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The flexibility and variety of a freelance lifestyle attracts many people. However, at the same time, the constant change and lack of security may discourage equal numbers. A variety of ideas and projects have sprung up to find ways to support freelancers and those working in the gig economy. While the solutions are new, the challenges are well-known. At the moment, the lack of a pension is a problem that, for the most part, is able to be ignored. This is because the gig economy simply hasn’t been around long enough for long-term results to be observed.
We have seen one new marketplace make all payments in bitcoin to help freelancers and small businesses work internationally while avoiding the fees and loss of money through currency exchange. A micro-jobs app is connecting users who need assistance with odd tasks with those possessing the skill set to help. The app includes an additional social media aspect that has been designed to develop other job prospects for workers.
The Blue Whale Foundation is developing some of these freelancer support services even further by creating a single platform for use by workers, referrers, businesses and consumers. Specifically created to solve three of the integral problems of freelancing, the Foundation is issuing Blue Whale eXchange (BWX) currency for use on the platform. The Foundation’s Contribution Activity Manager (CAM) allows anyone to earn money. This can be done by making referrals through the site, thus democratizing the currently very expensive advertising systems dominated by internet giants such as Google and Facebook.
Decentralized Associated Network (DAN) provides a free software-as-a-service toolkit that includes customer relationship management systems and booking and scheduling tools. This helps small businesses and individuals avoid paying for expensive and large software systems. The Reward Bank (ReBa) will manage the BWX currency and oversee and provide benefits (particularly pensions and paid time off) that are traditionally only available to salaried employees. How could platforms like this partner with recent graduates and certain industries to strengthen pipelines into paid work?