How Small Incentives Can Create Big Change

tl;dr: The Bounties Network seeks to empower anyone, anywhere to make positive change at any level. Micro-incentives delivered via crypto show us how.

One of the changes that blockchains enable is the transmission of micro-payments for near-zero fees.

The implication of this is yet to be fully understood, but it is something we explored in How Crypto-Fueled Micro-Incentives Will Change How Work Gets Done

Top 7 Blockchain challenges to go mainstream in 2019 & more… – Data Driven Investor

Today, we have one example of a model that was previously impossible.

Meet The Bounties Network

The Bounties Network enables any person or organization to establish a series of ‘micro-tasks’ for completion.

It’s essentially Amazon Mechanical Turk minus the 20% fees.

So, instead of the money going to Amazon, it goes directly to the workers (I’m sure AOC would love this).

What’s more, since it is blockchain-based, you don’t need permission of any kind to set up a bounty, nor to participate in one. No gatekeepers.

All you need is an Ethereum address…and that is something my 11-year-old has.

Bounties for Clean Up

At a high level, this concept was exciting, but I had to make sure it worked.

So, I opted to participate in a Bounties for the Oceans — Sustained, Verifiable Plastic Cleanups.

To complete this task and earn my 10 DAI reward, I had to do three things.

  • Find a site and prove that I was there on a given day
  • Clean up
  • Prove that I had cleaned up

That is exactly what I did.

Instead of the newspaper headline that they asked for (old school), I gave them the hash of the most recent block of the Ethereum blockchain (inspired by Vitalik)

Then, with some friends, we cleaned up the site.

Our proof? The “after” video and a post on Twitter.

Once we were done, I submitted it for approval to the network.

About a day later, the $10 worth of DAI were in my wallet…and all it cost the Bounties Network to send to me was $0.01 in Ethereum gas transaction costs.

You simply cannot do that in the current financial system.

It’s The Model, Not the Money

Fortunately, $10 is not going to make or break me. However, I needed and wanted to experience the end-to-end process for myself.

That is why I was excited to see that it worked as advertised.

If blockchains are going to help us solve climate change, we are going to need these types of innovative, decentralized, micro-incentive based approaches.

The first 3 tons of trash removed from Manila Bay are already one piece of evidence that it can work.

It can also make an impact on a personal level. If you look at the Leaderboard(ignoring #1 who is obviously super-human), you’ll see that the top 25 have made a few hundred dollars.

Not life changing money, but in the conversation about AI taking jobs, Universal Basic Income, and the dignity of work, perhaps we are seeing a glimpse of the future where some of these trends and forces converge.

How Small Incentives Can Create Big Change was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.