Several resources already help startups and entrepreneurs employ contractors and freelancers. But since it is 2018, the market is ready for a blockchain-powered service that can provide access to temporary and permanent employees, as well as help manage projects.
Project management and outsourcing platform Zoom is utilizing blockchain technology to enable business relationships, project planning, and secure payments. Zoom will connect freelancers and virtual companies using a blockchain ID system, artificial intelligence, and smart contracts.
Zoom will use the security and transparency of the blockchain to build an ecosystem that supports and simplifies multi-stage and multi-stakeholder projects. It also provides an employment portal for virtual companies that need to hire freelancers. Virtual companies and individuals on the platform can post projects and request available freelancers they find through the employment portal.
Once listed, freelancers can enter the portal and see an overview of both the posted projects and the businesses that want to hire those with relevant skills. When either party wishes to connect, a chat window appears, and they can begin negotiating the terms of work. Using a structure that Zoom calls “Contract Trees,” freelancers can be organized into structures to solve complex projects.
At present, the Zoom platform is not fully operational, but the company expects to bring on freelancers quickly.
“We do have several partners that will be on-boarded to the platform at launch, and that are helping us figure out the needs and challenges of different user groups,” founder and CEO Plamen Nedyalkov told me.
With so many options available for freelancer-to-business matching and employment, why is Zoom using blockchain for this platform instead of traditional matching, payment, and ID mechanisms?
“As it stands right now, the systems in place for payment are slow and still rely on a third party to be the authority during a business transaction, but those third parties have very limited jurisdiction,” Nedyalkov said.
The use of blockchain technology also extends to payments.
“We are using blockchain to handle the escrow and transaction services of the platform, equalizing the power differential between client and contractor because the payment is held in the hand of neither,” Nedyalkov said.
The Zoom platform consists of a “milestone infrastructure” that separates contracts based on delegating staff to specific stages and deliverables of a project that need to be completed by a specific time, and a “tribunal” system that offers a jury-like structure to review and resolve reported conflicts within projects and milestones.
It also has an ID system that confirms the identities of potential employees and employers using a consensus algorithm that verifies, validates, and authenticates private data, and it creates validated work histories and reputations tied to those secure IDs to limit fraud.
So what’s next for Zoom?
“We are continuing development of our platform, building up the systems for the interface between a standard web app and smart contract especially,” Nedyalkov said. “We are looking to start onboarding partner companies for our MVP in about a month and a half, and launching our ICO around that time as well.”
The focus, then, is to get the platform fully operational as quickly as possible.
“Short-term we are continuing development and getting users up and running, and then we have some very cool things we can do with the data from that later,” Nedyalkov said. “Currently we are also opening up for investors.”
Zoom’s utility token is integrated into the platform’s ecosystem and serves as a user incentive for purchasing products and services at a reduced cost. Built upon the Ethereum blockchain, users also have the option to use ETH to make purchases and access Zoom’s features. Zoom’s upcoming ICO for the Zoom Token will begin in late October or early November, and will have a hard cap of $24.5 million.