A guide for freelancers looking to find honest jobs on the blockchain
The future of freelancing resides on the blockchain; welcome to the next generation.” – Blockclancer
Ask any beginning freelancer about his or her two biggest problems, and the odds are you will hear: “Where do I find the jobs?” or “How do I know I’ll get paid?” Scam projects, fraudulent payments and unresolved disputes are the name of the game, often leaving entry freelancers walking away empty-handed.
Their problems? It’s a bidding game. You’re competing against thousands of others, and the only way you win is if you offer quality service and top experience at cheapest dollar. Additionally, Upwork and co. snitch at least 20% off your wage. Some of these sites also charge a client fee. Others charge a hefty withdrawal fee.
In the end, most freelancers who want to make a living have to go it on their own to succeed – which brings me full circle to my first two questions: How do you find well-paying clients? How can you make sure they’ll actually pay you? (After all, we freelancers are unattached globe-trotting creatures, with no regulations to stop a client from disappearing in the void with our money).
Blockchain for freelancers
If you’re a freelancer looking for honest clients with better paying jobs, the blockchain may be your solution. Blockchain technology sieves out scammers from genuine prospects, while leaving you with more money in your pocket.
Finding the clients
It’s the intrepid freelance who generally succeeds. And this intrepid freelancer has to find the clients herself. Sites like Upwork and Guru say they get them for you. But you have to pay Upwork and Guru.
“Blockchains,” in the words of Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, “automate away at the centre. Instead of putting the taxi driver out of a job, blockchain puts Uber out of a job and lets the taxi drivers work with the customer.” Instead of putting the freelancer out of a job, blockchain puts Guru (or Upwork and so forth) out a job and lets the freelancer work with the client.
Blockchain platforms, like Moonlighting, attract a wide pool of professional credible organizations all of whom are vetted by nodes on the block and permitted by majority consensus to post their ads and recruit workers. Moonlighting promises you “unlimited direct access to potential clients, unlimited premium service listings, a commission fee free platform.” Want to run a crowdfunding project and have no startup capital? No problem. “Start fundraising for your idea in minutes with no deadlines and no penalties if you don’t reach your goal.”
There’s no need for you to work through an agent, or third-party platform like Freelancer, Fiverr or Upwork to find your clients. They’re there. They’re honest. They’re going to pay you. All you need to do is approach them.
How do you know you’ll get paid?
Take a site like Coinlancer. It is an Ethereum-based platform, where freelancers and clients connect remotely through smart contracts. The client deposits funds in a smart contract application called “Escrow”. The freelancer delivers the project. The client approves the project. The “escrow” disburses the funds to the freelancer. All the platform charges you is a three percent escrow – instead of the common 15-20 percent commission. Problems like disputes, payment frauds, and delays are mediated by a freelancer tribunal. This freelancer tribunal is made up of participating nodes who know the transaction details through blockchain transparency.
One freelance writer explains blockchain transparency this way. He attended a session at the World Future Society annual conference World Future 2016, where the lecturer described blockchain as a trustless system where all actors assume that someone is out to cheat you. To authorize a service, all nodes must verify that the person wishing to hire someone does, in fact, have the necessary funds in his account. Only then is the transaction allowed to occur, and the network records the details.
“As our session came to a close, Katherine, Parminder, and I were asked how one would come to trust a trustless system. The answer might be deceptively simple: you don’t need to trust it.”
The blockchain transparency is evident. There’s no way it can let you down.
Another platform like BitBay makes sure you get paid. The client deposits some promissory funds in a smart contract known as the double deposit escrow. You store a percentage there, too, to ensure the client you’ll do the work. All details of the contracts are encoded int that double escrow. The moment you’ve completed the work and the client has accepted it, this smart contract is programmed to release the pre-negotiated amount of funds. There’s no fooling around. You’re paid.
Where to go from here?
Blocklancer – Blocklancer is is a Distributed Autonomous Job Marketplace (DAJ) that operates on the Ethereum Blockchain. It helps freelancers find projects and there’s a freelancer tribunal ready to mediate if necessary. The company brands itself as “revolutionizing the freelancing industry for both the freelancer and the customer, focusing on providing drastically increased levels of reliability.”
Canya’s main selling point is its simplicity. You can easily find, book, and rate service providers. According to Kirill Shilov, co-founder of howtotoken.com, Canya makes usability one of its top priorities and can be your first step for transitioning from the centralized marketplace (like Freelancer) to the decentralized marketplace.
Coinlancer – Coinlancer is a decentralized job market built on Ethereum for freelancers and clients across the globe. A freelance tribunal mediates disputes. Smart contracts disburse funds.
Moonlighting – As of the moment, Moonlighting, the oldest decentralized freelancing platform, has more than 6,000 freelancers. Benefits include unlimited direct access to potential clients, unlimited premium service listings, and a commission fee-free platform.
Openbazaar – The closest thing to Fiverr – but on the blockchain and far cheaper. Openbazzar is a general online marketplace where anyone can sell anything peer-to-peer, with crypto. Its focus is privacy and anonymity.