by Guest Post
The gig economy has been growing rapidly for quite some time now, and reports suggest that this trend will only continue. According to data gathered and synthesized by Nation 1099, 11 percent of U.S. working adults are independent contractors. An overwhelming majority of freelancers – 86 percent, to be exact – choose to be freelancers, despite the common belief that they can’t find a job elsewhere.
One of the most popular freelance and gig economy sectors is the sharing economy; Uber, Lyft, Airbnb. However, a recent study conducted by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research showed that “per hour worked, median profit from driving [for Uber and Lyft] is $3.37/hour before taxes, and 74 percent of drivers earn less than the minimum wage in their state.” Wear and tear and other expenses really take their toll, and as MIT reports, “30 percent of drivers are actually losing money once vehicle expenses are included.” With data like this, one has to wonder whether being a sharing economy driver is even worth it anymore.
Thankfully, Uber and Lyft aren’t the only companies looking to provide a job – or side job – to freelance workers. In fact, some companies have developed platforms that allow freelancers to work from their couches and save money with ease. And no, it doesn’t involve answering 100 question surveys for a meager sum of money or signing up for an expensive credit card.
How Blockchain Technology Can Change Freelancing
Meet Cool Cousin, a platform that lets its employees – affectionately called “cousins” – make money from their couches. Through their iOS app, Cool Cousin lets users give tips on where to visit in their city. Travelers can discover incredible places by using city guides created by locals. Cousins represent their home town in the best way possible by pointing visitors to their favorite businesses, restaurants, and attractions through the app. Additionally, Cool Cousin is developing blockchain integration to help their app reach new and exciting heights.
Cool Cousin’s blockchain development will center around the implementation and use of smart contracts. Smart contracts will define the relationship between “The Company,” which facilitates the growth and sustainability of the ecosystem, and “The Community,” the autonomous ecosystem of cousins, travelers, and network participants. Smart contracts therefore act as an immutable set of checks and balances that help maintain true decentralization. They will also provide the facilitation of transactions between travelers and cousins, creating trust between the two parties. Cousins can earn money from their couches—in the form of CUZ coins—by simply providing traveling tips to visitors.
How Blockchain Technology Can Save Customers Money
Another blockchain company, Sandblock, is creating an ecosystem designed to revamp businesses’ reward and loyalty programs. By integrating blockchain technology and the platform’s native SAT coin, Sandblock will give consumers incredible reward options while keeping their personal data safe and anonymous. Merchants also have the option of creating their own tokens to issue coupons, vouchers, and loyalty points. These points have intrinsic market value and can be traded or redeemed, providing users with money for simply being loyal customers. In this sense, freelancers can get paid to spend money, in addition to receiving rewards for sending in anonymous data.
Finally, there is Concierge, an online travel booking marketplace with a global reach. It is built on the NEO blockchain and offers true peer-to-peer interactions between travelers and merchants. Suppliers pay zero percent in commission fees, while customers have the option to pay in either crypto or fiat. The incorporation of blockchain technology enables the platform for control for and automate systematic errors that frequently occur in the booking process—such as overbooking. It also fosters transparency and auditability, something that traditional booking platforms like Expedia and Hotels.com can’t provide. While not an outright freelancing gig, the Concierge platform lets users earn loyalty points through an automated system, providing them with monetary incentives to book through the platform.
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