As the Crypto Mayhem Continues, the Next Generation of Hires Have Doubts

Sam Bankman-Fried, Founder of FTX said to Axios earlier this week, he has $100,000 left in his bank account. At one point, his personal wealth was estimated at $26.5 billion. However, many FTX users would definitely like to have $100,000 in their accounts right now.

The fallout from the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange continues to ripple through the economy as a whole. This is now spilling over to college campuses, where the next generation of tech and finance talent are deciding if crypto is an industry they really want to work in.

Crypto companies are salivating over students like Akshay Choudhry, a Columbia University senior with a major in applied math and a minor in computer science.

So if a crypto exchange tried to hire him with a boatload of cash, “Frankly, I probably would have been more willing to do that before the last three or four weeks,” he said.

Of course, crypto companies aren’t really in recruiting mode right now; even solvent exchanges like Coinbase laid off workers.

But even if they were, Choudhry said the overnight implosion of FTX made the industry far too volatile.

“From the perspective of putting your career eggs in that basket, I don’t think that’s something I would want to do,” he said.

During crypto boom times, the best and brightest at elite universities are – shockingly – more interested in crypto. Cryptography courses in engineering and business schools are now quite common.

John Villasenor noticed a particular correlation among computer science students at his University of California, Los Angeles.

“I’ve found over the last seven or eight years that interest in the crypto space, generally speaking, tends to follow the price of bitcoin,” he said.

This brutally cold crypto winter will likely cool that interest. But Villasenor said that won’t deter a particular type of student: those more interested in the underlying technology.

“There has always been a subset, a smaller subset of people, who are very interested in blockchain,” he said. “Blockchain is so much more than crypto.”

Campbell Harvey of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business expects a drop in attendance for the Innovation and Cryptoventures course he teaches this spring.

But as a decentralized finance enthusiast, Harvey said the FTX debacle could actually make his MBA students even more marketable.

“They’re much more professional in terms of business practices, and in this space there’s a real lack of people with traditional business experience,” he said.

You know, the traditional business experience like creating a decent track record, or at least one that won’t go viral on Twitter.

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