On-demand work, freelancing, and the so-called gig-economy is an area that has seen incredible growth in recent years. Companies often turn to freelance marketplaces such as the well-known Upwork.com and Freelancer.com to find talent that can complete specific tasks, often one-off projects that are limited in scope, and are thus saving big by not having to employ people on a full-time basis with skills they only have a limited need for.
Freelancers are also seeing the advantages that this can provide for them by having the ability specialize in any kind of niche imaginable, while working from where they want and at any time they choose.
While this seems to be a win-win for everyone involved, the problem is often the intermediary. These are the platforms, also known as freelancer marketplaces, that companies and freelancers use to connect with each other. These platforms also usually act as escrow services for payments between the parties, and as arbitrators in case of any disputes.
The industry standard by these platforms is to take a cut of around 20% of freelancers’ earnings for the service that they provide. In addition, employers are usually charged 2-3% of their pay-out to the freelancer for using the platform.
In addition to this, both employers are freelancers are subject to the central authority and (sometimes unfair) decisions made by the platforms. Both parties also have to trust the platform if any kind of disputes arise between the parties.
Despite all of this, the platforms providing these services have continued to grow because both freelancers and employers have nowhere else to turn.
This is the problem that Talao aims to solve by developing a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) that will tap into the $50 billion market for on-demand work. Talao claims to be the first decentralized and blockchain-based marketplace that charges 0% commission from both employers and freelancers. If done right, there is no doubt that the market for freelancing platforms and on-demand work is ripe for disruption.
The process that the Talao team has laid out for hiring a freelancer on their platform is as follows:
Already in the private pre-sale stage, the native token of the platform is TALAO, an Ethereum-based ERC20 token.
The main use case for the TALAO token will be to conduct transactions within the platform. The full range of uses for the token is explained in detail in the well-written white paper published on the Talao ICO website.
It’s also important to note that payments for services on the Talao platform, either as a freelancer or an employer, can be made in both fiat and cryptocurrency. We believe this is important as it can greatly speed up mass-adoption of the platform.
A private pre-sale is currently in progress. Eligibility requirements for the private pre-sale are not published, but anyone interested in this may contact the Talao team via email, as per the information given on their website.
In order to participate in the public pre-sale starting May 20, the team has set a rather high minimum investment of 100 ETH.
Following the pre-sale, the public token sale will commence on June 4.
The Talao token sale is divided into two rounds (A and B). Any unsold tokens remaining after round A will be frozen for one year on the blockchain. Remaining unsold tokens after round B will be burned.
Talao has what appears as a strong and more senior team than many other ICOs that are being launched these days. With the company being based in Paris, France, the management team is naturally mostly French. For future growth, the team is planning to have a maximum of 30 people based at their Paris office and an additional 30 people based in other offices around the world, with current candidate cities for expansion being London, Oslo, San Francisco, New York, and Singapore.
Talao’s CEO and co-founder is Nicolas Muller. He has his background as founder of the French freelance marketplace eMindHub in 2015, with further experience from the engineering, manufacturing and aerospace industries. In many ways, Talao is eMindHub for the blockchain-age, with the old company being rebranded as Talao.
The other co-founder and COO of Talao is Thierry Thevenet. He is the former founder and CEO of Fi System, a French publicly traded company offering consulting and other services related to Internet marketing, communication and back-office management in the French and Spanish markets.
Other team members also appears to have diverse backgrounds with strong experience in their respective fields. The only question that comes to mind when looking at the team members’ backgrounds is whether they are sufficiently experienced with Blockchain technology to successfully carry out a project of this size and scope. Only one person on the team, presented on the website as “Blockchain Team Leader,” appears to have extensive experience with blockchain projects.
The idea behind Talao is undoubtedly a sound one, and freelance marketplaces is in our view an area that is ripe for disruption by the power of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) and Blockchain technology.
The team members have successfully launched and operated traditional centralized freelancing platforms in the past, which indicates that they understand the industry with its inherent risks and opportunities.
As mentioned above, the main question mark is the team’s lack of experience in Blockchain technology specifically. It is therefore hoped that the team can manage to attract qualified people with relevant experience who can drive the project forward from a technical perspective.
- One question is whether the project will be able to attract the critical mass of users necessary to break-even with their running operating costs, given the low-revenue “freemium” business model that has been chosen for the platform. With that said, it is known that Talao’s predecessor, eMindHub, already has demonstrated an ability to attract users. However, whether this will be enough to cover the operating costs of the new platform remains to be seen -0.5
- The team appears very strong from a traditional business development and management point of view, but may be somewhat lacking from a technical point of view, in particular when it comes to experience with Blockchain technology. -2
- With both freelancers and employers dissatisfied with the service offered by current platforms, the freelancing marketplace industry appears ripe for disruption by blockchain technology. +2
- The management team already has a strong background in the industry which is definitely an advantage. +2
- Highly transparent company and team with all important details made publicly available, including the Articles of Association of the France-registered company behind the project. +3
- The project appears thoroughly thought-out and well-explained both on the website and in the white paper. +3
The Talao project appears very well researched and though-out, with a strong team that has demonstrated their ability to carry out projects in the same industry in the past. A high degree of transparency from the team’s side adds to the legitimacy of this projects, and makes it stand out positively among the many low-quality ICOs that have been launched recently. We also like that the team has made the company’s Articles of Association public along with an explanation that rules out any potential conflict of interest between company shareholders and token holders.
Overall, the case for Talao appears to be strong and we believe it deserves a score of 7.5 out of 10.
- Token Type: Utility
- Platform: Ethereum – ERC20
- Symbol: TALAO
- Pre-sale start date: May 20-27
- Public sale start date: June 4-24
- Token Supply: 150 million
- Tokens Available for Sale: 100 million (67%)
- Hard Cap: $20 million
- Price: $0.65
- Payments Accepted: Ethereum
- Minimum Investment: 100 ETH for pre-sale
- Jurisdictions Barred from Participating: USA
Featured image from Pixabay.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term trading. The author has no investment in Talao at the time of writing.