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Gabriel, the co-founder of Braintrust, shared the core value of a decentralized talent network and his industry views on the gig economy and Web3.0.
Interview and writing: Hashkey Capital Researcher Scarlett Xiao Qifan, Research Director Jupiter Zheng Jialiang
Braintrust is a decentralized talent market driven by blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, which aims to connect the world’s top high-tech talents and well-known companies in a decentralized way. Compared with traditional talent intermediary platforms, Braintrust has many advantages such as low fees, high efficiency, and users’ governance rights. In the context of the growing popularity of the gig economy, Braintrust gives users a more flexible, efficient and free working environment and opportunities.
Ownership economy and gig economy are the general trend
At present, nearly 40% of the working population in the United States are freelancers, and the freelancer market is about 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars. Under the influence of the epidemic, remote office and online office have become common work modes, and this mode will have a trend of long-term, immobilization, and universalization, and the number of freelancers and economic scale will show up. Increased exponentially. In addition, the employment relationship between employees and the company is also changing. The market has shifted from a relationship dominated by long-term employment to a short-term or flexible work model. This shows us the huge market potential of freelancers and gig economy. .
In addition, the success of Ethereum and the rise of DAO made people realize the ownership economy for the first time, that is, users own, operate, maintain, and expand the network they are using. It can be said that anyone who owns Bitcoin and Ethereum has it. Ownership of the network, they can participate in mining or pledge to prove the commitment to the network. Now this concept of ownership economy is no longer limited to the field of infrastructure, and more project parties have brought this concept to upper-level applications such as finance, social interaction, consumption, and society. Ownership economy can realize the autonomous operation and expansion of the network, and encourage users to contribute to the network from a deep level through various forms of incentives, rather than just consuming and using the network. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have laid the technical foundation for the development of the ownership economy, and the Web3.0 decentralized platform is the direct driving force for the promotion of the ownership economy.
Braintrust solves the pain points of the traditional talent market
We believe that the current traditional talent market still has the following unresolved problems:
- The platform charges high fees to companies and talents;
- Long matching period and low efficiency;
- The human resource solution market is highly fragmented, and the integration of resources has not yet been achieved;
- Users have no decision-making power and need to passively accept any policies of the platform, and the interests of the platform and users are inconsistent;
- The quality of platform companies and employees is not guaranteed.
The current competitive landscape of talent market services is highly fragmented, lacking industry synergy, and resources have not been effectively integrated. The main reason is that the operating mode of the traditional talent market platform is basically the same. Both employers and employees are charged high fees, which leads to a decrease in users’ willingness to use the platform. Braintrust has seized this market entry point, significantly reduced fees, and linked the benefits of the platform to the benefits of users. It can be said that Braintrust has tapped new supply and demand and created a new market that is not involved in the traditional labor market.
Compared with traditional talent market intermediaries, the Braintrust solution has the following advantages:
- The cost is greatly reduced. Traditional platforms charge users as much as 30%-50%, and Braintrust will not charge users any fees;
- The matching efficiency is greatly improved. It usually takes 1 to 3 months to successfully match between traditional platform companies and employees, while Braintrust only takes about 48 hours;
- The markup of talents is greatly reduced. Traditional platforms require companies to pay 3 to 4 times the market price of employees’ salaries, and Braintrust only charges 10% of the talent markup to corporate customers;
- The quality of talents is high and the quality is guaranteed. At present, talents on the Braintrust platform only include engineers, designers, developers and other types of high-tech talents. The overall talent quality is very high, and users are required to undergo P2P audits. Only qualified users can use the Braintrust platform. Braintrust is Corporate clients provide a vetted, high-quality “talent pool.” The quality of users on traditional platforms is uneven, and there is basically no registration threshold;
- Provide more and better job opportunities. Users have the opportunity to get in touch with well-known American Fortune 1000 companies, such as Nestlé, Nike, etc.;
- The user has the right to make decisions. The Braintrust platform is controlled by users and operates in a decentralized manner. Users have decision-making power and can jointly determine the future direction of the platform. And users can get rewards after making contributions to the network, that is, the benefits of the project are consistent with the users, and there will be no decoupling. The main purpose of traditional platforms is to obtain benefits from platform users, and the interests of the two are essentially opposed.
Braintrust adopts a decentralized market operation mechanism
The market operation of Braintrust mainly relies on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, and is completely decentralized. The token BTRST is an ERC20 token, and the token economy plays an indispensable role in the operation of Braintrust.
Talent market economy driven by BTRST tokens:
- The pledge of tokens proves the user’s commitment to the company. Through stake BTRST, users can promise their employers that they have stronger working abilities, so that they have a greater chance to stand out and get job opportunities, so that employers and employees will establish a more stable relationship of mutual trust;
- Decision governance. Users can vote to determine the direction of the Braintrust network or important decisions through the BTRST token in their hands, including fee structure, roadmap, new features, and so on. One token is one vote, so as to achieve the purpose of user governance and control of the network.
- Other functions. Users can use tokens to unlock vocational skills and professional courses on the platform, gain access to conferences, and more.
The above are some of the basic functions of the token in the initial stage. As the project progresses further, more new functions will be unlocked continuously. It is worth noting that the token BTRST is not used to pay employees’ salaries, and salaries are still paid in fiat currency (mostly in U.S. dollars), so users do not need to worry about the fluctuation of the token price and affect their income. BTRST is not used for payment purposes but to a greater extent to incentivize and grow the network.
Users can obtain BTRST tokens in the following ways:
- Recommend users and corporate customers to match transactions;
- User quality audit;
- Provide vocational skills courses on the platform.
Why do we believe that Braintrust can succeed?
The awakening of the open network and encryption era
The gig economy, Web3.0, and ownership economy are the general trend. There will be more and more freelancers around the world who are willing to contribute their labor value in the form of short-term odd jobs. The epidemic has accelerated the development of this era. With the arrival, Braintrust is exactly the application of Web3.0 in the field of talent market. In addition, people have a growing awareness of cryptocurrencies. At the beginning of 2020, 10% of the people on the Braintrust platform hold cryptocurrencies. This number is now as high as 85%. Therefore, the rapid development of cryptocurrencies in recent years is Braintrust provides a better soil, and it is expected that more users of the Web2.0 platform will join this decentralized network in the future. In June 2020, Braintrust’s customer base has more than tripled, and the project scale has grown to $57,000. In 2021, the number of jobs on the platform has more than tripled. Braintrust is riding a “hit ride” in the era of open networks and cryptocurrencies.
Use blockchain and token economy to effectively solve traditional talent market problems
- Low fees: Traditional talent market platforms charge high fees to users. Braintrust effectively uses blockchain technology, tokens, and decentralized governance so that the platform can achieve zero fees for users and only charge 10% of fees for corporate customers.
- High efficiency: The traditional talent market generally only matches talents and employers through a simple price that both parties consider reasonable, and it takes several months. And Braintrust considers the bids of both parties, employee skills, location and other factors to conduct comprehensive matching. The Bid-Ask of employees and employers is multi-dimensional and only takes a few days.
- User participation in governance: Users have decision-making power while using the Braintrust network, and can vote to jointly determine the future direction of the platform. However, traditional platforms lack transparency, and users cannot participate and speak up.
- Use the token economy to promote the development of the network: The platform token BTRST plays an indispensable role in the effective operation and growth of the network. Users can obtain token incentives by introducing employees and corporate customers and pledge tokens to prove their commitment to employers. Strengthen the trust relationship between employers and employees. The various functions of the token are supported by the underlying logic. Each design plan is to attract more users and distribute the benefits to the users, so that the Braintrust network can achieve self-efficiency and continue to grow. The traditional platform does not have any incentive model, and the interests of the platform and users are in conflict.
Better market entry point
The Braintrust platform currently only includes high-end talents such as engineers, designers, and developers, and does not include all types of work. That is to say, Braintrust adopted a strategy of having an entry point and focus to open the talent market in the early stage, and then horizontally expanding. At present, there is a large gap of high-tech professionals in the world. It is easier to clarify the market demand and the future direction of the product by choosing the right market and expanding.
Many well-known institutions invest
Braintrust completed a $6 million seed round of financing in June 2020, and completed a $18 million strategic financing in October. Investment institutions include Hashkey Capital, Pantera, Multicoin Capital, Galaxy Digital, ACME Capital, Blockchange Venture, etc.
Strong team background
Both Adam Jackson and Gabriel Luna-Ostaseski, the founders of Braintrust, have successful serial entrepreneurship experiences. There are more than 20 other team members, who are mainly responsible for marketing, technology and operations.
Adam Jackson is a serial entrepreneur and investor who has established 4 venture capital companies and 1 asset management company in the past 16 years. In 2012, he co-founded Doctor On Demand, a medical service organization, and raised US$165 million in financing. In 2017, he co-founded Cambrian Asset Management, a blockchain asset management company. Adam is also an angel investor in more than 100 companies/projects, including: Eco, Collective, Ethereum, Bolt, Placer, Aktana, Skale Labs, Protocol Labs, JCTurbo, Apero Health, Rappive, MyTime, Automatic, Womply, Superhuman and Zenefits .
Gabriel Luna-Ostaseski was the co-founder and current board member of the home improvement company Modernize before founding Braintrust. He also established Upshift Partners to provide development and customer acquisition consulting for technology companies in Silicon Valley, including humbtack, Uber, Lending Home, Metromile and Massdrop.
We believe that under the general trend of Web3.0, more and more decentralized platforms will be born to replace traditional intermediaries, making people’s work and life more efficient and cost-effective. There are Celo in the payment field, Compound and Uniswap in the financial field, and Braintrust in the talent market. Braintrust will be launched on the mainnet on September 1. Please pay more attention and support. Let us look forward to the changes that Braintrust will bring to the talent market and even the work model in the future. For more detailed information about Braintrust, please refer to the white paper .
The expert in this interview is Gabriel, the co-founder of Braintrust. In the interview, he shared with us the core value of Braintrust, a decentralized talent network, and his industry views on the gig economy and Web3.0. The following is the text of the interview:
“Braintrust is a low-cost, efficient, and open talent network.”
Scarlett: Please briefly introduce the Braintrust project.
Gabriel: From a higher perspective, Braintrust is doing a large-scale transformation. Now there may be some employees who have worked in the same company for 30 or 40 years, and we believe that people need a more flexible, dynamic, and independent working environment and model. This is the so-called “gig economy.” But in terms of the gig economy in the current Web2.0 environment, there is a centralized platform intermediary between employers and employees. Such platforms charge users a high commission, such as Uber or the food delivery platform DoorDash. In addition, businesses operating on the platform or users who use the platform need to passively accept any changes made by the platform. They do not have any voting rights, nor can they participate in any decision-making. The second problem is that users cannot speak up. However, in recent years, the rapid development of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, Etherum, Filecoin, etc. have laid the foundation for open networks. This also gives projects like Braintrust some opportunities. Braintrust focuses on solving the talent market, and Braintrust’s decentralization The network is owned and controlled by users. What Braintrust is doing is banning the traditional outdated centralized talent market operation model and replacing it with a zero-fee decentralized model. In addition to fees, in the Braintrust network, users can vote on the roadmap of the platform, or the changes and decisions they think the platform should make. So basically, Braintrust is a migration from Web2.0 to Web3.0 in the talent market.
Scarlett: Why did you choose the talent market? What are the unsolved problems in the traditional talent market?
Gabriel: First of all, why choose the talent market? Freelancers now have a value of 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in the world, and they are growing at compound interest every year. This is a huge market. In addition, there are not one or several prominent monopolies or oligopoly companies in the talent market, so in general this is a highly segmented market, and the platforms are all charging high fees, which makes users willing to think To join a low-cost or zero-fee platform (we charge zero for talents, and employers only charge 10% of the fee). Therefore, the existing freelance market is huge, and there is no company that integrates all freelance resources, and the cost of existing companies is very high. This is why we choose the talent market. It can be said that Braintrust has explored the traditional talent market and has not been involved. To the market.
Scarlett: In summary of the problems in the traditional talent market and the actual market needs you mentioned, how do you think the solutions provided by Braintrust solve these problems and meet market needs? Compared with the traditional talent market platform, what benefits can the Braintrust platform bring to users?
Gabriel: First of all, for talents, when they come to the Braintrust platform, they can come into contact with Fortune 1000 companies in the United States and their open job opportunities. Braintrust will provide independent workers or high-end technical talents with more well-known corporate project opportunities. Second, after employees find a job on the traditional Web2.0 platform to match the employer, the platform needs to draw 30%-50%, but Braintrust will not charge, so employees will earn higher salaries. Third, employees can make suggestions to the Braintrust network, make voting decisions, and speak out for their own interests. More than 60% of Braintrust tokens are allocated to the community, and the way for users to get tokens is to introduce more users, companies, or Help the network to screen talents, etc. So imagine that you, as a freelancer, have the opportunity to come into contact with larger companies, more interesting projects, earn 30%-50% higher salary than the average platform, and be able to obtain tokens, so Braintrust is here for talents. It is very attractive.
For companies, most companies now need scientific and technological talents. Large companies like Nike, Bank of America, etc. are trying to find software developers, engineers, designers, or some companies have also begun to recruit blockchain engineers. Therefore, the first benefit for enterprises is that when they come to the Braintrust platform, all the talents on the platform have been screened and most of them are high-end talents. It is easier to find suitable candidates and the quality of talents is guaranteed. Secondly, employers can use the platform very simply, and the matching time generally takes 48 hours, while traditional institutions or platforms may take 1 to 3 months. Finally, through traditional platforms, employers usually need to pay 30 to 40% of the market price of employees’ salaries, while Braintrust’s talent markup is only 10%, so employers can hire 3-4 times as many talents with the same budget.
Scarlett: Next, I will ask some more detailed questions. What kind of talents or work types are included in the Braintrust platform? Can everyone register on the platform and get job opportunities?
Gabriel: At present, the platform only contains three types of talents : engineers, designers, and developers. It does not include all types of work. Therefore, every user who wants to register needs to pass the KYC of the platform. After passing, they can become “talent”. . We believe that every segment of the track needs to have a focus at the beginning to open the market, and then expand horizontally, just like Uber also started with Black car, and we are currently mainly focusing on high-tech High-end talents.
Scarlett: In terms of employers, which companies does Braintrust currently cooperate with?
Gabriel: Deloitte, Nestlé, Nike, NASA, Pacific Life, Porsche, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (Blue Cross Blue Shield Association), Black+Decker, neighborhood social network nextdoor, gig platform Task Rabbit, etc. Well-known companies and employers have established cooperative relationships with our platform.
Scarlett: How do employers and talents on the platform match? Does the platform system automatically match the resume created and uploaded by the user with the employer’s requirements?
Gabriel: Yes, the matching of Braintrust employers and talents is based on a Bid-Ask model. “Ask” is the demand side of the market, that is, employers. Employers put forward the criteria for the talents they need, such as skills, experience, geographic location, etc. Salary, etc. The contract automatically matches these conditions with the “Bid” of the employees in the market. These are all automatically executed by the agreement. The matching process takes about 48 hours.
Scarlett: How is the user’s salary determined?
Gabriel: The salary and compensation of employees are basically driven by the market. For example, if you are a rare machine learning engineer, you can basically decide your own price. For example, if you are a front-end App developer, your price may be determined according to specific circumstances. Therefore, the salary at Braintrust is determined by the above-mentioned “Bid-Ask” model, which depends on geographic location, experience, skills, and requirements from both employers and employees.
“BTRST tokens are used to incentivize contributors to the Braintrust network.”
Scarlett: Next, let’s talk about the token economy of Braintrust. What is the purpose of the token BTRST?
Gabriel: The first is that BTRST represents the trust of users in the entire mechanism. Employers and employees on the platform are in different places and have not met each other, and users can pledge BTRST tokens during the Bid process to promise employers that they can With better working ability, this is more like a bond. Employers and employees can use tokens to establish a stronger relationship of mutual trust. The second and most important point is that people can vote to participate in decision-making and governance by holding tokens. Users can put forward any proposals about the direction and development of the platform, such as the charging model, so people can jointly decide the platform that concerns their own interests. future development. Braintrust’s governance model is similar to projects such as Compound in the DeFi world. One token has one vote, and it also includes off-chain proposals and discussions as well as on-chain voting. The third point is that we are creating a Braintrust Academy where users can use tokens to unlock more professional courses and improve their skills. The above are just some preliminary functions, and more functions will be unlocked in the process of continuous improvement of the network.
Scarlett: Can tokens be used for salary payments to employees by employers?
Gabriel: BTRST is not U.S. dollars. What we are doing is not creating another currency. BTRST cannot be used to pay salaries. Most companies that cooperate with the platform may not want to get involved in cryptocurrency. Employees also want their salaries to be paid in local currencies. Yes, the salaries of users on the platform are still paid in fiat currency (mostly US dollars).
Scarlett: How do people get tokens from the Braintrust network?
Gabriel: We want to use tokens more for incentive purposes and to encourage users to contribute to the network. We hope to use tokens to make the network grow and grow by itself, attract more talents and companies, and have more liquidity. Therefore, people can obtain BTRST by contributing to the Braintrust network, including introducing outstanding employees or employer companies (using invitation codes), matching Bid-Ask between them, helping the platform to conduct P2P talent audits, and providing training courses on the platform. It is a similar method, and using tokens to incentivize referrals and audits is more efficient and cost-effective than traditional marketing methods. For example, Nestlé needs ten machine learning engineers to go to a data science project, the referrer can get 1% of the transaction amount as a reward, and the 1% reward will be automatically credited to the referrer’s wallet in the form of BTRST tokens, so You can imagine that this is a big incentive for the recommender.
“Braintrust has explored markets that are not involved in the traditional talent field.”
Jupiter: As you mentioned earlier, the talent market is relatively fragmented. Why is there no leader in this market to integrate these scattered resources?
Gabriel: As for why there is no one person to integrate this fragmented talent market, I think the most important reason is the high intermediary fee. Excellent talents don’t want to pay 30%-50% of their remuneration to intermediaries. I don’t want to pay employees 3-4 times the market price. Both employers and employees are reluctant to pay this fee, and almost all intermediaries in the traditional market use a fractional model to operate, which is why there has not yet been a consolidator in the market. Braintrust is just the opposite. We draw the least fees from both sides. The result of low fees is that we can attract more job opportunities and talents. It can be said that Braintrust has tapped new supply and demand by lowering fees and established a more attractive The talent trading place has created a market that is not covered by traditional fields.
Jupiter: Do you think that traditional talent market service platforms can achieve the same goal without the help of blockchain technology? That is to attract more users through lower fees?
Gabriel: First of all, if the intermediary cost of traditional platforms is reduced to zero, the purpose of attracting users can be achieved. Considering the interests of stakeholders, this situation is basically impossible. In addition, even if the cost is reduced, governance and decision-making are still a problem. Just imagine, can they gather everyone in the network into a room to discuss the company’s future direction and roadmap? Basically impossible. Therefore, it is impossible for traditional companies to change the corporate governance structure and delegate to users, nor is it possible to reduce fees to zero.
Jupiter: Do you think there may be any Braintrust competitors in the future?
Gabriel: I think the well-known Web2.0 talent market platforms can be regarded as potential competitors of Braintrust, but as mentioned earlier, they generally charge high fees and users have no governance rights. In addition, some large-scale outsourcing or consulting companies may also compete with us. In fact, talent outsourcing companies are doing “global labor arbitrage”. They arbitrage profits by providing employees with different salaries in different regions. This may have been an inevitable method in the past, but now if you propose to some employers that you can work directly with the talents you expect without paying 3-4 times the salary, I think this is a way for them Very attractive proposal.
Jupiter: How to educate traditional Web2.0 users about the value of tokens and the network to make them believe that it is meaningful?
Gabriel: If the time is 2018, I think it is very difficult to convince users to join our network and use cryptocurrency. Nowadays, more and more people are learning about crypto. With the awareness of crypto, the number of users holding cryptocurrency is growing rapidly. At the beginning of 2020, 10% of our users own crypto, and now 85% of users own crypto, and our network greatly encourages recommendations and invitations. Users can learn from their friends or referees before joining Bratintrust Or learn about crypto.
Jupiter: I want to know your marketing strategy. How does Braintrust expand the number of talents and companies?
Gabriel: We can go back to the topic of how to get tokens. We are essentially rewarding those who contribute to the network by giving away BTRST. People can go to the “earn token” section of our website to browse the current Braintrust needs What type of talents or notifications about the referral talent reward tokens have been received. Some people may not be employees or corporate employers, but if they are connected and matched in the middle, they can get token rewards. We call these people “connectors”. So basically we do not spend money on marketing, nor do we advertise. All Braintrust’s talents or corporate customers come from recommendations.
Jupiter: In the long run, in the next 5-7 years, assuming that Braintrust has become the leading project in the talent market, what is the next plan or plan?
Gabriel: As mentioned before, the Braintrust network is completely decentralized and controlled by users. We can see that users are submitting new proposals every day. In the future, the speed of proposals may be faster and the number of proposals will increase. many. Therefore, users will decide what updates or adjustments the network should make according to the situation, as well as the future trend, because this network is related to their own interests, and users have their own business on our platform. I am looking forward to and excited about the future of Braintrust, which is created by users in the future, and I believe users will make the best choice.
“The gig economy and Web3.0 are just beginning now.”
Scarlett: In the context of the global epidemic, remote office has become the norm for many people, and many companies are now supporting the remote office model. In addition, more and more jobs are based on “projects” or employment contracts are relatively short. What do you think of this “gig economy”? Will it be the trend of the labor market in the next ten years?
Gabriel: In my opinion, the gig economy represents freedom and the autonomy of users in the work they do. But judging from the current model of the gig economy in real life, I think this is an economic disaster for the “gig economy.” “Gig work” must endure 30%-50% of the platform commission, and then the platform uses the high commission to formulate rules and regulations to squeeze more profits from “Gig work”. I think the current gig economy is an “experiment”. It not only allows us to see the innovative mode of future work, but also exposes the shortcomings in the process of practice. People have seen that they don’t have to work in the same company all the time, and they don’t have to be on site. They can become independent workers. The 2020 epidemic has pushed this trend forward for ten years. What is certain is that it is only this trend now. At the beginning, and if there is no high commission from intermediaries, the scale of the gig economy will grow exponentially in the next few years with the help of decentralized networks.
Scarlett: How do you see the evolution from Web2.0 to Web3.0?
Gabriel: In my opinion, the innovation of Web3.0 lies in giving users the governance and ownership of the network, allowing users to participate in the direction and future of their network. Taking Uniswap as an example, users are very concerned about the cost structure or the future development of the project, which is related to their vital interests. So this is a new economic model driven by blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. In my opinion, Web2.0 to Web3.0 is a fundamental shift from centralization to decentralization.
Statement: The above only represents the personal views of the interviewed guests, for reference only, and does not represent any position of HashKey Capital and its affiliates, and the above content does not constitute any action suggestions.
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