Freelancing has grown into a viable way for many professionals to earn an income, without the constraints of an office-type job. It is estimated that freelancing professionals earn nearly two trillion dollars per year.
Despite the potential for earnings, freelancing is not without its issues. Many freelancers struggle to ensure that they receive payment, and if they opt to use services such as UpWork that holds the funds in escrow, then freelancers must pay hefty fees that cut into their profits. To address these concerns, and others, many are turning to blockchain.
Blockchain does not rely on third-party websites to verify credentials, but rather, it can create a secure record of authorship so that those hiring the professional can be confident that they are choosing someone able to do the job.
One platform leading the way to blockchain freelancing is Zoom. The platform is looking to tap into the potential of DLT technology and is hoping that it could replace sites such as UpWork. Additionally, Zoom is looking to use smart contracts to ensure that freelancers receive payment and to help freelancers get matched with the perfect job. According to Plamen Nedyalkovis, Zoom’s CEO:
“We are using blockchain to handle the escrow and transaction services of the platform, equalizing the power differential between client and contractor because the payment is held in the hand of neither.”
Clients can benefit from Zoom as well. The platform has multi-party projects, thereby enabling numerous groups to participate in forming a single entity to manage complex workflow. Clients may also enjoy the skills-match feature, which means they won’t need to sort through applications to find a potential candidate.
Another platform is Moonlighting and it is embracing blockchain technology as well. Though the platform is small compared to UpWork or Freelancer, it is growing and working on fundraising rounds. A portion of the fundraising proceeds will be used to incorporate blockchain into the platform. As Jeff Tennery, one of the platform’s founders has stated,
“We feel an immense sense of price each day that we serve this talented group of risk takers and now, as we kick off this crowdfunding campaign, they can share in that same success as partners in the very business we love.”
Ultimately, smart contracts seem to be a stellar tool for online freelancers, especially when they are integrated into tools like Zoom and Moonlighting. At this point though, most of the platforms integrating blockchain technology are still in development – but it seems like they have fewer regulatory hurdles to deal with, as opposed to banking and FinTech.