When I started in crypto back in 2016, I had bought a bitcoin for $800 and I laugh at the fact that I was so excited to sell it with $50 profit. I had no real understanding of the potential of the technology and had never even heard of ICOs. Now, I’m on the verge of leaving my old careers of law and education behind to transition into full time crypto!
Crypto work is different to ‘real world’ work mainly because you are offered the opportunity to be paid in crypto currencies! My initial thought was ‘What? Imaginary money?- No thank you!’ — until I learned the benefits of getting paid in crypto over fiat (another term I hadn’t used until I discovered crypto). I have since been offered some amazing opportunities to work with some fantastic projects and made some useful and knowledgeable acquaintances on the way.
While I’m standing teetering on the edge of full time crypto, I thought it would be interesting to ask some people who have been in the crypto game longer than me, about their journey into the crypto world. I was curious as to what convinced them that blockchain was the real deal and what factors helped them decide to immerse themselves into the world of full time crypto leaving their regular 9 to 5 jobs behind.
Here’s my conversation with Oliver Birch, Vice President of Wanchain.
What is your background (before crypto)?
After finishing my degree (Philosophy. Politics and Economics) at university in the UK I went back to Madrid to kickstart a career in the pharmaceutical industry. I started reading clinical trial books, taking courses and getting experience at a hospital before managing a clinical trial site in Madrid.
When did you make your first crypto acquisition?
Bitcoin in 2012
Litecoin in 2013
This is my first ever post about Bitcoin https://innovationlancaster.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/the-rise-of-the-internet-currency-is-it-sustainable/
When did you decide you were full time crypto?
A few months after joining Wanchain (which was August 2017). At my previous job I had learned a lot from running a company and applied that knowledge to build out Wanchain’s community. What really surprised me with the crypto space was the top support one would get when asking questions and the openness. Messaging core team members and getting a reply is mostly unheard of in the traditional world!
What crypto roles have you had and which do you enjoy most?
2017 Aug — Wanchain online CM
2017 Dec — Global CM
2018 May — VP Global Communications
I enjoy my current role because I have taken on even more responsibility and there is a lot more work focused on strategy and ecosystem building. We are working behind the scenes on a lot of interesting entities that we believe will attract more devs and users to the Wanchain ecosystem.
What would you like to do next?
Keep supporting Wanchain. Take on new responsibilities, expand into new regions, talks at conferences, events and keep doing whatever it takes to bring Wanchain to the next level.
What is the future of crypto? Where do you see it in 2–3 years from now?
90% of the projects today will not be here in 2–3 years from now. Most of the projects we see were doomed to fail from the start. They are either scams or have highly unrealistic views. Everything starts with an idea — yes. But, not every idea is ready for the masses. Digital Cash (10 years before Bitcoin) was great on paper but it was poorly executed and not ready for the world.
In 2 to 3 years from now there will be a mutual decision amongst most of the countries in the world on how to regulate this space. This will ensure less scams and promote mainstream adoption. You might lose some of the “freedom” but you also ensure pnds, scammers and hackers are dealt with more strictly. I believe the space will continue to grow and innovate but until things are more clear for everyone in and outside of the space, we will continue to see this volatility.
What advice would you give somebody like myself thinking of making the leap from 9–5 to full time crypto?
You need to have skin, the game and take a lot of heat from people. Crypto never sleeps — the hours are different everyday. You will probably even find yourself working most weekends.
I would recommend getting into a role that lets you use your current skill sets and knowledge but also one that has ample room for gathering new information. Self-development is important and it’s sometimes easy to lose track of your life outside work. Keep doing what you usually do but don’t expect a 9–5 since you’re chatting and doing business with people from all over the world.
So my advice would be:
- Keep reading about the different types of projects and problems they are trying to solve.
- Ask for more responsibilities!
- If you feel like your opinion sometimes doesn’t get out there, write down your thoughts and send it out there.
Oliver’s right about the time zones. People working on projects sometimes never need to meet in real life and they don’t even need to be located close to each other to work on a project together. On occasions I have made myself available to be on conference calls at 5am in the morning!
Although crypto allows me to work remotely for projects, giving me the freedom to work in my own time around my family life, I find that a work and life balance can be difficult to reach. It’s definitely something I need to consider before giving up the real world grind…..however the more I learn….the more tempted I become!