The Breakdown:

  • Problem: Traditional talent networks take massive cuts from gig workers' earnings.
  • Opportunity: Freelancers -- who represented 36% of the US workforce last year -- contributed $1.2T to the US economy in 2020, a 22% increase from 2019.
  • Pitch: Braintrust is a decentralized, self-sustaining talent network that remove the middleman and gives freelancers stake in the company.

Freelancing is hotter than ever in a post-pandemic economy, but it has downsides — one being the 20%-40% cuts taken by talent sites like Upwork and Toptal.

Braintrust Network is looking to change that

The nonprofit is building a user-owned tech talent network that removes middlemen and lets talent set their own rates, keeping 100% of what they earn. Clients are charged a 10% flat fee, used to fund network operations.

Braintrust promises access to Fortune 1000 clients, from Nestlé to Nike to NASA, and the company matches talent with clients.

Braintrust says this system means talent keeps 20%-45% more of their earnings, and companies save 50%-75% more than they would with traditional hiring.

But here’s where things get interesting

Braintrust introduced its own cryptocurrency ($BTRST) — earned by completing projects, leaving reviews, or screening new freelancers — to give users a cut of the pie. 

Some $BTRST use cases:

  • Governance: Holders become voters who have a say in the organization’s development (1 token = 1 vote).
  • Bid staking: Talent can stake tokens as collateral for failing to deliver projects, and clients can stake tokens as incentives for talent to submit proposals.
  • Benefits: Holders can receive exclusive discounts, and tokens can be used for community perks.

Added bonus: Just say the word “cryptocurrency” to stop any job-related questions from your parents. 

(Have an idea for a Cool AF Business story? Tell us about it here.)

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Originally published Jan 21, 2022 10:03:27 AM, updated April 15 2022