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Blockchain and its Impact on the Future of Employment

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic led to conventional office setups shifting to home. But what initially started off as a compulsion is now turning into free will. The work from home scenario is now getting more and more normalized despite the decline in the novel Coronavirus cases. Even at a time when workplaces are getting back to normalcy, a large chunk of the working population is preferring to opt for remote jobs. Fresh graduates and job seekers are looking for opportunities that will pay them well while they stay within the comfort of their homes. This is just an extension of what has been happening since the past one year.
The remote work arrangement provides employers with the following benefits

  1. Hiring efficient workers- In case of an office-based job, employers can only hire people within commuting distance of work. For remote jobs, there’s no such restriction. One can hire employees regardless of their location. For example, this year in March, the US Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced that it would be establishing a business presence in India amid the unclear stance of crypto regulations in the country.
  2. Flexibility- A company can scale up quickly by hiring new team members. They no longer need to worry about accommodating them in an office.
  3. Easier training- The shift to the virtual office makes it easier for companies to provide employees with the required training. The evolution of live videos and Learning Management Systems makes it convenient for remote workers and freelancers to receive their training with minimum cost.

How freelancers benefit from the remote work arrangement

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to believe that freelancing is the future of work. As mentioned earlier, most of us have been compelled to start working from home turning our bedrooms into offices. Freelance websites such as Fiverr and Upwork have seen an increase in traffic and registrations. Due to the crisis, many people lost their full-time jobs and opted for freelancing as a source of sustenance. This work trend doesn’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon. A report states that 60% of freelancers claim to be earning more than they did at their regular jobs. Thus, we can see that a major portion of employees are preferring to work independently. Freelancing can be risky in the initial days, but it comes with its own perks. Here are a few:

  1. You are your own boss- If you are a freelancer, you are an autonomous entity. You can freely choose your clients. On the one hand, you are free to work with the type of people you like. On the other hand, you can choose to reject clients whom you don’t find suitable.
  2. Taking a break from monotony- Freelancing gives you the freedom to choose your work timings and workplace. You don’t have to maintain a strict office decorum while working as a freelancer. How much time and energy you want to invest in your work is totally up to you. It even allows you to choose the workload. You can choose the projects according to your liking, which is not possible in a physical office.
  3. Broadening of skillset- With every new project, you get a chance to learn something new. It allows you to step out of your comfort zone and try your hands at something you have always been hesitant about. Not only is it exciting but also gives you a chance to experiment with and enhance your skills.
  4. Multiple sources of income- One of the major benefits of being a freelancer is that there’s no limit to your monthly income. Nothing can dictate the number of projects you can take up at the same time. There are a few freelancers who work just few days a week and earn in six figures by picking up multiple projects at a time.

How blockchain can impact the freelance business

The gig economy has several inconveniences such as transactional bureaucracies, lack of trust, copyright infringements, undue control by a middleman etc. As the number of freelancers continues to grow, there arises a need for doing things in a better and a more functional way. Blockchain appears to be a suitable method of addressing these issues. It can impact the freelancing world in the following ways-

  1. Transactional bottlenecks are removed- Carrying out transactions through online money transfer platforms can be stressful. Not only is it time taking but transactions also run the risk of being denied due to dubious reasons. The absence of certain platforms in particular regions makes freelancers dependent on more middlemen. Above all, the rising incidences places a security risk on the funds of the workers.

Blockchain eliminates middlemen and enables everyone from all around the world to transact without any restrictions. It’s peer-to-peer system ensures that workers receive their funds on time without any hassles. Cryptogrind, Coinality, Crypto Jobs etc. are places where freelancers can expect payment in Bitcoin.

  1. Trust guarantee through smart contracts- Smart contracts are programs stored on a blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met. They automate the execution of an agreement in a way that when the necessary conditions are met, the outcome is automatic. Since there are no intermediaries involved, participants can be sure of the outcome.

In Pentonium, Smart contracts act as a bridge between the client and the service provider. It stores the IPFS hash of the job details and the private and public keys for the chat. Additionally, it acts as escrow to store funds till the job gets completed.

  1. Intellectual property rights protection- Blockchain’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) system secures the IP rights of the workers. Blockchain stores portfolio and prevents anyone from copying or stealing their work. The freelancers’ portfolio items can be automatically attributed to them as the original creator and the owner.

  2. Low transaction fees- Middlemen disguised as freelancing platforms deny freelancers a huge portion of their money. Moreover, they raise the cost of services and make it unaffordable to prospective clients. Blockchain allows workers to chat with the clients directly without the interference of any unscrupulous middlemen.
    The growing popularity of blockchain
    Blockchain is an automatic, decentralized, and secure system for obtaining and providing trust. This trust is based on Distributed Ledger Technology, meaning on a register that’s distributed among the various network nodes and structured as an immutable Block chain. The distributed network of nodes checks transactions through Mining which makes the Blockchain technology a Trustless system. This has resulted in the growing popularity of the technology.
    A trustless system means that the members involved are not required to know or trust each other or a third party for the functioning of the system. In a trustless environment, a single entity does not have the sole authority over the system. A general agreement is achieved with the participants trusting nothing but the system.

Freelance platforms providing trustless jobs

Ethlance is known to be the first of its kind market platform. It is built on the Ethereum blockchain and uses only cryptocurrency for payment. It is a “zero-fee” marketplace. Only the “gas fees” that the Ethereum network needs for transaction processing is taken from the payments. However, it does not have any dispute resolution layer or chat facility to manage the requirements of the service provider throughout the contract.
AnyTask is a centralized freelance platform based on Electroneum. It is the first freelance platform providing access to the global digital economy without a bank account or seller fees. Therefore, it allows users to enter an unbanked economy. Its mission is to use the power of Blockchain to unlock the global digital economy for the developing world. AnyTask helps people to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit and enhance their lives in new ways. But it does not allow sharing links for a private offer as it is a centralized platform.
Pentonium is an ecosystem that consists of a freelance platform, a platform for the workforce and swap. A freelance platform enables service providers to list their skills. Further, clients can get their job done securely. It is assured by transparent governance. Being a decentralized freelance platform, Pentonium has an autonomous dispute resolution and end-to-end encrypted chat.
It follows a democratic way where community votes select people to resolve the dispute (They are called Marshals). When a dispute takes place between a client and a service provider, details regarding the job are made available to an odd number of Marshals who vote to decide the result of the dispute between both the parties.
Pentonium uses IPFS as a storage layer to store data regarding a job or to store files that a client and a service provider share on completing a task. This reduces the cost of storing data and increases the scalability of the entire system. SkyDB offers an API to easily deploy it over the frontend making it a good choice for the creation of an end-to-end encrypted chat mechanism.
When service providers post offers, the platform allows them to create a private offer for a particular address. There may be instances where the offers posted do not fit the requirements of the client and some adjustments may be required. In such a case, both parties might re-think about the costing of such contact and would like to have a customer offer executed for it. Pentonium also provides the option to share a private link through telegram. This can capture micro payments in small services.
There is a high demand of workers in the blockchain domain, but the number of professionals is presently far less. Therefore, companies agree to pay a lumpsum amount to skilled service providers. If you possess the relevant skills and experience in the field, you can easily make your career in it. A freelance blockchain developer’s salary can range from Rs. 4,75,000 to Rs. 7,93,000.

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