“One of the challenges of being a freelancer is the amount you can get paid is strictly limited to the time you got, the time you put in,” says Colony founder Jack du Rose, speaking to CCN. “So, if you go on holiday or break an arm, you’re unable to do any of that work for many weeks.”
He recalls the time he broke his arm and fell behind with work. “Clients got annoyed with me,” he remembers, “and I didn’t get paid. That’s a real challenge every freelancer faces.”
Forbes recently conjectured approximately 35% of the U.S. workforce currently freelances. That figure is expected to increase 50%. “Software is going to need to mediate those relationships,” says founder Jack du Rose. Colony, he portends, is that project.
“Colony enables people to not only simply work for money,” du Rose claims. “They’re working for true egalitarian shared ownership of something in which they become an owner on equal footing. Nobody has a preferred position.”
The concept in this Ethereum-based system is simple. The more a participant in the network works, the more they can own.
“And that ownership can get them recurring income based on work they’ve done,” du Rose believes. “They find projects they believe in and ensure they continue to earn. They put their work into something in the early days, and get a bit of a taste of entrepreneurialism.”
Colony overall strives to make business more efficient. Like many startups, they consider blockchain an answer. The startup wants to bridge the freelancing world with foremost blockchain technologies like Ethereum. The goal is to make it easy for people start organizations together online from all over the world.
“A decentralized governance and community collaboration platform for contributing ideas, making decisions, doing work, giving feedback on the work of others and building reputation,” according to du Rose.
After riding the roller coaster of early Bitcoin adoption – “when it was more Wild West than it is now” – du Rose ended up losing bitcoins to a scam. He began to investigate Bitcoin closer.
“I realized the blockchain and proof of work could be seen as an information mechanism,” he said. “And I wondered if I could apply similar principles to work force use blockchain to manage supply chain this was before ethereum came along.”
Rather than organizing around a company, the rules of engagement by various parties working for an organization can also be enforced by a smart contract, du Rose submits. “In some way, there is no need or less of a need to sit in the middle, and as long as incentives are aligned appropriately, individuals can be self organized like the miners in bitcoins. No one tells miners what to do, and miners don’t need to ask permission. There is a clear set of rules.”
Colony is designed for arbitrary work assignments, with people coming along to pick a work relevant to them. Others in this organization can receive rewards for doing so.
“That reward might be money, ether, some other coin as well, or ownership of that organization,” he said. “Colony will be open and ask to do work. It will entirely depend on the nature of the work.”
Colony is being developed in two components, there’s a protocol and a client. “The protocol will be entirely open source and will encourage people to come along and build their own applications on top of it,” du Rose intends. “We are already being approached for people building insurance applications for claims handling.”
The people layer a decentralized application, decentralized governance by people, within that application, would make it a lot easier to implement that.
“Decentralized apps that rely on network effect are the things that get built on ethereum and Colony can facilitate and I think it’s a very sort of provocative and controversial notion,” he said. “I perceive a future in which a new form of sort of economic competition is the norm. [Colony] enables, or is a catalyst for, a post capitalist business model. A business model of decentralized protocols.
He notes recent token sales popular in the blockchain could revolutionize society. “It changes the nature of the organization of the company from Capitalist model,” du Rose says.
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