Expert opinions, TECHNOLOGY

Buying time at a blockchain chronobank

Maxim Poyarkov could neither talk nor walk until he was five. Consequences of the infantile cerebral palsy were partially mitigated by the time he reached legal age only. Due to severe physical disabilities, Maxim had to start looking for remote jobs well before and internet resources first emerged in Russia. In 2016 he invented a cryptocurrency chrono conveyer and given the pandemic interest towards distributed ledger technologies – when there was no more need to teach buyers and sellers the very basics of blockchain – he decided the time had come to have it implemented.

Drawing by Yuri Aratovsky

Labor hours resembling luxurious wines

Maxim Poyarkov, a former trader and then a cofounder of Yasnost (Intelligibility) creative consortium, offers various professionals a way to monetize their time, talent and expertise via ITO (Initial Time Offering). The idea of the project sponsors is to use their Cryptonomicon platform as a marketplace for selling and buying time, personal consultations and other services offered by all sorts of professionals. Designers may, for example, monetize not their working hours but the number of design drawings, whereas copywriters could monetize the number of signs in a text they draft.

Poyarkov is certain that over time, due to the human competences coherent growth, there will be much more fundamental reasons for the increase in value of a working hour of a present-day professional, as compared to the market of capitals, whether traditional or digital, and that such value will be less volatile. Maxim Poyarkov claims investments in a form of a direct access to the time of a specific expert can ensure high yield since the system handles real benefits an expert can offer to a token owner. He also compares this mechanism to investing in works of art or great wines. It is anticipated investors will be able to hold some of their tokens for five or more years.

As Poyarkov says, “The idea to develop a favorable environment for freelancers which is based on a blockchain technology, was brought about by the need to resolve the problem of remuneration mechanisms unification in the context of multitasking performance. In other words, it was important to work out how a value of an hour may be measured if a person is concurrently involved in a range of projects. That was the first challenge. The second one was protecting copyright to the results of intellectual endeavors, such as creative, design, and other consultancy works and services. Our technology allows to fundamentally reshape advertising market. Whereas hundreds of professionals are highly concerned (and have every reason to be) that their ideas may be stolen by their competitors, we effectively resolve the challenge and come up with ready-made concepts and strategies without fearing they may be declined while the underlying ideas may be later appropriated”.

A buyer and a seller of the time will structure their relationship in a smart contract. To finalize a deal, a personalized token is issued. In Poyarkov’s case, it is Poyarcoin. The information on all purchased hours of a professional’s time are stored in a distributed ledger. A buyer will be able to exercise the right to use the purchased time, within the pre-booked dates.

As Invest Foresight was explained, beta-testing of several sample smart contracts is currently underway, such as a pilot token on the basis of ERC20 Ethereum and IBM HyperledgerFabric, of two types. The first one envisages that personal time of a specialist will be sold at a preset price.

A buyer has an option to buy a service at an advantageous rate, whereas the very same service will be more expensive if denominated in a fiat currency. The professional, respectively, may wish to keep the revenue as investment in a digital currency”, Maxim Poyarkov explains.

The second type of a deal is arranging an auction where a contract sets the rights of an expert when dealing with advertising and design orders. That will allow such an expert to sell the ideas at authorized auction marketplaces of an ITO project. The marketplaces are expected to be launched in spring 2018. According to Poyarkov, some negotiations are currently underway and involve major food and automotive industries players for whom such smart contracts will be effected within auctions program framework.

Time deposited in banks

The idea of monetizing time of professionals sprang up long ago. In 1986 Professor Edgar S. Cahn suggested issuing time-dollar as means of paying for social services. Having opened an account in a Time Bank, any system participant will maintain a debit/credit balance of the time worked. Such a participant can, for instance, set someone’s piano and get in turn a free roof repair. In Japan, time banking is implemented as an elderly or ill people care project, Fureai Kippu, where the time of service to those in need is remunerated with some paper checks which can be used to get similar services in the future, or to be transferred to other people, one’s parents, for example.

In the globalization age when unemployment threat is rising, new projects in the area are multiplying while the blockchain technology allows viewing the problem from a new perspective. One of the best known players in the time monetization (tokenization) market is ChronoBank, an Australian project which over two months has raised $5.4 million at an ICO. ChronoBank issues Labor-Hour Tokens (LHT) backed by real labor linked to average hourly wages in the host country.

Unlike ChronoBank, Maxim Poyarkov’s project does not envisage an ICO. At the moment, the project is fully financed with private investments. Poyarkov’s colleagues make up all smart contracts. The market cost of all works to set up a platform is within RUR 1 million ($17,000).

Maxim Poyarkov is confident that for his ITO project to be successful, the two underlying prerequisites are already available, namely, its social focus and an explicit business plan.

It is no secret that majority of creative minds and talented personalities are unable to protect their rights due to their reserved demeanor, emotional intensity, attentional set-shifting, physical restraints, etc. Another global challenge is poor skills of researchers in promoting and commercializing their developments which may result in their unique projects being abandoned. Our goal is assisting such people in materializing their full potential and protecting their interests. Monetization in this regard is very simple. At the moment we test our technology at our partners. We redistribute the revenues generated, in line with customized agreements. Here I refer to several ad agencies and design studios in Moscow”, Poyarkov explains.

Talents for tokens

The project initiates issuance of a range of private cryptocurrencies.

We are certainly advancing in that direction, but that will be our second step. Right now there is no point to breed new instruments since there already exist some quite coherent ones which we will use to oil the mechanism we have in operation. To make it simpler for each participant, within the system there will be a unique counterpart’s name linked to a Bitcoin or Ethereum rate”, Maxim Poyarkov notes. “When we reach a certain level, we will launch a full scale model of an individual cryptomonetization, but that will be the next stage. In our project, a cryptocurrency as a concept is secondary while the blockchain technology is primary since is allows to totally revise the very approach to the time cost valuation”.

Mikhail Krapivnoy is a business blockchain optimization specialist and an owner of Man & Technologies Lab design bureau at MISIS National University of Science and Technology which deals with implementing distributed control technologies in R&D projects. As he notes, Poyarkov’s ITO project is of much interest since it fundamentally renounces the speculative nature of tokens.

The project has more of blockchain than of its derivatives such as cryptocurrencies, and it is therefore a big step forward in developing the technology”.

Mikhail Krapivnoy points out that demand for professionals of rare or highly specialized expertise will keep growing. The Boston Consulting Group in its Russia 2025: Resetting the Talent Balance report, underlines that most of the work force in the country is engaged in unskilled labor which requires performing routine operations. Due to that, by 2025 Russia will face a deficit of 10 million employees. The said deficit will result in a sharp growth in demand for professionals of adequate expertise since the access to them will be limited. Hence personal tokens issued through ITOs may become one of the extremely scares options to get a qualified service, the expert says.

Nevertheless, Krapivnoy sees a serious psychological barrier as well, which can stop buyers from acquiring tokens with activation date of over a year.

People may be reasonably concerned that by the moment a token is activated, the professional who had sold it in exchange for some time, may not be physically available due to an accident or other circumstances”, Mikhail Krapivnoy assumes. “Therefore, a partner program involving an insurance company may be required to insure a buyer from a potential inability to activate a token”.

By Anna Oreshkina

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