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Last October, studies were published claiming that 36% of the US workforce had freelanced in 2017; with tangible predictions that these numbers will increase to 50.9% within a decade if the current trends continue.
Today’s status quo of the freelancing sector has been greatly influenced by significant, convergent socio-economic developments. In the Western hemisphere, the 2008 great recession had a huge impact on the value proposition offered by traditional employer. This is in addition to increasing tenancy prices in central business locations, growing populations, and increasing commute times & costs for many.
Arguably, the exponential increase that we’re seeing in self-employed ‘freelancers’ wouldn’t have been possible if not for the rise and evolution of online freelancing platforms and marketplaces. The study we discussed previously was, in fact, co-commissioned by one of these websites.
Why do some people claim that Freelance Sites are conning the pros?
You’re likely to find negative customer feedback and press relating to almost every company if you search hard enough on the internet. But some organisations face greater controversies than others, of course.
With the ‘gig economy’, it seems that the platform service providers collectively draw more critical ire than your average industrial sector. Just take a look at the official Trustpilot page for PeoplePerHour. Their aggregate rating from users currently sits at 6.7/10.
This may sound above average feedback at first glance. However, if you know anything about customer review systems, you’ll know that people usually leave either the highest possible score, or the lowest one. This is certainly true in this case, with 50% of the reviews being 10/10, and 32% being 0/10.
More concerning is the fact that these issues are not limited to PeoplePerHour. Competitors, such as Upwork, often suffer the same bad reviews. These are often written by both clients and freelancers.
The Pros and the Cons
The most common complaints found when searching for customer feedback on these types of companies are as follows:
- “extortion [of] personal sensitive data” – which is unproven, but somewhat believable considering other scandals such as the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica fiasco.
- A lack of quality control or enforcement of defined obligations – with regards to the standard of work delivered by freelancers, as well as late deliveries.
- High commission and service fee costs – this has been reported as a problem affecting both clients and freelancers.
- Slow payment processing times – caused by the platform itself, resulting in an unnecessary increase in financial instability for the freelancers.
That is not to say that it’s all bad of course, and as such it bears mentioning some of the reasons that people started to use these platforms, and continue to do so despite their flaws…
- Access to an international marketplace – of both freelancers and employers; users are unbound by geographical boundaries for the most part, due to integrates messaging and voice calling tools.
- Variety of Payment Options – most of these websites have established partnerships with various payment providers, such as google; as well as the standard Visa / Mastercard etc.
- Itemised financial/transactional records – providing both clients and freelancers with comprehensive access to essential accounting data.
A Decentralized Blockchain Solution?
The ‘Blue Whale Network’ is the name of the ground-breaking new platform for the gig economy. One of their key partners is Verlocal: a cloud service and SaaS company founded in 2014, which currently operates locally across the US, Canada, and Singapore.
Whilst the company have a strong reputation in the freelancing and B2B sectors, Blue Whale marks their first foray into decentralized Blockchain-based solutions. At its core, it presents a global marketplace system for employers and freelance service providers. And it’s looking highly promising for more than one reason.
By combining their industrial expertise with Blockchain technology, Blue Whale is set to overcome the common customer complaints levied against their competitors.
With both a decentralized economy and a proprietary coin (BWX), all payments on the Blue Whale network would theoretically be processed almost immediately. This would even include weekends, and other holidays affecting bank opening times.
While on the subject, it should be said that the removal of traditional intermediaries such as international banking systems, and the need for fiat currency conversions are just two reasons for reduced user costs. Furthermore, the inclusion of these features will likely attract many freelancers, which would result in the quick development of a valuable community.
Blue Whale: What’s more and Why for?
There are a handful of additional disruptive and unexpected benefits which Blue Whale has proposed (white paper here). To name a few…
- Long-term employment benefits for loyal freelancers and service providers.
- Provision of powerful tools for both freelancers and employers, such as CRM, bookings. and marketing software.
- Exchangeable proprietary currency, which will soon be listed on exchanges.
- The first ever new coin based on the ICON blockchain, meaning it’s receiving an advanced level of direct support and cooperation with the chain’s development team
Check out Blue Whale’s official website if you are interested in learning more about this innovative new project. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for big news regarding forthcoming partnerships with traditional (or ‘centralized’) businesses. Furthermore, the organisation has been incrementally growing their talent, having recently added Mai Gang, co-founder of OKCoin, to the team.
The Blue Whale pre-ICO sale recently finished with complete success, raising 25 mln Singapore Dollars. They have slated their public sale for a May launch.