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Web3, blockchain technology ‘future of the financial systems of the world,’ Chainalysis VP says

Chainalysis Global VP of Talent Mikaela Smith joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the FTX fallout and what it means for the crypto industry.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, an ongoing developing story we are watching closely is, of course, the fallout from the collapse of FTX. The crypto exchange last month filing for bankruptcy after concerns were raised regarding Alameda Research's balance sheet. Founder Sam Bankman-Fried spoke earlier this week with the New York Times DealBook, reflecting on the chaos. Take a listen.

SAM BANKMAN-FRIED: I didn't ever try to commit fraud on anyone. I was excited about the prospects of FTX a month ago. And that's a massive failure of oversight of risk management and of diffusion of responsibility from myself, running FTX.

AKIKO FUJITA: And of course, Rachelle, as we continue to follow what exactly happened at FTX, so many of the questions surrounding this has been, what happens to the crypto sector moving forward?

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And especially people who work there as well. And speaking of that, the wave of layoffs hitting the crypto sector really has gathered pace and derailed an industry that was going through something of a hiring boom. So where do we go from here?

Well, joining us to discuss the job market within the space is Mikaela Smith, global vice president of talent at Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform. Good to have you on the show. So I want to first get your takeaways because, obviously, we've seen a lot of tech layoffs. But what we've been seeing with some of these crypto exchanges is a different story. How is that affecting the movement that you're seeing from laid off crypto and exchange workers?

MIKAELA SMITH: I mean, that's a great, great question. I can't really speak to other companies Chainalysis has been growing quarter after quarter. We've actually seen a 60% increase in applicants. And so our space is doing really strong, despite what's happening in other companies in the crypto market right now.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, you may not be able to speak to other companies, but I do wonder what you think this means in terms of the growth that we have seen overall. Obviously, we've heard the layoffs from places like Kraken, bankruptcy filings from BlockFi, FTX. I mean, it's got to have some kind of ripple effect when you think about just how quickly things were staffing up pre all of this.

MIKAELA SMITH: Yeah, it's really sad to see. I mean, layoffs affect everyone both personally and professionally. And I think at the end of the day, Web3 and blockchain technology is the future of the financial systems of the world. So while I do believe for the short-term, this has been a downturn for the crypto industry, I think there's really an opportunity here.

Chainalysis's mission is to build trust and transparency in blockchain technology. And this moment in time, while, in the short-term, is very painful, I think in the long-term, this will help this technology be more safe and more transparent for users.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And so for people who are on the hunt for a job, what are some of the most in-demand roles in this space right now?

MIKAELA SMITH: Well, it's funny. It really-- our employee base and the people we hire, we don't necessarily look for people who are in the crypto industry. The people we hire are a reflection of our customer base. So we hire people from public sector, from government, from media, from tech, all across the board. We're hiring in engineering and sales, marketing, even in my own function, talent.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, I mean, what does that ratio look like right now when you look at job openings to applicants? I mean, how significant is the demand?

MIKAELA SMITH: I think the demand is quite significant, especially when you look at the global markets. Crypto continues to be very globally focused, especially in emerging markets. And so, you'll see a lot of hiring in the public sector space, around regulation and compliance. And then, again, this is new technology that's continuing to innovate. And so you'll continue to see investments in the R&D space.


AKIKO FUJITA: Chainalysis global VP of talent Mikaela Smith, appreciate your time today. Thanks so much for joining us.

MIKAELA SMITH: Thank you so much.