Crypto-Mergers and Acquisitions Increased by 200% in 2018

Institutional investors, venture capitalists, and other well-heeled entities “in the know” are using a year-long bear market to buy up future technologies for what might turn out to be pennies on the dollar.


It Takes Money to Make Money

Yesterday CNBC reported that most of  2018 has been a “deal frenzy” for cryptocurrency and blockchain-related companies as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are reported to have increased by 200 percent. Pitchbook had JMP Securities crunch M&A data the results showed that by the end of 2018 there will have been 145 M&A deals.

The data is inclusive of majority investments, partial and full acquisitions but it does not pinpoint the exact dollar amount spent for each deal. JMP did mention that most of the M&As are “relatively small” as the sum is less than $100 million. The uptick in M&As took place as Bitcoin declined to trade nearly 53% below its January price.

Interestingly, buyers did not appear deterred by Bitcoin’s fall from $20,000 in January as the $830 billion dollar market capitalization began to disintegrate. In fact, according to Satya Bajpai, the head of blockchain and digital assets investment banking at JMP Securities, “You’re seeing a mispricing of assets.” Bajpai believes that the majority of crypto-startups have token values that “remain correlated to Bitcoin” and this phenomenon “can create an ideal opportunity for strategic acquirers.”

Crypto is an Investors Smorgasbord

Bajpai used the analogy of a “land grab” when describing how the rapid pace of growth and innovation in a new sector compels investors to buy up technology producers instead of attempting to build their own platform. Bajpai explained that “[The M&A route is] expensive, but you get the technology and product immediately. This industry is like a treadmill – the only way to keep up on a treadmill is to keep running by investing in new technology.”

The Ends Justifies the Means

Bajpai also pointed out that hasty acquisitions come with significant risks as a number of the companies scooped up during mergers and acquisitions are startups in infancy and have yet to prove themselves. Nonetheless, the uptick in mergers and acquisitions shows that many investors are willing to look past these issues as the potential for future returns could far outweigh these risks.  

What do you think about venture capitalists and institutions purchasing crypto-startups? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of JMP Securities, Shutterstock.

U.S. Job Market Thrives as Blockchain Companies Continue Hiring Spree

The U.S. job market is undergoing some noteworthy changes. A positive trend has been established over the past few months as the number of unfilled jobs has increased. Emerging technological trends are playing a part as the Bitcoin and blockchain job market is increasing in popularity.


A Booming U.S. Job Market

Several signs indicate whether a nation’s economy is doing well. The number of available job openings is one such key factor. In the United States, that metric is getting a lot of attention. Over 7 million unfilled job openings were present in August of 2018. A healthy job market shows there is still plenty of financial growth ahead for U.S. companies.

The blockchain industry is helping push a boom in the U.S. job market.

One notable contributor is the Bitcoin and blockchain industry. Job market listings pertaining to this industry have increased by 300% compared to the same period in 2017. That is a promising sign. It also confirms the United States should play an increasing role of importance in this growing industry. Just over 1,700 positions were waiting to be filled in August of this year.

These findings come at a crucial time for the cryptocurrency industry. An ongoing Bitcoin price decline for the majority of 2018 has made a lot of people wary of cryptocurrency. Yet many businesses are seeing the potential value of distributed ledger technology. The number of listings on the U.S. job market indicates companies are still in the process of expanding their presence into this particular ecosystem.

Filling the Right Positions

One interesting trend is the growing demand for Bitcoin and blockchain software engineers. A number of companies are eager to hire such candidates, as well as other blockchain positions. As an increasing number of universities around the world are now starting to offer courses pertaining to this topic, that part of the job market will continue to expand. It also shows how difficult it can be for companies to find, much less retain, talented staff during this crucial growth stage.

blockchain

One of the major companies on an active hiring spree is IBM. The technology giant is currently exploring numerous blockchain ventures. ConsenSys, a renowned company in the cryptocurrency industry, is also looking to fill many different positions. It is also worth noting these kinds of jobs are in prime demand. The average pay is over 60% higher compared to the median base pay on the U.S. job market.

Not all companies in this industry are successful, though. A proven track record does not warrant future growth. Exchange providers are going through a rough patch right now. Given the growing competition on the market, that is not entirely surprising. This is a growing pain the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry will have to go through prior to entering the next stage of adoption.

Do you plan on getting a job in the blockchain industry? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Gibraltar Gov’t Launches Advisory Group to Develop Blockchain-Related Educational Courses

The Government of Gibraltar in collaboration with the University of Gibraltar have created an advisory group focused on the development of blockchain-related educational courses, national news outlet the Gibraltar Chronicle reported Oct. 19.

The New Technologies in Education (NTiE) group is reportedly a joint initiative between the government, the University of Gibraltar, and a number of the leading technology firms based in the country. Following the expansion of new technologies in Gibraltar, the NTiE will address the demand for related skills both in the private sector and at the governmental level.

The courses — which are expected to be launched later this year — will also be backed by “significant input” from industry players who are in the process of becoming licensed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.

“Providing access to innovative courses with expert input from those using this technology in the private sector is a vital component in the development of a sustainable distributed ledger technology (DLT) commercial community in Gibraltar,” stated Gilbert Licudi, a Queen’s Counsel and the minister with responsibility for the University of Gibraltar.

Within the initiative, the university will reportedly develop and enhance expertise in new technologies, including DLT, coding, and smart contracts, subsequently issuing a Professional Certificate of Competence within this area. The government stated:

“The launch of the NTiE advisory group continues to build momentum for Gibraltar as a hub for new technologies, following the announcement in January 2018 that Gibraltar would be the first jurisdiction globally to introduce legislation around Distributed Ledger Technology.”

Per Minister for Education John Cortes’ statement, only 27 percent of universities around the world offer blockchain-related courses, whereas half of the top 50 international universities provide related courses, meaning that interest in the subject is growing.

A Coinbase study conducted in August shows that blockchain- and crypto-related courses are most popular in the U.S. Only five of the 18 universities reviewed that operate outside of the U.S. offer at least one class in these topics.

In September, New York University (NYU) through the NYU Stern School of Business became the “first” university in the U.S. to offer students a major in blockchain technology. Following the increasing number of students interested in the new offer, NYU reportedly doubled its course offerings this school year.