Three ways blockchain is transforming the world of work

Damien Leveque, PageGroup HR  Consultant: How can the Blockchain change the HR function ?

Damien Leveque

In a contract-based world, online networks using blockchain technology are likely to revolutionize the way we do these transactions, whether it’s to change money, buy goods, assets or any other value, including understood the work.

Whether it’s work placements, recruiting, or looking for a part-time or full-time job, blockchain offers individuals and unions opportunities but also comes with risks. It is important to first understand the system and the risks inherent in data use and regulatory issues.

Here is how the blockchain operates. Once a transaction is entered into the ledger or blockchain network, it is for good, as the links or blocks that make up the chain cannot be deleted or changed.

Anyone who has been authorized to integrate the blockchain can access the same information in real time. The chain belongs not to a single “controller” but to all users. Also, an encrypted and verifiable procedure makes it possible to know who holds what and therefore to guarantee transparency.

Blockchain is part of an attempt to redefine the notion of “trust” as an integral part of the architecture of the system. Therefore, it allows parties who have not usually been characterized by their mutual trust to undertake transactions and enter into contracts on the basis of rules agreed upon by mutual agreement, translated in the form of what are called Smart Contracts.

In practical terms, the system is code-based consisting of a series of rules and sanctions, described step by step, designed and approved by the parties themselves, encoded in the blockchain and automatically enforced, to the exclusion of any authority or third party.

Blockchain is already part of our lives. It is used by small and medium-sized businesses to create new business models and payment systems. The big banks are testing it in the areas of clearing and settlement, as well as in trade finance and syndicated loans. Governments use it for the provision of digital identity and mapping. The police use it in criminal investigations.

Why should workers care about blockchain?
As a technology that can lead to a total revolution in the way we trade goods and services, blockchain must be on the radar of workers. Small business credit, temporary employment and recruitment are three areas where we can already identify a concrete impact.

1. Small business credit
In Africa, access to capital for business finance is a problem for a majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Most of them are excluded from the traditional banking sector. Sensing an opportunity, Viola Llewellyn co-founded Ovamba Solutions, a blockchain-based platform that connects international investors from the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan with African SMEs, giving them access to short-term capital. and financial services.

The blockchain guarantees transparency to investors, since everyone can follow the evolution of a transaction, customers, applications, etc. The objective is also to use blockchain and crypto currencies to eliminate the countless trade barriers that still exist in Africa today.

The platform is based on an algorithm that compiles more than 500 data terminals to determine the risk profile of an SME before disbursing funds. Users connect to an online platform, via a mobile phone, and can communicate in their own language in the event that they do not speak English, French or Arabic. Ovamba also allows the acquisition of assets / inventory on behalf of SME, for a small fee. The transaction is secured by inventory and is linked to a repayment plan that allows the company to maintain sufficient levels of cash flow.

This system has enabled many small African businesses and farms to be linked together and to access finance at lower cost, allowing them to survive and grow.

2. Temporary employment
In the area of ​​temporary employment, Andrea Pinna and other researchers propose a decentralized employment system that simplifies the hiring process and converts it into a more equitable relationship. In this case, blockchain helps regulate the peer-to-peer network of employers and temporary workers through smart contracts. The model is elabo

The employer is required to specify the working time, salary and job description, as well as deposit digital assets to secure the wages stipulated under the smart contract. Once all the conditions are met, the job offer is disseminated through an automatic and decentralized system. Workers can then apply with full knowledge of the conditions and remuneration. Once the work has been completed, the worker receives the previously agreed payment.

3. Recruitment
The recruiting industry will evolve too, as blockchain can be leveraged by businesses, headhunters and recruiting agencies at a cost significantly lower than the systems in place.

Created under Swiss law, Global Jobcoin aims to facilitate the movement of people and provide access to a skilled workforce in Europe. The firm uses blockchain and token technology to provide a decentralized, autonomous and flexible platform for payment for employment-related services.

By using smart contracts, the company connects SMEs and the self-employed. Job vacancies are published on a multilingual platform, a freelance worker is selected and once the task is completed, tokens are released by the system and the freelance worker is paid.

HireMatch is another job exchange using the token system. These companies both operate on the basis of a much lower recruiting commission than traditional players in this sector.

These examples can be harbingers of what lies ahead. Blockchain is redefining the notion of “trust” and could one day redefine the notion of “work”.

Certain uncertainties remain, however, as to its future. From a regulatory perspective, blockchain is not yet regulated as such, and blockchain-based businesses are subject to the same laws and regulations as other businesses. While this provides a degree of convenience, there are other aspects of the technology that create uncertainty and will need to be examined more closely.

Since the blockchain is based on an immutable database, where transactions are never erased, the protection of data and, in particular, of privacy poses a particular problem. Also, since there is no “central authority” involved in smart contracts, the possibility of overriding consensus is limited.

Lawmakers will certainly have to find solutions to these issues to protect the community that uses blockchain.

In principle, blockchain can be used for anything, and developers believe anything is possible. If it can help communities of people to develop, if it can contribute to fair trade and financial inclusion, it deserves to be encouraged.

Regarding its impact on work and employment, it remains to be seen how a technology that emphasizes direct transactions between individuals can truly serve the interests of workers and not undermine the collective dimension of work.

Maybe unions should step in and exploit blockchain for the benefit of workers. Perhaps they should start thinking about how to take advantage of this technology to provide better support to workers all over the world, recognize their skills and promote new forms of organization.

Blockchain has the power to change the world we live and work in and it will be necessary to think about how to harness it to better protect us all, including as workers.