Does Blockchain Leads to Unemployment? What About New Positions?
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June 7th, 2022

New technologies introduces new positions and supersede old positions. Only those whom can adapt thrives.

Some have significant difference in its new and old positions, while others are somewhat similar with new tools. Those with smaller difference includes electrical saw replacing axe in lumberjack sector, electrical motors replacing human rowers in boats, etc. These don’t easily lose their job, providing the lumberjack is willing to invest in an electrical saw and learns how to use it, for example. Learning to adapt and learning the new platform/technology retain their job.

Not every technological changes are that lucky. Consider industrial revolution: factories introduce frontline workers and supersede blacksmith, cloth makers, handcraft makers, etc. Digger car supersede human diggers. Taxi drivers supersede horse carriage drivers and human carriages (carriages pulled by single human or carriages carried by at least four humans). Self-serving machines replacing human cashiers. Blacksmith understand the process of making metal, but they not necessary can become frontline workers nor managers. Someone knowing how to use a shovel not necessarily know how to drive a digger car. A single digger car replaces many human diggers, more unemployment than new positions. Cashier can become salesperson; but if the supermarket have enough salesperson already, unless cashier directly migrate to fix bugs on the self-serving machine, they risk losing their job. What jobs are open and closed for blockchain technology?

If your job is helping customers to open a new bank account, it most likely superseded. Your other responsibility may retain, but opening a new wallet replaces opening a new bank account. There’s no need for a bank account on the blockchain. Banks can survive as another entity, like CEX (Binance Exchanges, etc); but banks itself, not really. Workers originally working on banks may work as a consultant, but positions specific to traditional banks will be closed. Bank positions most likely changes to consultant or CEX positions.

Consultant: people whom need help managing their money, or people whom don’t have time or don’t know how to open a wallet could pay a fee to consultants to help them.

Similarly, with top-down hierarchies replaced with flat hierarchies, top level executives lose their original jobs. Specifically, the Board of Directors whom originally decides the direction of the company lose their jobs, replaced by communities making the decisions of the company’s future. There are less top-down hierarchies in Blockchain, like a manager directing what work to whom, and themselves looking at broader future while those below him/her works on the details. These are necessary positions. It’s those position that generally don’t contribute much (or they thought they contribute much, day-dreaming that they’re important, but actually their position can be easily replaced by the general community/users) risk losing their jobs.

Physical workers might lose their job. For some job like developers, after trying remote work and pay workers depending on their contribution, it’s difficult to think of hiring someone full time and pay by hours. Remote work means hiring freelancers working on a single project (just like open-source having multiple freelancers working on a project, except they get paid, preferably with crypto), then based on their contribution they get paid. This reduces paying people for idle time, and can pay more to people whom contribute more. In this case, hiring a developer full-time doesn’t make sense, so developer lose their full-time job, adopting as freelancers available for anyone to hire. As for other sectors, one aren’t sure whether physical workers still stay or not; perhaps, perhaps not. Expert on the sectors may experiment with what’s best. Generally, those that ace the interview but not really strong with their skills risk losing their job when freelancing replaces full-time hiring.

How their contributions are calculated is another story. They are determined by experimentation with those involved, and always updating how it calculates contribution. Different for different positions, different sectors, etc.

Basically, anyone that don’t adopt quickly to changing technologies lose their job. Teachers can lose their job if the country decides for online teaching via video lectures and courses. Content creators can lose their jobs if they persist on selling their “content” instead of open-source them, then sell their contents as “collection” or “(extra) benefits” (ahem, NFTs). Website owners can lose their job if they don’t put at least one foot into the waters of web3 (read more here). The species that survives today adapt to their environment quick enough before they got extinct.

How about New Jobs?

Yeap, there are plenty. Startups almost always offer positions to fill up. A new idea attract startups. It’s a healthy loop for more job positions. Though, most of these positions are open only to experienced workers, and door closed to newcomers based on their “requirement list”.

And blockchain work is more than traditional 40-hours work-week. Apart from freelancing and remote work, we also seen people earning from various other sources, like contributing data to the platform (be it web3 social media, web3 writing platform like Mirror, or others), participating in events (competitions, quiz, etc also earns money, except they’re more easier to strive higher (and hence earn) than in other more competitive fields like Machine Learning Kaggle Competitions), and even playing games. Blockchain introduces other ways to earn income for everyone, easier than how we earn today. Anyone could participate in a quiz, and whoever is more prepared can win and earn. Today web2 doesn’t really directly pay you money for winning quiz, do they? And to ensure distributive, NEAR Protocol official quiz (hold on official Discord or Telegram) started distributing earnings to everyone whom manages to answer questions rather than just the “top 10”.

My dad likes to talk about “active” and “passive” income, saying that we cannot depend on passive income to earn a decent amount. That’s wrong. First, active and passive income is not to say, you can only earn enough with active income, and passive is as a side earnings. Active income just means you actively work for the income. Example: gaming is said to be “passive income”; but there are people whom play to earn on Axie Infinity that earns them a decent amount, so gaming for them is “active income”.

Ok, one makes it confusing. Let’s say this: it’s not the “activity” or “passitivity” of income that matters; what matters is whether you earn enough money to pay whatever you need to pay. If you earn enough with passive income, you could always find some active work to do, irregardless whether the work earns you money or you do it voluntarily. Without much research, top-level executives work seems to me as half-active-half-passive income. The Board of Directors mostly leads the company; and that’s basically it. So when they lead, they’re performing it actively; other times they’re passively earning money. Who says they don’t earn enough with “passive income”?

Are Old Businesses Going Away Sooner?

It depends. In my opinion, not really.

Consider trust. Blockchain platform creates a trustlessness platform, so we don’t need users’ trust for them to trust (lol tongue twisters) the platform. Users can trust by checking out the source code. People whom can’t understand source code will choose to find videos that introduce the platform, and agree that the video maker checks the source code (by trusting the person) and there are no backdoor or something (by trusting the person) (video maker is also called YouTuber). In the end, end users still trust someone, it’s not totally trustlessness. Trustlessness is only for people who can understand the source code; other people choose to trust people whom said the platform is legit, whether or not that person whom introduce them to the platform understand the source code.

Since everything operates on trust, and will always operate on trust, the conglomerate nowadays (Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, etc) haven’t defied our trust yet. Most people choose smart trust: to trust someone until the person/entity betray their expectations. As long as the trust remains, people would continue to use the platform they’re familiar with without caring about any new things that come up (at least for most people whom want familiarity + lazy to change to something else similar/new.) Similarly, a platform only earns its audiences if the audience trust the platform. “Trustlessness” actually is an illusion. It’s not “not require to trust”, but moving the trust from trusting a person/entity to trusting the platform. When many users use the platform and it operates as they expected it to, the platform gains users’ trust and continue (hopefully long-term) usage. A total “trustlessness” platform that don’t require users’ trust won’t gain any users: since they don’t trust the platform, how will they use it? (Get the joke?)

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many that may lose their job. Remember, a position is closed to open up new positions: if those that lose their old position can’t adapt or learn what’s new and on demand, they are superseded. This is (mother nature’s) evolution. Certainly, while new technologies comes with unemployment, they provide new employment. Learning to adapt and evolve is the way to go.

Extra Note:

We don’t speak about the solution here; the solution is up to the readers and whoever to learn how to evolve to new job positions. We aim to make awareness of unemployment and employment a new technology (here, blockchain) opens up.

And speaking of banks: web3 opening a wallet equals web2 opening a bank account. We think web3 is difficult because we need to open a wallet; but what about opening a bank account? It takes more time to open a bank account (about an hour) than creating a new wallet (few minutes), and that simplifies the process?

(image taken from pexels or unsplash)

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