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US losing blockchain developers to other jurisdictions as clamp down on innovation continues: report

Data from Electric Capital reveals that the United States is bleeding from a loss of blockchain developers while other regions are recording a spike over the last five years.

The report revealed that blockchain developers in the U.S. have been declining by 2% annually since 2017, sparking concerns among industry stakeholders. During the last 12 months, the number of U.S.-based blockchain developers plummeted by a staggering 6%, with Archie Finance CEO Paul Stavropoulos hinting that the latest figures paint a grim picture for the local ecosystem.

“The question is does it matter and why,” said Stavropoulos. “The first and most important thing is the overall growth of the ecosystem. That has been constant, which is fantastic, but it’s not good that the U.S. is losing market share.”

While the U.S. continues to experience a brain drain, Electric Capital’s research noted that the number of blockchain developers worldwide is on the rise despite the fall in digital asset prices. The report confirmed that the number of monthly active developers in December 2022 stood at 23,343, with BTC and Ethereum (ETH) developers standing at 946 and 5,819, respectively.

Developers are flocking to ecosystems like Solana, Near, and Polygon, according to the report. Electric Capital notes that over 900 developers contribute to the non-fungible token (NFT) space each month, while decentralized finance (DeFi) records nearly 4,000 developers.

Stavropoulos notes that adding almost 22,000 developers to the industry should be considered a win despite the mass migration of talent from the U.S. Regions recording the highest growth trajectory for blockchain developers over the last five years include Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Why is the US bleeding Web3 talent?

Fingers have been pointed at the stiff stance of U.S. regulators toward digital currencies characterized by increased enforcement actions. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have all moved against firms in the industry for perceived violations of securities and commodities laws.

Others have claimed that developers have not left the U.S., but rather the peculiarities of remote work have seen them work for European DLT firms. Several global Web3 companies have their engineering teams based in the U.S., which still puts them ahead of the pack in the grand scheme of things.

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