The newest generation of startups, those building products on blockchain technology are similarly distributed to their decentralised systems.
Many blockchain projects are worked on by developers around the world using platforms like GitHub and messenger apps like Telegram or Slack.
Traditional business structures are forgone in favour of open-source, collaborative projects – with users being rewarded for individual tasks.
Many blockchain developers also earn money by helping blockchain projects solve problems or find coding issues by fulfilling posted bounties for a reward.
Blog writers or social media managers find freelance work in this realm, too, and platforms like Ethlance – which lets them get paid in cryptocurrency – make international payments a lost easier.
This means the platform is not owned by a central entity and can continue to function even if the creator attempts to take it offline.
Ethlance allows users to either hire freelancers and pay them in Ethereum, or find work and get paid by employers.
The platform takes no cut of the freelancers’ earnings and offers its service and membership for free – meaning freelancers will receive exactly what the employer pays into the system.
Interacting with Ethlance requires an Ethereum blockchain interface such as MetaMask, the Mist browser, or the Status mobile app.
Once you have logged into Ethlance using their wallet interface, potential employers can create public job postings similar to a standard freelancing website, while freelancers can set up their profile to be matched with employers.
Freelancers can also view public jobs and respond to the employer.
All of these interactions are signed transactions recorded on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning there is an immutable record of the listings.
Users can also give and receive feedback to improve their rating, and show potential employers or freelancers that they are capable and trustworthy.
While Ethlance covers a range of jobs – from blockchain engineers to public relations – Status’s Open Bounty platform is aimed more squarely at developers.
The Ethereum-based platform aims to aid the development of blockchain projects – like its own Status Messenger – by allowing users to post bounties for developers to complete.
These bounties can comprise anything from cleaning up GitHub repositories and translating app languages to Spanish, to auditing Solidity smart contracts for potential errors and writing efficient code which can run on the Ethereum blockchain without high gas costs.
Open Bounty is currently used by a number of blockchain projects to source development work from freelancers, including Aragon, Vector, district0x, and Status.
Ethlance and Open Bounty may offer different jobs aimed at different user groups, but their advantages are the same.
Both platforms allow freelancers to be paid directly in cryptocurrency, which can minimise logistical problems with receiving payments from international employers, and improve trust between the parties due to the public nature of the Ethereum blockchain.
Customers can also be paid in any compatible ERC20 tokens based on the Ethereum blockchain.
South Africans freelancers who are paid in cryptocurrency from overseas entities will still need to pay income tax on their earnings, however, and this is likely to be calculated when they exchange their tokens for rand.