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Microtasks move to blockchain

Microtasks move to blockchain

It’s very rare to find an ICO these days which hit the three things I look for:

  1. A good idea well suited to blockchain
  2. A great team/set of advisors
  3. A low raise

Gems is one of those…gems.

The project aims to facilitate the easy hiring of works to perform micro tasks, small and generally low paying/non specialised duties that require a human for completion but which can be performed over the internet and assist a wider project. The Gems team claims that billions of micro tasks are completed each year on sites such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk), with participants from around the world. Proponents claim that sites such as MTurk empower millions of people who would otherwise struggle to find work or who aim to supplement their main employment, particularly those in poorer countries.

So what is the issue?

The Gems team claim (and I would not claim to be an expert in this space) that sites such as MTurk charge high fees to employers (20-25%) and ensure that employers (or requesters) have to hire multiple workers to perform the same job so they can ensure it is done correctly. Furthermore, the platform is inaccessible to those who are unbanked (a familiar target group for blockchain projects) and the high fees they charge is money that should be flowing to the workers.

Gems aims to resolve these issues through:

  • Removing the third party and the fees they charge
  • Allowing the unbanked to work
  • Verifying the reliability and accuracy of participants through a trust score that is linked to their wallet address; these people are then able to verify the work of others

The team aims to build the Gems Platform, which will compete with the likes of MTurk, as a starting point, before allowing others to build DApps to augment the service.

The idea and the constituent issues it solves are well suited to blockchain; micro transactions, allowing the unbanked to participate, incentivising miners (in this case those verifying the work) to perform a trusted a duty – these are some of the basic building blocks at the heart of blockchain and Satoshi’s original ideals.

However, ideas are (fairly) easy. Having confidence the team can see those ideas through is another matter.

Fortunately, Gems is as close to a sure thing as any recent project. The two founders, Kieran and Rory O’Reilly, previously co-founded gifs.com, are Harvard alumni, Thiel Fellows and featured in Forbes 30 under 30 list. But it is the advisory team that really catches the eye and is what makes this, to me, a slam dunk.

The five co-founders include Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter and Medium, Joey Krug, the co-founder of Augur and the Co-Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital, Ben Maurer the co-founder of reCAPTCHA as well as Luis Cuende (Co-Founder of Aragon, a project I very much respect for going against the grain of most other crypto projects and just focusing on delivering on their goals) and Joe Urgo, the co-founder of district0x.

If there is a stronger advisory team on an ICO this year I’d be surprised.

Usually I am averse to putting in more than 5% of my total in any ICO – with Gems I will be putting in as much as I can (although I suspect the personal cap is going to be low, given the interest).

The only issue I have with the project is their implementation of ‘proof of care’. As discussed in recent pieces, I believe this approach causes issues as readers are unable to know if I am writing this because it is what I believe or because I just want to participate in the ICO. In this case it is both.

The importance of double checking your work

The importance of double checking your work

Questions to ask when starting out

Questions to ask when starting out