Mechanical Turk and the Blockchain

The original Mechanical Turk was a fake chess playing automaton from the 18th century – a mechanical illusion that allowed a chess master to hide inside the machine1. The term has more lately come to mean a service that can be used to place small tasks which require human intelligence (a major use is for enriching AI data, or in China for internet censorship) – a market of employers and providers (Turkers). Amazon provide such as crowd sourcing market place through the AWS service ‘Amazon Mechanical Turkas do others such as CrowdSource and RapidWorkers3.

The market is there – a 2015 World Bank Report4 estimated that there were 500,000 workers registered with Amazon Mechanical Turk and according to Alexa.com4 the site had 750,000 unique visitors in December 2015.

One issue centres around fees – validated work costs a lot for the employer and the worker gets very little. The enabling sites charge fees of up to 40% (looking at the Amazon site, it seems a nightmare to work out5);

Secondly, validation of work can be difficult. One method is to recruit 5-15 workers for each task – a very expensive overhead.

Another issue is that the pool of labour is constrained by a huge number of people not having access to a bank account.

Gems is a new project from Rory and Kieran O’Reilly looking to improve the whole process using the Ethereum blockchain. The aim is to provide a protocol for contracting workers to perform micro tasks and a mechanism to prove validity of the work do based on a solid economic supply and demand model with no central fees.

As a protocol Gems provides the basis for others to develop dApps to run on it – that makes it a highly extensible platform.

Overall the aims of the project are:

1. Removing the middleman taking a large fee
2. Verifying accuracy of results from crowdsourced tasks
3. Supplying and building reusable interfaces
4. Removing the need for existing banking infrastructure
5. Properly incentivising and disincentivising miners and requesters

 This is a project backed by a very strong set of advisors: Biz Stone (Twitter, Medium), Joey Krug (Pantera), Ben Maurer (reCaptcha), Luis Cuende (Aragon), Joe Urgo (district0x) …. wow!

This is one to watch.
Gems.org

The articles on this site are opinions and for information purposes only.  It is not intended to be investment advice.  Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

© copyright 2018 Russell Weetch

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turk

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Mechanical_Turk

3 http://moneypantry.com/amazon-mechanical-turk-crowdsourcing-alternatives/

4 http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/07/11/the-size-of-the-mechanical-turk-marketplace/

5 https://requester.mturk.com/pricing

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A dozen things I want to know about your ICO

ICOs are now a huge part of the crypto landscape. So many are appearing each day that it is impossible to keep up now.

My original article on how I find ICOs is almost antiquated even though it is less that 2 months old. While I still glance through lists it is hard to identify how I actually find them, perhaps I should keep a record (that is way too sensible).

When I do find a project I am interested in these are the questions I am looking for you to answer and in this order. Now, you might not answer them all, but someone will take a look and try to. I’m just going to give you brownie points if you don’t make me hunt it all down – that’s not to say I won’t cross check 😉

  1. What is the aim of your project?
  2. What benefits does the Blockchain bring to the project? Why is it the most appropriate solution?
  3. Why does it need it’s own token? Why can’t it just use Ethereum or another token for payment – or maybe just credit card would be best?
  4. Do you have a product/prototype/just a white paper?
  5. Who’s on the team?
  6. Who are your advisors? Why are they your advisors? Are they investing?
  7. How much have your team invested in time and money?
  8. How much is your token sale aiming to raise?
  9. What are you planning to spend it on and why is that reasonable for this stage of the project?
  10. How does your sale rank you with the other ICOs in the last, say, 6 months? (You might as well say as someone will do it anyway)
  11. What is your soft cap and hard cap? If there is a big difference, what are you going to do differently if you exceed the soft cap?
  12. What is the structure of your funding?
    • What is the total number of tokens being minted?
    • How much was raised in a private placing?
    • How much is offered in the pre-sale?
    • How long is the pre-sale?
    • How much is offered in the pre-sale?
    • Actually, why are you doing a pre-sale?
    • How much is offered in the ICO?
    • What happens to the tokens not sold in the pre-sale/ICO?

That’s your dozen (see what I did on Q12?) for starters!

There are a lot of questions, but there again you are looking at raising a lot of money.

Crypto Coin Analysis Reports

Two questions seem to go together: where do I find out about Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and how do I know which ones to invest in?

I cover the first one in Finding ICOs.

Which ones to invest in is a harder one to answer. You should of course do a lot of your own research to establish whether you like what the project does and offers to the extent that you are happy to invest some real money into it.

However, there are just so many ICOs kicking off these days that there probably really isn’t time to investigate them all – you probably have a day job to hold down until those coins take you to the moon, right?

So it is good to have some filtering in place. If you want to do all your own research then you can limit it to projects that cover areas you have some knowledge in. Alternatively you can use review sites to narrow your search. Here are the ones I use, make sure you read their process of evaluation so you understand what you are looking at.

 Crush Crypto website link Twitter link
Analysis by Victor Lai of selected ICOs. Provides a simple rating simple for both flipping and long term potential. You can download a do it yourself ICO analysis sheet.
 ICO Bench website link Twitter link  
Well categorised list let’s you select the type of projects you’re interested in. Provides a top line score for each reviewed ICO scaled 1 – 5.
 ICO Rating website link Twitter link
A very straightforward list with links to an ICOs twitter, facebook, website et al. Shows all the top line info you need as well as a simple rating system (high/medium/low) for risk, hype and investment potential. There is an overall rating for ICOs that have been assessed more deeply.
Smith + Crown website link Twitter link
Simple list but contains a quick look at the attributes of the ICO such as whether the raise amount is auditable, it has detailed founder identities, whether it is closed to US citizens and others.
 Unbiased ICO Ratings website link Twitter link
 Provides a score out of 10. Unbiased ICO Reviews is operated by Zirra.