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The Gigging Blockchain: The freelance industry gets smart

The Internet has brought us closer together, not just because of the ability to reach anyone using social networks or to send a letter in an email format, but also because it levelled the playing field for job seekers. Now, regardless of where you are based, if you have the sought-after skills, you can compete for the same job with someone who lives on the other side of the world, as long as the employer is open to such possibility. The gig economy, otherwise known as freelance industry, is now a vital cog in the overall economic performance. According to the latest poll by NPR/Marist, 1 in 5 jobs in America is made up of workers under contract and within a decade, contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce. There are plenty of pros and cons to this type of arrangement but certain concerns get raised nearly all the time.


In the current system, to establish a dialogue with a freelancer, you simply go on a centralised platform and approach the other party having reviewed the pool of suitable candidates. The biggest selling point of such system, a much more organised process of solving disputes, comes with a steep price tag. Anything from 10% to 30% of the job value goes to the intermediary, your funds are not always immediately available and the disputes are solved by single entities, which by definition cannot be objective. You could always try your luck and approach freelancers without intermediaries, but there you have to put even more trust that the person you are about to hire for the job will deliver up to the promised standard.

Click the video above to learn more about Ethearnal

So, it seems that while the labour market has evolved to accommodate the growing trend in temporary employment, the actual process is still years behind. With the advent of blockchain technology and smart contracts, it makes it possible to provide a way to trustlessly make and execute an agreement without anyone being able to manipulate it. This is exactly what the team behind Ethearnal is trying to achieve. The end goal is to make the industry a lot more secure for both freelancer and employer. By employing smart contracts, workers are able to verify the contract to ensure they get paid for their efforts, while employers can rest assured that they are hiring the people that are able to produce quality content. All done across a network of peer-to-peer nodes that keeps track of the listings.

The platform runs on the native Ethearnal token, or ERT – Ethearnal Reputation Tokens, which represents “reputation” on the network. For the freelancer, the more ERT, the higher the likelihood of securing more contracts. Employers need them to be able to hire people since they need to stake the same amount as the freelancer does. Moderators need them to be able to moderate. By moderating, they earn more tokens, which they can sell if they choose so. Finally, token holders benefit from expected appreciation and also from revenue share of all system profit proportional to their tokens.

The new approach to doing things does not stop there and instead of the usual ICO campaign, the team has turned to what has been dubbed by Vitalik Buterin as DAICO, a reinforced version of ICO merged with aspects of Decentralized Autonomous Organisation (DAO). This means that the investors of the ICO decide when and how to distribute the funds to the developers. If the token holders are unhappy with the progress of the project, they can either vote to refund the remaining funds and end the project, or to have the developers continue to work until a product is ready.

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