If you are asking, "What's a Blockchain?" –
it's time you educated yourself. One day you may look back with
amusement that you even asked this question, the same way you
probably chuckle when you picture yourself in 1994 asking
"What's an internet?" According to Adam's
article, Blockchain technology will soon lead to a similar "
seismic revolution in our society," similar to the way the
world wide interwebs has changed nearly every facet of our lives
over the past 20 years.
As Adan explains it, "in a nutshell, Blockchain technology
allows people to exchange things of value with one another without
the trusted middlemen we normally rely on to authenticate
transactions, such as governments, banks, or even ride-sharing
platforms. It allows us to authenticate and exchange assets, like
virtual currency, intellectual property, titles, credentials,
resumes, contracts, and personal data, on a decentralized virtual
ledger. It is a decentralized database that stores a ledger of
assets and transactions across a peer-to-peer network, and uses its
network to authenticate transactions. Authentic transactions are
then cryptographically secured and stored in blocks of data, which
in turn are cryptographically linked and secured. This allows
Blockchain transactions to be verified, monitored, and enforced
without the presence of a trusted third-party or
Where things get really interesting for the purposes of our blog
is the expected ramifications this new technology will have on the
As Adam says:
As with all Blockchain applications, the technology allows
workers in the gig, or sharing, economy to operate without a
trusted third-party intermediary; in this case, the business
connecting gig workers and consumers. Blockchain could give workers
even more freedom than they currently enjoy and customers the
potential for increased savings.
Here is how it would work. Instead of using an existing
ride-sharing service, driver Ozzy and passenger Sharon would use a
new ride-sharing application that interfaces with a Blockchain on
their smartphones. Sharon would request a ride on the new app, and
Ozzy, whose driving credentials had previously been authenticated
and uploaded to the Blockchain, would accept Sharon's
The network would then authenticate the transaction and any
requisite conditions, such as a driver's license verification.
Once authenticated and complete, the transaction would be entered
on the Blockchain as a block of data. Passenger payment and driver
reviews could also be entered. The transaction record exists
permanently and may be viewed by the next person seeking a ride
from Ozzy or the next driver responding to a request from
All gig businesses, not just ride-sharing services, could face
the impending challenge of irrelevancy with this new technology. It
is unlikely, however, that behemoths like Uber and Airbnb will
allow smaller competitors running applications on Blockchain to
dethrone them. These entities incorporating Blockchain into their
existing business model is a much more likely probability. However,
if you operate in a sharing economy business, you should start
planning to use the technology before your workers develop their
own and realize they don't need you.
Blockchain would certainly save gig companies on recordkeeping
costs, but it also has the potential to do something far greater:
end the argument about whether gig workers are misclassified as
independent contractors. By incorporating Blockchain technology
into their existing models, gig employers can act simply as user
interfaces programmed to use a Blockchain to facilitate
transactions between workers and customers. Further relinquishing
control over workers could put to an end the expensive legal
challenges that have cost gig companies dearly.
As I said above,
the whole thing is worth a read. Carve out five minutes from
your day and get on the Blockchain train now.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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