The freelancing industry is growing. In fact, freelancers bring in over $1.4 trillion a year. It is estimated that in a mere decade, freelancers will outnumber traditional full-time employees.
One reason for the boom in the popularity of freelancing is the growth of technology. Technology has shown many workers that working a typical 9–5 in an office is not the only way to earn a living. For some employees, the advent of technology in the workplace has led to working from home more frequently. Many others have turned to freelancing full-time.
Why do many choose remote work?
Remote work has a multitude of benefits. Possibly the most useful benefit is the worker’s ability to choose when and where they work. For some, working from home is the most productive use of their time. Perhaps they have responsibilities that are best handled during their workday at home. And some people simply prefer working in a setting other than an office, like at a library or a park. A preference for alternative work hours could be a factor, too. Some people get the most done in the early hours of the morning, while others are most efficient late at night.
Working remotely gives people the freedom to choose what works for them instead of having a workday dictated to them. It allows people to be their own boss, and work on their own terms, while still delivering high-quality work to their clients.
However, freelancing comes with many pitfalls. Both freelancers and their clients face problems because there are no set procedures for how freelancing should be done.
Thus, there is a lot of insecurity and instability in the industry. For example, freelancers sometimes struggle to be paid on time — and some aren’t paid at all. On the flip side, some clients are victims of scams, where a “freelancer” wants payment up front and then disappears without doing their job.
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Blockchain could solve many of these problems, while also encouraging more people to choose remote work. It is a platform with many features that would prove useful to those in the freelancing world. Blockchain-based systems are secure, unbiased, and incorruptible. Freelancers and their clients would be able to send and receive assignments, as well as perform monetary transactions, using blockchain.
The benefits of smart contracts
Blockchain uses open ledgers and smart contracts for its data storage and transactions. Smart contracts are self-executing, self-enforcing contracts. They are governed by the explicit terms and conditions laid out within them.
By using smart contracts, all parties involved in a business relationship have an accurate record of the contract, so everyone is always aware of where they stand and what expectations exist. This transparency is vital for a trusting, fruitful relationship to thrive. Additionally, smart contracts cannot be altered by anyone on a whim. Alterations have to be decided and agreed upon by the majority of parties involved, making instances of corruption and dodgy dealings near impossible.
Smart contracts also add an element of speed to dealings, because they cut out the need for document processing and intermediaries (such as lawyers and banks). And since these contracts are self-executing, freelancers always receive their pay on time, as long as clients receive their work by the agreed-upon deadline. All parties win.
Cheaper money transfers
Transaction fees for money transfers average around 7.45% globally, according to the World Trade Bank. And in developing markets, remittance fees tend to be even higher. The good news is that in the last ten years, global remittance prices have dropped by almost 2.5% on average. But there’s still room for improvement.
That’s where blockchain comes in. Blockchain has disrupted most of today’s industries. And now it will threaten middlemen in all facets of the economy. Because blockchain-based systems have such a variety of uses, middlemen become obsolete. Freelancers are able to interact directly with clients and conduct transactions without the need for a centralized service — or fees.
This is already happening in international money transfers. OpenBazaar has 0% transaction fees on its Bitcoin marketplace, and many new blockchain-based freelance systems have promised negligible fees of between 0% and 1%.
No bank account? No problem
Payments made with cryptocurrency are instantaneous — even payments that are international. This is a huge plus for freelancers, who would be able to use their funds immediately upon approval instead of having to wait for days to access their money.
Cryptocurrency payments would also be useful to those without access to a bank account, which is a staggering 39% of the world’s population. Today, although many people are able to use the internet, not everyone is able to access a bank.
Remote workers reap the benefits of blockchain
Blockchain technology presents an opportunity for remote workers to improve the stability in their field. By providing transparency and increased accountability, blockchain will give freelancers and clients alike a level of security that currently does not exist in the world of remote work.