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Crypto Salaries Surge 13% in US — Brain Drain or Boom?

Last Updated March 20, 2024 10:23 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated March 20, 2024 10:23 AM
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • Dragonfly Capital’s survey shows US crypto firms offer higher salaries and richer equity than their international counterparts.
  • US crypto firms are wary of tokenized compensation due to SEC scrutiny, while international firms are more open.
  • Dragonfly Capital reports an improved hiring outlook in crypto despite a challenging 2022.

A survey  by Dragonfly Capital found that US crypto companies offer compensation packages significantly higher than those of international counterparts.

On average, salaries in the US crypto sector are 13% higher. Meanwhile, equity and token incentive packages exceed those overseas by 30%.

US Crypto Firms Skip Token Rewards as SEC Looms

These tokens, linked to crypto projects, function similarly to share options, highlighting the lucrative compensation landscape in the US crypto industry.

American crypto startups are less inclined to issue tokens as part of compensation compared to their international counterparts. This is, most likely, because of the stringent stance  of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) towards digital assets.

Only 11% of US crypto firms have launched a token, in contrast to 38% of firms globally.

This cautious approach may stem from SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s view of the crypto sector as fraught with fraud and within the regulatory range of the SEC.

The regulator’s approach to the crypto industry has been controversial, and recently, a judge criticized the agency for overstepping its bounds in a particular crypto case, describing it as a “gross abuse of power.” This incident highlights the ongoing tension between regulatory bodies and the evolving digital asset space.

Founders Rake in $300,000, Top Engineers Near $283,000

Dragonfly Capital’s report  highlights salary benchmarks within the crypto industry, revealing that founders can expect to earn around $300,000 by the Series C funding stage.

Additionally, executive-level engineers can receive salaries up to $283,000 a yeat, not accounting for equity and token incentives.

This data showcases  the competitive compensation packages available in the sector, especially for high-level positions.

Crypto salaries
Credit: Dragonfly Capital

Crypto Salaries High, Hiring Rebounds, But Caution Reigns

Dragonfly Capital’s 2023 survey of 49 startups  it backs suggests emerging trends in crypto firm compensation rather than sector-wide norms.

It notes a preference for fiat payments, though international companies are somewhat more inclined to use crypto. The industry, recovering from a challenging 2022 marked by significant downturns and high-profile failures like FTX, is seeing an improved hiring outlook coinciding with market recovery, contingent on the rebound’s durability.

Crypto job postings  on LinkedIn saw a 57% decline year-over-year last December, a slight improvement from November’s 71% drop.

The year was tough for the crypto industry, with significant layoffs from companies like Gemini Trust and Binance.US due to regulatory pressures and low trading volumes. Despite venture capital investments dropping, the late-year price rally could herald more startup funding and hiring ahead.

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