I’ve spend my whole — albeit short — life working for myself, either as a freelancer or contractor, or building startups, or more recently running a development agency. I got my first paying gig as a development contractor when I was just 12, by someone who was crazy enough to trust me to build a website for the event they were organising.
I’ve never really needed to search for work, but there have been times where work was slightly more scarce than I wanted it to be. In such periods it sucks to be a contractor, because your choices are more or less limited to cold calling or emailing potential customers, or waiting. There’s of course these contracting websites like Upwork or Fiverr, but those are crowded with people that are way more experienced in using those platforms, and margins are very small.
Recently, however, I found an alternative: Gitcoin. Nope, it’s not another cryptocurrency, even though it sounds like that. Instead, it is a way for blockchain projects to outsource work to the community in the form of bounties, which are basically Github issues with some form of reward attached to them. Not only is that a great, low-barrier, way to make a quick buck, but it’s also a great way to get involved in the blockchain space as a developer, something I was having a hard time getting into as a developer that used to be mainly focussed on mobile and web.
StandardBounties and The Bounties Network
I spent some evenings the last few weeks completing some small tasks through Gitcoin, and in the process met a few of the people behind some very cool blockchain projects. Then, this week, I learned that Gitcoin is just part of something much bigger: StandardBounties, a standard for issuing bounties for work on the Ethereum platform.
From the “Rationale” section of the Github:
Ethereum smart contracts can trivially facilitate transactions of resources (or tokens) between individuals or groups, but service transactions are more complex. Requesting individuals (issuers) must first approve the work they’re receiving before paying out funds, meaning bounty hunters must have trust that the issuer will pay them in the spirit of the original contract.
The StandardBounties.sol contract facilitates transactions on qualitative data (“deliverables”), allowing bounty issuers to systematically approve work received.
StandardBounties is an initiative of The Bounties Network, an open platform for Ethereum-based bounties. Using their beta web interface you can find bounties across all of the Ethereum network, not just from Gitcoin, but from every bounty system that implements the StandardBounties standard!
This new network and open standard makes it possible for any type of developer (not just those that can code Solidity contracts!) to have a consistent source of work whenever necessary. I’m super excited about the possibilities of this, from students being able to make rent without having to go deep into debt, to startup founders that need to make some money on the side while their core business grows.
Are you willing to give it a try?