Blockchain as a Labor Intermediary? Chronobank is Working on It

What? A work intermediation platform (WIP) based on blockchain, that now-much-talked-about distributed ledger system?

Chronobank (otherwise known as Chronobank.io) describes itself as “an ambitious and wide-ranging blockchain project aimed at disrupting the HR/recruitment/finance industries in a similar way to how Uber disrupted the taxi business and Upwork represented an evolution in freelancing.” Also perhaps a sign of the times, Chronobank.io is not a company, but rather a consortium-based project started in June 2016 by a group of blockchain experts located around the world and Edway Group Ltd. (which bills itself as one of the largest labour-hire companies in Australia).  

On December 15, 2016, Chronobank.io launched its Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which according to one definition is a “way to raise money for a new cryptocurrency project by distributing a percentage of the initial coin supply among the early supporters and backers.” On the first day of the ICO, Chronobank attracted what is effectively a $1.1 million investment from Australia-based VC AXL Strategic Partners. By the end of the first day, just shy of the equivalent of $2 million has been raised through over 800 participants.  

Blockchain-based bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and has gained celebrity status. But there are over 700 cryptocurrencies in the world today. And by the way, there are also multiple blockchain protocols.

Now back to Chronobank.io.  

Chronobank.io is aiming at “making a fundamental difference in the way people find and are rewarded for their labor, decentralizing the process and moving it outside the framework of traditional financial institutions.” Chronobank.io is focused on short-term work in labor categories like “e-commerce, cleaning, warehousing, industrial, building and various forms of freelancing.”

The Chronobank.io vision is planned to be realized in two stages: first, Labor Hours (Q2-Q4 2017) and second, LaborX (Q1 2018). Both stages represented on Chronobank's website are displayed here:

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Spend Matters has been covering work intermediation platforms (WIPs) for some time now, and we’ve looked at lots of different WIPs. But a blockchain-based WIP is something we probably never imagined.  

Contingent workforce management and services procurement practitioners are just starting to wrap their minds around WIPs as new labor and services sources. So one might ask: How is something as mind bending as Chronobank relevant at all? Well, there are least some points to reflect on for a few moments.

First of all, if the project is successful, Chronobank — including the LaborX decentralized marketplace — will be operational in 2018 (not very far off). Second, by comparison, the current generation of WIPs looks mature already, so maybe they are not as radical as they have seemed. Something like Chronobank can be more mind-stretching than mind-bending — and a little bit of that, done regularly, is a healthy exercise for strategic scenario building.

Last but not least, the Chonobank.io project is truly awesome. And really, isn’t that enough?

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