Tech Execs and Engineers Are Quitting Large Companies For 'Once-in-Generation' Opportunity With Crypto

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An anonymous reader shares a report :

Ms. Carter is part of a wave of executives and engineers leaving cushy jobs at Google, Amazon, Apple and other large tech companies – some of which pay millions of dollars in annual compensation – to chase what they see as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. That next big thing is crypto, they said, a catchall designation that includes digital currencies like Bitcoin and products like nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, that rely on the blockchain. Silicon Valley is now awash with stories of people riding seemingly ridiculous crypto investments like Dogecoin, a digital coin based on a dog meme, to life-changing wealth. Bitcoin has soared around 60 percent this year, while Ether, the cryptocurrency tied to the Ethereum blockchain, has increased more than fivefold in value.

But beyond that speculative mania, a growing contingent of the tech industry’s best and brightest sees a transformational moment that comes along once every few decades and rewards those who spot the seismic shift before the rest of the world. With crypto, they see historical parallels to how the personal computer and the internet were once ridiculed, only to upend the status quo and mint a new generation of billionaires. Investors, too, have flooded in. They have poured more than $28 billion into global crypto and blockchain start-ups this year, four times the total in 2020, according to PitchBook, a firm that tracks private investments. More than $3 billion has gone into NFT companies alone. “There is a giant sucking sound coming from crypto,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, chief executive of search engine start-up Neeva and a former Google executive, who competes with crypto companies for talent. “It feels a bit like the 1990s and the birth of the internet all over again. It’s that early, that chaotic and that much full of opportunity.”

[…] The growing ranks of true believers say crypto can change the world by creating a more decentralized internet that is not controlled by a handful of companies. While such possibilities have existed since Bitcoin emerged in 2009, crypto products such as NFTs broke through to the mainstream only this year. That has accelerated the exodus from Big Tech companies into the crypto world. This month, Brian Roberts, the chief financial officer of Lyft, left the ride-hailing company to join OpenSea, a popular crypto start-up.“I’ve seen enough cycles and paradigm shifts to be cognizant when something this big is just emerging,” he said in an email. “We are Day 1 in terms of NFTs and their impact.”

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