There was a point in the web3 hype cycle where this tweet was a totally fair critique:
But there’s an industry with big problems that web3 is perfectly positioned to address: the Gig Economy.
And with 50% of the entire US workforce predicted to work remotely with multiple organizations by 2030, it’s a pressing and lucrative issue.
In the early 2000s, only 5% of the workforce worked with multiple orgs. What could cause a ten-fold increase?
The Global Financial Crisis revealed that job security for Full-Time employees was an illusion. The latest round of tech layoffs provides another reminder.
Remote working technology got way better, which made us realize there was another way to work.
COVID poured gasoline on the whole thing, then lit a match.
More people are earning a living contributing to multiple orgs each day, and yet gig workers and the orgs that hire them are struggling.
Platforms like Slack and Teams were designed for orgs with Full Time employees, not for workers who contribute to multiple organizations, and Discord was built for managing communities, not productive work.
Using these platforms for gig work is like using a hammer to drive in a screw because it looks like a nail. Yes, FT employees and gig workers may look similar at first glance, but their needs and workflows are very different.
Forcing gig workers to use ill-suited platforms causes big issues:
An astronomical amount of time is wasted by both orgs and workers on manual onboarding, managing communications, resource access, and payment processes, rather than spent on productive work.
Managing and tracking progress, deliverables and performance is extremely difficult and heavily reliant on manual activity, which can lead to inconsistent results and missed deadlines.
Gig workers can't record their work and showcase their reputation across orgs as each one is a walled garden. This makes it difficult for workers to grow and for orgs to evaluate potential hires, increasing the chance of making bad hires.
This is costing time, money, and productivity. And lots of it.
So, where does web3 fit in? Here’s how we see this playing out:
App-layer networks replace siloed platforms as the dominant way to manage online orgs, collaborate on and submit work, and record contributions on-chain.
Token-gating tools automate previously manual processes, allowing orgs to manage access to resources, granting and revoking them at will.
Protocol-based permissioning grant roles and abilities based on predefined criteria, including time-based restrictions.
Smart contracts automate payment on-chain as soon as work is approved.
NFTs record proof of work and reputation, allowing contributors to build a portfolio as a natural byproduct of the work they do, and making it easier for orgs to evaluate potential hires and grow faster.
What does that look like in practice?
Orgs and contributors use an app-layer network like Avenue to coordinate, submit and approve work. Because Avenue is a network, work can be submitted to any org, providing the contributor meets the given criteria.
Avenue’s soon-to-be-released integration with Guild allows orgs to token-gate resources so any contributor with the right token can access them automatically.
An upcoming integration with Hats Protocol will grant core teams and contributors different abilities and permissions.
Payments will be settled on-chain automatically as soon as the work is approved on Avenue, through a potential integration with Utopia Labs or similar.
Completed work is shown on contributors’ Personal Profiles, with the ability to mint contributions on-chain without leaving the network, thanks to Avenue’s integration with Govrn Protocol. Contributors build a portfolio of work and have full control of their data, with the power to take it wherever they go. Orgs have a smooth workflow that allows them to get more done by making it easier to hire, work with, and pay highly-skilled gig workers.
The future is uncertain, but here’s our thesis:
The Gig Economy is here to stay. Last year, 40% of Gen Z and Millennials worked with multiple orgs, and soon they’ll make up the majority of the workforce.
Current platforms are failing us. Gig workers and their orgs have tried to bend them to their needs, but they’re brittle. They break because they weren’t designed for them, and the companies who built them have business models that don’t work with the Gig Economy. Selling seats to your SaaS may work for orgs with Full-Time employees, but it’s a nightmare when membership, permissions and access change daily.
Web3 is just the start. As Chris Dixon said, ‘What the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in ten years’. Web3 is maturing and we’re building solutions to real problems. Networks like Avenue have recognized that the high percentage of workers who contribute to multiple web3 orgs make it the perfect starting point. But the same problems that web3 workers have are felt keenly by every gig worker. What starts with web3 will quickly move to other industries where it makes more sense to work with a smaller number of highly-skilled workers on a flexible basis. Networks like Avenue will abstract away the overly-technical aspects of web3 that turn off mainstream orgs and workers, while keeping the most important parts that give web3 technologies an unfair advantage over the current platforms.
We’ll go from web3 to mainstream in the blink of an eye.
If you’d like to learn how web3 solutions like Avenue, Guild, Hats and Govrn work together to help orgs and their contributors ship work, record contributions and manage payments, you can:
Check out the Avenue docs and demo videos here
Create your Personal Profile here
Apply to create your organization on Avenue here**
Avenue is unlocking the gig economy using the power of web3. Join us and let’s take this journey together.