The future of work will not remain as it is today. Metaverse, for instance, may soon become entwined with the future of work. Emerging developments in Web3, Metaverse, and decentralized autonomous organisations (DAO) based on blockchain technology can potentially impact the future, not only in the workplace but in all parts of life, much like the internet did in the twenty-first century.
We spoke with two leaders of CTH Group, a leading firm in blockchain infrastructure and talent, to learn more about how the future of connected work and new technologies applied to the metaverse can intersect. Helen Fan is the HR chief of CTH Group. She leads the global HR teams and all HR initiatives. Henry Love is the managing partner at Fundamental Labs, a crypto venture capital firm and one of the three businesses of CTH Group. He invested in many of the early-stage venture companies built on blockchain and the promise of crypto. The other two businesses of the group are IDEG, an institutional digital asset manager; and Atlas, one of the world’s largest Web3 infrastructure service providers. The company has offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco, Austin, Almaty and Vancouver.
In an interview with us, the leaders shared with us a lot of insights on the Web3 world and how the metaverse can transform the world of work.
Here are the edited excerpts.
Can you give us an overview of the Web3 world today?
Henry Love: There is tremendous interest now in the Web3 space. The Web3 space is trying to build a world that is more efficient, fairer, and more inclusive. As such, not only has the space attracted significant investment, but it is creating an opportunity for jobs as these new businesses scale.
Web3 is being touted as the future of the internet. What’s driving innovation in the Web3 world?
Henry Love: While the benefits of Web3 will create a more inclusive society, it is the regulations and institutional adoption of digital assets that have helped spur a lot of innovation along. The capital from Web2 is feeding the development and innovation of Web3. The protocols with their native tokens/coins are building up layers of DApps (decentralized applications) to show value and use cases. The majority of society wants to take control of their own destiny, and so the Web3 explosion is largely a result of entrepreneurs and their communities wanting to have more inclusive societies, access to value creation, and overall be more efficient and transparent operators.
Alongside this boom, the introduction of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) has empowered creatives to take control of their intellectual property and has spawned a different way of looking at work. In comparison to Web2 businesses, we observe a significantly more collaborative ecosystem. The "winner takes it all" phenomenon is no longer a reality. Because there is a strong willingness to share value for the community, the competitive environment is considerably friendlier.
How do you see the influence of Web3 on the future of work? What needs to be improved for the metaverse to transform the world of work?
Helen Fan: Web3 is bringing the world closer together than Web2 did. It’s a newer system that is more efficient. Companies can now reach a much broader talent pool by tearing down borders. However, on a more direct and immediate level, the growth of ecosystems means this is one of the hottest sectors for job creation.
CTH and its affiliate companies are active and hungry for talent across blockchain engineering, DevOps, and cybersecurity. And it’s not only the fresh grads and younger talent - we are also seeing an inflow of top talent coming from the Web2 space looking to enter a sunrise industry (especially traditional finance).
The metaverse (and Web3) is the next evolution of the Internet and a new way in which information is transferred. We are in the early days of this paradigm shift. Like the concerns around AI and robotics taking over our work, it was not purely the case. Repetitive work like manufacturing benefits from the use of machines, but in the metaverse, we will still need engineers to be the designers and the AI component will simply execute. It will take some more time as the infrastructure continues to build and mature. We will not see Web3 completely supplant Web2 in the near term.
Can Web3 companies capture young talent who want to feel belonging at work and seek more autonomy at work?
Helen Fan: Web3 companies are capturing the attention of young and bright talent that want to be part of the change and get closer to creating value that they themselves can share in and benefit from. It goes beyond the work-life balance and autonomy at work. It’s about creation and contributions, the pursuit of meaning and fulfilment from their work, and having shared values with the organisation.
Start-ups may still require long hours and a lot of “rolling up the sleeves” which is a challenge as much for a seasoned Web2 incumbent as it is for a fresh grad to embrace. However, building tools and platforms that can add value but that they can feel a strong sense of ROI on that value creation. That’s a greater sense of belonging than simply choosing a career that will allow them to work from home, or work from the beach.
A lot of our candidates for Atlas, for example, are excited by the growth of the blockchain sector and appreciate our foundational contribution to the industry – as enablers of Web3 growth. Some candidates want to be in a higher profile part of the ecosystem to be in a DApp or protocol layer. But there is a huge demand and shortage of talent to serve all layers in engineering, coding, cybersecurity, networking etc.
What according to you are the ways distributed, collaborative aspects of metaverse will impact the future of work – in 2022 and beyond? Can you share some potential examples?
Helen Fan: We started with analog, to text to pictures/video, and now to the metaverse. It’s next-level engagement that is not a “producer and consumer” dynamic. AR/VR will contribute deeper engagement, which is definitely advantageous to the recruitment process. However, every function and touchpoint of the workplace will benefit from this evolution:
- Geography is almost eliminated, and therefore things like passports and visas become less important as we break down barriers and unlock the limitations we face in the physical world. The advent of metaverse engagement will only increase the virtual versus face-to-face. From a CTH perspective, more than 95% of our candidate interviews and new-hire onboarding is conducted online. In the future, digital avatars might be largely used in the workplace – gradually replacing the ubiquitous photo ID badge used in many firms.
- The metaverse also ushers in a new way to build trust among colleagues - 100% via virtual methods. Trust used to be built in the corridor or during coffee/lunchtime, face-to-face; and this interaction has suffered during COVID. The metaverse can significantly improve this experience and help strengthen bonds and reignite the collaborative spirit in an organisation.
- The traditional employment “relationship” is not as important as before but a more collaborative and co-creative relationship, largely underlined by the young talent or those experienced talent with a young mindset.
- Instead of the “work-life balance” concept in Web 2, the “work-life integration” will be favoured in the metaverse. Diversity and inclusion will not only be encouraged but expected.
What lies ahead for businesses in the Web3 world? What are your plans and focus areas moving forward?
Henry Love: You will see the areas of gamification, marketing, and recruiting and the businesses that are more people-focused or networking-driven start to take up a more active piece of the Web3 growth. As Internet connectivity improves, it opens up the frontier markets to elevate their status alongside developed economies, which is exciting. As a venture capitalist, we are seeing more companies growing in the space and as a result more job creation for smart, hungry, and values-driven talent.
Helen Fan: We continue to hire aggressively across our three businesses. Atlas, our Web3 infrastructure-as-a-service business, in particular, is focused on providing distributed high-performance computing services to many blockchains.
Currently providing services to over 30, we have ambitions to support over 100 by the end of the year. With each protocol different, we continue to bring in talent with blockchain engineering, DevOps, and cybersecurity experience to deliver safe, secure and decentralized data centers.