In an increasingly globalized world reliant on online collaboration, borders have lost some of their relevance.
The early wonders of the internet allowed workers to collaborate not just in different cities, but between different countries — a form of decentralization that has fueled the growing proportion of self-employed homeworkers in the global workforce.
Before the internet age, the passions and skills of individuals could rarely be commonly shared unless people with similar interests lived in the same physical community. Simply put, geography was the biggest hurdle in preventing the pooling and sharing of talent, knowledge and creativity the world over.
In the connected world, on the other hand, it is possible for borderless workforces to blossom.
Blockchain and the global workforce
Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared database — the database itself isn’t stored in any single location, making it public and easily verifiable. Many people can see the same piece of data at the same time, even as it updates second by second from various locations around the world. Blocks are linked together and privacy is secured using cryptography.
By incorporating blockchain into the world of work, from recruitment to collaborative labor, to the financial and contractual agreements between employer and worker, the work process can become more productive, efficient and democratic.
Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends survey suggests that employers must adapt to meet the challenges of global mobility by creating for a global workforce infused with “digital DNA” and a working environment that enables productivity and uses innovative technologies.
Sam Fletcher, head of intelligence at international executive search firm 6 Group, predicts that by providing “a database of people with experience and skills codified to accurately record their abilities,” the blockchain would simplify the time-intensive manual human resources recruitment process.
By facilitating a system of temporary employment, blockchain ensures fairness between workers and employers.
Foresight and technology trends researcher Aida Ponce Del Castillo affirms that the recruitment industry can use blockchain “at a much lower cost than existing systems.”
PodOne, an autonomous decentralized contact center network, also believes that “the unbeatable advantages of blockchains” can be used to create “a truly global, truly open and truly democratic workforce and employment solution.”
Blockchain will be a way of responding to an increasingly globalized workforce that will blossom alongside the evolution of global mobility.
Blockchain and the localization industry
With a blockchain-facilitated, collaborative global workforce on the horizon, the localization industry should be optimistic — it is primed to revolutionize the world of work for its own people and set the precedent for other industries too.
And considering the constant technological advancements we’ve seen in recent decades, who knows what shape the localization industry could take in ten years’ time.
If the many inspiring forms of borderless online collaboration so far have taught us anything, it is that possibilities in the connected world are truly endless.
Former Pentagon analyst Greg Kerr believes that the transparency of blockchain will offer a “strong counter punch” to states without a free press, and with a controlled and manipulated flow of information on social media.
Blockchain will have “the greatest impact on local cooperation,” Kerr believes.
“Peer-to-peer idea and news sharing will help solve localized problems with localized solutions. This horizontal information and solution sharing will usher new levels of sustainable collective problem-solving.”
If blockchain’s transparency is able to help countries crowdsource solutions to problems such as labor exploitation, environmental challenges and stifling political regimes, more countries will be able to take to the global stage.
For the localization industry, this will result in an increased global workforce that is democratized, engaged and informed.
However, the use of cryptocurrency could accelerate this evolution even more rapidly.
transparency and equal pay
Despite their volatility, the appeal of cryptocurrencies lies in the fact that they are decentralized and universal. While governments and banks have largely rejected cryptos, I think they are wrong to overlook the potential of the concept.
With blockchain acting as a digital ledger to verify transactions, ensure transparency and prevent fraud, the potential of purely digital currencies is massive.
By using blockchain-facilitated peer-to-peer cryptocurrency payments and transactions, employers are able to pay anyone, anywhere in the world, making it also possible to hire anyone, regardless of the geographical location and ultimately tap into a global talent pool.
It would also allow for consistency in pay across the world, helping to tackle geographical inequality and giving workers the means to bypass economic turmoil in their countries of residence.
Such collaboration and the ability to access a global talent pool may be crucial to the future of many industries in the UK, from finance to technology, particularly in light of projected worker shortages post-Brexit.
I expect to see many new careers arise through the growth of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, with people able to monetize and be rewarded for their skills and contributions, particularly when they are making someone else richer.
For instance, the profit of social media companies comes through the exploitation of their users’ immaterial labor — hoarding data and selling behavioral information, demographic statistics, purchasing and web browsing history.
Now, “privacy concerns, censorship, and a coming ban on cryptocurrency ads” are driving away content creators from the likes of Facebook and YouTube, Bloomberg has reported.
For social networks, the adage, “If it’s free, the product is you” could not be more true. But with recent revelations around the data harvesting from firms like Cambridge Analytica, newer models may have to offer something more than a free product in exchange for data.
All forms of contributions to capital — not merely the financial contributions of shareholders — deserve to receive some reward, and blockchain can help ensure this.
How blockchain can be applied to the games industry
To use our company as an example, our platform will reward players with tokens for playtesting and reviewing games, and creating and sharing social content. These tokens can be used to purchase games in the platform or be freely traded in crypto exchanges.
This may restructure costs for developers. Ecosystems like this could allow developers access to a global workforce of millions of players to help in the co-creation of games.
By rewarding user contributions, we can build detailed user profiles detailing where a user has earned rewards and through what activity. This information would be available to developers, allowing them to invite members of a carefully curated community to collaborate.
Having access to a detailed directory would allow developers to modularize development by searching for and inviting users to collaborate based on their skill sets. So, depending on the game’s stage of development, developers with limited resources can decide which areas to focus on themselves, and which to outsource to an engaged and talented community.
If a developer doesn’t have the money to buy user-generated content, they can instead license it and pay royalties to the owner.
Millions of players would love to be playtesters, and indeed, millions do so unpaid. There simply aren’t enough playtester jobs out there, and opportunities for playtesters are limited by geography — something that makes little sense given that the internet can in many cases make geography irrelevant.
Being a playtester could result in an income supplement akin to a casual Airbnb host for some. For others, part-time passions could become full-time careers.
Applying the blockchain to the games industry is but one example of how it can be used to transform old practices. With the ever more sophisticated use of blockchain technology, we can expect to see an empowered global workforce grow on a far wider and more advanced scale, which may help the localization industry thrive like never before.