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How Freelancers Can Start Using the Blockchain

This technology is offering an alternative to all the stress. Low fees, creative incentives, and fast payments are a few of the benefits that appeal to me most.

How Freelancers Can Start Using the Blockchain

Freelancing continues to take the world by storm. In just 10 years of time, we could see a higher population of US freelancers than full-time employees. With technology like Upwork and Fiverr, building a stable freelancing career is easier than ever.

And with the blockchain emerging, the distributed workforce feels like a natural fit for the distributed ledger. In fact, I believe it could solve a variety of operational issues in the field.

I run an active Facebook group of 275+ freelancers, and I hear the same problems over and over… How can I trust a client? How can I get them to trust me? How can I ensure I don’t get scammed?

And, after working as a freelancer for 10 years (and often hiring freelancers myself), I’ve learned that clients face issues with us, too… How do I trust who I’m hiring? How do I ensure I get the quality I was promised? What happens if I don’t?

So many headaches for everyone in the sea of opportunity!

Enter the blockchain.

This technology is offering an alternative to all the stress. Low fees, creative incentives, and fast payments are a few of the benefits that appeal to me most.

In today’s post, let’s take a moment to look at how this technology will impact us as freelancers.

The Current State of the Freelance Market

Freelancers bring in a combined $1.4 TRILLION dollars a year in the US. And, according to a Payoneer survey, around 70% of these 57 million freelancers find work via online marketplaces.

And the market is still GROWING.

So, what are these freelancers doing to earn all this money? Well, I took a look at the recent listings on Upwork, and here are the most popular jobs on this freelance platform…

  • Software, mobile and web development

  • Creative and design

  • Marketing and sales

  • Writing

  • Support and Admin

There are certainly plenty of other freelancing opportunities, but this will give you a better idea of how freelancers are supporting companies.

How Can the Blockchain Disrupt this Marketplace?

Blockchain technology is already disrupting banking, money transfers, and healthcare, so what about the online freelance market? There are three main ways that the blockchain promises to improve the current services for both freelancers and employers:

Faster, more efficient payments with cryptocurrencies.

The elimination of middleman fees.

The use of tokens and smart contracts to give new incentives for a better overall experience.

1. Cryptocurrency Payments -- With Upwork, you’re waiting weeks before you get paid. There are just so many hoops to jump through. Crypto payments provide instant access to funds, even if you’re working with someone on the other side of the globe.

2. Lower Fees -- Middlemen everywhere feel threatened by the blockchain, and these freelancing platforms are no different. Watch out because blockchain is coming, and it’s bringing trust, speed and lower costs to everyone.

3. Incentives Via Token & Smart Contracts -- One of the most interesting aspects to me is the ability to create a token for anything. This feature provides incentives for employers and freelancers alike to act professional, trustworthy and with integrity at all times.

New Blockchain Solutions

Things are early for the blockchain, and that’s the most exciting part. However, despite its infancy, there are already several inspiring projects on the platform.

As a freelancer who wants to stay up-to-date, it’s important to understand how you can use the blockchain to your advantage. Getting into these solutions early on could set you apart from the competition as they become more mainstream.

Imaging acquiring a TON of Upwork reviews before everyone started using it. You would have been so much further than all the newbies.

Here are a few of the platforms I’m most excited about when it comes to freelancing...

Openbazaar: A Decentralized Marketplace for Anything

First things first, this platform sought to tackle blockchain’s usability problem...

“We found very quickly that doing things in a decentralized fashion is not always super intuitive for people. You have to design around it. You have to make it really really good.”

-- Openbazaar CEO

This peer-to-peer selling platform is the closest incarnation I’ve found so far, even though there are more promising solutions being developed everyday.

Between their primary focus on anonymity and privacy, and their community support, Openbazaar has been able to successfully launch their platform. How it can truly adapt for freelancers has yet to be seen. However, it’s a starting point in these early days.

Canya.io

The world’s best blockchain-powered marketplace of services.

That’s how CanYa describes its innovative freelance platform. While many are working to become a competitor to Upwork, they are aiming to become something even more ambitious and generalized.

In fact, while most focus on digital freelancing services, CanYa spends its time talking about how you can use the platform to hire a plumber.

It’s the platform local service providers and freelancers alike can use to build their business.

Ethearnal

Although the ICO is still underway and the product sits in alpha, this is the platform I feel most excited about. Ethearnal’s whitepaper shares how it’s trying to monetize your reputation -- which is the most valuable asset of a freelancer’s arsenal, in my opinion.

Company funding happens through the ICO. That means the developers are taking 0% of the already minuscule 0 to 1% transaction fees.

It’s poised to be the true blockchain alternative to Upwork. So, if you’re a professional freelancer who’s looking to the future, I’d advice getting more familiar with what Ethearnal is up to and how they're transforming the industry for us all.

Conclusion

The freelance market is huge in the US, but that’s only a portion of the global marketplace. And with popularity continuing to increase, it feels good knowing there are developers and entrepreneurs stepping up and helping solve these problems.

I believe a decentralized workforce will thrive in the blockchain. It’s just a matter of building, using and amassing attention to the new solutions.

What do you believe are the main challenges we face as freelancers in the blockchain-era?


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