CoinIdol recently had the chance to speak with Blue Whale Foundation CEO Will Lee last week. The following is an interview discussing the intersection of blockchain technology and the sharing economy.
What is the essence of Blue Whale and what drives it?
The blockchain of course – the idea that with a robust decentralized ledger, and smart contracts which govern the execution of contracts on the ledger, we can redesign the way economic activities can take place.
What we’re trying to do at the Blue Whale Foundation is to apply that to the gig and sharing economy, where people can hire other people, verify other people’s work, and reward each other – all in a self-governing way.
With successful platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, where do you see the need for Blue Whale?
The self-governing aspect of the blockchain is a key reason why we exist as an alternative to such platforms – not just Upwork, or Fiverr. These platforms connect buyers and sellers, demand and supply. They build an online environment and interface that makes it easy for two sides in any given marketplace to interact and transact easily. But in exchange, they charge extortionate commission fees upwards of 30%.
The whole point of freelancing is about autonomy, building an income stream where you can have financial freedom, and also the freedom of your time. But when these platforms begin to monopolize a marketplace, they become the new tax collectors, the rentiers of the modern economy.
The Blue Whale Foundation is leveraging on blockchain technology not just to reduce the commission structure, but also to create a self-governing ecosystem where all of the functionalities these tech companies provide on the platform are created, paid for, and used by the community.
What massive problem is creating a demand for a decentralized marketplace?
Well, the answer is deceptively simple – it’s the concentration of power and decision-making in a centralized system. When Uber decides to raise commissions, and thereby cut into the profits of the sellers on the platform, it forces everyone to work longer to make the same amount as they did before. None of the affected parties were consulted about this, much less consented to it. There was no community debate, no transparency, no bargaining to ensure a fair outcome for all.
Think of it this way – democracy is superior to dictatorship because it has a built-in mechanism of consultation that ensures that it is responsive to people’s needs, and wants. It balances between the interests of different groups and tries to establish a fair exchange. You don’t get that when you have a marketplace monopolized by investors and a tech giant. You get that when you have a self-governing community enabled by blockchain technology.
What is the economic model behind Blue Whale?
An economic model is one that explains the incentive structure governing the distribution and allocation of resources in a society – and ours is simple. As explained earlier, we are using blockchain technologies to create a self-governing community where people can create, reward, verify and arbitrate – all of which is financed through a token economy using Blue Whale Tokens (BWX).
Now to most people, new technology always seems utopian. But it’s not – we already have considerable evidence of open-source platforms where the community contributes to the development of sophisticated software environments. Wikipedia is one example of an open-source encyclopedia. It is the largest in history, and with an error rate comparable to, if not on par with the Encyclopaedia Britannica. We see this a lot in the esports industry as well. The million-dollar classic Counter-Strike was made by community modifications to an earlier game, Half-Life. Halo Online is another example of a self-governing community that constantly updates, patches, and improves its software environment – entirely without the budget or supervision by a million-dollar development studio.
What are the main benefits of Blue Whale?
It costs less to use, it’s incentive structure is responsive to community needs, and if you make a living off it, you have a say in it.
In your opinion, what is the future of the crypto industry?
That’s a different question than blockchain. I think no serious analyst thinks blockchain is a fad. We are at a turning point in history – just like the birth of the internet. Blockchain, alongside AI and IoT are in their infancy – but they are the Fourth Industrial Revolution, although skeptics will naturally continue to prod it until it begins to become mainstream – and it already is in many ways, faster than it took the internet to become mainstream.
I think a lot of people will disagree with respect to cryptocurrencies. I know most people will say cryptocurrencies are just a fad, and I have to say that substantively, they are 90% right. Most tokens or coins today have no solid use-cases. In that respect, we are right now undergoing a bear market that is weeding out a ton of “deadcoins.”
However, that doesn’t mean that cryptocurrencies aren’t conceptually sound. Yes, there are still issues with efficiency, scalability, and security – but those issues exist in traditional finance like cross-border payments or alternative assets like gold. Additionally, we are still yet to see a boom in security tokens – tokenizing assets, and moving fractional ownership onto the blockchain.
So the industry is the future.
How is development progressing? Any company milestones to share with our audience?
Our strong team of seasoned in-house developers is happy to announce the upcoming release of the Blue Whale Network’s Alpha products in October of this year.
We have two products lined up for release: a SaaS solution for small businesses, and an offline-to-online (O2O) marketplace.
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