Across the world, there are people working two jobs to lead a normal life. It is probably safe to say that freelancing is providing many households with the extra income that they so desperately require. But with desperation, comes exploitation.
The platforms favor the clients, not the freelancers, for the simple reason that the clients are the ones who are spending on the platform. Freelancers are being charged as high as 20% of their invoiced amount, and then some. Do not forget, there are transaction costs on withdrawing and banking charges too.
The fact is, these freelance workplaces would not even exist if not for the freelancers. It is not the customers that make these platform the money, rather, the skills of thousands of freelance workers. However, this fact is hardly acknowledged in the way these platforms function.
Freelancers are a slave to these platforms because of these platforms to what they are not able to do on their own. One of my close friends is a freelancer, and I have seen him struggle with doing his own marketing, handling communications with the clients and also get the work done in the interim. The only work he gets paid for is the actual work, the rest of the time spent is unpaid. And I know for a fact that marketing and communication are way tougher on him than the actual work.
These freelancers do a great service to businesses, especially startups. Startups do not have the bandwidth to absorb the cost of a full-time employee, and freelancers save them a lot of money.
These freelancers get paid much less than their employed counterparts for the same job. Even Uber is a freelance portal - for cabbies. So, we can understand the volume of the freelance industry.
How can the new age technologies help? Can they make a difference in the lives of the freelancers? Yes and No.
Mass adoption of Blockchain is still a pipedream, at least when it comes to the Blockchain as a frontend solution. The key is to keep the whole system as simple as possible. This is a solution that will work. Blockchain has the capacity to make the transaction fee nearly disappear. That is the power we have to use to ease the freelance market.
We need to make the market as self-sustaining as possible. One of the areas where most freelance platforms struggle is arbitration in the case of a dispute. The platform that I have in mind will be trustless. There is no need for a trust relationship because the arbitration process will be double-blind.
I will be talking about this in detail over days to come, and the days to come are exciting times for team OiX. Stay tuned.