Hire a freelance worker — a great idea, but…
Have you ever hired a freelance worker only to find yourself disappointed with the process and/or the end result? Over the years, I’ve used many platforms: oDesk, rebranded as UpWork; Fiverr and others. On each of these, I’ve hired many freelancers for tasks in different domains:
- Graphic designers to create logos, websites, visit cards, album covers.
- Writers to populate niche websites with articles, write press releases or even ghostwriters for small books.
- Coders to create data scraping bots and auction sniping bots.
I’ve spent countless hours browsing through applications and filtering out freelancers who applied without even having read the whole description of the task. But by far the most frustrating experience I have had is having to pay someone even though I was not satisfied with their work.
For example, a few years ago I developed a niche website on dog training — just a basic landing page offering an eBook for sale. I hired a graphic designer to create a logo and they sent me an image cropped from the first google image result for the “dog training” search. Believe it or not, the platform I used still made me pay him, and earned its commission for the job. As you can imagine it was not a large sum, but I wasted too much time and energy for what I thought would be a simple process.
That’s why, when I heard that the Freela platform was built on blockchain— with professional mediation at its core and NO commission fees—I immediately started researching it.
The good, the bad and… the arbitrator
So what is Freela’s recipe to revolutionise the mediation process in case of a problem? First let’s recap how a regular freelancing platform works. There are two entities that interact, the Employer and the Freelancer. The platform helps them find each other and charges a commission for this service.
In Freela’s model, there is a third entity, the Arbitrator, who is defined in Freela’s whitepaper as “an individual with expertise in the field of the job who comes in to resolve any issue(s)”.
On Freela, when an employer and a freelancer agree on a job, they also have to agree that if a dispute should happen, there will be an arbitration call and they will abide by the decision of the Arbitrator.
This is a crucial point, as it means that all users of the platform know from the start the system will be much more difficult to game, as an independent third party will be there to solve any dispute that may arise.
How does Freela work?
Freela is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). It relies on a set of smart contracts that can be called without the need of a middleman. Here is what the process looks like on the platform:
- The Employer posts the job on the platform.
- Multiple Freelancers bid for the job.
- The Employer selects a Freelancer based on their reputation scale, bidding amount and specified timeframes.
- Once the employee is selected, money from the employer wallet gets transferred to Freela Smart Contract. It is now locked until the job is complete. It needs two signatures to be released.
Upon job completion, the Freelancer signs off. Now the Employer can either be satisfied or not with the result. If he is satisfied, then the situation is ideal. He signs off too and the Freela Smart Contract releases the funds to the Freelancer.
Now, here comes the interesting part, unique to the Freela platform. If the Employer is not satisfied with the result, he doesn’t sign off. Then the arbitrator is automatically called in and two scenarios are possible:
- The arbitrator decides the Freelancer failed, funds are returned to the Employer.
- The arbitrator decides the Freelancer completed the job satisfyingly, funds leave the smart contract to the Freelancer wallet.
DeFi for a free solution
The process above is free for all parties as long as the payments are made in Freela tokens. Payments can be made in other currencies but then 0.5% of the transaction amount will be collected by the payment gateway.
The Freela platform relies heavily on DeFi solutions like liquidity pools and staking pools. For example, whenever an Arbitrator is required, a small percentage of the value of the job will be collected to an “Arbitrator fund”. The Arbitrators are paid a monthly salary from this fund. This percentage will start at 2.5% and be adjusted by Freela AI to match inflows (arbitration fees) and outflows (Arbitrators’ salaries).
For all blockchain addicts out there, the platform is able to offer this zero-fees option because it is built on Polygon (ex-Matic) blockchain which transactions are infinitely cheaper than on Ethereum at the time of writing.
Why should I switch to Freela?
This comparison chart from Freela’s pitchdeck compares Freela with existing competing platforms.
Freela’s MVP launch is planned for June 2021. I think they are bringing a unique solution to the mediation issues found on all existing freelancing platforms to date and I’m eager to test their solution. I’ll post my review of their service ASAP. Thank you for reading this far and see you soon for part II.
The article is for informational purposes only. It contains no financial advice. Always do your own research before investing in any crypto project.