Despite Crypto Ban, China's Tech Talent Rides the Global Web3 Wave

Despite a sweeping ban on cryptocurrencies in China, the domestic web3 talent is flourishing, and many are venturing beyond China's border. For two reasons, Chinese web3 entrepreneurs are eager to do business in other countries but are not eager to reveal their identities. The first is the unclear rules around operating in China while serving overseas, while others don't want to be labeled as Chinese at a time when China's geopolitical tensions with the West are high.

What Makes Web3 Appealing?

As rent-seeking corporations like Meta and Google now dominate web2, the demand for web3, where the internet is reclaimed through distributed ledger technologies like blockchain that offer greater decentralization and user ownership, is rising.

The Grey Area

Though China has outlawed initial coin offerings and crypto-based transactions as they carry elevated risk, a grey area exists for other blockchain applications. China is rebranding NFTs as digital collectibles that can only be bought using the country's fiat currency, RMB.

Some web3 developers are helping build the infrastructure for digital collectibles; others are using blockchain services to track food supply chains to ensure safety. Some argue that web3 can't be operated at its fullest potential without cryptocurrency. So, they serve international users and raise funds from offshore institutions.

Abundance of Talent

China has an abundance of talent too. Seven million programmers in the country have proved their worth and innovation capabilities over and over again. Big corporations like the Ethereum Foundation are aware of that, and so they organize events like hackathons to lure talent. As Chinese employees are not eager to relocate or can't due to domestic employment quotas set by other nations, many corporations prefer to keep a presence in China.

Good for Hiring

Many tech giants prefer Chinese employees and want to make the most of their potential. From Zoom to Alibaba, big corporations have had hundreds of staff members in China. Many tech firms also admit that China is a desirable place to hire because of the stiff competition and robust growth in the internet sector.

In the words of a Chinese worker who works at a US-based blockchain startup, "Chinese-founded projects are great at managing and designing business-to-consumer products. They are obsessed with data analytics and spend a lot of time finetuning products."

The Strengths and Challenges

China's strength in web3 is building an underlying blockchain infrastructure and developing apps for users. A Hong Kong-based blockchain startup founder said, "The early opportunities in web3 are in protocols [infrastructure for blockchain applications], but they mostly solve transactions while user experience is overlooked. Chinese people are very good at building user experience. After all, China has birthed a robust web2 ecosystem."

Chinese employees are also hard-working and can provide 24-by-7 support to companies based in other countries while others can't. The key challenge they might face is the language ability to convey their ideas or adjust to other cultures that are different than their own.




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