Interview with Reibin Amin, CEO of CryptoSalary
Gig Economy has been the backbone of flexible workforce since the days of pre-industrial revolution. With the growing globalization, frictions in cross-border payments and administrative burden in freelancing have turned more relevant. Cryptosalary.io easifies current freelancing scenario with blockchain based global salary platform. The company also aims to serve small and mid-size businesses that need to pay their workers without employing them. A major friction which has silo’d solutions that do not serve the entire demand. We had an opportunity to connect with Reibin Amin, the CEO himself. The insights follow…
Pujan : How did you guys come up with the concept of CryptoSalary? Was it that you were already providing similar services and decided to switch to decentralized platform?
Reibin : Well, the idea behind CryptoSalary comes from my former business venture PaySalary. I have been working in the Gig Economy for 10 years now and I started my career at a Swedish company called Frilans Finans. Frilans Finans was in the Umbrella Company business. Umbrella companies, act as employer of record for independent contractors instead of permanent employees.
After having worked 5 years with Frilans Finans, I found that there seemed to be another type of demand in Sweden that the market had not offered services to. This market can be referred to as “pass-through agencies”. So I quit my job after having worked there from 2009-2013.
I reached out to an old friend of mine and pitched him the idea behind PaySalary. He liked it and jumped aboard! In 2014 we launched PaySalary.
The idea behind PaySalary was to be sort of a Professional Employer Agency. We realized that tech companies, mid size companies and small companies seemed to have the demand for workers, but not employees.
When you are starting out, or working in different type of Gig Economy markets such as application jobs, you have the wish to pay workers, but sometimes not the structure or system available to support permanent workers or full-time employees. Companies could use PaySalary as a sort of a payment platform. We would take the responsibility of managing payroll processing, employer payroll tax filing, workers compensation insurance, health benefits, liability insurance etc. Bootstrapped, we released the website and started getting traction on the Swedish market.
Our breakthrough came in the end of 2015 when we were contacted by Uber – it had launched recently in the Swedish market.
Pujan : Interesting, even in India, the manufacturing companies at times need additional workers, which are not permanent employees… Mainly to adjust with the variable demand and hence the variable need for man-power.
Reibin : That is interesting. I don’t know if you have looked through our Whitepaper – India is actually one of the companies of our Global Expansion plan.
So PaySalary became a successful company. Uber used us to pay their office staff, their UberEATS riders and later on even their taxi drivers who wished to work without starting a company.
You see, a company such as Uber usually works with contractors, but does not hold employees. For them, a service such as ours was very suitable for their business model.
Pujan: Yes! That makes a lot of sense. Coming back to Cryptosalary, what was the motivation for switching to it from PaySalary?
Reibin: In 2017, I made an exit in the company and sold it to a global HR company and left because I had a new idea. I wanted to create something that was truly global, and find a way to connect workers and employers across the world.
Pujan: I assume there would be frictions in going global? Such as the silo’d and different regulations around different countries ?
Reibin: Yes that is correct. Obviously, there are different tax requirements for each countries. This can be according to state, province, city and municipality. Every country has different requirements for income tax withholding andfor contribution towards unemployment. One must not only be familiar with wage and labor laws but also have in mind the cultural differences.
So there are many things that needs to be taken into account for while looking at a global business.
CryptoSalary will start by expanding to countries with either a strong Gig Economy market or a large market of Freelancers.
When we enter a country, we move in with tax experts and a legal team to access and learn about the specific systems put in place. We want to do this in the right way, but we also want to automate and digitize the process as much as we possibly can.
There are also some other frictions that we see. How do we get global parties to trust each other? That is a tough one, we believe that people should not have to shake hands and meet in order to be able to do business.
At the same time, we have to mitigate the problems that can occur when doing business online with parties who have no prior relationship.
Pujan: Indeed. That’s a major concern. How does CryptoSalary approach such challenges?
Reibin: We will provide a platform for Freelancers and Employers by taking over and automating the administration process of conducting business, thus letting them focus on their core business.
For Freelancers, we will provide a security by requesting the Employer to place funds into Escrow before a Gig can start.
For Employers, we will provide a platform where they can set terms for a Gig and have the Freelancer accept the terms before paying to Escrow.
Gate Payments will allow the parties to agree upon salary amount and milestones within the Gig. This acts in order to lower the risk of bad business, increase trust between the parties and create fairness and balance within the Gig. Another positive consequence of Gate Payments is that even if a Gig would end prematurely, the Freelancer will still have received payments for completed milestones while the Employer has only paid for agreed upon tasks.
It should be fair to all parties. In the Gig Economy and Freelancer landscape – all parties must feel they have the power to engage in thework that is being done.
Pujan: I really like the vision of enabling the Gig Economy that has been surpassed by the industrial boom and centralization…
Speaking of Gig Economy, what sectors do you think would be the beneficiaries of CryptoSalary?
Reibin: CryptoSalary will be a global platform for (a) Freelancers to send invoices without starting a company and (b) Employers or Individuals to pay workers without employing.
Someone who has become a Freelancer today, is a person who has gone through many of the administrative processes that are required to start a company. Entity Setup. Banking. Legal requirements. Tax requirements…
In today’s digital world, where there are applications and services for most of the things that we need, why shouldn’t there be an application that just allows you to become a freelancer instantly?
The administration of being a Freelancer can be shifted onto us, you can just focus on your core business. So we believe that of the future Freelancer aspirants out there, some will want to go traditional, while others will want to use And that leads me on to the next customer segments, which are Employers or Individuals who wish to pay workers without employing them. Given these two customer segments, we see different types of customers.
An Influencer company wishes to expand to global markets and has found Instagram Influencers in different countries for ad campaigns. The influencers do not have their own companies and needs to be paid somehow. It would be much to ask for a newly started out influencer to go through all the hassle of starting a company when you only have one job to offer. How you do pay someone in another country then!
Pujan : The latter customer segment seems very opportunistic, because of the emerging long tail of small businesses that are not very savvy with employment laws, nor do they prefer to get involved in that direction without absolute necessity…
However the services like Fiverr do allow almost anyone to sign up and become freelancer, am I correct?
Reibin: Yes you are right. But these Freelancers have already managed a way to handle taxes and local regulations, probably by having started a company.
We are not necessarily targeting them. We are targeting those who have not yet taken that step.
CryptoSalary could in the future, offer White Label solutions for services such as Fiverr to open up the possibility to have Freelancer who click in the option of “I do not have a company”.
Pujan : Moving on to the Initial Coin Offering, we have seen a lot of ICO’s being presented as utility tokens in 2017 and 2018. Due to various factors, many have not been able to live up to the expectations…
Do you find any resistance due to the current sentiment of investors towards utility token offerings?
Reibin: First of all, I think it is a shame that many companies chose to ride the ICO wave without actually providing real value and real services. It is important to have this said.
But I think it is good that there is now resistance from investors towards Initial Coin Offerings. People need to investigate before investing, and they need to see real utility within a service or a platform before taking part in this type of crowd-funding system. For us, it only means that we need to be sharper at our Pitch and put a large emphasis on the value of our product. Of course, the ICO market has dropped and that is a shame since we believe that crowd-funding is a great way to fund Initial Coin Offerings. At the same time, I would not want someone to buy tokens without knowing what they were getting themselves into. That is not what crowd-funding should be about. It shuold be a road to produce real products and services.
Our mission going forward until August of 2019 which is the date of our ICO, is to make sure that the market and our potential investors have trust in our team and in our ideas.
Pujan : I agree… The well-informed investor community would be very convenient for the post-ICO stage of development I believe. Could you share the information about CryptoSalary ICO? How long is it to continue? And would you be using the marketing means like airdrops and bounties?
Reibin : It is planned to go on for 1 month. We are looking at ways to provide Airdrops and Bounties but we have not yet decided on how to go forth with this.