That means there are a lot of independent contractors, consultants and solopreneurs dealing with the headaches of getting paid: tracking lost invoices, ensuring payments arrive on time and chasing deadbeat clients.
But now blockchain startups are stepping in and hoping to make a business out of helping freelancers manage their relationships with clients and get paid.
One company helps employers to post openings and connect with freelancers. Its Ethereum-based platform manages the contract and payment.
“Most freelancers and clients will tell you of the horrendous hassles involved in settling a dispute,” Michael Kaiser, the CEO of tells ThirtyK. “The [court fee to settle disputes] is apparently the least annoying thing for everyone involved. It’s more about the unfair and sluggish way disputes are handled by the authorities.”
The Blockchain Answer
Blocklancer describes itself as a distributed autonomous job marketplace operating on the Ethereum platform. It helps freelancers and clients find one another. Disputes over work are resolved by holders of the company’s Lancer utility token (LNC), who vote on them in what Blocklancer calls its Tokenholder Tribunal. As an incentive to participate, they’re rewarded with ether (), the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.
“It is our belief that a completely self-regulatory system is the best solution,” Kaiser says. “Most of the decisions made on our platform are in the hands of the tokenholders, which means that there won’t be one single authoritarian instance with an uncontrollable amount of influence on the market.”
Blocklancer isn’t alone. Another company, called , is also targeting freelancers’ invoices. The company helps employers to post openings and connect with freelancers. Its Ethereum-based platform manages the contract and payment.
Coinlancer’s website describes a five-step process: client and freelancer agree to terms, client deposits funds in an escrow account, freelancer delivers the project, the client approves the project and then the escrowed funds are disbursed to the freelancer. Payments are made in the company’s Coinlancer () tokens. Like Blocklancer, Coinlancer has a “tribunal” in which users vote on contract violations.
As of today, Blocklancer has 879 registered users for its beta test. Coinlancer’s website says it has more than 70 million of its tokens in circulation. Both companies charge 3 percent per transaction, which Coinlancer says is much less than traditional freelancing platforms charging about 15 percent.