The number of job openings posted requesting blockchain skills has more than doubled since the beginning of the year as more companies look for ways to build the new transaction system into financial technology.

First developed as the technology behind the alternative currency Bitcoin, blockchain has become more mainstream. Earlier this month, IBM announced a new financial platform using the technology and with customers in  Australia, Span, and Indonesia. JP Morgan Chase is rolling out a pilot program experimenting with blockchain for global payments.

Frankly, blockchain is a new technology and not that many people outside the tech field understand it. (There are good explainers from ZDNet and Deloitte. The video at the end of this blog is also helpful). The implications are huge, however, and potentially apply to almost any industry–even the coffee business. (This MIT Sloan School of Management article lays out some of the applications of blockchain’s “distributed ledger” system).

Despite the buzz about the technology, hiring for this skill is still small—but it’s growing fast. Blockchain was first developed in 2008. Five years ago, in 2012, we could only find a handful of postings requesting blockchain skills. By 2016, that had increased to 1,838 postings, and so far in 2017 there have been 3,958 postings. That’s a 115% increase over the 2016 total, and we’ve barely entered the fourth quarter of the year.

Job postings requesting blockchain skills, 2010-17

Along with the increase in postings, we think it is also significant who is seeking these workers. Because of its connection with “cryptocurrencies,” blockchain is associated with finance, and major banks like Liberty Mutual, Capital One, and Bank of America have posted openings. There are also companies devoted to building blockchain applications, like Consensys Corporation. But the demand for blockchain is much broader, including major consulting firms like Accenture and Deloitte and technology companies like IBM and SAP. This is additional evidence that the business world is starting to take blockchain seriously.

So does blockchain qualify as a “disruptive skill” that is both fast-growing and hard to find?  Both the technology and hiring patterns are in their early stages—but it wouldn’t be hard to imagine blockchain reaching that status. It might be a good idea for employers to start figuring out where they will find blockchain talent, even as they are still considering how the technology will change their business.

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<i>Scott Bittle is communications director at Burning Glass Technologies.</i>
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