Web3 Founder’s Handbook Pt. 2: Hiring & Operations For Web3 Startups

In the decentralized world of Web3 startups, assembling your squad is an art form. As a founder, you must balance the scales of technical prowess and market acuity, knowing when to onboard marketers and developers, and deciding between contractors and full-timers. 

In this guide, we delve into the essential traits required for assembling a lean, adaptable, and committed team that wholeheartedly aligns with the vision and values of your blockchain venture.

Timing and Priority in Hiring: Developers vs. Marketers

When it comes to initiating the hiring process, timing is key. Founders should tread cautiously, opting to recruit the bulk of their teams only after achieving Product-Market Fit (PMF). This signifies that your product resonates with its intended audience and the market demand is either steady or increasing. 

But who should you hire first? A developer or a marketer? The short answer is developers first.

Developers First…

  • In a Web3 company, the primary focus should be on crafting a solid, scalable product. Your first hires should ideally be developers with profound knowledge of blockchain technology and smart contracts.
  • For tech-heavy startups, having a tangible, functional product often takes precedence over marketing. The reasoning is simple: it’s crucial to build out the essential tooling and use cases before you advertise them. Without a strong product foundation, marketing efforts might not yield the desired results.

…then, Marketers

After your product or platform has been established, it’s time to switch gears to marketing. Experienced marketers can not only promote your product effectively but also cultivate a community around your brand.

Other Factors to Consider When Making Hires

  • Founder’s Expertise: If you’re a founder with a robust technical background and can steer the initial development, hiring a marketer first might be a strategic move. They can start customer acquisition efforts, verify your market fit, and create a compelling story around your evolving product. Conversely, if you’re a marketing maven, bringing a developer on board first will help fine-tune the product and set the stage for future marketing campaigns.
  • Freelancers and Agencies: Before diving into full-time hires, consider working with freelancers or agencies. This flexible approach lets you maintain a lean startup structure while adjusting to the rapidly shifting dynamics of the Web3 landscape.

Comparing Employment Types

Making the right hiring choice depends on understanding the specific advantages and challenges of various employment models. Whether you opt for a full-time role, a project-based engagement, or short-term contributors, aligning the hiring model with your organizational needs is paramount.

Full-time Employees

Full-time employees offer stability, long-term dedication, and consistent work output. Their continuous presence allows for deeper company integration and fosters a sense of loyalty. You have more control and direct oversight over their work.

The associated costs can be higher due to benefits, taxes, and other overheads. Engaging full-time employees also means committing to their long-term employment, with potential challenges in adjusting the workforce according to fluctuating needs.

Contractor-based Employees

Contractors offer flexibility, catering to specific skill gaps or project milestones. These contributors can swiftly adapt to evolving project needs and budgetary considerations, echoing the dynamism inherent to Web3. The engagement is bound by contractual terms.

Project-Based Employees

Project-based hires become invaluable when you need deep expertise for a particular project. By engaging experts specifically for the lifecycle of a project and parting ways upon completion, you gain both expertise and flexibility. The engagement is time-bound, meaning once the project ends, you might need to start the hiring process anew for the next venture. This can be resource-intensive in terms of both time and cost.

Hiring Contractors With Joba Network

One of the most significant advantages of hiring contractors in the Web3 space is scalability. You have the flexibility to expand your workforce during peak periods and downsize as needed without the weight of long-term obligations.

In this regard, Joba Network emerges as a cutting-edge platform designed for the Web3 world, connecting top-tier talent with Web3 job opportunities. Joba is essentially a Web3 job marketplace making it easy to hire and verify talent using on-chain credentials, facilitate on-chain payments, and organize your workflow.

With Joba, you can source employees and rely on on-chain credentials which becomes immutable work history online. If you’re interested in leveraging the platform:

The Power of On-chain Payments in Web3

Web3 brings to the table a transformative approach to compensation with on-chain payments.

On-chain payments, primarily using cryptocurrencies, offer instantaneous transactions irrespective of global locations. They often incur fewer transaction fees compared to traditional banking channels. This efficiency makes crypto an optimal solution for cross-border payments.

Powered by blockchain technology, on-chain payments offer unparalleled transparency. Every transaction is traceable and auditable, which diminishes the scope for disputes and bolsters trust between engaged parties. This transparency is pivotal as the world of work shifts towards the Web3 paradigm.

Verifying Reputations in Web3: Beyond the PFP

Navigating the Web3 domain, with its inherent potential for anonymity, requires an extra layer of due diligence. Knowing who is behind a profile is not just about peace of mind—it’s essential for fostering genuine trust and collaboration. Trust serves as the bedrock of any interaction or transaction. In the Web3 world, where traditional trust signals might be absent, maintaining and leveraging a good reputation becomes invaluable. Here are some factors to consider when verifying reputations in the era of Web3:

  • Anonymity and Pseudonymity in Web3: While these features of Web3 offer unique user privacy, they also present challenges in establishing trust. The potential for Sybil attacks, where a single entity creates multiple false identities, exacerbates this trust issue.
  • The Puzzle of Reputation Portability: In the current Web3 landscape, a stellar reputation on one platform doesn’t necessarily translate to another. This lack of portability can be a barrier to rapidly establishing trust.
  • The Promise of Decentralized Identity (DID): DID is being viewed as a significant solution, allowing individuals control over their digital identities outside of centralized systems. The idea of incorporating reputation scores that span across different platforms under DID is gaining traction.
  • The Role of Reputation in DeFi: Decentralized Finance (DeFi) hinges on trustless systems, making reputation paramount. Innovative systems, such as Aave’s Credit Delegation, highlight the growing intertwining of reputation and DeFi.
  • Evolving Web3 Reputation Models: The space is exploring a myriad of models, from token-curated registries and bonding curves to systems like Kleros’ crowdsourced arbitration, all vying to define the future of reputation in Web3.

The decentralized nature brings about unique hurdles in crafting a cohesive and universally accepted reputation system. The boon of anonymity can sometimes cast shadows on trustworthiness, emphasizing the need for robust reputation metrics and platforms.

Joba’s Approach to Reputation Management

In essence, reputation is set to play a defining role as we navigate and build upon the Web3 landscape. Establishing, managing, and leveraging reputation will be foundational for both businesses and individuals moving forward.

Recognizing the nuances of the Web3 space, Joba Network has streamlined its reputation management systems. With Joba, contributors are issued soul-bound tokens (SBTs) that correspond to completed work, which helps to create on-chain reputations. Through Joba, you can verify other projects that a contributor has worked on and ensure you’re hiring a trustworthy individual. 

Employee Compensation: Token Allocations Breakdown

As we leap into the decentralized cosmos of Web3, traditional modes of compensation for full-time employees is rapidly evolving. Equity is being nudged aside to make room for a more fluid, dynamic, and Web3-native incentive: tokens. To leverage the token economy effectively in your blockchain venture, a deep understanding of token-based compensation and allocation is pivotal.

Project Tokens as Equity

Tokens, compared to equity in private firms, have the advantage of easier tradability, but are exposed to market volatility. Unlike equity, tokens typically don’t bestow voting rights or dividends. Token operation platforms like Streamflow Finance offer access to powerful tools to help automate and streamline the process of token compensation:

  • Vesting Schedules: Tokens come with vesting schedules to keep team interests anchored to the project’s long-term success.
  • Cliff Periods: Some vesting structures include ‘cliff’ intervals, where no tokens vest, followed by a significant release afterward.

Other Considerations for Token Compensation

  • Tax Implications: Tokens may be viewed as income when received, subject to capital gains tax when sold, though this varies by region.
  • Regulatory Considerations: Token-based compensation requires adherence to securities laws, which differ across jurisdictions.

Common frameworks echo equity models, like four-year vesting periods paired with one-year cliffs. With a token sale or ICO, team members might be given the chance to sell a portion of their vested tokens, but this carries the risk of dilution, especially if additional tokens are issued later.


As you stand at the crossroads of important hiring decisions, take a moment to evaluate your startup’s unique needs, current stage, and long-term plans. The decisions you make today will shape the Web3 world of tomorrow. After all, in the decentralized universe, your team is your greatest asset.

This guide was created in partnership with Joba Network. Joba is powering the future of work following COVID-19 work from home and empowering people for a more flexible future of work. Joba’s belief is that more people are working in non-traditional ways so we want to enable infrastructure for those working in these new working conditions. With Joba, you earn on-chain credentials by completing a task and earn on-chain payments which becomes your immutable work history online. 

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