The gig economy was booming before the pandemic; now it’s exploding, with one third of Americans taking on freelance work that contributed $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy – a 22% increase from 2019. But the surge in digital platforms connecting freelancers with short-term and long-term work hasn’t been without growing pains. On one hand, gig economy workers lack financial security and recourse when it comes to late or absent payments. On the other hand, job requesters worry that AI bots used to complete work requests are lowering the overall accuracy and quality of work.
Centralized platforms that rely on traditional payment solutions are open to these flaws, which limit the full potential of the gig economy to mutually benefit job requesters and workers. On the flip side, blockchain technology has paved the way for a trustless, automated solution for powering decentralized labor markets and guaranteeing fair, fast payment. HUMAN Protocol is one such solution, providing a framework for creating and automating decentralized job marketplaces for human-powered tasks.
“Unlike centralized platforms, HUMAN Protocol gives companies the ability to create their own labor markets, launch task bounties and connect directly with a globally representative workforce,” said Alex Newman, Tech Lead at the HUMAN Protocol Foundation, where his team is working with the greater blockchain ecosystem to build out the tooling and implementations developers need to interact with HUMAN’s protocol.
“We believe that this will have a significant impact on the trillion-dollar gig economy, as it becomes more and more integral to the global workforce.”
Last week, HUMAN Protocol announced it will replace its existing oracle architecture with Chainlink’s decentralized oracle network to enable a more flexible and robust cross-chain deployment. HUMAN Protocol will leverage Chainlink’s oracle infrastructure in several ways:
Exchange Oracles will pick up tasks with pre-funded bounties, manage the bidding on job types and direct tasks toward HUMAN’s distributed work pools across Ethereum, Polkadot and Solana. Chainlink Price Feeds will provide payment exchange rates to ensure workers are properly compensated.
Reputation Oracles will evaluate the quality of the work submitted and release work bounties in escrow upon validation of results. Reputation Oracles will also calculate Reputation Scores on a per-job basis and record these scores on-chain.
Proof-of-Humanity Oracles will bring the gold standard of captchas to crypto wallets like MetaMask in order to prevent bots from spamming job bids or submitting incomplete jobs. By using captchas to confirm that crypto wallet interactions are from real human activity, the Proof-of-Humanity oracle solution will authenticate human labor, deter the use of bots and reduce nefarious activities by bad actors.
By creating a meritocratic workforce and guaranteeing fast, fair payments, HUMAN Protocol is living up to its name. Reputation Scores as well as anonymous proofs-of-humanity will enable early detection of abuse. “By keeping a rolling cache of Reputation Scores, HUMAN Protocol’s system is able to incentivize good actors by building a system that prioritizes rewarding workers who follow best practices,” Newman said.
Chainlink Price Feeds will automate workers’ compensation no matter which blockchain is being used, ensuring that payments are direct, in real-time and easily converted or swapped for a local currency with faster processing and lower fees. “We believe this will have a tremendous impact on the gig economy, from data labelers to part-time skill workers,” Newman said.
Proof-of-Humanity, which enables the same standard of captcha for blockchain as there is for the rest of the internet, will be particularly impactful. By requiring the user to complete a captcha, which is then relayed on-chain by the oracle, the Proof-of-Humanity oracle service can be used to enable vital functions such as on-chain governance, where each vote must be validated by a captcha in order to be counted.
When HUMAN Protocol was first built, it didn’t have the oracle infrastructure it needed to fulfill its vision. In Newman’s view, HUMAN’s integration with Chainlink could mean that now the sky’s the limit: “Chainlink provides the full architecture and reputation system that is key to the vision of decentralization of HUMAN Protocol.”
Read more about Chainlink’s latest integrations here.