The internet has transformed jobs in ways that no grandparent of ours could have fathomed. We can trade virtual currency, work from anywhere, and even make money from renting our WiFi bandwidth. One of the more peculiar and overlooked developments has been the concept of microtasking. These are basically small grunt jobs that machines can’t do yet, offered and accepted all over the internet, as and when they’re needed.
Typically microtasking involves such things as processing online data, transcribing text and identifying specific details in pictures or video; definitely something A.I. can’t handle for now. As microtasks are often performed to slowly optimise today’s A.I., however, it could be said that many microtaskers are effectively working their own jobs into extinction.
The most notable platform for micro tasking has always been Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. And yet, with a typical wage amounting to just a few dollars per hour, and accusations of it being little more than a digital sweatshop, they’ve received their fair share of criticism. Like many industries then, Blockchain is looking to give microtasking a much needed facelift. Here are a few platforms that do this:
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Mechanical Turk – along with other microtasking platforms - has all kinds of problems and Expand is on a mission to challenge them. Turk’s pricing model is complicated and extortionate; they’ll charge employers 20% in addition to the worker’s wage, and another 20% if the task has 40+ assignments. This hurts employees too as it reduces demand for their services. The real entanglement comes in the form of verification with most “requesters” (employers) on Mechanical Turkneeding to hire up to fifteen different workers to verify that a task has been done correctly.
Expand, on the other hand, solves this problem with an ingenious “staking” mechanism. Workers are required to purchase a small amount of Expand tokens (XPN) as a deposit. To confirm that tasks are performed correctly, two independent verifiers are involved in every task, staking their XPN tokens as a deposit. These guys are paid anywhere between 10 to 100% of the worker’s wage with a minimum of $0.20 equivalent in XPN.
When the worker completes a task successfully and is approved by the two verifiers, the verifiers get their staked tokens back plus payment for verifying. The employer is then saved from having to hire ten more people to ensure the work is done correctly. What’s more, with every successful job workers and verifiers are involved in, their trust score increases. This mechanism neatly incentivises and ensures quality work much more efficiently than typical microtasking platforms. How much a worker can make is hard to say’ I even messaged the powers that be and all I got was this
Like many industries then, Blockchain is looking to give microtasking a much needed facelift.
But seeing as some “elite” workers are earning as much as $14 per hour, that seems like an improvement on the $2-$7 range of those such as Mechanical Turk.
Building on the original Bitmaker project, StormX is a little more light-hearted and is here to gamify microtasks. In their words, Storm will let you”
“Participate in short surveys, try out new products, watch videos,
and help finish small tasks to earn rewards in Storm Token, Bitcoin, or Ethereum. It’s easy, it’s free, and it requires absolutely no mining.”
With a UI that feels more like a dating app than a job board, StormX has clearly decided to capitalise on Mechanical Turk’s mistake oin providing a clunky experience.
Instead of simply trying to make another good microtasking platform, StormX is trying to reach a new audience and grow the whole market. They appeal to the average netizen by saying:
“Whether you’re waiting in line for coffee or commuting on the bus, start getting rewarded for killing time…. tasks are always quick and easy to complete right from your phone.”
StormShop is another neat differentiator. Download the Chrome extension and you can take advantage of deals that Storm is placing throughout thousands of online stores.
After the purchased item’s return period has passed, the store will reward you with crypto straight to your wallet. Basically the definition of free money.
Again, the internet is particularly quiet on how much it’s possible to earn. As is their FAQ section.
It seemsStormX won’t be publishing their meagre pay outs in a hurry and Reddit isn’t too pleased about that. Whilst there are some positive reviews, this customer review gave the best lo-down on realistic earnings.
“A bolt is a fraction of a STORM, [it is] one of the least valuable cryptos of all. You need 200,000 bolts to withdraw any STORM. The current surveys only amount to 19k Bolts, which equates to 19 STORM, which as a total isn’t even worth one nickel at the time I write this. The only way to reach the withdrawal amount is to get 200k Bolts, and the only way to do this is to refer friends. I’m not about to send a pyramid-scheme-looking message to any friends of mine to desperately try and withdraw 200 STORM, which isn’t even worth a dollar.”
There are plenty more
Beyond those mentioned there are plenty of other ways to earn crypto on the fly. BitForTip is a crowdsourced, “peer to peer favour board” where people post small questions. Things like “find me an identical duster” or “looking for some good recommendations for a hotel on PHI PHI island.” People ask anything and will tip whatever they can spare. Most rewards vary from 0.0001 BTC to 0.0003 BTC, although some tasks are offering many millions of dollars.
If you don’t want to feel like you’re actually working, you might want to give Earn.com a go. This was originally a micro tasking platform but in its current incarnation you can earn crypto simply by learning about it. If you’re curious Cloudbet has the details right here. 🡨[Hey Mirio, feel free to hyperlink my article!]
It feels like these offerings are very much the tip of the iceberg, as the world becomes more and more tokenised, there’s no reason why companies won’t find more opportunities to offer up micro tasks to any willing participant.