In 2008, an anonymous developer with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the world to the first cryptocurrency called bitcoin. Since 2009, the price of one bitcoin went from $0.01 to over $1,000 in late 2013 and is currently hovering in the $700s. While bitcoin was initially only used by developers, hackers, and libertarians who preferred to avoid dealing with banks and the taxman, bitcoin has developed into an acceptable means of making digital payments in the last eight years. Today, there are well over $100,000 online merchants that accept the digital currency as a means of payment, including Microsoft, Dell, and Expedia and global bitcoin adoption among individuals as well as merchants is steadily on the rise. As global bitcoin adoption grows and as governments and regulators are increasingly taking a more positive stance towards the idea of digital money, it begs the question: “Should you get a job in the bitcoin economy?” What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is the world’s first and most-traded digital currency in the world. It is decentralized, which means no government or central bank has any control over it and is based on a peer-to-peer network that enables users to send money directly to one another without the use of a financial intermediary. Bitcoin’s underlying technology is called the blockchain. The blockchain is a public distributed ledger on which anyone can view all bitcoin transactions that have ever taken place and those that are currently being processed. However, you can only ever see the bitcoin wallet addresses of the sender and the receiver. There are no names or other personal information linked to wallet addresses, which is why bitcoin is considered as a semi-anonymous cryptocurrency. You can view all transaction on blochchain.info. The blockchain technology has gained massive popularity in the last two years in a range of industries as it is open source and, therefore, can be re-engineered and altered for other uses than purely peer-to-peer payments. For example, the Ethereum network, which has received a lot of media attention since its launch, allows users to create irrefutable smart contracts, which can be used for a wide range of purposes including financial securities settlements, digital record keeping, voter registrations, and much more. The Bitcoin Economy In the first few years, it wasn’t easy to buy and sell bitcoins. You had to use unstable exchanges and unsafe peer-to-peer trading platforms. Also, there was little to no merchant adoption in the first few years of bitcoin. However, much has changed since. The bitcoin economy has grown into an ecosystem that includes heavily invested venture capital firms, innovative start-ups leveraging both the currency bitcoin and the blockchain, a range of bitcoin media outlets, digital currency exchanges, and investment platforms. Furthermore, both the NYSE and the CME have recently launched bitcoin price indices and investment vehicles (in the form of ETFs and futures on the price of bitcoin) will soon become available for institutional and retail investors. Given the amount of venture capital money pouring into bitcoin and blockchain start-ups and given the amount of jobs that are being created because of it, it is hard to imagine that governments would want to curb this development despite the threat that bitcoin poses to banks and tax collectors. Bitcoin Companies in the UK As London has emerged as one of the world’s leading fintech hub, it is no surprise that you also find a large number of bitcoin start-ups in Britain’s capital. And much like most fintech start-ups in London, most of them are expanding and hiring. Some of the most promising bitcoin start-ups in London include CoinBase, CoinJar, Wirex, CryptoPay, Blockchain, CoinDesk, CoinTelegraph, BitStocks and CEX.io. The types of roles that bitcoin companies are looking to fill are very broad. They include computer programmers, app developers, growth hackers, social media marketers, journalists, content writers, community manager, accountants, product designer, etc. There are also several bitcoin jobs portals, such as Coinality or Bitcoin Vacancy, which you could check out if you could see yourself becoming part of the bitcoin economy. Salaries at bitcoin and blockchain start-ups will generally be lower than at investment banks, except for developers who generally get paid very well. However, working in the bitcoin economy you could get to play a part in potentially shaping the future of payments and financial services, as we know them. Also, you will gain valuable start-up experience that will help you to start your own business venture further down the road.