OpenSea, the undisputed heavy-hitter in the NFT space, is also one of the fastest-growing companies — in terms of headcount — in all of crypto.
We took a quick look at the growth in employees counts at several major crypto and blockchain firms, based on numbers our parent company, Thinknum Alternative Data, collected from LinkedIn. Binance and Coinbase, the largest crypto exchanges by trading volume, naturally also have the largest numbers of employees in the handful of companies we examined. Binance's current headcount is about 6,900. Coinbase is at about 5,800.
Much smaller companies overall, blockchain data platform Chainalysis has a headcount of about 600 employees, according to the information from LinkedIn. Meanwhile, OpenSea has about 230.
A more interesting picture emerges, though, when you look at the rates of growth for each company. Over the past two years, OpenSea has grown its workforce by a whopping 1,631%. By contrast, Chainalysis has grown its workforce by about 145% and Binance and Coinbase have both increased headcount by over 170%.
This makes sense given the time frame of the phenomenal rise of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. The tokens, used mostly for digital images, initially took the art market by storm with some pieces commanding tens of millions of dollars, but lately there has been growing backlash against them from artists. Some artists have complained that the tokens don't protect intellectual property rights, and that the market is precariously built on too much hype.
Correction: This story previously stated the incorrect number of total employees at OpenSea because of an inconsistency in the data.