Salary Survey Extra: Salute, shrug, side-eye or scowl at cryptocurrency?
Posted on
February 23, 2023
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Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

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Cryptocurrency was gobbled up by a bear market in 2023.

What a difference a year makes. As the calendar turned over from 2021 to 2022, optimism about cryptocurrency was possibly as high as it's ever been. Stock prices were soaring, coin exchanges were thriving, every new type of crypto became an instant sensation, and Matt Damon was on every movie screen in America, reminding the simple folk that, "Fortune favors the brave."

A year later, fortune has turned fickle. Cryptocurrency losses wiped an astonishing $2 trillion off the books in 2022, coin exchanges are filing for bankruptcy or refusing withdrawals to panicked customers, and people who had never even heard the name "Sam Bankman-Fried" can now look forward to a new entry to the canon of limited-run prestige TV shows about high tech fraudsters.

It's enough to make one's head spin, even for those with no direct investment in, or strong feelings about, cryptocurrency. And given that crypto does function as a somewhat outsized cog in the global economy, there is an extent to which almost everyone is affected. One could shake one's head and mutter about these crazy kids and their newfangled ideas, but lost trillions of dollars is a problem for everybody.

It's also a bit of a spectacle for everybody, tragic for some, comedic to others, and almost certainly destined to retold to us all — as mentioned above — by someone's streaming TV service. (Although speaking of economic black holes that are sucking gargantuan stacks of cash into a gaping void while six different consumers share the password to a single Netflix or HBO Max or Disney+ account ... )

Amplifying the notes of tragedy is the fact that crypto is egalitarian at heart, with at least noble-sounding motives buried down deep beneath the layers of digital rigmarole. The average Jane or Joe might struggle to explain what cryptocurrency is, or how it functions, but at least theoretically it would act as much to their benefit as to the benefit of the pocket-lining flimflammers who look at crypto and mostly see a golden get-rich-quick scheme.

Indeed, the official Wikipedia definition of cryptocurrency might almost bring a tear to your eye:

"(A) digital currency designed to work as a medium of exchange through a computer network that is not reliant on any central authority, such as a government or bank, to uphold or maintain it. It is a decentralized system for verifying that the parties to a transaction have the money they claim to have, eliminating the need for traditional intermediaries, such as banks, when funds are being transferred between two entities."

A Dick the Butcher (from Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2) would likely have put it: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the bankers."

Or, you know, maybe not. Just in case the whole house of cards come tumbling down before we've 100 percent evolved beyond the need for traditional financial institutions. At any rate, the crypto crash was on our minds when the CertMag clock hit Salary Survey at the end of last summer and we wanted to take the pulse of the room.

After all, if you can't trust several thousand certified IT professionals to have informed opinions about cryptocurrency, then who can you trust to have informed opinions about cryptocurrency? So we went fishing for some hot crypto takes. Here's what we learned:

Q: My basic take on cryptocurrency is:

It has made all of my wildest financial dreams come true. — 4.8 percent
It hasn't made me a millionaire yet, but I'm willing to pioneer this thing even if it never does. — 8.5 percent
It hasn't made me a millionaire yet, but I had to get involved because FOMO. — 8.7 percent
It hasn't made me a millionaire yet, but that's not the point. — 10.2 percent
It hasn't made me a millionaire. Yet. — 12 percent
I'm waiting to get involved until there's less volatility. — 12.6 percent
I'm waiting to get involved until it catches on with more people. — 5.1 percent
I'm waiting to get involved because it's too confusing. — 7.7 percent
It's the future of money. — 10.3 percent
It's never gonna work. — 20.1 percent

So we offered a lot of options, and the Salary Survey masses took us up on our offer. There's clearly a wide range of opinions out there, even given the possibility that some of those who responded just scanned down the list until we made them laugh.

The level of skepticism about cryptocurrency is at least healthy enough for our hardline "No way" option to rally more support than any other single choice. And there are almost exactly twice as many respondents who are unyieldingly dubious as there are those who look at the nearest coin exchange and see nothing less than the next great evolution in how money changes hands.

The divide yawns in the other direction, when it comes to those who are less black-and-white convinced as to what crypto is now or could soon become. A hair less than 40 percent of those surveyed are looking at crypto through some shade of rose-colored glasses, while just 25 percent are content to wait and see where this things goes before getting involved.

And, yes, we see you, you 4.8 percent who aren't just true believers but whose faith has already been rewarded. Let the rest of us know how you managed to get filthy stinking rich off this thing already — or whether you have wild financial dreams that are built around something other than limitless wealth.

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About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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