The gig economy is on the rise with stats showing that millions of workers every year are choosing to trade their traditional employment for work on a per-project-basis. This is not surprising. The benefits that come with being a gig worker are huge. Contractors in the gig economy can choose whom to work with, often ditch the commute, enjoy more flexible schedules and a high income potential.
But being a gig worker is not all roses. Aside the downside of missing out on the health and retirement benefits that traditional workers enjoy as employees, one common issue is the ‘double-edged sword’ that gig platforms represent.
The gig economy is largely centralized and powered by platforms such as Uber, Airbnb, Fiverr, etc. which are the middlemen through which the worker is connected to and paid by the customer. They facilitate the crucial connections that keep the gig economy moving, for a fee of course. This is a good thing. But it’s also where the problem lies.
Due to the often high service fees these platforms charge, many gig workers only use and tolerate them as of necessity. It’s common for gig workers to lament the platforms taking a large percentage of a job’s value without offering many of the benefits traditional workers enjoy as employees. Plus, some of them hold payment for as long as three weeks before the gig worker can make withdrawals.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are often seen as possible solutions to these problems. The blockchain ledger system, with its rigidity and immutability, can be the perfect channel where contracts can be executed, communications stored and payments processed swiftly and securely, according to Zach Salter, co-founder of blockchain and cryptocurrency investment firm Zima Digital Assets.
I had a quick chat with him and he shares with me some important ways blockchain and cryptocurrencies can impact the gig economy and create more leverage for gig workers. He also shares some actionable tips…