Work 3.0: The Rise of the Independent Worker
2021 was the year of the X-To-Earn movement, where millions of people around the world got introduced to the concept of performing an action on the blockchain and getting paid for it. Axie Infinity was credited with starting this movement when it became the largest Play-To-Earn project in the world.
The success of Axie led to other founders coming up with more creative ways to reward action on the blockchain, such as Move-to-Earn and Learn-to-Earn. This was easy during the bull market because nobody needed to know about the source of yield. They just needed to know that people were getting paid for simply performing an action decided by the project. As long as that narrative continues to attract new users, the Ponzi is kept alive.
Clearly, we know how this story ended.
But where are the “scholars/players” now? I prefer to label them as a workforce because they were not in it for the game - they were in it for the money.
Many of them simply went back to their lives before Axie and didn’t look back. They went back to a low-paying job (if they still had a job), and many found more legitimate ways to make money online. From their experience of playing Axie or participating in some other X2E project, they are now considered "crypto-native". With this new skill, many have moved on to perform microtasks on Web2 sites, or have become contractors for Web3 projects.
They would join a Web3 project as a community manager, or promoter, and help to promote the project to other users. Some might also get testing jobs, content writing jobs, data mining, or event video production. They'll get paid minimally for their efforts, usually in a very unreliable way - the same as what happened when guilds started forming around P2E games last year.
Despite the crash of the X-To-Earn trend of 2021, it has had a lasting impact - it proved to the world that blockchain can be used for more than just cryptocurrency. And many of the people in the Web3 labour workforce are still actively looking for opportunities to better their lives and contribute their time and knowledge.
What if there was a better way to organise them again, and offer their skillsets to Web3 projects who are looking for an efficient way to find, hire, manage, and pay a remote crypto-native workforce?
It is difficult to predict the exact future of work, but the concept of work will likely continue to evolve and change over time. Work 3.0 will involve a shift away from traditional 9-to-5 jobs and towards a more flexible, independent, and distributed model of work.
In this scenario, workers may have multiple sources of income, use blockchain technology to connect with clients and employers, and have greater control over their schedules and work environments. This model of work will also involve the use of artificial intelligence and automation to help workers be more productive and efficient. Work 3.0 will be characterised by greater flexibility, autonomy, and the use of blockchain technology to improve work processes and outcomes.
The business of Work 3.0
Many potential business ideas could be designed around the concept of work 3.0. Some examples include:
A platform for connecting independent workers with clients and employers could use blockchain to securely record and verify transactions between parties, allowing workers to be paid directly in cryptocurrency.
A service that helps workers manage their multiple sources of income could use cryptocurrency as a payment option, allowing workers to easily receive and track payments from different sources.
A software tool that uses artificial intelligence to assist workers could incorporate blockchain technology to securely store and manage data, ensuring privacy and security.
A co-working space could accept cryptocurrency as payment for workspace rentals, allowing workers to easily and securely pay for their workspace without the need for a traditional bank account.
A training program could include lessons on blockchain and cryptocurrency, teaching workers how to use these technologies to improve their business and financial management.
Out of all these opportunities, the most scalable one would be that of a microtask platform that is powered by the blockchain.
What is a Microtask platform?
A microtask platform is a website or app that allows individuals to earn money by completing small tasks, often referred to as "microtasks." These tasks can be as simple as verifying the accuracy of a piece of information, completing a survey, or transcribing a short audio clip. For workers, a microtask platform offers a flexible way to earn income on their terms. They can choose when and how much they work, and they can complete tasks from anywhere with an internet connection.
Benefits to Web3-native workers
One of the key benefits of a microtask platform is its flexibility. For workers, this means that they can choose when and how much they work, and they can work from anywhere with an internet connection.
This is particularly useful for people with irregular schedules or who need to balance work with other responsibilities, such as raising a family, pursuing further education or even someone who has a full-time job.
A microtask platform can also provide an additional source of income for people who are unable to work full-time or who are looking for a way to earn extra money on the side. Because microtasks are small and simple, they can be completed quickly and easily, allowing workers to earn money without a significant time investment.
Benefits to Web3 projects
For businesses, a microtask platform can help to address several pain points. One common challenge faced by many businesses is the need to outsource certain types of work, such as data entry or transcription. Traditional outsourcing options, such as hiring full-time employees or contracting with a third-party company, can be expensive and inflexible.
A microtask platform, on the other hand, allows businesses to outsource work on a piecemeal basis, paying only for the tasks that are completed. This can be a much more cost-effective way to get work done.
Another pain point for businesses is the need to access a global pool of talent. In today's economy, the best person for the job is often not located in the same city or even the same country as the business. A microtask platform can provide businesses with access to a global pool of talent, allowing them to find the best person for the job, no matter where they are located. This can be particularly useful for businesses that need to find workers with specialized skills or who need to work in multiple languages.
In addition to providing flexibility and access to a global pool of talent, a microtask platform can also help businesses to get work done quickly and efficiently. Because microtasks are small and simple, they can be completed quickly and easily, allowing businesses to get work done without waiting for lengthy approval processes or dealing with complex contracts. This can help businesses to be more agile and responsive to changing market conditions.
Blockchain as a technology - not as a currency
This thesis has been tested before by other projects between 2017-2018, but none of those projects succeed. The biggest problem encountered is that they all issue a native token as a reward. Obviously, from the experience of P2E games, we know the problem caused by having inflationary tokens and how the value of these tokens eventually go to zero.
I believe blockchain should be used as a technology layer, not as a currency when building such a platform.
One way to enhance these benefits is by incorporating smart contracts into the platform. A smart contract is a self-executing contract with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code. This means that the contract is automatically enforced and executed without the need for intermediaries or manual intervention.
In the context of a microtask platform, smart contracts can be used to automate the process of paying workers for their completed tasks. This can help to ensure that workers are paid quickly and accurately, without the need for complex payment systems or intermediaries. It can also help to reduce the risk of disputes or disagreements between workers and businesses because the terms of the contract are clearly defined and automatically enforced.
Additionally, smart contracts can be used to automate other aspects of the platform, such as the allocation of tasks and the review and approval of completed work. This can help to streamline the process of getting work done, making it even more efficient and effective.
The future of work is a huge problem to solve, and it also presents a very large opportunity for the team who can solve this (or even part of it). We will start seeing more Web 3 teams create solutions for Work 3.0, and these projects will equalise unemployment and create an immense positive social impact on the future of our world.