A Review of The Gems ICO – The Protocol for a Decentralized Mechanical Turk


Gems is one of the latest coin offerings – and it may be one that has managed to find a killer app, and something that will differentiate itself from the other thousands of crypto currencies, coins and tokens that are on the market today.

What is Gems?

Gems is a decentralized currency for microtasking. It aims to be something similar to Amazon Mechanical Turk, or CrowdFlower, but with a difference. The centralized microtasking services break up large jobs into very small tasks, and then allow a large number of people to work on those tasks, for payments that are typically just a couple of cents.

The issue with CrowdFlower and Amazon Mechanical Turk is that the requester is charged a fairly high fee to add their work to the platform, and the worker needs to go through a long signup process. In addition, they often rely on the requester having the same job done more than once, by different workers, to confirm that the job is being done properly. This is known as ‘consensus by redundancy’, and it can cause problems for workers because it delays payments, and means that sometimes properly done jobs get rejected because other workers were submitting fraudulent work. In addition, it causes problems for the requester, because it means they have to pay more than once to get the work done. The only people that win are the platforms themselves, which make more money from this way of doing things.

Gems wants to solve that problem, by decentralizing the task management. The ‘consensus by redundancy’ issue can be fixed, in theory, using a ‘trust score’ mechanism and staking. Becaue there are no middlemen, there’s no need for requesters to pay a fee. The ecosystem is open to all – even people who do not have a bank account. What’s more the whole platform is open source, so nobody needs to take the company’s word for it about how it works – they can check that it truly is open and fair.

Who is Behind Gems?

Gems was founded by Rory O’Reilly and Kieran O’Reilly. These are both Harvard graduates, and they have a good track record because they’ve already got another startup – gifs.com – under their belts. They have an impressive team of advisors, including Biz Stone, and Ben Maurer – so they do appear to have the right background for the job. Their computer science knowledge should stand them in good stead, but they don’t appear to have anyone that is dedicated to block-chain technology in their leadership. Now, it could be that they do have block-chain experts, but they don’t want to be named – privacy is quite important in this niche after all. However, the lack of clear expertise in the area could lead to problems down the road.

Is There Demand?

If you’re considering investing in an ICO, then the first thing you need to think about is whether there’s actually going to be demand for the currency. No-one can predict the future, but it does seem like this is a market that is going to see demand. Crypto currencies are still growing – and it’s likely that a lot of them will be a bubble, because they don’t have anything backing them – there’s no product behind them, they’re just something that has value because people agree that they have value. Gems is different – it’s a currency that is designed to be exchanged for a specific purpose – micro tasks. This means that it’s more likely to hold value, and to be a stable currency, than many rivals.

The 3 Levels of Gems

The Gems project is broken up into three levels. The Gems Protocol is used to determine whether work is valid and whether network participants can be trusted. Apps for micro-tasking will be built on the protocol.

The Gems Platform will be the first app to build on the protocol, and it will pair workers with requesters so that they can perform micro tasks.

The third level is Modules – these are re-usable, open source interfaces for tasks, and they are also built on the platform. Anyone who wishes to will be able to build apps on the protocol, and use the apps to verify work. Anyon who wants to work just needs to create an account, verify their identity, and then us one of the apps to do the work, then they can get paid in Gems – there’s no need for a bank account, and there’s no need to go through long, repeated signup processes. The idea is simple – one protocol to allow many workers to do many jobs, for many requesters.

Is The Market Really There?

Amazon Mechanical Turk has had no issues with finding requesters or workers, and platforms such as OneSpace are able to sustain their markets as well, so there’s a good chance that Gems will do well. Right now, they have around 4,000 members on their Telegram group, and there is good transparency between the developers and would-be investors. At the moment, there’s not a lot of hype surrounding the project – there are too many other currencies launching that are focusing far more on marketing and building hype. That could be a good thing, however.

The currency is aiming for a market cap of somewhere around the $50m+ level initially, although it has the potential to grow to a lot more than that. It will be easier to figure out the true potential of the currency once the token matrix is known. This is a relatively small amount of money compared to other currencies – but that means the barrier to entry for investors is low. You could buy in without taking huge risks, and still stand to make some gains if the project does work out.

One thing that makes this a promising project is that there are no decentralized microtasking platforms out there at the moment. there are many centralized competitors, but this is the first blockchain project to make a serious attempt at solving the consensus by redundancy problem.

It will be interesting to se how the market plays out, and whether centralized requester platforms simply start using Gems themselves, in effect attempting to be a middleman in a platform where the middle man is not necessary. Even if that is what happens, in terms of the value of the Gems currency, it could be deemed a success, even if it doesn’t achieve its goal of opening up access to the micro-jobs space for more requesters and for more workers.

Visit the official website below to learn more about Gems.

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