Forbes Features Moonlighting
If there is one word we heard a lot in 2017, it would be “blockchain”. Apart from the unprecedentedly high bitcoin price, the technology has made it to the headlines for disrupting pretty much any industry you can think of – banking, governmental management, telecom, retail and more (Disclosure: I own some bitcoin and ether).
And the next great area of blockchain disruption in 2018 may be freelancing.
What are the benefits of a blockchain-powered freelance platform?
Blockchain has a number of rather specific and versatile properties that make it so attractive for multiple niches.
When it comes to freelancing, blockchain means:
- Immutable, secure record of transactions – and not just financial ones. Blockchain allows storing a large number of transactions and contract data in a secure environment that is hacker-free. For freelancers and their clients, agreements can become part of a permanent record. The contracts get harder to breach or compromise.
- Proof of work. Freelancers can store all profile and portfolio data on the blockchain, meaning there is solid proof of what they did. All work can be clearly attributed to the owner and information on copyright can be secured too. Ruling possible disputes between the client and the freelancer becomes simpler as all data is securely recorded.
- Cheaper money transfers. According to the World Trade Bank, transaction fees for money transfers now average around 45% globally, yet certain remittance corridors are a lot higher cost to use, especially in the developing markets. For instance, transferring money to Africa from Europe or the U.S. can occasionally cost an extra 15%. While during the past decade, the average global remittance prices have dropped by almost 2.5%, a further 5% drop could result in $16 billion of extra annual income for all the recipients; blockchain can help do just that.
One of the leading freelance marketplaces, Moonlighting, is planning to tie all these benefits together. The company has been around long enough to have over 600K freelancers sign up – professionals who will soon be able to market themselves across the globe. To propel their business even further, they have decided to launch an ICO in 2018.
Introducing blockchain to a freelance marketplace through an ICO
“Freelancers all over the world are facing the same problems: high fees to do business, difficulty gaining trust of new clients, lack of credible reviews, scarcity of comprehensive, easy to use tools, and much more,” said the company founder and CEO Jeff Tennery. “With our Moonbit token placed at the epicenter of our platform, we will help millions of freelancers and entrepreneurs achieve their work independence globally.”
Specifically, with blockchain technology embedded into its platform, Moonlighting aims to solve the following problems for freelancers:
- Profile portability and authenticity – Freelancers will have full control and governance of their profile data, credentials, and reviews. This will allow them to share that profile across different marketplaces throughout the internet saving valuable time and money. Transactions and recommendations become more credible and thus more trusted for hiring parties worldwide.
- Reduce fees – Freelancers loathe having to “share” 15%-25% of their income with many gig economy marketplaces, and often have to bear additional bank and foreign exchange fees. Using a Moonbit for transactions, users can eliminate those hefty fees especially when dealing with international clients.
- Reward active participants – Users will be rewarded with Moonbit tokens, which can be used for purchasing premium platform features (such as advertising) or converted for fiat money.
Launching an ICO the right way
With so many ICOs launched in the past year, and in a fintech environment that is largely unregulated, it is easy for “bad guys” to enter this market. There have been a number of frauds and scams, and many investors have been left in the dark following the actual ICO event.
Many companies are proactively addressing concerns about integrity right out of the gate by using a recently published white paper from Deloitte professionals on how to innovate properly in today’s crypto world.
“We have studied the market carefully with top counsel and advisors, focusing on our customers and how our token can improve the user experience on our platform,” said Tennery. “Deloitte’s white paper provides a nice blueprint for credible companies to follow and build a sustainable currency for the long haul.”
Tennery went on to say that companies considering an ICO should make sure the token matched their respective business objectives and used the Deloitte document to help make the decision. Here are some of the other considerations companies should consider before deciding to launch their offering:
- A transparent communications plan – Companies should have a clear and concise messaging plan to articulate to all parties involved in the ICO process.
- A solid ICO platform – There are many third party companies available to steer companies through the tricky ICO waters. Finding and selecting the most respected platforms to distribute the tokens will make the process and long term management easier.
- A strong legal foundation – Retaining the expertise of top experienced law firms like Cooley or Perkins Coie will help companies navigate the regulatory rules and comply legally.
- Protection for Investors – Using Know Your Customer (KYC) services and utilizing SAFT standard agreements are great steps towards running a compliant ICO.
So, will companies like Moonlighting, with its blockchain innovation, revolutionize the world of freelancing? We will have to wait and see if they can fulfill the lofty promise that cryptocurrencies represent. It would be safe to say that companies taking the right steps towards legitimizing their ICOs will make for a safer and more fruitful cryptocurrency world for all.