Click here for PDF Version Building Commercial Dash Use in the Freelancing Industry across South Asia - A Research & Accessibility Project Summary: This project aims to promote the adoption of Dash as Commercial Currency across the large and growing freelancing industry in South Asia & research challenges to its adoption. Out of the ~100 million Freelancers in the world today, ~30 million work from South Asia; across IT, Web Design, Writing, Virtual Assistants, Animation etc. Cross-border payments are expensive, painful & slow. It is common to pay between 5-8% in overall commission, wait a week or more and often face uncertain regulatory delays over payments. With features like InstantSend & PrivateSend, Dash offers a unique payment solution for Freelancers, getting shortchanged by existing options like Paypal. The project comprises of two major symbiotic components; building targeted Dash adoption & research challenges facing large-scale adoption. Targeted Dash Adoption includes activating a set of Dash-accepting Freelancers in South Asia through an online educational course developed exclusively for this purpose. It will be distributed at scale through multichannel marketing. The Research component is essentially a deep-dive into the Cross-Border money transfer market. It involves analysing the use of Dash as currency for freelancers, researching existing money transfer solutions, pain points, understanding Growth channels + levers plus identification of gaps in the market. The research aims to chart out an actionable path for Dash to gain a share in money transfer business, through its core strengths. The Project is led by Gaurav Gupta, a Marketing & Usability technologist and Supreet Raju, an educational content designer for students outside the mainstream. The project involves a total outlay of 92 Dash/Month for 2 Months & includes development, design, graphics, platform marketing spend, incentives & research. About Us: Linkedin Profile : Gaurav Gupta Gaurav Gupta is a Marketing Technologist, specialising in making marketing more effective through Lean acquisition at Scale, Simplifying On-Boarding processes, Funnel Optimisation, Better User activation & Marketing automation. He has led marketing for global consumer internet businesses like : Squads.Com (Amsterdam, Remote Top Talent Freelancing Teams), Labster.Com (Swiss Education Virtual Reality Business, Raised $13M), Bridallive.Com (Atlanta, #1 Solution for Bridal Shops). He has worked with businesses in industries such as SAAS, Virtual Reality Education, Agile Software Development across China, India, US, Latin America, and the Netherlands. As a Marketing Technology Consultant for Philips (on contract through Squads.Com), Gaurav led an in-depth Market research & Analysis project for a consumer healthcare product in China, delivering online sales predictions for an unlaunched product using a combination of Growth Marketing techniques (collection of data for a placeholder fictitious product without using the brand name) & practical Data science (interpretation). He offers an alternate approach to marketing and usability for Technology Products, side-stepping the need for large marketing spends to increase product adoption. Click here for Linkedin Profile Supreet Raju Supreet Raju is an education course designer, working at the intersection of Consumer Internet marketing and Learning Design. She is a design graduate from the prestigious National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi and a Gold Medalist from the 2010 batch, an honour accorded to the top student across 8 Centres of Excellence nationally. Having taught a cross section of students from outside the mainstream and working separately with consumer internet companies trying to educate users, she has developed unique insights into new user education. She will work on designing educational material for new users. THE MARKET a) The Freelancer Market The Gig-Economy has been on the rise for over two decades; Nearly 1 in 2 jobs is expected to go to a freelancer by 2020. Of the 100 Million Freelancers currently working across IT, Web Design, CAD/CAM, Video, Graphics, Digital Marketing amongst others, ~30 Million are located in South Asia; India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Increasing internet penetration, cost of living arbitrage and geographical imbalance between skills & jobs are factors fuelling the rise of the global freelance industry. Upwork, Freelancer, 99Designs and Fiver are popular freelancing platforms; while Linkedin, Angelist, Remoteok.io are some others. b) The Money Transfer Market: A Freelance Market Perspective Cross-border freelancing overall is a ~$250B/year market, with South Asia accounting for nearly ~$50B in transaction volume. (~Estimates Vary) While projects greater than $1M utilise traditional banking channels (albeit expensive), smaller projects use different payment channels to collect payments. A comparative analysis of some money transfer options can be found on this chart. Project Scope and Details The Project comprises of two separate parts : Targeted Promotions & Research. This project aims to educate and activate Freelancers across South Asia to quote and accept Dash as payment instead of transferring money via traditional currencies; saving themselves the cost of multiple currency conversions and the pain of dealing with delays. The second aspect researches the money-transfer market from a freelancer point of view. 1. Targeted Dash Promotions & Accessibility Targeted Dash promotions involve a 4 step process: Acquisition, Education, Activation, Referrals. 1a)Acquisition A multi-channel approach will be taken up to advertise the Dashlancer platform to freelancers via Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin & freelance forums using appropriate filters, targeting tools and techniques. The following methods will be used for the purpose of acquiring traffic: Content Marketing and Distribution (30%): Short informative pieces written with the intent to educate freelancers to read how Dash can help them avoid large fees, transfer instantly and offer privacy. These articles will be distributed on Linkedin Sponsored Content, Facebook Sponsored Content and Freelance Talk Forums. Infographics (20%): 2 Different infographics will be created to explain features of Dash as ads and educational content, distributed via the same channels. Direct Advertisements (30%): Multiple variations of sidebar Advertisements directly targeting freelancers will be run on Facebook and Linkedin and users will be directed to the platform, Dashlancer for the course and wallet activation. Advertisements that do better will be scaled up and variations that perform below average will be culled. Youtube Advertising (20%): Educational Videos targeted to freelancers through geographical, interest based filtering to to attract more users. 1b) Education This encompasses developing an easy-to-understand course on Dash specially tailored to Freelance workers audience on dashlancer(Placeholder Domain) Contents: Introduction to Crypto-currencies What is unique about Dash ? Advantages over Bitcoin Setting up a Dash wallet How to secure and backup a Wallet How to transfer Dash Private send and Instant Send. Dash Invoice Format The course will be administered through different mediums and tested a choice of Email-Course, Infographic, Videos and an Embedded Presentation. As part of the course, the user will be directed to a page inviting them to apply for a Dash Credit in their wallet. Approved users will be awarded dash in their wallets. 1c) Freelancer Activation Program Users taking the course will be invited to apply for a small Dash reward in their wallets. On verification of any one link to their profile such as Linkedin / Github / Elance / Upwork, this reward will be transferred to the user as an incentive. While pure giveaways isn't a marketing vehicle of choice, in this specific case this form of activation is likely to encourage these users to explore Dash further and become invested in the community. Also, the incentive lowers advertisement cost. 1d) Referrals Referral Invite a Friend Campaign: Users will be invited to refer a colleague who they believe could benefit from the campaign. Upon verification, the invited user will be awarded a small amount of Dash like other verified users. The process for verification will remain the same and the award will not be symmetric i.e, no extra award to the referrer. This to avoid self-dealing (common problem amongst referrals). Referrals serve to lower the overall cost of acquisition. 2. Research & Analysis The project comprises of two different areas of research presented together in one actionable report. a) Pre-Project (Money Transfer in the Freelancing Industry) The money transfer industry is a gigantic business undergoing a major disruption by newer, faster and more user-friendly options. The first part of research will focus on the money transfer business to specifically understand some of the key trends in the industry. It would look at the size of various businesses, their growth trajectories and marketing channels, growth levers etc. The research will specifically look at ways to help Dash get a toehold in the money transfer business with optimised spends. b) Post-Project (Reaching out to Freelancers at Scale) The post-project research will involve analysing the results and metrics generated by the project and understand potential growth channels to reach out to Freelancers at scale based on data analytics and market data. The overall report aims to present a path forward for Dash to scale the effort to sign up Freelancers across the world and create a Dash-enabled supply chain. Project Budget Project Timeline: In case the project is approved to be funded through the next Superblock, the following are the proposed timelines for this project. A sprint is 15 days in duration, where subtasks are worked on by the team, with a team meeting in the middle of the sprint to compare notes and monitor progress. Advance Anticipated Questions Why Freelancers and not some other market? There many factors that make Freelancing a very interesting market. A clear need for a money transfer solution that is cheap, quick and private. Margins are higher in the services businesses, allowing better absorption of Dash price volatility as opposed to products. The supply chain is short and are largely comprised of users themselves. P2P transactions are easier to crack in Dash than more complex product supply chains involving physical goods and multiple suppliers. Why not target brand awareness over building a use-case? Cryptocurrency is hard for new users. Setting up a wallet for the first time, securing it, backing it up requires guidance. Brand awareness campaigns without substantive wallet use are likely to be forgotten quickly and eventually not lead to actual commerce, which is the key medium to long term growth lever for Dash. Given these reasons, building general brand awareness without power users and accessibility is unlikely to pay dividends. What if the value of Dash goes up by 2x or comes down by half? How does that affect this project? We intend to lock in value of Dash through hedging, in case the project is approved to be funded. This way, we will be able to deliver irrespective of price volatility. Is there an offline element to this project? This project is 100% digitally oriented, with no offline component. This project aims to create a repeatable and measurable process to educate & promote Dash to targeted users that can be replicated seamlessly.