You’re in your cubicle. The local radio station distracts you with 4/4 beats, and a DJ whispering sweet nothings through the airwaves. In other cubicles, co-workers bide their time, waiting for the time when they can clock out and meander to the local lowbrow lounge and drink away the pent up energy accumulated from a long day sitting on their asses. Beyond that, they’re looking forward to payday.
When you’re at work, you’re not that stoked. You answer emails in between a sojourn through the land of Facebook or Reddit (maybe your cat photos are going to make it to the front page). You’re waiting for two days each month: payday, the first and fifteenth.
They don’t come soon enough, and in between it’s a grueling wait. You’re just waiting to get paid, a simple deposit in your bank account or a cheque. It works well enough. You wait for that day, so you may buy new clothing or even just to pay rent. God forbid you don’t get paid. You got kids to feed! (or, less pressing, some marijuana or alcohol to buy)
What does blockchain have to do with all of this?
“Blockchain” refers a distributed ledger, championed by some financial technologists as a great means of transmitting data, and theoreticians today have speculated that the decentralized digital currencies of today’s internet- such as Bitcoin – are in many ways just certain types of data. What Bitcoin does best is transmit value in the form of data across borders, between whomever, quickly and seamlessly. This means payments have never been easier. Thus, payday can be made easier, also. Hell, why not make every day payday?
Many early Bitcoiners claimed they were looking to aid the world by helping build the online creation community known as Bitcoin. In fact, Bitcoin has made many people’s lives easier. In the early days of Bitcoin, one of the most popular Bitcoin projects was from the world of remittances. That in and of itself is a testament to what Bitcoin can do.
So, now, you’re in the age of the blockchain and you’re sitting at work reading through cat memes, and all of the sudden new technology undermines ADP (or is adopted by ADP) and makes it so that workers can receive wages in real-time.
Let’s do a thought experiment.
Let’s say your boss comes to you and he’s contracted with a new payroll technology company and one of their options is to pay every hour or every day, thanks to blockchain technology. So henceforth, your boss (who you think is actually kind of an asshole) informs you, you’ll be receiving your paycheck daily in the form of a digital token pegged to the currency of your choice. Now, you love him. Since you got bills to pay, you peg it to the currency of the national market system where you live.
Now, depending on what sort of technology evolves, there’s numerous means in which you could make payable that pegged asset. You could, down to the dollar, allocate it to as many different value options as you’d like: airline miles with incentives, prepaid accounts, Bitcoin or even just send it to your mainstream financial institution as, potentially, an ACH. Or, perhaps, the blockchain technology allows you to get paid hourly or daily as a plugin to your bank, so you can clear transactions immediately in 24 hours. Certain Bitcoin technology features mean that, getting paid on the hour is unlikely with that system, but there’s reason to experiment upon a system tuned to this use-case could evolve over time.
When you get paid once a week, once every two weeks or even once a month, you’re essentially making a loan to your employer sans interest. This new blockchain model – where workers are paid immediately upon finishing project or a pre-agreed upon amount of time – will inspire workers to work harder, since they are now potentially further excited by the hourly funds. There’s no doubt those enterprises which adapt the fairest payment terms in regards to new technologies abetting the example above could stand to gain the most qualified workers.
There are already some blockchain companies working in the payroll space, like BitWage.
Featured image from Shutterstock.