Ryo Fukuda, a Japanese blockchain software engineer, in Tokyo in March 2018. Photo: Reuters / Toru Hanai

In January, Tokyo-based crypto-currency exchange Coincheck Inc lost more than US$500 million in digital tokens to hackers. It was the biggest single crypto exchange theft to date. It happened, said the exchange, in part because of a lack of competent and trained software engineers.

“We were aware we didn’t have enough people working on internal checks, management and system risk,” Koichiro Wada, the chief executive, said in April. “We strived to expand using headhunters and agencies, but ended up in this situation.”

According to Reuters, Coincheck is not alone and while Japan’s crypto industry is booming, government regulators are pushing exchanges to tighten safeguards, which means engineers savvy in cyber-security and blockchain are in huge demand

One such engineer, Ryo Fukuda, told Reuters he taught himself how to code via Youtube.

“I’d been doing nothing but crypto and my own projects, so I had the experience other engineers and companies couldn’t get,” the 21-year-old said. “Now the market has really taken off and there’s a shortage of engineers. That was when my value to the market soared.”

Fukuda confirmed that he received “many” offers of employment before he joined online content and financial firm DMM.com last year.

Thank goodness for Youtube.