The Crypto Unemployables
Posted March 02, 2023
I’m here at ETHDenver, Ethereum’s largest, longest-running conference.
And I’m surrounded by unemployables. Thousands of them.
Elsewhere, “unemployable” is a pejorative.
Here, however, they wear it as a badge of honor.
They are independent workers… freelancers… sole proprietors… Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) contributors… and more.
Rise of the Self-Sovereign Worker
Employment has evolved a lot in the digital age.
Individuals are no longer, by necessity, tied to offices, corporations, and traditional forms of income.
In crypto, the change is even more radical. Decentralized teams are the rule and not the exception.
Just one project I talked to has team members from Brazil, Dubai, New York, the UK, LA, and more.
That’s the norm.
And yet… the systems supporting these workers are slow to adapt.
As an independent worker, you have to traverse through a labyrinthine and fragmented process to cover all the bases. The complexity is mind-numbing. Healthcare. Dental insurance. Vision. Retirement accounts. Tax. Compliance. Withholding. And more.
And, indeed, those in crypto still have to deal with the same obligations of any business owner or independent contractor.
This morning, I met the Opolis team at their ETHDenver booth. Tons of crypto projects are solutions searching for a problem. Opolis isn't one of them.
Opolis describes itself as a “member-owned digital employment cooperative.”
The vision is to become “global utility infrastructure for self-employment.”
In other words, Opolis was founded to help independent contractors, solopreneurs, and freelancers maintain their freedom while also getting all of the benefits of working for a company.
Through Opolis, independent workers can automate payroll processing, access group healthcare benefits, self-directed retirement options, life insurance, simplify their tax remittance, and earn rewards simply for being a member.
(Opolis even offers a way for members to pay their invoices from their crypto wallet.)
Although Opolis is crypto-friendly, they are neutral to the work you do.
They have hundreds of members who work in traditional fields like realtors, teachers, consultants, designers, and more -- with plenty of options that cater to crypto-natives.
How Does it Work?
How it works is simple:
There are no hidden costs or setup fees to becoming a member. You just buy one share of Opolis Employment Commons’ stock -- for $20 -- and then the fee is a 1% fee on payroll and benefit consumption. (You’ll also have to stake the cost of one month of benefit premiums as collateral.)
When you become a member, Opolis helps set up your LLC and S Corp/C Corp. You then get a W2 from Opolis, which gives you access to their payroll services and benefits.
Because of their total group purchasing power, members of Opolis are granted access to affordable healthcare insurance, health savings plans (HSAs), dental, and more.
Also, as a member, you’re a part owner of the cooperative. Meaning, you stand to receive dividends -- in the form of WORK tokens -- when the cooperative is profitable.
One member, Matthew, said: “What separates Opolis from similar organizations is that as you use their services you’re generating their native token. Opolis pays you to use them.”
Currently, the conditions for membership include:
→ US work authorization
→ Employed by a company you control
→ The ability to pay yourself at least minimum wage in your state
If you’re already self-employed -- or want to be -- Opolis is worth looking into.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what I’ve discovered here in Denver.