Making Microwork Visible with Rabbithole

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Rabbithole is an Ethereum DApp for making and taking Web3-related tasks (currently just microwork). The majority of the tasks are offered by DeFi providers, such as Compound and Superfluid. The tasks are meant to encourage Web3 users to learn and use DApps (primarily DeFi apps). Users can earn cryptocurrencies and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) for completing tasks, and accrue experience points (XP).

An example quest is Intro to Compound. In this quest, users are asked to “[s]upply and borrow tokens on Compound, a decentralized lending and borrowing protocol and liquidity network for digital assets.” A user can earn 0.15 COMP (~ $49.14) and an NFT of the Rabbithole logo as an animation, and 200 XP.

Rabbithole provides a means for an implicit credential of skills and expertise because the user’s tasks are recorded publicly on the Ethereum blockchain. Thus, Rabbithole users can market their skills and expertise to potential Web3 employers through their on-chain resumes.

In AI needs to face up to its invisible-worker problem, Saiph Savage discusses the invisible labor, the “thousands of [crowdworkers]” working on crowdworking platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk who power the development of Big Tech’s machine learning models. These crowdworkers often take on micro-work tasks such as data labeling (e.g., labeling images and websites, or transcribing audio).

Saiph Savage identified the following problems with crowdwork:

  1. Crowdworkers earn low wages, and some earn wages that are even less than the US minimum wage, even though they are working full-time; and
  2. Crowdworkers find it difficult to find future employment opportunities because their skills are not readily recognized, it is hard to find ways to develop their skills, and most employers have not heard of these crowdwork platforms (“We found that a lot of people don’t put their work on these platforms on their résumé”).

Saiph Savage also makes an interesting point about career ladders in the quote below.

That’s a start. But it would be interesting to think about career ladders. For instance, we could guide workers to do a number of different tasks that let them develop their skills. We can also think about providing other opportunities. Companies putting jobs on these platforms could offer online micro-internships for the workers.

And we should support entrepreneurs. I've been developing tools that help people create their own gig marketplaces. Think about these workers: they are very familiar with gig work and they might have new ideas about how to run a platform. The problem is that they don’t have the technical skills to set one up, so I’m building a tool that makes setting up a platform a little like configuring a website template.

I think the success of Rabbithole shows that an alternative model for incentivizing and tracking micro-work is possible. Rabbithole has shown a means for Web3 users to be recognized for their skills and expertise by completing microwork and recording such activities on-chain, thereby resolving the invisibility issues raised in the article.

I think a Rabbithole-like DApp for data labeling may solve the problems mentioned by Saiph Savage in the article for four reasons.

First, crowdworkers could have access to more diversified rewards schemes such as the Intro to Compound quest (and even functional NFTs), and greater means to build their reputations.

Second, crowdworkers would have more transparency on “which tasks are worth their time and which let you develop certain skills” because all the tasks and rewards are on-chain. Additionally, companies would have more transparency on the time and effort it takes for crowdworkers to complete tasks.

Third, crowdworkers could showcase (and explain) their skills and expertise to potential employers because their work is recorded on-chain, thereby resolving the invisibility issue raised in the article.

Fourth, I think such an app would also make it easier for companies to find exceptional crowdworkers and offer them “micro-internships” at their companies. Alternatively, these crowdworkers may think of starting their own companies.