A Whirlwind Month For Crypto: FTX, Proof of Reserves & Looking Forward


What happened to FTX?

The digital asset space has recently been witness to one the quickest falls from grace in its history. Earlier this month, FTX and Alameda Research, previously a leading crypto exchange and trading firm, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. For those who haven’t seen, here’s a quick rundown of how the events played out:

  • On Nov. 2, CoinDesk reported that Alameda Research, SBF’s quantitative crypto trading firm, had issues with its balance sheet
  • On Nov. 6, CZ, the founder and CEO of the largest crypto exchange, Binance, announced that it would sell all of tis FTT holdings (FTX’s exchange token).
  • FTX claimed that there were no ongoing issues at FTX
  • Then FTX’s exchange token, FTT, saw its price tank
  • Shortly after, this headline appears: FTX Agrees to Sell Itself to Rival Binance Amid Liquidity Scare at Crypto Exchange

Although the purchase of Binance was unexpected by many, the number of people who thought it was actually going to go through was even smaller – and although the full extent of the aftermath is yet to be seen, It is likely things are going to get worse for crypto before they get better.

For comparison, many market participants are comparing this collapse to 2008 – dubbing it cryptos Lehman Brothers moment. During this time, similar activity was unfolding – with banks using customer funds to support highly risky speculative activity.

Unfortunately, in its current state, the cryptocurrency market enables this kind of activity. Lack of regulatory clarity means that exchanges are able to use money they receive from customers to fund other business transactions – ultimately allowing exchanges to act as banks – if they are so inclined.


What does this mean?

Simply put, FTX, in its current state, is unable to honor user withdrawal requests for any funds stored on its platform as it was lending this money out to try and generate yield. This is actually considered normal practice in the banking world – however, traditional banks are regulated, insured, and must adhere to frameworks and disclose their financial liabilities. These factors create an environment in which market participant funds are safeguarded – to an extent.

For example, if you give £1 to your bank, it would proceed to lend your £1 out to other banking customers to generate a return on your money. However, FTX wasn’t just lending you money out to generate yield,  instead, it was engaging in degenerate activity, allowing customers to borrow absurd amounts of cash to partake in risky trades.

The above activity is actually ok, when you employ proper risk management. Where FTX failed, however, was when SBF started using FTT (a token created by FTX) as collateral for loans between the exchange and its sister company, Alameda. A CoinDesk report showed that Alameda listed $3.66 billion of “unlocked FTT” and $2.16 billion of “FTT collateral” as assets on its balance sheet as of June 30.

“If the exchange issues a huge number of tokens and holds them on their balance sheet, only offers a small number of those tokens for trading—restricting the ‘free float,’ which can create an artificially high valuation—and uses the locked tokens on its balance sheet as collateral for loans, this creates a systemic risk because the collateral’s paper value isn’t real,” Matt Hougan, CIO at Bitwise Asset Management, told Fortune. “If the loans get called, the exchange may be insolvent.”

The issue? Well, the lion’s share of a multibillion-dollar fund lies in the native token of its partner company, which not only has little utility, but also little demand. As such, the unwinding of FTT meant that Alameda saw its balance sheet reduced to ashes in front of its eyes – meaning it could not honor liabilities. Thus, all it took was a significant decline in the price of FTT to bring down the once mighty firm and SBF’s crypto empire.

Wait a minute… should this be allowed?

Should exchanges be able in place of banks? No, they shouldn’t – or not yet, anyway. Crypto and consumer protection doesn’t exactly go hand in hand at the minute, but the industry should be doing everything it can to safeguard market participants. What this means is that until the industry is properly regulated and exchanges disclose their liabilities, provide insurance and operate in a more transparent way, then it is unlikely playing with this kind of fire will ever end well.

So given the insistence of crypto-natives to avoid the failings of traditional finance (TradFi), what has the reaction been from people in the industry?

Proof of reserves

The issue around FTX was the lack of transparency, liability and disclosure of its use of customer funds. One of the most reasonable replies to this misfortune has been for “Proof of Reserves”, in an attempt to rebuild consumer confidence and restore credibility to digital asset exchanges.

While it might be seen as too little, too late, there has been a swift and thorough response to the events of the last few days which has seen numerous exchanges, including Binance and Crypto.com, provide transparency about exchanges holdings and liquidity.

Although this is a step in the right direction, proof of reserves in itself is not enough to help heal the wounded industry. Exchanges need to want to make these changes for the better of the industry, looking to empower consumers and market participants, not prey on them.


It may be a dire time for the digital asset industry, however, we want to remind you that crypto isn’t going anywhere – it is going to play a big role in the future and top firms around the world are gearing up for the next phase of adoption. If you want to get involved, then reach out to us at info@defirec.com.

DeFi Recruitment
  • Hugo Lennard

    Hugo Lennard


  • Recruiting and Onboarding Remote Employees


    The unparalleled growth of the COVID-19 outbreak has forced millions of employees worldwide to work from home. What was once unconceivable has now become the ‘new norm.’ Millions of us – who were used to 9 to 6 agendas, working at a feverish pace from our office workstations – are now working remotely. Companies that never had to manage a single remote employee are now managing entirely remote workforces. Brick and mortar offices are transitioning to digital avenues to stay afloat in the pandemic (and possibly the post-pandemic) era.

    Benefits of hiring remote employees

    More employees than ever are working remotely now because of COVID-19. Yet, some businesses are still on the fence about adopting or continuing with the remote work post-pandemic. Here are some advantages of hiring remote employees that can help you decide:

    Wider Talent Pool – hiring remote employees allows you to take away all geographical boundaries and establish your presence across the globe. You get instant access to a pool of human resources belonging to diverse cultures and races. It also allows your business to unearth better qualified candidates compared to a search limited to one geographic territory. Your company will gain extended exposure to tap into opportunities not possible otherwise.

    Reduced Business Costs – hiring remote employees means you don’t have to invest in fixed costs such as office spaces, parking spaces, rent, security systems, utilities, and other overhead costs. According to a Global Workplace report, businesses which allow employees to work from home for half of the working week, they can save up to £8000 in expenses per employee every year.

    Increased Employment Retention – the cost of replacing an employee can be vast. But with a sound onboarding strategy, retaining employees can be easy. According to research, 95% of the companies report that employee retention is superior with remote working. That’s no surprise, considering two-thirds of workers say they would take another job to avoid commuting.

    Enhanced Productivity – research indicates that remote workers are significantly more productive than employees which work in a traditional office arrangement. As per a study by Global Workplace Analytics, teleworkers were 20%-25% more productive than office-based employees.

    How to Onboard Remote Employees – usually, when you think of recruiting and onboarding a new hire, you envision a whirlwind of introductions or meet-and-greet, filling forms, setting up of desk space, and so on. But none of that happens when hiring a remote employeeThings can become more complicated when your employees are working from different locations.

    Below are some tips, suggesting how you can onboard remote employees.

    Make New Employees Feel Welcomed – for an employee who is familiar to a traditional shared workspace, converting to a remote working arrangement can cause some challenges. It is critical that you make your new hires feel connected with your company and motivate them to share their thoughts with their co-workers.

    Set Clear Expectations and Explain the Working Norms – you must communicate your expectations to your new hire before onboarding. This gives them a proper understanding of what’s expected of them and establishes a solid foundation. You can also work out a schedule for various training, discussing upcoming projects, reviews, and so on.

    Promote Your Company Culture Using Digital Tools – it is relatively easy to maintain employee engagement and company culture when everyone is working from home temporarily. But it’s not as easy to ‘grow’ such a culture by adding new hires who you, or the team, has never met before. Digital platforms can be an excellent tool to promote company culture while acclimating new hires to how things work.

    Factors to keep in mind while hiring remote employees

    Although hiring remote employees is beneficial when done right, it’s not without its challenges. Here are some hitches that you may face while building a remote team:

    1. Time Zones – the lifestyle and work flexibility possible by remote working also spotlight a critical aspect – working across different time zones.
    2. Compliance- some multiple local laws and regulations must be complied with for the smooth functioning of a remote-based job.
    3. Taxation – depending on where your remote employee is, there could be additional tax burdens in store for you or the employee. Furthermore, some countries have several tax authorities with different rates that may not align with your tax system.
    4. Payroll –payroll can get tricky when you have a remote workforce spread across the globe. It can be quite cumbersome to navigate through the complexities to ensure every employee gets paid on time.
    DeFi Recruitment
  • Hugo Lennard

    Hugo Lennard


  • The State of the DeFi & Crypto Job Market

    Written by Hugo Lennard

    Trying to get a job in Crypto or DeFi? Look no further, it’s what we do.

    Why work in Crypto & DeFi?

    Since 2009, Bitcoin has outperformed nearly every other asset class in existence. What started as a niche movement, has evolved into a burgeoning financial system that is now attracting some of the largest institutional players in the space.

    However, the price of Bitcoin isn’t the only thing that has exploded – crypto-based roles on  LinkedIn have also spiked, increasing nearly 400% between 2020 and 2021, as some of the smartest and brightest minds look toward crypto for their next opportunity.

    In 2022, the industry has encountered some speed bumps, with 1,700 people reportedly losing their jobs in June alone. However, despite what many critics are proclaiming, it isn’t all doom and gloom. The crypto market remains alive – with many industry leaders, such as Binance and Kraken, ramping up their hiring efforts.

    Funny thing is, they aren’t alone. Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), one of the biggest VCs in the space, recently created a mammoth $4.5 billion fund to invest in crypto and blockchain companies. What does this show? That the big players haven’t moved their focus away from crypto, and neither should you.

    No of vacancies for blockchain related rolesImage source

    Opportunities are rife for those looking to enter the space, and if you are interested in working for a crypto or DeFi company, there is no better time than the present – for the demand for people with crypto and DeFi skills is higher than ever.

    What is DeFi?

    DeFi, short for Decentralised Finance, allows you to do everything that your bank does, without the need to jump through 15 hoops or sign a short novel worth of paperwork.

    Simply put, It allows everyday people to gain access to financial services, such as earning interest, borrowing, lending, purchasing insurance, trading derivatives, assets, and more, without the need to go through a broker or bank.

    DeFi markets don’t require anyone’s permission and never close, so you can trade, send money or interact with whomever you want, whenever you want – all you need is an internet connection, a wallet and some crypto!

    Why should I work in DeFi?

    Why should you consider transitioning to this new, highly volatile sector? A few thoughts spring to mind:

    Join A Fast Growing Industry & Help Build A Fairer Financial System

    Crypto is a unique industry. The room for growth is almost unparalleled and the industry is still in its infancy – meaning anybody who joins now, will be helping to pioneer and develop the space.

    Want to find out more about who is hiring and what kind of roles they are looking to fill? Check out our previous blog post here.

    percentage growth of different jobs

    Image source

    There Is Huge Demand For Good DeFi Candidates

    Blockchain-based roles, including DeFi and crypto roles, have seen unprecedented growth as people look to skill up and work for the firms ushering in this new era of finance. Given the infancy of the sector, finding thought leaders and experts in their craft is more challenging than you might anticipate – especially considering how niche some of the skills are!

    This is the perfect opportunity to get your foot in the door at the next tech unicorn or start learning a new skill in an exciting and unique industry.

    Dive Into An Inclusive and Global Culture

    DeFi is all about creating an inclusive and fair financial system that gives equal opportunities to all. As you can imagine, this ethos is echoed throughout the industry. Crypto is a truly global office – the vast majority of roles allow you to work remotely and many teams come from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures.

    Your Earning Potential Is Higher

    Well, amongst other things, the salary and rate of career progression are considered to be much higher than average. For example, an entry-level smart contract developer could earn between $90,000 – $150,000 annually, with that only growing further as more high-level roles start to surface.

    Not a dev? Don’t worry – DeFi isn’t a sector reserved for the technically savvy – and anyone with an active interest in cryptocurrencies or decentralised finance already has a huge advantage. From senior engineers to operation managers, product leads, PR and communications specialists, community managers, marketing leads, and many, many more.


    Kickstart your career in DeFi

    The best way to kickstart your career in DeFi? Be passionate about it – attend events, get involved with communities, keep up to date with the latest trends –what might start out as a hobby may naturally develop into something more.

    Want a headstart? We’re here to help. Every month, we help place numerous candidates in high-profile blockchain and DeFi roles.

    On the other side of the pool and struggling to find? Share your job spec with us and let us do the hard work – you never know, someone in our database of candidates could be your next employee of the month.

    Reach out to us at info@defirec.com to find out more.


    DeFi Recruitment
  • Hugo Lennard

    Hugo Lennard


  • The Importance of Hiring and Retaining a Diverse Workforce


    Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace is a hot topic right now. We as consultants, are often questioned by senior leaders and TA teams about ways to improve diversity in the workplace. As such, I felt I would write a brief article to share with my network which outlines the importance of attracting, creating, and retaining a diverse workforce.

    Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace is much more than gender diversity, it should reflect the universal makeup of society. Your organisation should consist of a variety of people, from different backgrounds who bring different life experiences. This can include gender, experience, age, socio-economic levels, race, religion, sexual orientation, and so on.

    Why is a diverse workforce so important?

    Diversity boosts employee engagement.

    Employees are far more likely to voice their opinions if they feel that others will listen to and acknowledge their point of view. Having a diverse workplace where a range of voices are heard and accepted encourages employees to actively engage in their work environment, resulting in higher levels of productivity, increased retention, and overall business success.

    Diversity fosters creativity.

    It is imaginative business ideas that set companies apart from one another. Employing a diverse group of people can help generate a wider and more varied pool of ideas that will give you an advantage over competitors. A BCG study reported innovation revenue to be 19% higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity, showing a close correlation between diversity and innovation.

    Diversity cultivates innovation & investment.

    Diversity gives you access to a greater range of talent, not just the talent that belongs to a particular worldview, age, or other restricting definition. Diversity helps provide insight into the needs and motivations your entire customer base. An example being that age diversity will bring experience and problem-solving methods from people with different historical experiences. These ideas will bring and attract investment. The same is said for businesses who employ an ethnically diverse workforce or a religiously diverse workforce. If you have not watched it, ‘The Intern’ is a noteworthy movie which highlights the above point.

    Diversity streamlines the recruitment process.

    A study conducted by Glassdoor found that two-thirds of active and passive job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. Having a diverse workforce attracts more applicants to your business.

    Creating a diverse workforce.

    It is all well and good aiming to have a diverse workforce, but if your organisation does not deliver an environment in which that diverse workforce will be enticed to and thrive in, then this is the first thing to address.

    Below are a few ideas as to how you can make your organisation and workspace more attractive to a diverse talent pool and in turn, increase diversity across your organisation:

    1. Convert all job descriptions to gender neutral. Using the term ‘he/she’ may previously have been considered inclusive, but recruiters and internal teams should consider shifting towards pronouns such as ‘they’ in advertisements. This will help to ensure they are not discouraging talent who may not adopt conventional gender patterns. Furthermore, it is crucial to check the use of gender-associated words in the job description, examples of this could be the word ‘dominant’, this may discourage certain groups from applying to the position. There is a couple of platforms online which will highlight and change gender-coded words.
    2. Write job descriptions which are achievable, rather than a wish list. Consider the use of results-based job descriptions. Studies have shown that men will apply for a job if they meet 60% of the criteria, whereas women will only usually only apply if they meet 100% of them. Instead of job descriptions being based on a checklist or wish list of skills, job descriptions should ideally focus on what your new hire will be expected to achieve, a month, six months, and a year into the job.
    3. Establish diversity and inclusion early in the employee life cycle. Throughout employee onboarding, clearly convey why in your company D&I is important, how you define it, and steps you are taking to encourage D&I this in the workplace. Be primed to answer any questions your new hires have about what your company is doing to move the diversity needle and be open to their own suggestions. As mentioned earlier, new ideas are one of the benefits of a diverse workforce, you need to show you value your employee’s views and ideas.
    4. Allow flexible work hours. Show your employees you trust them to get their work done with the freedom to create their own work hours, where applicable. People have all sorts of personal situations that may affect their ability to work a strict 9 to 5. Lack of flexibility makes the lives of some employees unreasonably difficult, and they may respond by leaving for a company that can provide flexibility. Flexibility in the workplace is crucial. Studies show that 78% of the employees feel their productivity improves when work schedules are flexible. And 77% consider flexible work arrangements a key consideration when assessing job prospects.
    5. Market your success. As I mentioned earlier in this article, two thirds of people believe that a diverse workforce is an imperative factor when choosing a new position, if you do not show that you are achieving D&I goals, perspective hires may choose another company who has.
    6. Education. This is the most important point, make sure your entire workforce is educated on the importance of a D&I and that they are welcoming and helpful to new starters.

    When it comes to building a successful and sustainable business in a global market, D&I is key. Businesses can no longer simply rely on carrying out their main business function. You have to take a stand, practice what you preach, and engage in corporate and social responsibility.

    DeFi Recruitment
  • Hugo Lennard

    Hugo Lennard


  • Blockchain, Crypto, and DeFi – The Most in Demand Skill


    Blockchain, Crypto, and DeFi experience is the most in demand skill, according to the latest skills index and now, it is one of the hottest job market categories.

    Did you see this technology trend appearing? A few years ago, limited people cared for this technology. However, it has become a significant career opportunity and can prove very lucrative.

    The demand for people with Blockchain, Crypto and DeFi skills, experience, and knowledge is higher than ever. Businesses are looking to hire those who have the skill set to navigate this new, exciting technology. Of course, just like with any other opening, not everyone ‘cuts the mustard’. You must possess or be able to acquire the skill set which is required to be successful in the blockchain field.

    Who is hiring?

    There are four significant sectors or verticals in the crypto and blockchain job market, these are:

    • Industries – companies such as banks, accountancy firms, insurance, retailers as well as law offices that want to keep up with the new technology.
    • Start-up’s – businesses and products created since the invention of Blockchain. This is an everchanging landscape due to weighty investment.
    • Tech firms – companies that have the most to lose in case Blockchain tech takes over the world. As they try to shift to a decentralized system, they need all the expertise they can gather to ensure they are not left behind. An example is IBM’s recent investment of $200million for internal R&D.
    • Governments – many governments have been hiring crypto experts to advise them. Several governments are warming up to Blockchain due to its many advantages.

    Career opportunities in Blockchain

    Blockchain, Crypto, and DeFi businesses are like any other organisation which operates across the globe. Yes, their teams might be tech heavy with a large percentage being Developer’s or Engineers. However, as with any business, they are commercial entities with the main function being creating revenue, therefore, their set-up will be like any other business. Roles within the space include:

    • Developers (Golang, Rust, Python, Web3)
    • Solidity Engineers
    • Project Managers
    • UX Designers
    • Quality Engineers
    • Legal Consultants and Copywriters
    • Accountants
    • Sales and Business Development and Marketing
    • Financial Managers
    • Public Relations and Content Specialists
    • Analysts
    • NFT and Digital Artists

    How to get involved or hired in the space:

    Network, attend events and create relationshipsDo your research, keep up to date with industry trendsBe flexible; these careers come in many formsLove Crypto, Blockchain and DeFi (this one goes without saying).

    As the technology evolves, so will its professional landscape. Whether you are a techie or not, a career in Crypto, Blockchain, or DeFi is a new and exciting opportunity well worth exploring.

    DeFi Recruitment
  • Hugo Lennard

    Hugo Lennard