Lightning-based freelancer’s platform Microlancer.io was launched in October 2018 for Bitcoin enthusiasts to help make freelancing a more open and free place.
The development of the Lightning Network made it possible to do extremely low-fee microtransactions using Bitcoin smart contracts. Founder and Developer Tim Horie saw the possibilities early on. He decided “lightning is the way to go”. inspired to build something based on users being able to find people to help them with small tasks, he set about creating the micro tasking site.
“I didn’t know of a way to recruit people for small tasks”, he says, “apart from forums, and sites like Upwork which were designed for larger or ongoing tasks.” He found them clunky and set about the task of doing this one thing well.
The site itself is experiencing steady growth since the start. There is an increase in traffic particularly from social media, and even from wallet software. Wallets like Blue Wallet and index pages such as lightningnetworkstores.com refer to Microlancer. Once a critical mass is reached, it really could take off. Already, members are very active to invite their friends. The word spreads fast when it’s about earning real Satoshis. But fast growth and money-making were far from Tim’s mind when coming up with the idea. He says “It is a tiny club still. I’m not trying to market it much, I want to make it a lot better before heavily marketing.
A Labor Of Love
He’s not doing it to make money; the point is to have a mission greater than profits. To make the world better by embracing bitcoin at its core. “At the core, it’s all about privacy and peer-to-peer interaction, censorship resistance and above all, freedom. All the other systems rely on fiat currency and are trying to undo those principles.”
Tim aims to represent those ideas in Microlancer, which might slow the growth. But already he has created a site that is worldwide without a single connection to the banking system yet people from anywhere can post jobs and make an instant payment to the taskers who do them.
So the focus is on making the site simple, minimal, fast and easy to use with not too many steps. Posting a task could not be simpler. Just fill in the Title, Description and Amount you’ll pay. For those wanting to apply for the task, it can be just one click (a sample message is already entered if you can’t be bothered typing!
According to Tim, the growth of the site is “throttled by the popularity of bitcoin and lightning—we can’t grow unless they do”. It could happen overnight, or it could take 10 years. Either way, microlancer is ready. Tim doesn’t mind how long it takes. He wants to decide its character over time rather than decide what it’s going to be in advance. He watches what users do and then works to make it easier to do those things. “What’s cool is that the usefulness is there, I am more proud of that, that people can get things done that they want.”
A Learning Experience
Microlancer is clearly a great place to earn some coins or get some help with a project, but perhaps even more important is that it can help people learn how these new systems work. There’s no better way to learn than by doing. Using sites like Microlancer is an easy way to earn someone his first few Satoshis without having to go through all the regulatory nonsense involved in trading bank money for bitcoin.
You can experience the simplicity of it all without having to “rotate your head while taking a selfie holding up your government ID card next to your face”. (seriously, isn’t this like something out of the Exorcist!). Although lightning allows users to run lightning nodes and open channels themselves, for beginners that might be asked too much. But if you don’t want to set up a node there is an easy way to use lightning.
Microlancer is one of theses fascinating lightning apps that give us a glimpse on how the future might look. It’s permissionless, easy and fast. Anyone can use it and it’s kept free from tiring registration procedures.
It will need more time to unfold its full potential but the use case is clear and 5-star ratings on Trustpilot show that users are satisfied. Unless there are apps using bitcoin and lightning, adoption won’t grow. Likewise, unless users are using those apps, these sites won’t grow. For any bitcoin and lightning enthusiast, Micolancer is a must try, if not a must do.