From Uber Eats to Era Swap: Decentralizing the Gig Economy

The gig economy is a wide-ranging term which is synonymous with the exponential growth in temporary-contract individuals pervading almost all sectors of business. Whilst it most often refers to the practice of self-employment and freelancing, the remote-working methodology has spread to teams of full-time staff as well.

As a likely result, employment in the UK has seen an exponential growth over the past decade. Since October 2013, the national employment rate has grown” from 72% in October – December of 2013 to 75.5% in August of 1975.

High levels of employment can have positive implications on the economy due to increased productivity and spending power, however there are simultaneous adverse effects as well.

Rise of the Freelancer

The gig economy manifests itself in many different types of business and work discipline. Predating the term is the activities of executive level leadership, who are known to work remotely on a frequent basis to manage critical business activities. Similarly, freelance and agency-based work has existed for a long time, in fields such as care work; and doctors are regularly ‘on-call’.

What is different between these examples and those within the gig economy however is job stability, such as a regular and predictable periodical wage. Additional flaws include the lack of any benefits for employers (like private healthcare) – as well as a lack of consistency and accountability on behalf of the worker.

This approach to the purchase and selling of professional contracts serves to reduce overhead costs: resulting in the creation of a highly competitive product which can offer customers and partners (including employees) low prices and fees when compared to their traditional counterparts.

Popular examples of and pioneers within the gig economy at present include: Uber, Deliveroo, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and many others. Adjacent to this is the sharing economy which encompasses services such as Airbnb.

Blockchains of Freedom

The lack of consistency offered by these services with regards to performance quality is equalled in their data security protocols and database storage mechanisms. Many who work in the gig economy rely on a multitude of websites and service providers in order to maximise their professional portfolio, exposure and most important of all: wages.

In order to do this however, one would have to install a cornucopia of software applications on their arsenal of communications devices like Windows, iOS, Android and computer web-browsers.

All of these applications require the user to sign-up using personal identification information as well as a secure password, and all of them store their data utilising their own respective protocols, server, and language standards. This prevents any form of user interoperability between sites.

This data is stored on each respective companies’ private storage systems according to each’s own set of rules. The problems with this are immediately evident: storing qualitative and quantitative data in a centralized location leaves it vulnerable to attack, corruption, and a host of other problems.

Decentralizing the Gig Economy

The inherent flaws that can be observed in existing gig-economy service solutions are enigmatic, but thanks to nascent technology such as blockchain and smart-contracts, they can be all-but-solved. Just as Bitcoin has revolutionised the finance and investment, helping to challenge many of their problems.

One example of such a project comes in the form of the Era Swap Ecosystem, which is a blockchain suite of tools aimed at what the team describes as a way for people to “tokenize time as a service”: peer-to-peer (P2P) without the requirement of conventional third parties or middle-men to manually facilitate payments or escrow.

Era Swap Ecosystem comes from the core team behind KMPARDS, and aims to supersede existing rivals by using blockchain to ensure absolute transparency, accountability, automated contractual enforcement, and a significant reduction in the fees charged to both service providers and customers.

Additional use cases include internet learning programs (courtesy of KMPARDS), and anything a developer can conceive of through use of a series of essential products. These include ‘Blockology’, and e-learning mobile application with bilingual capabilities; ‘Time Swappers’, a decentralized community-based marketplace’ and a high security wallet system (featuring multi-factor and biometric authentication) called ‘Era Swap Wallet’.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.