According to a new McKinsey & Co report, the metaverse has the potential to generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030, but there remains one large shortfall: Web3 companies everywhere are running into: skilled Web3 developers are few and far between. In fact, Web3 developers represent only one percent of all developers worldwide — however, each of those Web3 developers has already generated $12 million in value.
Metacrafters.io, the first project launched by Proof of Learn, plans to increase that percentage exponentially by upskilling one million new Web3 developers. The new project will accomplish this goal with support from four of the biggest blockchain houses. Solana, Avalanche, Flow, and Polygon Foundations are funding a $4.5 million multichain capital grant to Metcrafters.
This grant, a rarity in the Web3 world, to begin with, is not a typical equity investment but rather a jumpstart to train Web3 developers in order to create a pipeline of new talent for emerging Web3 companies.
Co-founder and CEO of Proof of Learn and Metacrafters Sheila Lirio Marcelo is also the founder and former CEO of Care.com, a Web2 platform that revolutionized and equalized the care industry by connecting skilled home care workers and people seeking professional at-home care. Proof of Learn designed Metacrafters with the same key values as Care.com: Create accessibility and equity in an under-resourced industry by building a platform for 32 developers across the world to access high-quality education to unlock life-changing employment opportunities.
I had the opportunity to interview Sheila Marcelo after the grant announcement who broke things down for me. “There is an extreme shortage of blockchain and crypto developers in Web3,” Marcelo said. “There are 80,000 blockchain apps globally — but only an estimated 250,000 Web3 contract developers, creating a critical shortage and a surge of demand for developers and engineers in the Web3 world. In fact, blockchain alone remains the most in-demand job skill.”
Metacrafters is a multichain learn-and-earn game that teaches users to write smart contracts and build on-chain. The course, which can be completed in three to six months, is structured in three segments. Metacrafters students — or “Crafters” — sign up for basic courses for free, and use cryptocurrency to tuition for more advanced courses. Upon course completion, they earn back their tuition plus additional rewards. The $4.5 million grant will fund the LNE (learn-and-earn) business model.
“This is designed so that we are paying developers to learn,” Marcelo said. “We are educating the supply side, particularly in underserved areas around the world.”
“Proof of Learn’s Metacrafters won’t just educate developers in this new realm — we will also provide potential employers with on-chain, guaranteed credentials for our job-ready students. Companies and projects will be able to go to Metacrafters to access and verify student skills in real time, virtually instantly finding the exact talent they seek” says Marcelo.
Course completion will also be rewarded with a Proof of Learn NFT minted as a permanent, public credential on the blockchain, as well as a Treasure NFT that can be used in the game world or sold to another player in the marketplace.
Raj Gokal, Co-Founder of Solana, says: “The internet enabled anyone, anywhere to create a company that can change the world. Blockchain developers are in high demand, and projects like Metacrafters will not only teach developers to become fluent in the skills they need to build for blockchain, but also advance the overall growth and development of the Web3 ecosystem.”
“We’re immensely proud to be supporting Proof of Learn in their efforts to build a more robust and innovative Web3 environment,” said Ryan Wyatt, CEO of Polygon Studios. “Merging gameplay and education within a ‘learn-and-earn’ framework promises to bridge blockchain’s vast talent gap and incentivize a new generation of native Web3 developers.”
John Wu, President of Ava Labs, noted that Web3 is already attracting skilled, ambitious programmers but that the industry needs more people, faster, to meet its growth potential.
“We’ve seen an amazing influx of talent entering Web3 over the last two years, as experts exit the known commodity of Web2 to embark on new projects without a known horizon. That is undoubtedly a win for the Web3 community, but we can’t stop there,” Wu said. “We need to scale impact contributors even faster to keep pace with mainstream demand, and Proof of Learn is positioned to breakthrough by empowering the next generation to go from beginning to builders.”
“The potential of blockchain technology can only be fully realized if it’s widely accessible, which is why supporting and empowering today and tomorrow’s developers is so important,” said Roham Gharegozlou, Founder of Dapper Labs. “We are proud to support Proof of Learn and share their vision that when high-quality education is attainable and equitable, it has the opportunity to be a force multiplier for our entire industry.”