In Search of the Best Blockchain Freelancing Platform
Experts say that there could be more freelancers than full-time workers in the US in under ten years. However, traditional centralized freelancing platforms charge huge fees (usually around 15-20%) and can close your account at any time. Enter blockchain technology to solve these problems and offer alternatives.
DECENTRALIZED FREELANCING PLATFORMS
The Blockchain is disrupting the world of technology. Decentralized applications are getting more and more attention every day. Similarly, more and more people are starting to work online from their home, as many new jobs require nothing more than a working PC and an active Internet connection. These people are called freelancers. Experts say that there could be more freelancers than full-time workers in the US in under ten years.
CENTRALIZED PLATFORMS: FEES AS HIGH AS 20%
Freelancers often seek work on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr where the competition is high, but there are also a higher quantity of job offers. However, these traditional centralized platforms charge huge fees (usually around 15-20%) and can close your account at any time.
After the ICO boom in 2017, we witnessed the development of various decentralized freelancing platforms which promised lower fees, faster payments, and a lower barrier to entry for the new users. In this article, we are going to review and compare nine decentralized freelancing platforms that are built on top of Blockchain tech and driven by smart contracts: Blocklancer, Dream, Ethlance, CanYa, Ethearnal, OrbiNetwork, Cryptotask, Coinlancer, and Atlas. There are others, but these are the biggest and most promising. It should be mentioned that projects like FreelancerCoin are not included in our list because they do not exploit the power of Blockchain technology and their system is not based on smart contracts. We also don’t include OpenBazaar which is more like a decentralized version of eBay.
FREELANCER VS FREELANCER: A COMPARISON
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BLOCKCHAIN SOLUTIONS FOR FREELANCERS
The blockchain platform trends are clear. Most of the platforms are building on top of the Ethereum. The exception is Atlas, which has implemented its own Blockchain. However, we lack information about its security and decentralization. Ethereum on the other hand, has already proved that it is secure and tamper resistant, and therefore people trust their token for use as an internal form of payment within the platform.
The use case for freelancer platform tokens is usually reserved for internal payment, disputes resolution and reputation management. It could be argued that in many cases ETH would work better than most new tokens (more liquid, proven etc). However, some new projects wanted to attract more investors and try to create their own token economy so they are using their native token for all platform transactions.
That said, on the majority of platforms you can expect to be paid in Ether, which is a liquid cryptocurrency and could be easily exchanged for fiat or other cryptocurrencies. Another important aspect is that all of these platforms are still lacking users (job makers and takers). Lack of a finished product may be the reason. Some of the platforms are still in beta and some are still at the whitepaper stage.
FEES 5X LOWER
The good news is that the fees on these blockchain platforms should be at least five times lower compared to existing centralized platforms. However, you still have to pay fees to your government once you exchange your cryptocurrency to fiat and send it to your bank account.
In addition, many find it alarming that many of the platforms mentioned above have very similar architecture. Without unique characteristics or market angles, we can expect only the strongest of these projects to survice and we’ll likely see the rest disappear.
The likely reason we see so much platform similarity is likely because most of these blockchain platforms are competing against traditional centralized platforms, not against each other.
Another important point to mention is that these platforms may be potential targets for regulators, as they do not ask you to submit W9 or W-8BEN forms.
And lastly, the various dispute resolution solutions raise a few questions. For example, is it possible to have a secure freelancing platform with no intermediary involved? While there may be different opinions to this question, at a minimum we must agree that, if we can’t figure out decentralized trust, it is better to have a centralized dispute management system than to not have one at all. It is unrealistic to believe that all the users will be honest and there will be no conflicts between the client and a freelancer.
To sum up, currently, there is no one best platform that is clearly better than the others. This could only benefit users, as the huge competition is forcing projects to do their best and provide the best conditions for both job takers and job makers. The future is bright. As the Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies behind them will get more advanced and mature, decentralized platforms will get even better and more attractive to the freelancers. Platforms like Upwork or Fiverr should definitely start worrying about their future.
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