved means you’re already half-way there. Web3 Academy, for instance, is a great platform to get started.

Food For Thought


Martin Ryoma
Ryoma is a DeFi Protocol Analyst at DeFiSafety and a core contributor to Web3Mtl as the Education Lead.
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