Building Commercial Dash Use in the Freelancing Industry across South Asia

Gaurav_Gupta

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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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 2.12.19 AM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 2.12.36 AM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 2.57.24 AM.png

This encompasses developing an easy-to-understand course on Dash specially tailored to Freelance workers audience on dashlancer(Placeholder Domain)


Contents:

  1. Introduction to Crypto-currencies
  2. What is unique about Dash ?
  3. Advantages over Bitcoin
  4. Setting up a Dash wallet
  5. How to secure and backup a Wallet
  6. How to transfer Dash
  7. Private send and Instant Send.
  8. 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

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 2.13.24 AM.png
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

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 2.13.36 AM.png

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

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 2.54.39 AM.png



Project Timeline:

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 2.14.05 AM.png


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.

  1. A clear need for a money transfer solution that is cheap, quick and private.
  2. Margins are higher in the services businesses, allowing better absorption of Dash price volatility as opposed to products.
  3. 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.
 
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Gaurav_Gupta

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Questions / Comments from Other Forums.

Dash Nation Discord.


dancefordistribution-

@Gaurav that looks cool, but how do you intend to make e.g. upwork.com and the like to go along with this? aren't the freelancers bound to the project-sites payment menthods like paypal/visa banktransfers etc? If they fall away from this then upwork will miss out right? I guess creating a decentralized upwork based on dash would be a good thing and then make the freelancers use that instead?


Gaurav-Yesterday at 8:56 PM


Hi dancefordistribution Great Comment! I agree that charging in Dash/Hour is the future. Platforms like Upwork and Elance are expensive 15% Net-Net, at the very least. Given this, freelancers and project owners tend to move away from these for bigger projects. Many popular forums like Linkedin, Angel.co, Hasgeek etc. allow people to connect and decide their own terms of contract and payment methods especially in the case of retainer fees. Freelancers in South Asia tend to work directly with the company and set their own payment terms especially when on retainer-contract basis. By using Dash, they get to save all the money lost in transaction costs of Paypal/bank fees. Decentralised Platforms on the blockchain is the way to go!
 

TheSingleton

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Mar 27, 2017
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How would a company get Dash to pay a freelancer. And how would a freelancer turn the Dash back into Cash? Are these 2 stops easy and cheap enough to make using Dash worth it? Would be nice if you could give an example.
 

Gaurav_Gupta

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Hi @TheSingleton. Great Question. I have analyzed different scenarios for you.

Situation : Let us assume John has hired Rahul to develop his website. They decide on total of $10000(OR 25 DASH) to be paid. The project is delivered and the money is due.
John now has the following options to make the payment.

OPTION 1) In the pre-cryptocurrency world, he might use a payment service like Paypal. Paypal charges commission of 2.9% +$.30 plus hidden currency conversion charges upto 5.2%(Depending on the currency pair) .This works out to about 8.1% in total at max. Or upto $810 in fees on the $10000 to send the money via Paypal.

OPTION 2) He uses DASH. Now with DASH there are different options depending on his and the freelancers nationality.

A) John is from Europe/Japan/China/South Korea(Any Country where there is a DASH exchange pair and legal) In this case, John buys Dash off a local exchange for EUR/Dash paying a conversion fee of 0.15%(-$15) and sends it to Rahul for a marginal fee.

A1) Rahul is lives in Poland/South Korea/Japan/China(Countries with local dash pairs): In this case, he simply keeps the money in Dash till he needs it and coverts it at a local currency exchange for 0.15%, For 0.4%-0.5%(withdrawal and transmission fees included) he gets his cash.. Rahul pays $50 for a transaction that would cost upto $800 otherwise)

A2) Rahul is in India/(Without Current Dash Pairs) Rahul uses any exchange that has a DASH/BTC pair and sells DASH for BTC(-0.2%) and withdraws it to his account in India(-0.5% or $5). He then sells his BTC at an Indian exchange or LocalBitcoins and to his delight he gets $10625 ($10650-$5-$20) instead of the $10000 sent because BTC is trading at a premium in India. Cost of transaction (-)$625 Vs Upto $800.

*While this arbitrage may not last, a premium is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. Also, an exchange is likely to launchDASH pairs in India in the coming days, leading to a further simplification of this process.

B) John is from the States and doesn't have DASH: In this case he(or his company) essentially buy DASH keeping local regulations and law in mind(they keep changing). Depending on the local rules, They transmit the money to an exchange to buy DASH(Still should be cheaper than the Paypal fees) and send it.

B1) Rahul withdraws it as in A1 and A2, depending on his nationality. (Including Wire fees cost $250 vs Upto $800)

C) John is wherever already has DASH. This is the easiest transaction. John simply sends Rahul DASH and Rahul keeps his money in DASH till he needs it and sells it locally when he does as in A1 and A2.

In all the above cases, trading in Dash/Crypto saves both money and time and in one case, it even turns in an unexpected profit.
*Regulations keep changing, so the situation may change with them.
 
Last edited:

TheSingleton

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Mar 27, 2017
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Sounds good. As a freelancer myself I know that you can lose quite a bit of money through international transactions though I received it via a bank transfer where the fees aren't quite as high.

Still when I talked to the company about maybe receiving crypto the technical and probably also legal issues where too much for them to even consider it.

With fees as high as your example that might not be an issue but you took the highest possible fee as far as I can see. So getting freelancers to accept it is one thing getting, the companies to actually pay them in Dash is another.

Still, we have to start somewhere so ill vote for this. But you should probably get some more feedback from others.
 
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Gaurav_Gupta

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Thanks for your support @TheSingleton

I think as regulations become clearer, businesses might get more comfortable using Crypto in general.

Conversion costs between strongly traded currencies like EUR/USD are still probably more reasonable.
But it can gets a little more expensive for say converting Swedish Krona to Sri Lanka Rupees. Or JPY to NPR.
(Largely because the currency is first converted to USD/EUR, then transmitted and then converted to local currency).
Bank transfers can sometimes take many days to show up in this part of the world.

Long term, I reckon crypto transfer costs settling around one-fifth of what the cheapest methods currently offer.
 
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Dashmaximalist

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Hi @TheSingleton. Great Question. I have analyzed different scenarios for you.

Situation : Let us assume John has hired Rahul to develop his website. They decide on total of $10000(OR 25 DASH) to be paid. The project is delivered and the money is due.
John now has the following options to make the payment.

OPTION 1) In the pre-cryptocurrency world, he might use a payment service like Paypal. Paypal charges commission of 2.9% +$.30 plus hidden currency conversion charges upto 5.2%(Depending on the currency pair) .This works out to about 8.1% in total at max. Or upto $810 in fees on the $10000 to send the money via Paypal.

OPTION 2) He uses DASH. Now with DASH there are different options depending on his and the freelancers nationality.

A) John is from Europe/Japan/China/South Korea(Any Country where there is a DASH exchange pair and legal) In this case, John buys Dash off a local exchange for EUR/Dash paying a conversion fee of 0.15%(-$15) and sends it to Rahul for a marginal fee.

A1) Rahul is lives in Poland/South Korea/Japan/China(Countries with local dash pairs): In this case, he simply keeps the money in Dash till he needs it and coverts it at a local currency exchange for 0.15%, For 0.4%-0.5%(withdrawal and transmission fees included) he gets his cash.. Rahul pays $50 for a transaction that would cost upto $800 otherwise)

A2) Rahul is in India/(Without Current Dash Pairs) Rahul uses any exchange that has a DASH/BTC pair and sells DASH for BTC(-0.2%) and withdraws it to his account in India(-0.5% or $5). He then sells his BTC at an Indian exchange or LocalBitcoins and to his delight he gets $10625 ($10650-$5-$20) instead of the $10000 sent because BTC is trading at a premium in India. Cost of transaction (-)$625 Vs Upto $800.

*While this arbitrage may not last, a premium is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. Also, an exchange is likely to launchDASH pairs in India in the coming days, leading to a further simplification of this process.

B) John is from the States and doesn't have DASH: In this case he(or his company) essentially buy DASH keeping local regulations and law in mind(they keep changing). Depending on the local rules, They transmit the money to an exchange to buy DASH(Still should be cheaper than the Paypal fees) and send it.

B1) Rahul withdraws it as in A1 and A2, depending on his nationality. (Including Wire fees cost $250 vs Upto $800)

C) John is wherever already has DASH. This is the easiest transaction. John simply sends Rahul DASH and Rahul keeps his money in DASH till he needs it and sells it locally when he does as in A1 and A2.

In all the above cases, trading in Dash/Crypto saves both money and time and in one case, it even turns in an unexpected profit.
*Regulations keep changing, so the situation may change with them.
your attention to detail is awesome , start small and go big ... All the best
 

Gaurav_Gupta

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**********PROJECT STATUS UPDATE************

Hello! 


Here is the current detailed status of our project after 1 out of 4 planned sprints :


COUSE DEVELOPMENT:

For the Freelancer course, we have chosen a custom-color illustrated animation style. This style has high resonance with users and is readily marketable.

We are targeting a total runtime of about 6:00 across 4 videos. The videos are designed in a way that they can also be used as standalone ads.We aim to keep the course crisp, to ensure high interest levels and lower bounce rates.


While it can be tricky to build high quality animation, we have got a good team together that is working on this. The script has been finalized and the story boards are undergoing final revision after two draft submissions. We have hired a top voice-over artist with years of industry experience to narrate the course.

We will put out the complete course together form start-to-finish for users to access.

PLATFORM DEVELOPMENT

The web development on the Dashlancer Platform is being actioned on and we are targeting a launch of the platform before the end of December. The requirements were earlier spec-ed out and the roles and tasks were divided for the development team. We are on track to launch this. 


CONTENT MARKETING

We are currently drafting and reviewing short actionable content pieces for our upcoming marketing campaign. Some content pieces include short write-ups, ads and content pieces for Linkedin. We have two team members framing this.

RESEARCH

We are done with about 60% of the research part of the project. We are through with researching the Remittance segment and also close to finishing researching freelancing platforms.

We are compiling data from multiple sources and collating them for analysis.
We expect the research documentation process to be completed by 10th of January, a little ahead of our original schedule.

More Updates on our Launch soon.

Wish you a Merry Christmas !

Gaurav
 
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Gaurav_Gupta

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**********PROJECT STATUS UPDATE 3/4)************
Hi! 


Here is the current detailed status of our project at the end of the 3rd Sprint. 


COUSE & PLATFORM DEVELOPMENT:

The platform was launched towards the later half of January and is live at DASHLANCER.COM.

Here is a video from the course:


The platform features 4 custom illustrated animated videos that educate freelancers about

a) Challenges Faced By Freelancers
b) Introduction to Dash and Blockchain Technology
c) How to install a Dash Wallet
d) How to transfer Dash

The platform is laser focused on Freelancers and acquired users can apply for $15 in Bonus Dash. The profiles are verified and approved Freelancers are accepted into the program. 


MULTI-CHANNEL MARKETING & ANALYTICS

A multichannel marketing campaign is underway and is targeting Freelancers from Multiple Angles

1. Facebook Marketing: Our advertisements have not been affected by the recent changes to Facebook policy since we are largely promoting education. We have multiple ads live and constantly being tweaked as data comes in.

2. Quora Ads: We are utilising Quora to advertise to Freelancers

3. Community Posts: We are posting about the platform on various Freelance
Community Forums. Getting a strong response from this campaign.

4. LinkedIn Ads: Targeting Freelancers through Linkedin Ads.

5. Youtube Ads: Youtube ads targeting India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka are live.

This campaign is being A/B tested and tracked with tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel and Hotjar to optimise pages.

We have had 257 signups so far from various channels, including referrals

RESEARCH

We are done with about 90% of the research into Freelancing Platforms and the Money Transfer Business.The data sets have been collated and documentation is nearly complete.

We will be releasing the first part of the research on the 18th of February.

More Updates Soon!

Best,
Gaurav Gupta
Dashlancer.Com