Connect with us


Remote work could redefine the global workforce for good

While implementing remote work structures seems to be a priority for most tech firms, there are still some concerns about its long-term efficacy.



While implementing remote work structures seems to be a priority for most tech firms, there are still some concerns about its long-term efficacy.

As the global economy continues to reel from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is increasing data suggesting that more and more people are now favoring a remote work-based lifestyle. In this regard, a survey sample of working United States citizens shows that Millennial and Generation Z workers prefer joining a remote workforce and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) as opposed to going to an office.

As part of the study, more than 1,100 U.S. citizens were asked to provide their preferences regarding remote work and the emergence of DAOs in recent years. Using research pertaining to DAOs published by the Harvard Law School, the survey showed how DAOs have seen their coffers grow from a respectable $400 million to a whopping $16 billion over the course of 2021 alone. This staggering growth of 3,900% came in concurrence with the number of people participating in DAOs and other remote work ventures surging from 13,000 to 1.6 million.

Simply put, 75% of the survey’s participants believe that in the near-to-mid term, companies will have to offer their users remote work options whether they like the idea or not, with the authors further noting, “The survey results show that a majority of respondents seek all of the things that DACs provide; remote work opportunities, independence from management, and influence over the organizations they work in.”

Is remote work the future?

To get a better overview of how remote work has continued to redefine the global job market, Cointelegraph reached out to Adam Simmons, chief strategy officer of RDX Works — a core developer for the decentralized public blockchain Radix. In his view, the trend of people opting for remote work will continue to garner more and more traction in the near term, adding:

“As an emerging industry, Web3 has a talent shortage. Today, only around 20,000 developers in the world are sufficiently experienced with Web3 tech to work at a production-grade level, signifying just a fraction of the 27 million developers worldwide. Aside from this being a significant barrier to innovation in the space, it means that the companies pioneering a whole new industry must be open to a global workforce.”

A similar sentiment is also shared by Jacob Kowalewski, chief strategy officer of open hosting platform T3rn, who told Cointelegraph that the remote working trend is likely to continue, especially since advances in technology are making it easier and more accessible for people to pursue such avenues. “With more and more young people choosing to work for themselves or starting their own businesses, the traditional office-based workplace is becoming less and less appealing,” he said.

Brett Fincaryk, marketing lead at Qtum — a scalable proof-of-stake platform — told Cointelegraph that over the last couple of years, hiring remote workers has helped his firm onboard new staff without all the traditional overheads that brick-and-mortar entities require.

Recent: What is institutional DeFi, and how can banks benefit?

“With lockdowns easing across the globe, many workers have been ordered back to the office and simply don’t want to go, so they are now looking for remote work. This has made it easier for us to acquire new talent, and with fewer projects hiring right now, we have more options when sending job offers,” he said.

A look at the numbers

Taking a more statistical approach, Denys Ustymenko, founder and CEO of global IT crypto processing project 1TN, told Cointelegraph that several surveys, including one from Gartner, have shown that prior to COVID-19, 70% of workers had never worked remotely. However, after the pandemic, these numbers have decreased to 38%. And while there are still organizations that are not able to fully embrace remote work, he is convinced that such companies need to adapt to the “new normal” and change their HR policies.

“I would say that Millennial and Generation Z workers pulled the lucky ticket in terms of having the ability to work remotely. In fact, 62% of all employees now expect their employers to allow them to work remotely. Often, organizations may steer away from remote working models for fear their employees may become less productive; however, the opposite is the reality,” he said.

Despite the apparent benefit of the remote working model, Ustymenko noted that being the founder and CEO of a remote-first company has made him realize the challenges that come with it. The most vital being the establishment of a common culture, team building and effective communication among employees. He noted:

“When your entire team is spread across different time zones, poor motivation and a lack of involvement can become a problem. However, such issues can not overwhelm the huge potential that can be reached by making companies remote first.”

Lastly, it should be pointed out that, as of 2022, 16% of companies worldwide now allow 100% remote work, with 27% of these employers reporting a marked increase in company productivity. Moreover, a Forbes article stated that 25% of all professional jobs in North America are destined to become fully remote by the end of 2022.

Not everyone is sold on the idea of remote work

Saad Rizvi, chief procurement officer and partner at SuperLayer — a venture studio focused on Web3 consumer companies — told Cointelegraph he doesn’t believe the idea of an office setting is going to completely disappear or change anytime soon:

“Even large tech companies, which readily embraced the work-from-home model during the pandemic, have been reversing course, drawing the ire of their employees. I think one of the primary reasons behind this effort is the widespread underestimation of the value of in-person interactions.” 

Kowalewski also agrees with this assertion, stating that there will always be a need for some jobs that require face-to-face interactions, and therefore, the trend toward remote work will only partially replace the traditional office-based workplace. 

“But it’s becoming more popular, and we’re likely to see even more companies offering remote work policies in the years ahead. T3rn provides a fully remote work policy with offices in Lisbon and Berlin,” he added.

Harrison Comfort, co-founder of decentralized finance protocol DAM Finance, believes that while virtual conferences tend to work for a vast majority of a company’s internal meetings — especially if everyone comes prepared and carves out the appropriate amount of time — nothing beats in-person interactions.

Furthermore, he pointed out that, owing to the geographic dispersion of most teams, even office-based work is quickly transitioning into in-real-life meet-ups at local cafes — i.e., wherever the majority of the team happens to be that week. This again is because face-to-face communication is much more effective than texting or video calling.

Remote work’s impact on crypto and blockchain jobs

One of the core values of Web3 is decentralization, and from the outside looking in, remote work matches up with this approach. In this regard, Rizvi believes that for the crypto and blockchain job market, geographical borders aren’t as relevant as they are for more traditional industries:

“From our experience, more remote workers can add meaningful value and momentum to our nascent industry, namely by expanding the available talent pool. I think that we have an extraordinary opportunity right now to capitalize on the exodus from big tech fomented in part by the return to office orders.”

Moreover, he pointed out that many of the projects in the blockchain ecosystem don’t run on the same hierarchical approach that is characteristic of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. 

“By design, these ecosystems are designed to foster collaboration. Collaboration is not limited to an office setting, and the move to remote work is a reflection of that reality,” Rizvi concluded.

Recent: Redeeming physical NFTs: Easier said than done?

Kowalewski believes that as remote work becomes more popular, the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry will benefit from a more diverse workforce with new perspectives, ideas and talents, noting:

“One of the benefits of remote work is that it allows people to work from anywhere in the world. This gives crypto and blockchain companies access to talent from all corners of the globe. And since remote work is available 24/7, companies can hire workers around the clock regardless of their time zone.”

Another benefit of remote work, according to him, is that it eliminates borders and physical limitations as to where someone can live. “This allows for a more multicultural environment where people from all walks of life can work together,” he added.

Thus, as we head into a future driven by decentralized technologies, it will be interesting to see how the rapidly evolving remote work paradigm continues to define the global job landscape as well as the job culture prevalent across organizations worldwide.

Read More

Continue Reading


Lower mortgage rates fueling existing home sales

To understand why we had such a beat in sales, you only need to go back to Nov. 9, when mortgage rates started to fall from 7.37% to 5.99%.



Existing home sales had a huge beat of estimates on Tuesday. This wasn’t shocking for people who follow how I track housing data. To understand why we had such a beat in sales, you only need to go back to Nov. 9, when mortgage rates started to fall from 7.37% to 5.99%.

During November, December and January, purchase application data trended positive, meaning we had many weeks of better-looking data. The weekly growth in purchase application data during those months stabilized housing sales to a historically low level.

For many years I have talked about how rare it is that existing home sales trend below 4 million. That is why the historic collapse in demand in 2022 was one for the record books. We understood why sales collapsed during COVID-19. However, that was primarily due to behavior changes, which meant sales were poised to return higher once behavior returned to normal.

In 2022, it was all about affordability as mortgage rates had a historical rise. Many people just didn’t want to sell their homes and move with a much higher total cost for housing, while first-time homebuyers had to deal with affordability issues.

Even though mortgage rates were falling in November and December, positive purchase application data takes 30-90 days to hit the sales data. So, as sales collapsed from 6.5 million to 4 million in the monthly sales data, it set a low bar for sales to grow. This is something I talked about yesterday on CNBC, to take this home sale in context to what happened before it. 

Because housing data and all economics are so violent lately, we created the weekly Housing Market Tracker, which is designed to look forward, not backward.

From NAR: Total existing-home sales – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – vaulted 14.5% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million in February. Year-over-year, sales fell 22.6% (down from 5.92 million in February 2022).

As we can see in the chart above, the bounce is very noticeable, but this is different than the COVID-19 lows and massive rebound in sales. Mortgage rates spiked from 5.99% to 7.10% this year, and that produced one month of negative forward-looking purchase application data, which takes about 30-90 days to hit the sales data.

So this report is too old and slow, but if you follow the tracker, you’re not slow. This is the wild housing action I have talked about for some time and why the Housing Market Tracker becomes helpful in understanding this data.

The last two weeks have had positive purchase application data as mortgage rates fell from 7.10% down to 6.55%; tomorrow, we will see if we can make a third positive week. One thing to remember about purchase application data since Nov. 9, 2022 is that it’s had a lot more positive data than harmful data. 

However, the one-month decline in purchase application data did bring us back to levels last seen in 1995 recently. So, the bar is so low we can trip over.

One of the reasons I took off the savagely unhealthy housing market label was that the days on the market are now above 30 days. I am not endorsing, nor will I ever, a housing market that has days on the market at teenager levels. A teenager level means one of two bad things are happening:

1. We have a massive credit boom in housing which will blow up in time because demand is booming, similar to the run-up in the housing bubble years.

2. We simply don’t have enough products for homebuyers, creating forced bidding in a low-inventory environment. 

Guess which one we had post 2020? Look at the purchase application data above — we never had a credit boom. Look at the Inventory data below. Even with the collapse in home sales and the first real rebound, total active listings are still below 1 million.

From NAR: Total housing inventory registered at the end of February was 980,000 units, identical to January & up 15.3% from one year ago (850,000). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down 10.3% from January but up from 1.7 months in February ’22. #NAREHS

However, with that said, the one data line that I love, love, love, the days on the market, is over 30 days again, and no longer a teenager like last year, when the housing market was savagely unhealthy.

From NAR: First-time buyers were responsible for 27% of sales in January; Individual investors purchased 18% of homes; All-cash sales accounted for 28% of transactions; Distressed sales represented 2% of sales; Properties typically remained on the market for 34 days.

Today’s existing home sales report was good: we saw a bounce in sales, as to be expected, and the days on the market are still over 30 days. When the Federal Reserve talks about a housing reset, they’re saying they did not like the bidding wars they saw last year, so the fact that price growth looks nothing like it was a year ago is a good thing.

Also, the days on market are on a level they might feel more comfortable in. And, in this report, we saw no signs of forced selling. I’ve always believed we would never see the forced selling we saw from 2005-2008, which was the worst part of the housing bubble crash years. The Federal Reserve also believes this to be the case because of the better credit standards we have in place since 2010. 

Case in point, the MBA‘s recent forbearance data shows that instead of forbearance skyrocketing higher, it’s collapsed. Remember, if you see a forbearance crash bro, hug them, they need it.

Today’s existing home sales report is backward looking as purchase application data did take a hit this year when mortgage rates spiked up to 7.10%. We all can agree now that even with a massive collapse in sales, the inventory data didn’t explode higher like many have predicted for over a decade now.

I have stressed that to understand the housing market, you need to understand how credit channels work post-2010. The 2005 bankruptcy reform laws and 2010 QM laws changed the landscape for housing economics in a way that even today I don’t believe people understand.

However, the housing market took its biggest shot ever in terms of affordability in 2022 and so far in 2023, and the American homeowner didn’t panic once. Even though this data is old, it shows the solid footing homeowners in America have, and how badly wrong the extremely bearish people in this country were about the state of the financial condition of the American homeowner.

Read More

Continue Reading


SVB contagion: Australia purportedly asks banks to report on crypto

Australia’s prudential regulator has purportedly told banks to improve reporting on crypto assets and provide daily updates.



Australia’s prudential regulator has purportedly told banks to improve reporting on crypto assets and provide daily updates.

Australia’s prudential regulator has purportedly asked local banks to report on cryptocurrency transactions amid the ongoing contagion of Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) collapse.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has started requesting banks to declare their exposures to startups and crypto-related companies, the Australian Financial Review reported on March 21.

The regulator has ordered banks to improve their reporting on crypto assets and provide daily updates to the APRA, the Financial Review notes, citing three people familiar with the matter. The agency is aiming to obtain more information and insight into banking exposures into crypto as well as associated risks, the sources said.

The new measures are apparently part of the APRA’s increased supervision of the banking sector in the aftermath of recent massive collapses in the global banking system. On March 19, UBS Group agreed to buy its ailing competitor Credit Suisse for $3.2 billion after the latter collapsed over the weekend. The takeover became one of the latest failures in the banking industry following the collapses of SVB and Silvergate.

Barrenjoey analyst Jonathan Mott reportedly told clients in a note that the situation “remains stable” for Australian banks but warned confidence could be quickly disrupted, putting pressure on bank margins.

Related: Silvergate, SBV collapse ‘definitely good’ for Bitcoin, Trezor exec says

“Our channel checks indicate deposits are not being withdrawn from smaller institutions in any size, and capital and liquidity buffers are strong,” Mott said, adding:

“But this is a crisis of confidence and credit spreads and cost of capital will continue to rise. At a minimum, this will add to the margin pressure the banks are facing, while credit quality will continue to deteriorate.”

The news comes soon after the Australian Banking Association launched a cost of living inquiry to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions on Australians. The inquiry followed an analysis of the rising inflation suggesting that more than 186 banks in the United States are at risk of a similar shutdown if depositors decide to withdraw all funds.

Read More

Continue Reading


Delta Move Is Bad News For Southwest, United Airlines Passengers

Passengers won’t be happy about this, but there’s nothing they can do about it.



Passengers won't be happy about this, but there's nothing they can do about it.

Airfare prices move up and down based on two major things -- passenger demand and the cost of actually flying the plane. In recent months, with covid rules and mask mandates a thing of the past, demand has been very heavy.

Domestic air travel traffic for 2022 rose 10.9% compared to the prior year. The nation's air traffic in 2022 was at 79.6% of the full-year 2019 level. December 2022 domestic traffic was up 2.6% over the year-earlier period and was at 79.9% of December 2019 traffic, according to The International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“The industry left 2022 in far stronger shape than it entered, as most governments lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions during the year and people took advantage of the restoration of their freedom to travel. This momentum is expected to continue in the New Year,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh.

And, while that's not a full recovery to 2019 levels, overall capacity has also not recovered. Total airline seats available actually sits "around 18% below the 2019 level," according to a report from industry analyst OAG.

So, basically, the drop in passengers equals the drop in capacity meaning that planes are flying full. That's one half of the equation that keeps airfare prices high and the second one looks bad for anyone planning to fly in the coming years.

Image source: Getty Images.

Airlines Face One Key Rising Cost

While airlines face some variable costs like fuel, they also must account for fixed costs when setting airfares. Personnel are a major piece of that and the pandemic has accelerated a pilot shortage. That has given the unions that represent pilots the upper hand when it comes to making deals with the airlines.

The first domino in that process fell when Delta Airlines (DAL) - Get Free Report pilots agreed to a contract in early March that gave them an immediate 18% increase with a total of a 34% raise over the four-year term of the deal.

"The Delta contract is now the industry standard, and we expect United to also offer their pilots a similar contract," investment analyst Helane Becker of Cowen wrote in a March 10 commentary, Travel Weekly reported.

US airfare prices have been climbing. They were 8.3% above pre-pandemic levels in February, according to Consumer Price Index, but they're actually below historical highs.

Southwest and United Airlines Pilots Are Next

Airlines have very little negotiating power when it comes to pilots. You can't fly a plane without pilots and the overall shortage of qualified people to fill those roles means that, within reason, United (UAL) - Get Free Report and Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Free Report, both of which are negotiating new deals with their pilot unions, more or less have to equal (or improve on) the Delta deal.

The actual specifics don't matter much to consumers, but the takeaway is that the cost of hiring pilots is about to go up in a very meaningful way at both United and Southwest. That will create a situation where all major U.S. airlines have a higher cost basis going forward.

Lower fuel prices could offset that somewhat, but raises are not going to be unique to pilots. Southwest also has to make a deal with its flight attendants and, although they don't have the same leverage as the pilots, they have taken a hard line.   

The union, which represents Southwest’s 18,000 flight attendants, has been working without a contract for four years. It shared a statement on its Facebook page detailing its position Feb. 20.

"TWU Local 556 believes strongly in making this airline successful and is working to ensure this company we love isn’t run into the ground by leadership more concerned about shareholders than about workers and customers. Management’s methodology of choosing profits at the expense of the operation and its workforce has to change, because the flying public is also tired of the empty apologies that flight attendants have endured for years."

Read More

Continue Reading