Instead of a decentralized platform for matching clients with talent, Braintrust's decentralized platform aims to further benefit both parties.
is a decentralized talent network controlled by its users with the aim to serve their interests.
By creating a blockchain-based alternative, Braintrust aims to remedy the extractive model of traditional freelance platforms by aligning incentives of users and clients to benefit both parties.
Users, called talent in the Braintrust ecosystem, enjoy greater flexibility and specialization by having the option to pick and choose projects. Companies can scale their workforce according to demand. Neither party loses out because the network isn't maximizing profit as centralized networks do. Instead of generating value for the network operator, this value is given back to talent and companies, who enjoy no fees (talent) or much lower fees (companies) than on traditional platforms. The lower overhead in this model supposedly saves companies between 50-75%, value that is redistributed to the network's owners — its users.
Braintrust was founded in May 2018 by Adam Jackson and Gabriel Luna-Ostaseski. Jackson is a serial entrepreneur and tech investor that has founded four VC-backed companies and a blockchain asset management company. Luna-Ostaseski was an advisor to several tech-based companies, such as Lending Home, Quartzy and YPO. The executive team is complemented by a 30-person strong team working at Braintrust.
Three distinct parties exist in the Braintrust ecosystem: talent, connectors and clients. Talent are freelancers looking for work. They sign up to the platform and pass a screening process to verify their background and skills. Once approved, talent can apply to different jobs, complete educational courses in the Braintrust Academy and participate in the community. Talent can earn BTRST tokens for the latter two, which can be staked and help talent stand out when applying for a job. Moreover, talent can earn BTRST for 5-star reviews.
Connectors can invite talent and clients and get BTRST for successful referrals. They also earn a dynamic share of a referred talent's invoice after successfully completing a job.
Clients can post jobs and stake BTRST to stand out and attract more talent. Since there are no network fees, talent receives 100% of an issued invoice. However, clients do have to pay a 10% fee of an invoice to Braintrust nodes.
Braintrust has a total supply of 250 million BTRST.
The Braintrust token distribution is as follows:
Community Incentives and Rewards - 54%. Unlocked at network launch and distributed over time to community incentive and reward programs.
Early Token Purchasers - 22%. 2-year lock, 1-year cliff, then monthly.
Early Contributors - 19%. 4-year release schedule, 1-year cliff, then monthly.
CoinList Sale - 5%. 3-month/6-month lock, releasing monthly depending on the tier.
Braintrust's key value proposition is an efficient price discovery, made possible by its decentralized nature. Usually, companies don't have the time and resources to hire staff at their perceived market value, forcing them to acquire talent from middlemen like consulting firms. However, this talent comes with a significant mark-up.
On Braintrust, a talent's price is influenced by their rate, skills and location. Talent placing bids must thoroughly list skills, set competitive prices and ensure locations align with existing client demand. Clients placing asks must offer competitive pay but keep required skills and experience broad enough to find enough matching talent. Simultaneously, expanding suitable time zones will increase the chances of success.
Unlike centralized platforms, Braintrust does not charge talent fees. Clients are charged 10% of the total contract value, which is used to pay network operations costs. Since token holders vote on governance proposals, they decide the incentive structure for talent, allowing them to keep between 20% and 45% more of their earnings compared to traditional platforms.
Clients profit from Braintrust's community-driven screening process and flexibly adjust to market demand by hiring competent freelancers instead of full-time employees. In doing this, they save between 50% and 75% compared to sourcing talent from external providers, according to Braintrust.
Connectors are incentivized to onboard their existing talent networks to the platform since they receive an increasing share of referrals' invoices from completed projects.
Web 2.0 work platforms are often characterized by high fees, which heavily eats into a talent's revenue. If a freelancer is active on a platform for years, the cumulative fees paid can make a difference in the six to seven-figure range.
Braintrust capitalizes on this weakness, but doesn't simply undercut traditional platforms in price. Instead, it leverages blockchain technology to create a user-governed network where low fees and screening mechanisms attract a highly skilled workforce, in turn attracting big companies competing for their labor. This allowed Braintrust to entice some of the world's leading enterprises to offer tasks on its platform. Braintrust's average job size is $84,000, indicating that their target clients vastly differ from comparable platforms like Fiverr and Upwork.
Harvard Business School published a report
on Braintrust, calling it the "Blockchain-powered Talent Network." According to the report, Braintrust has the potential to become an efficient staffing solution that provides transparency to both sides of the market. Cristopher Stanton, a Marvin Bower Associate Professor at Harvard Business School and one of the report's authors, pointed out that enterprise-level talent so far has not benefited from the kind of seamless transactions that lower-skilled work has enjoyed since the emergence of gig platforms.
According to him, Braintrust may be a key difference-maker in that regard.
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