When I started building Woody, I originally focused on finding top web3 jobs for non-technical people. While it has expanded since it was fascinating diving into a new industry and finding answers to questions such as: What makes a company truly web3? How do I apply to the right ones for me?
As I started scrolling through thousands of companies' career pages every week, I gained so much insight as well as clarity on job opportunities for creative minds like you. Let me break it down for you, and if that's an industry you're attracted to - it might give you an edge!
Even if the space is constantly growing, there are some building blocks to web3 that will stay.
- The protocols & networks (L1s, L2s)
- The applications built on top (dApps)
- The organizations built on top (DAOs)
- Aggregators, brands, or centralized companies leveraging web3 technology.
They're called "layers" and each one holds opportunities for you to find your best match, whether you're in finance, design, recruitment, marketing or else.
Layer 1s, or the blockchain networks
Layer 1 refers to the underlying blockchain networks, the foundational structure of every other web3 application. That's where developers code smart contracts. These blockchains are all open source, so anyone can build on top of them, replicate or alter them, and integrate with them. The growth of these blockchains comes from having more applications built on top of them. That's where everything in web3 starts.
To provide examples of companies building Layer 1s:
- Chainlink is an L1 working on making it easier for people to integrate their existing systems with blockchain technology. They do this by providing smart contracts with access to traditional data feeds from things like Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform.
- Polkadot, a new L1 based in Berlin, Germany, is developing an interoperability platform between different blockchains to work together in one ecosystem.
- Ethereum and Bitcoin are the most famous ones. Tezos, Solana, Litecoin, and Avalanche are also layer 1s.
If you want to build the infrastructure foundation of web3, why not join a Layer1 team? For instance, you could find top web3 jobs at the Solana Foundation as a Head of Marketing, to grow its network or join Polkadot as an Ecosystem Manager to improve its adoption.
Layer 2s, or the protocols improving blockchain networks
Layer 2 refers to the protocols operating on top of layer 1s. Their primary purpose is often to solve the scalability challenges with Layer 1 networks. Ethereum explains it best:
"As the number of people using Ethereum has grown, the blockchain has reached certain capacity limitations. This has driven up the cost of using the network, creating the need for "scaling solutions." There are multiple solutions being researched, tested, and implemented that take different approaches to achieve similar goals.
Layer 2 is built in several ways (you might have heard the following terms): roll-ups, side chains, nested blockchain, and more. For example, Polygon (formerly Matic) is a famous Layer 2 scaling solution helping improve Ethereum scalability and transaction speed.
But why do we need to improve scalability and transaction speed though?
If we want to create real-world solutions based on blockchain, we need to build valuable apps with it and allow lots of people like you and me to use them.
These apps (called Decentralized Applications, or dApps) can be trading platforms, games, social networks, and more. You get why data needs to be processed quickly and efficiently. Blockchain networks like Ethereum are not "performant" enough to ensure that. Layer 2 solutions help the world use blockchain technologies, hence driving overall adoption. As of Q3 2022, +50k dApps have been built on Polygon.
Working with Layer 2 protocols can be exciting since their purpose is to drive blockchain adoption and grow an ecosystem of builders. Here are a few examples:
- Offchain Labs, for instance, builds a suite of scaling solutions for Ethereum, such as Arbitrum and Nitro. You could join the core team as a Community Manager to engage with the non-technical community on Discord and lead content creation.
- Optimism is also a Layer 2 solution that sells the "Ethereum experience at 10x speed". They work hard on driving the adoption of Ethereum with the Optimism Lab and Foundation. You could join them as Finance Lead to collaborate with the founding team and set up financial operations between crypto and fiat.
Layer 1 and 2s need a lot of non-technical voices to drive the adoption of blockchain and increase the number of applications built on top of them. This leads us to our third type of company you could find top web3 jobs in, and our third layer: decentralized applications.
dApps, Decentralized Applications, or the "Use Case Layer"
Decentralized apps are the like the giant playing field of blockchain technology. They are built on top of Layer 1s and Layer 2s, and leverage the power of blockchains, such as crypto and NFTs, to cover use cases such as:
- Streaming services for musicians that allow ownership and fair wealth allocations
- Aligned incentives to drive a project as a non-profit community
- Assets of games that you can trade into other games
- Own your data entirely using social networks
- Navigate anonymously across the web and overall own your identity with safe wallets
- Trade crypto without intermediaries and full ownership of your account
- Efficient password authentication, etc.
We have a lot to prove, but it's a time for experimentation! Let's dive in with some specific examples in the creative industry:
- Music industry - Pianity is a music platform that allows you to discover and invest in your favorite artists and get rewards as an active community member. Every song is technically an NFT. As an artist or record label, you can quickly gain visibility by growing your fan base and earning recurring revenue. Audius and Sound.xyz tackle the same idea.
- Art Industry - Formfunction is the same concept but uses NFTs to create or collect digital art. You heard of SuperRare, or Foundation as well. La Collection tackles classic art and is certified by the world's greatest museums.
- Content / Social - Decentralized blogging platform Mirror leverages Ethereum to let publishers get paid in crypto, often by directing tokens to their web3 (ENS) address.
- You can browse DappRadar to find more examples.
DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organisations
DAOs are a form of dApp but for organizations. They also run on smart contracts and use the token features for a different purpose than dApps. These tokens (the non-fungible ones) can be used as voting systems on the blockchain for governance purposes, fundraising, and wealth allocation.
DApps often use them to manage governance with communities. You can also find awesome non-profits operating with DAOs, such as Klima DAO, on climate change, Ukraine DAO a humanitarian project or CityDAO an urbanist project. They're good examples of how democratizing and efficient DAOs can be. You can plan, trust, contribute, and collaborate globally on meaningful projects.
You could work as a contributor to these DAOs, but you can also help build them or even create tools for DAOs to operate smoothly.
- Contribute to existing DAOs. Let's say you're a designer and deeply believe in CityDAO's ambition. You can check open tasks (called bounties in the ecosystem), apply, and get rewarded by doing the work.
- Join DAOs core teams to make sure everything runs smoothly. Near Protocol Treasury DAO recently hiring a Chief of Staff is a good example.
- Create DAO tooling by joining companies like Streamflow (token distribution platform), Syndicate (help create DAOs) or Utopia Labs (streamlining ops, payroll for DAOs).
Brands & Centralized companies
Finally, you could join more traditional organizations built on - or evolving towards - the principles of blockchain. They are interesting because they serve as an entry point to web2 users.
- If you're used to engaging on Reddit, then you could participate in introducing tokens to reward community members. Reddit is a web2 social network and recently built a dedicated team, the Reddit X team, to explore the possibilities of tokenization.
- Coinbase is a centralized exchange that allows you to swap fiat for crypto, which is generally the first approach to DeFi and an interesting bridge from Web2 to Web3.
- Let's not forget about brands; luxury brands especially which quickly understood the customer interaction opportunity that comes with NFTs. Balenciaga launched an NFT collection in July 2022 inspired by the fashion house founder, Cristobal Balenciaga. You could be part of the team's effort to implement web3 initiatives!
We're getting close to a future in which web2 platforms include cryptonative features and communities. Ramping up your skills will become increasingly important and valuable if you want to stand out in the job market.
Now, you have all you need to understand what makes a company truly web3, and join one that matches best with your interests.