Amid a global employment crisis, it’s perhaps inevitable that the gig economy is making inroads into the blockchain space too.
Blockchain developers can’t be accused of failing to keep up with the times. The unprecedented shake-up in the world’s labor markets during the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the underemployment trends of recent decades. Signs of a jobless recovery ahead is spurring citizens to turn to all kinds of digital piecework in the absence of social security and conventional employment benefits.
To weather the sharp economic contraction and unpredictable pandemic lockdowns, 41% of businesses in a recent survey said they plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work. Even ahead of the current crisis, the global gig economy was predicted to reach $455 billion by 2023, according to a 2019 Mastercard study, which urged entrepreneurs to capitalize on the “opportunity.” The outcome of recent legal challenges to this employment model still seems uncertain.
Against this backdrop, Telos is launching a new gig economy platform called TelosTask, applying blockchain technology to familiar models such as PeoplePerHour and Upwork. Built on the Telos blockchain, and created by the MydAppr team, the new peer-to-peer platform will directly connect “task givers” to “task takers,” or gig workers, and enable them to coordinate the completion of “micro-” and “macro-gigs.”
Telos envisions the new platform will be used by gig workers across a wide range of sectors, from social media and writing assignments to graphic design and video production. The platform uses an escrow system to automate secure payments. In a statement, the chief architect of the Telos blockchain, Douglas Horn, explained the impetus for the platform’s creation:
“This is the real power of high-capacity blockchain. Now anyone can instantly create a free Telos account with an easy to remember name and log into it with no more hassle than logging into Twitter. It’s a mass adoption-ready platform that’s desperately needed right now as people try to figure out reliable new ways to earn income and perform business tasks in the post-COVID world.”
TelosTask team lead Destiny Marshall has said that the use of smart contracts offers “a built-in-system of trust” that will ensure “labor is fairly compensated,” pointing to “the developing world” as an area of particular demand for task-based employment.
Telos is not the only blockchain developer to seize on the unprecedented opportunity of the employment crisis of 2020. In a recent interview with Cointelegraph, a product director at IOHK said she believed Cardano (ADA) was, in a unique way, contributing to the gig economy through staking pools, which are developing into a form of business for their operators.