The Gems ICO is getting a lot of hype (with good reason) and with the proof of caring requirement there are already lots of articles on the basics of the project. So, I’ll assume you understand the project and the sale details. For this review, I’ll dive right in to its strengths and weaknesses and my high level thoughts on the project.
The team is ultra talented, if young and small. The advisors are world class. Its an intuitive use of blockchain and the hype is real. The project is at an early stage. Thus, Gems should be a great flip project but harder to call on long term prospects. I personally like them.
Gems is targeting a fairly large market. There are currently two main competitors in this niche right now: Amazon’s MTurk and Crowdflower. It’s hard to know exactly how big MTurk is, but it is probably worth around 500m to 1b to Amazon. As AI gets smarter, it will likely start eating away at this micro task, but for the next five years, demand for microtasks will likely increase.
It’s worth noting that Gems is taking the smart “protocol angle” here and building flexible blockchain tech for the niche including verification methods and reusable task interfaces. Decentralized apps can be built on the protocol to serve specific types of micro task needs of businesses.
Using blockchain to disrupt the micro task platforms is a good fit. Gems introduces a few intelligent ways to improve on MTurk. With their staking mechanism, workers stake tokens to ensure task completion. With the current platforms, it is difficult to ensure that workers complete the tasks correctly, so businesses often hire 5-15 workers for the same task to make sure it is done well. With Gems, this inefficiency may be reduced as each worker puts skin on the line and takes the task more seriously. Verifiers in the system confirm tasks are completed correctly. If this system works, workers will also earn more per task.
These tasks are often very small and inexpensive, so lowering the fees charged by the platform and using an internal currency is another powerful way to leverage blockchain. Apparently, Amazon takes a 20% cut off of all payments and additional cuts for using well ranked reviewers or complicated tasks. Gems, through the feature of a decentralized network, can eliminate the fees on tasks and also use the token for payments. In theory, that allows more workers to join (you don’t need a bank account).
How this payment system would be implemented is in question, as the central token would be volatile and therefore not great for payments. Many blockchain companies are dealing with the same issue right now, and there will likely be best practices in the space soon.
Part of the reason people are so excited about Gems are the team and advisors. The small team is made up of two brothers: Rory and Kieran O’Reilly. They both are Thiel fellows – students paid by the Thiel foundation to drop out of college and pursue a promising and timely business idea. There are only 100 or so Thiel fellows running around; its a mark of distinction. Oh yeah, they are both Forbes 30 under 30 designees too. Strong founders, though young with only one startup under their belt.
The advisors are equally impressive and include Biz Stone, a founder of Twitter and Medium and Inc’s entrepreneur of the decade. Some noteable blockchain founders are also onboard including Joey Krug of Augur and Luis Cuende of Aragon.
The white paper is light and this project is really just getting going. The team has great founders and advisors, but hasn’t been fleshed out yet.
Especially with all the hype in crypto right now and for this particular project, one could see Gems being valued in the hundreds of millions at some point soon. I’m investing as much as they will let me in the ICO. I like the long term prospects here because I think the niche is focused and uncrowded, it’s a good fit for blockchain disruption and the team can make it happen. With 40k+ telegram followers and lots of buzz, this is also probably a good flip. But definitely one to watch over the next couple of years as it develops.