WSJ Report: Blockchain Developers Offered Signing Bonuses of $1 Million

According to the Wall Street Journal, it's not unheard of for a blockchain developer to be offered a $1 million signing bonus.

Chief cryptographer at blockchain startup Ripple Inc. David Schwartz told author Yuliya Chernova in an article published Tuesday that one of his developers was twice offered a $1 million bonus by two different firms: one "a large technology company with a blockchain initiative," the other a "a cryptocurrency startup."

This report follows the New York Times article last month that got a lot of attention which found that several artificial intelligence researchers at non-profits were earning more than $1 million in annual salary.

According to job search site Upwork, Blockchain is the fastest-growing developer skill requested in the market, up a whopping 6,000 percent over last year. Tensorflow is second on the site's list. And AI- and machine learning-related skills are commonly among the top most wanted skills, with enterprise developers specializing in these areas becoming harder and harder to find.

Years ago, the highest developer salaries didn't tend to reach this range except for in financial specialties like high-frequency computing (or in the criminal underground). But that appears to be changing, with the bar for salaries and bonuses now confirmed to break the seven-figure mark for some very skilled specialties.

Still, despite reports like the above, salary surveys of blockchain developers tend to report salaries in more normal developer salary ranges -- in fact, this one states that those working at startups (not including options, of course), are averaging less than $100,000. And the salaries for even experienced AI-related developers (not researchers) often do not break the $150,000 or $200,00 barrier when averaged, according to many studies and job postings available online. Of course, everything depends on the specific skills of the candidates, what exactly the employers are looking for and, most importantly, how desperate they are to fill that position.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the former editorial director and director of Web for 1105 Media's Converge 360 group, and she now serves as vice president of AI for company, specializing in developing media, events and training for companies around AI and generative AI technology. She's the author of "ChatGPT Prompt 101 Guide for Business Users" and other popular AI resources with a real-world business perspective. She regularly speaks, writes and develops content around AI, generative AI and other business tech. Find her on X/Twitter @beckynagel.