That the mainstream freelancing sector has left a lot to be desired in recent years is, unfortunately, nothing short of a major understatement.
Indeed, lately the industry’s top platforms have been dominated by extremely high fees, pay-to-play models, privacy-invasive registrations, and middlemen keeping freelancers and clients at arm’s length from one another. Altogether, the problems are enough to make anyone want to look elsewhere.
One place castaways should consider looking, then, is Ethereum, the reigning smart contracts blockchain. Why? Not only is there work aplenty throughout the Ethereum ecosystem in general right now, but Ethereum the platform is also opening up new kinds of work in powering innovations like decentralized finance (DeFi) and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
As such, let’s go over some key points to consider for any freelancers that may be interested in diving in further but are watching from the safety of the sidelines for now.
Since Ethereum is a software project, it’s true that developers are what’s most in demand around it. But don’t be discouraged if you’re not a programmer, as there’s still a wide variety of no-code work available in the Ethereum space.
For example, a few fields that are really in demand right now include:
- Content Creators
- Community Organizers
However, if you are a programmer, you’re in luck: there’s currently a campaign to win over 1 million developers to the Ethereum community, and with expertise in Ethereum’s Solidity language being a relative rarity for now, teams are fighting over each other to bring on capable Solidity devs.
Thinking About a Wallet Setup
Before you lock down a gig and earn your first ETH, you’ll need to do some thinking about what kind of wallet setup you want to run.
Of course, your specific setup will depend on your personal goals. Are you just interested in sporadically completing small gigs as a minor side hustle? Then a user-friendly web browser wallet like MetaMask or a mobile app like Coinbase Wallet should suffice just fine.
With that said, if you’re looking to make more than a few hundred dollars in ETH or for steady work, then a hardware wallet from a company like Ledger or Trezor makes more sense, as these devices afford you improved security guarantees.
As a final example, if you and some peer freelancers want to work alongside each other in a co-op model, then a opening a Gnosis Safe, which offers multi-signature transactions, could be ideal.
Watch the Hot Spots
There’s a few areas to watch closely if you’re interested in tracking available crypto work.
For instance, job board sites like CryptoJobs, CryptoJobsList, and Freelance For Coins are low-hanging fruit that are easy to quickly comb through. They don’t always have gig work, but many of the “job” postings they do list are for consultants, which is ultimately freelancing. If something catches your eye, apply — you never know!
Another fertile site for Ethereum work is Twitter. That’s because many Ethereum projects solicit help for one-off gigs on Twitter from freelancers they know are scrolling by. Accordingly, one of the best things you can do if you’re looking for work is to follow as many Ethereum figures and projects as you possibly can on Twitter. It’s not necessarily a regular flow, but if you’re plugged into the scene, you’ll notice that projects big and small routinely put out requests for freelancers.
Reddit is another avenue to consider. It’s not the greatest way to find Ethereum work, but it’s possible. Check out the subreddits of r/Jobs4Crypto, r/Jobs4Bitcoin, and r/forhire. It’s not out of the question that you can negotiate ETH payments through these subs, but they won’t be sure bets.
The Bounty Factor
Most Ethereum projects have an ongoing bug bounty program.
In other words, if you find a problem with a dApp, you might be able to get paid for it. Most bug bounties will be focused on extremely technical things, but there have been some smaller Ethereum bounties in recent times that paid out just on the basis of fingering basic UX problems.
If bounties are up your alley, be sure to check out Gitcoin, a platform that, among other things, hosts extensive bounty offerings.
Just DAO It
Earlier in this piece we mentioned DAOs, which are kind of like remote organizations managed atop Ethereum.
In recent months, more than a few DAOs have been coalescing around specialist work. One of the most interesting of these projects is Raid Guild, which describes itself as a “decentralized collective of mercenaries ready to slay your Web3 Product Demons.”
Raid Guild is like a multi-teamed co-op, then, that deploys its freelancers whenever projects come calling. For a freelancer, the guild is certainly worth exploring.
Rise of the Quadratic Freelancer
Gitcoin is many things, but one of the platform’s most interesting aspects is how it hosts quadratic funding rounds. For example, Ethereans who donate even as little as 1 Dai toward projects of their choice can get matched donations sometimes worth over 100 Dai.
In Gitcoin’s last fundraising round, @antiprosynth, a Twitter account that aggregates Ethereum news, got paid several thousand dollars’ worth of matched funds for their community efforts.
That funding was backed by dozens of donors, and the model may be one that many freelancers similarly follow in the future.
Social Money Is Another Avenue
In recent months, more professionals have been tokenizing their time on Ethereum.
Through a service like Roll, a freelancer can setup and distribute a social currency that’s tradeable on decentralized exchanges like Uniswap. Later, these users can “cash in” these tokens in exchange for the freelancer’s time or skills.
Consider Subscriptions, Too
Are you a content creator exploring for new ways to monetize content? Unlock Protocol is one project built on Ethereum that’s worth exploring.
In short, Unlock allows its users to create ETH-based paywalls before audiences can access a given piece of content. So if you’re an analyst that has a great idea for a resourceful monthly report, you can use Unlock to ensure that readers pay a due before accessing the premium info. It’s one wrinkle to consider!
Don’t Forget Accounting
If you’re taking in income through Ethereum, you’ll also need to put some sort of accounting system in place in order to ensure that you track your proceeds and taxes accurately.
Luckily for everyone, there are a variety of solid accounting options to choose from, with some being off-chain and some being on-chain. One option is CoinTracking, for example.
Ethereum provides a fruitful arena for freelance gigs because frankly there is so still much that can be done on and around the project. If you tune in, you should start seeing gig opportunities in short order. The main challenge is keeping your eyes peeled wide enough!
In the future, Ethereum as a technology may even greatly affect the way that freelancers operate. One day it may simply be expected to be paid in real-time via a service like Ethereum’s Sablier dApp. And that’s just one possibility of many more to come, too.
It’s not that Ethereum is currently an end-all-be-all solution for freelancers, but rather that it offers high levels of opportunity and entrepreneurial freedom. That freedom in particular can’t be matched by mainstream freelancer companies.