The author of this article serves as an advisor to SpringRole. Jeremy Cai is the founder and COO of Fountain, a leading mid-market and enterprise hiring automation platform for applicant screening and workforce retention at large scale, high-throughput HR operations.
It’s 2018, and the freelance workforce is taking over industries. According to a number of reports, independent consultants and freelancers will become a majority workforce within the next 10 years in countries like USA and India. In fact, many employees believe that their current jobs may not even exist in the future. They are constantly upgrading their skills as per industry demand and picking up various skills with earning potential.
While today’s freelancers are prepared for the future, there is a problem. Many of them find so-called “gigs”, mostly through references based on their past work. Gigs are short-term consulting projects largely based on a consultant’s skill and a company’s short-term goals. The problem is the frequency of gigs a freelancer can get. The unpredictability of work is the main area of concern for today’s freelancers. Many turn to online platforms to find work. These online platforms are basically freelancer-curated workplaces for companies to find reliable contact workers. On the other hand, there are many online curated short-term job platforms where freelancers can connect, pitch and get gigs.
In either case, the journey from the initial connect to actually getting a gig can be grueling. The main reason behind this is the issue of trust. Verification process of the freelancer or the gig-offering company takes place offline. Companies end up evaluating the freelancer by making him or her actually work on a dummy project to check for skills and adaptability. The disadvantage of this is that the freelancer is wasting time with no guarantee of the gig and the company is also wasting time and effort in evaluating skills of various freelancers.
Often times, freelancers do not get paid any money. At the same time, when a freelancer actively looks for gigs, he goes through a ‘pitch’ process where he gives a sneak-peak of what he can do for the company. The pitch doesn’t always convert into a gig. Even worse, companies take advantage of the pitch process by rejecting the freelancer but using work done during the pitch to their advantage.
Thankfully, there can be a solution for all the problems the freelance economy is facing today. Modern technologies, such as the blockchain, can complement the growth and support the highly unorganized, human-controlled industry. The company that I advise – SpringRole – intends to solve this problem. They believe that if offline verification of skills and genuinity can be eliminated, they can help carve a way for a trust-based economy. And that is why SpringRole is using the blockchain to build an attestation protocol for verifying professional profiles.
Companies can post freelance projects on the job board on SpringRole. Gig seekers can seek for such opportunities and sign smart contracts with the company. Once the project is completed or the terms of the contract are met, the parties can exchange the work done for the respective reward. Thus using the combination of smart contracts and the reputation system in the SpringRole’s network, it is possible to have transparent and decentralized freelancing opportunities powered by the blockchain.
The freelancing projects can have the following features:
- Full Accessibility: Companies getting full access to the Spring network to post their projects and seek freelancers.
- Quality Recommendations: The network recommends freelancers based on skill requirement and reputation
- Unbiased Mediators: There will be a decentralized panel of mediators to intervene in case of disputes.
- Easy Milestone Tracking: Milestones in the freelancing project will be built into the smart contracts, which will simplify tracking and remove human intervention.
- Instant Feedback: Once a project is over, freelancers will receive instant feedback and ratings, which will factor into their overall skill score and improve their standing in the network.
- Clientele Showcase for freelancers: Freelancers can showcase the clients they have worked with in a very trusted way. Because this information will be verified by both parties and then written onto the blockchain, it becomes immutable and can be fully trusted
This new-age blockchain powered platform will surely disrupt the unorganized freelance gig economy and create opportunities for all parties involved. The launch of Springrole is set for July of 2018, so that you can create your entire professional profile on the platform.