Blockchain And The Gig Economy

This architecture is changing the rules governing the relations between content providers and contractors

The coronavirus COVID-19 is upon us, forcing most to work from home. For those holding 9-5 or any other kind of full-time job, this “stay at home” business has thrown their routine out of whack. But for those who were already part of the gig economy or the remote work ecosystem, nothing’s changed.

Gig economy is a term that describes many things — non-conformist, side hustle, temp jobs, flex jobs, freelancers, independent jobs, new skills, many assignments or one... Gig workers, and those who work full-time but from remote locations, know the importance of the role that technology plays in their professional lives. Now, those who have been forced to work from home because of the coronavirus are also waking up to its positives.

Some independent surveys show that by 2030, most of the workforce in developed countries will be either remote-based, work from home, or a part of the gig economy.

It’s the same for content and marketing worlds. These two were among the first to become part of the gig economy. Today, more and more enterprises are veering around to this way of work. Helping them along is mobile technology that offers not only apps but push notifications and enhanced job search capabilities, all of which allow a gig worker to plug in not only more easily but better and faster.

Payment in times of gig economy

Blockchain is ushering in democracy in the gig economy. It’s changing almost every aspect of the ecosystem — from finding the assignments to pitching for them, to payment.

Writing in the Entrepreneur, Chris Young, co-founder at Revel Partners explains it succinctly:

A transparent, trusted and verifiable tech stack that drives gig work could raise pay, cut overhead, drive scalability and fair labor practices for both workers and employers. These capabilities are of major importance to corporations as technical innovation and fair play are needed to sustain an independent workforce model they’ve come to rely on.

Since its introduction in everyday life, blockchain has changed two things for content freelancers almost immediately — the way to get assignments and the mode of payment.

So far, content freelancers had no option but to go to centralized platforms to find clients seeking freelancers, part-timers or independent contractors. These “connectors” charge a hefty fee from both parties for their “service”.

Enter blockchain…..and cryptocurrency. Over the last couple of years, platforms for freelancers and clients that run on blockchain have come to life. These offer a new way for content (and other) freelancers to find gigs, and get paid, not in traditional currency but in bitcoin. What’s more, these open-source web interfaces not only allow people to sell their goods and services on the blockchain but most are also totally free -no commission to be paid.

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Freelancers can set their work conditions, including deadlines and payment terms without the “advice” or “rules” of any 3rd party. Funds are locked up in digital escrow and released automatically when the assignment has been submitted. Also, potential content clients can get “verified” freelancers because of blockchain.

Where payment is concerned, these platforms offer you options that are not limited to dollars and pounds, and centralized payment gateways like PayPal, Western Union, etc. You can, instead, get paid in most of the popular forms of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, LiteCoin and so on.

While understandably there are still some reservations among gig workers to use cryptocurrency because of legality, acceptancy and security issues, here’s a development they should be aware of — even bigger enterprises such as IBM and Microsoft have got onboard, so blockchain’s getting even enterprise-ready.

A gig economy requires transparency and compliance — for now at least, blockchain holds out the promise of both.