“Follow the talent.”
It’s a maxim investor Chris Burniske tweeted recently to underscore another tweet from AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant when he wrote back in March: “Blockchains are now sucking in top-tier Silicon Valley tech talent faster than any boom since the Internet.”
Yet, as the first flurries of crypto winter blow, this narrative has hardly cooled.
We heard it echoed again most recently in October when we spoke to Tinder exec and venture investor, Jeff Morris, Jr., who started Chapter One Ventures to back crypto projects he finds exciting. But, who are these professionals leaving good companies to take a chance on the world of crypto?
CoinDesk found seven examples of people who left jobs not just at notable tech companies but at the most notable ones. We found examples of staff from five giants of Web 2.0, the so-called FANGs: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.
Each of the people on this list turned their back on the secure life at a tech giant, the most powerful companies in today’s economy, to take a chance on a new sector built on money native to the internet and decentralized data structures.
Kahina van Dyke – Ripple
Kahina van Dyke is Ripple’s senior vice president for business and corporate development, and most of her business experience has focused on payments at major companies – not just Facebook. Not only did she spend two-and-a-half years working on payments systems in Menlo Park, but she has prior experience at MasterCard and Citibank.
Van Dyke made the transition in June. On the Ripple blog, she described her reasons for entering the distributed ledger industry. She said:
“There is a reason you have only a handful of major money transfer operators in the world today. Without question, cross-border transactions is one of the most complex and multifaceted problem in payments.”
She said she believes Ripple has the combination of technology and business strategy to eliminate that friction faced by people around the world attempting to move money internationally.
Evgeny Kuzyakov – Near Protocol
With Kuzyakov we actually get a double-dose of FANGs. Prior to his current job he worked at Facebook, and a little before that he worked at Google. He’s now one of the software engineers at Near Protocol, which aims to bring blockchain to low-end devices by taking advantage of sharding.
When he left Facebook, he had been working on video compression for 360-degree videos and virtual reality. Spending time at two different major tech companies, he says, will help secure what Near hopes will be a wide reaching protocol.
He told us:
“I’ve worked on backend infrastructure at Google, so I know how to build distributed systems. I understand security and privacy of large scale projects to make sure users are in the best interest of the overall system.”
Ethereum is still just too complicated and easy to mess up. EOS hasn’t earned people’s trust and everything else is just too immature.
“My industry experience helps understand such issues and hopefully would help avoid them when we design our system,” he said.