Freelancing in Web3 and the Metaverse: The Future of Work

Freelancing in Web3 and the Metaverse: The Future of Work

Soon enough, you won’t have to put up with a whiny boss or rack up 6 figures in debt for a fancy-schmancy degree. Everyone’s going to be their own boss in Web3 and the metaverse.

Freelancing in Web3 and the Metaverse: The Future of Work
Darry Port

Updated Nov 17, 2022

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Crypto

Crypto

DeFi

DeFi

Technology

Technology

Imagine you’re at a family reunion and a distant relative asks you, “So, what do you do for a living?”

To which you reply, “Oh, I breed fantasy creatures and trade them for 3 to 4 figures on a digital collectible marketplace.”

The metaverse alone is estimated to become an $8 trillion industry. But today, only about 18k developers are working in the overall Web3 space.

As ridiculous as that sounds, players like Dominic Lumabi have made decent income playing Axie Infinity part-time. But there’s so much more to the metaverse and Web3 jobs than just playing games. You can be a developer, a designer, a marketer, or pursue any number of remote careers in one of the fastest-growing industries of our time.

There's a good chance that most people are going to be self-employed in the metaverse. So let’s start by looking at the traditional freelancing landscape and then transition into the trillion-dollar opportunity that is working in Web3 and the metaverse. 

What's wrong with Web2 freelancing job markets?

There are a number of reasons people choose freelancing and self-employment over traditional work. There's the freedom to choose your own clients, hours, rates, and more—but that’s not all. In certain regions, like India and the Philippines, freelancing is a way to escape a lack of domestic job opportunities. And that is one of the biggest growth drivers of the global gig economy, which is expected to reach $455 billion by 2023. 

Now most freelancing work is done via online freelancing marketplaces, where clients commission work and freelancers bid on jobs. Some of the most popular freelance marketplaces include LinkedIn, Upwork, and Toptal. While these platforms feature a diverse selection of job categories, pre-screened jobs to prevent scams, around-the-clock customer support and payment protection, they're not without their problems. They have long payment cycles, charge high commissions and require KYC (know your customer).

Now, KYC isn’t a bad thing insofar as it ensures quality, but companies can also use KYC for evil. Freelancer.com, for instance, was fined $20k in 2015 for exposing a freelancer’s private information. In 2020, UpWork purged 1.8 million freelancers they deemed as “less skilled”. Not to mention, UpWork recently banned freelancers and clients in Russia and Belarus. 

In terms of pricing, platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer.com and UpWork have also been criticized for advertising cheap services, attracting low-paying clients and encouraging freelancers to try to outbid each other by lowering their prices.

The Web3 & metaverse job market

So how is Web3 freelancing different from the Web2 space? For starters, the metaverse alone is estimated to become an $8 trillion industry. But today, only about 18k developers are working in the overall Web3 space. For context, there are 26.8 million developers in the world. 

This talent gap means there’s less competition and higher pay at large companies (e.g. Meta, Coinbase, OpenSea) and small and mid-sized businesses (e.g. Rarible, VaynerMedia) alike. And since blockchain programming is the most in-demand job in Web3, we can assume that other crypto jobs are all the more undersupplied.

coinbase
Coinbase

4.4

Crypto

The other benefit of Web3 freelancing is that there may be more opportunities to do creative and fulfilling work. In terms of meaning, Web3 is all about giving more power to the people. Not to mention, companies need service providers to help them claim their stake in the metaverse with products, virtual items, and experiences.

A few of the most promising current and potential Web3/metaverse jobs are:

  • Developers that know Solidity and Rust
  • On-chain analysts using platforms like Dune Analytics
  • Metaverse advertisers
  • P2E gamers playing for a Guild
  • Writers that produce documentation and governance proposals
  • NFT artists working for virtual galleries
  • Metaverse fashion designers
  • Metaverse architects
  • Realtors to sell virtual land
  • Hosts for virtual experiences
  • Teachers to educate students in an immerse, online environment

The list goes on.

There are quite a few Web3 freelancing jobs that also don’t require KYC and offer instant payment in cryptocurrency with low platform fees. The no-KYC bit is crucial to keeping these platforms open to everyone, regardless of their birthplace or perceived skill level. And getting paid in cryptocurrency means that your earnings could potentially grow beyond what you originally charged.

Platforms for Web3 & the metaverse jobs

There are three types of platforms you can use to find Web3 and metaverse jobs. 

Web3 job boards

First up, dedicated job boards like CryptoJobsList.com and TheMetaverseJobs.com. Aside from the job titles advertised, these sites work exactly the same as their web2 counterparts: 1. Pick a job, 2. Attach a resume/CV, 3. Wait for a response. Boring, but gets the job done. 

Talent collectives

Your second option would be talent collectives run by crypto influencers. The DeFi Edge, for instance, is a popular Crypto Twitter account that runs The Edge Talent Collective—featuring pre-qualified candidates that want to work in Web3. This is one step in a more interesting direction.

Web3 freelance marketplaces

Last but not least, you can use a Web3-native freelance marketplace like Layer3, where DAOs upload gigs that reward users in crypto. Now that’s what the hell I’m talking about.

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Source: beta.layer3.xyz

Layer3 is open to anyone from anywhere in the world. All you need to do to start earning is connect an Ethereum-compatible crypto wallet like Metamask and participate in a Bounty, Contest or Project. Your user profile in Layer3 displays all your submissions and acts as a Web3 resume. With over 390k monthly visitors and partnerships with DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) like Uniswap and Index Coop, Layer3 is earning its self-proclaimed status as “the Upwork of Web3.”

The risks and potential of freelancing in Web3 & the metaverse

By being paid in a cryptocurrency, freelancers are exposed to price volatility (unless they're paid in stablecoins). And since this job category is so new, there’s less diversity in terms of job roles, with most listings targeting developers. But perhaps the biggest con to Web3-native freelance marketplaces today is that they require users to work “on spec” and only get paid if their work is chosen by the client. 

It’s also worth questioning whether Web2 freelancing platforms won’t simply copy the best of what Web3 has to offer. Upwork, for instance, is already using the concept of a “virtual token” called Connects that freelancers can use to increase the visibility of their job proposals and reach out to more clients. 

If Web3 freelancing platforms are to become legitimate competitors to their Web2 counterparts, they’ll need to give users abilities like listing and bidding on jobs (instead of working on spec), proving their reputation (e.g. via Soulbound NFTs), and building a professional network (e.g. via Lens Protocol). Offering custom pricing would help too, as would invite-only job marketplaces.

But these criticisms are by no means meant to shit on Web3 freelance marketplaces. At the end of the day, they are making remote jobs globally accessible and enabling users to earn appreciating assets. That’s a big plus.

Thank God it’s Monday in the metaverse

Are you excited to use Web3 freelancing platforms? Do you think they’ll be able to compete with Web2 players like LinkedIn and Upwork?

Thank God it’s Monday in the metaverse

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