You can still earn a $250k salary in crypto in 2023 as an engineer
2021 and early 2022 was a very profitable time to be a crypto or blockchain engineer. Since then, expectations have been much more muddied. But if you look in the right places, the compensation is in crypto is still by-and-large still pretty enticing.
While in the past, massive firms like Coinbase and Kraken were the places to search for pay, it's the smaller crypto firms that are now the most generous.
Rob Paone, CEO of crypto recruitment firm Proof of Talent, says that "there's a lot of smaller companies hiring for just a few roles."
Oftentimes these roles are as founding engineers, and this is where the salaries are most ample. "We recently placed a founding engineer at a company with a salary at the $250 number" says Paone. "They'll then earn anywhere between 1% to 3% equity plus tokens depending on what the company does.
Unless you've already worked in crypto, however, breaking in might be a challenge. Paone says "a lot of the placements we've made recently have been from one crypto firm to another as there's been a lot of turnover in the industry."
The general profile of candidate appears more specialized. Paone says "there's been super high demand for crypto native roles and solidity devs" and the people they're looking at are "very advanced engineers and cryptographers, going so far as PhDs in Cryptography."
Paone says peope specialized in ZK-STARK (blockchain information security technology), "Really hard engineering research" and blockchain scaling projects like optimistic rollups are in particular demand.
Some of those can still earn serious money at the major firms too. This February on Levels.fyi, a security engineer at Coinbase reported a $237k base salary and a 7th tier front-end engineer with 12 years of experience said he/she was on $920k (the salary alone is just $278.5k)
That doesn't mean all salaries at the big firms are going strong. Last November we reported an engineering manager at Gemini in New York could earn a salary between $227k and $318k; their highest salary bracket now is $198k to $277k.
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