• Shift
  • Posts
  • Layer3: The Future Of Work In Web3 🔨

Layer3: The Future Of Work In Web3 🔨

The fast-moving startup is creating a decentralized workforce, one where merit trumps all else.

Hi friends! 

This is Noah, one of the cofounders of Shift, a media startup where we onboard beginners to web3 through educational content written in plain English. In addition to our newsletters, we’re beginning to publish educational content, ranging from lessons to deep dives. Our first deep dive is on Layer3, one of my favorite companies in Web3. Hope you enjoy it :)

Last week I sat down with Layer3 co-founder and CEO Dariya Khojasteh, not in a coffee shop but over a Zoom room. In typical Zoom etiquette, Dariya turned his camera on, as did I.

I soon discovered that making yourself known in work is a relatively unfamiliar concept to Dariya. And no, he is not one of those weird crypto nomads paranoid about anonymity and privacy protection in a hyperconnected world. The opposite, in fact.

Dariya spent part of his teenage years operating several Instagram accounts with millions of followers. He was living the dream of most high schoolers, except he wasn't: rather than bathe in the glory of social fame, Dariya operated under a pseudonym. In other words, he remained anonymous the entire time.

In a world where humans are instinctively predisposed to bias, Dariya worried that potential partners wouldn’t take him seriously if they saw a 15-year-old boy on the other side of the screen. 

Dariya’s pseudonymity set the stage for his professional aspirations: create a world where anyone can be rewarded for the value they provide, regardless of where they come from. Even further, unlike in digital marketing, Dariya thought people should be incentivized and motivated by a passionate community and financial incentives. Spoiler alert: DAOs allow this.

This article will synthesize the societal trends and technological novelties behind Dariya’s mission. I’ll discuss how:

Our workforce is changing. Rapidly. COVID-19 permanently amended our working habits: more people than ever are choosing asynchronous, flexible, and short-term work opportunities.

DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) will accelerate this transformation. Decentralized autonomous organizations are meritocratic organizations. They align the incentives of users and companies, and will redefine our modern workforce. 

DAOs are fragmented AF. Democracies are disorganized and so are DAOs. Messy Discords, Telegrams, and internal operations make it difficult for contributors to work part-time for DAOs.

Layer3 is lowering the friction in DAOs. They’re a platform that allows DAOs to post tasks and projects that anyone in the world can complete for compensation.

Layer3 is easy to use, unlike most platforms in Web3. Read the whole piece for a guide on how to use Layer3 and make money :)

Let’s dive in…

A COVID World

Our ‘remote’ chat was merely a glimpse into our changing world order.

Ever since the arrival of COVID-19, which was nearly 20 years ago (jokes.), the ways in which our workforce operates have changed drastically. The old normal, which actually took place 20 years ago, looked something like this: a single person works a single job in a single location  with a single skill set for their entire career.

Fast forward a few decades and an entirely novel world is emerging: 

Over the past two years, as the world shut down and employees gradually transitioned to the “metaverse”, workers realized that they could work in their pajamas from home (revolutionary) and be just as productive as when they schlepped an hour to the office. 

They discovered they could work anywhere in the world, at whatever hours they chose, and, yes, even work multiple jobs at once. In perfect millennial fashion, employees also became increasingly stubborn: asynchronous work and flexible hours became demands, not privileges.

Source: Achievers Workforce Institute

Despite the woes and hardship it generated, COVID-19 also underscored the remarkable technological innovation and speed that underpins American adaptiveness. As organizations turned their attention online, so too did entrepreneurs, with innovators like Zoom and Slack popping up to satisfy our every need.

“Innovators” is perhaps a polite representation of basic virtual conferences and messy chat rooms. Regardless, these companies should be celebrated, not for their stock price but for their unique ability to abet human interaction when no one could meet face-to-face.

In my view, the real innovation that materialized since March 2020 was not Zoom rooms or Clubhouse chats, but an entirely new way of even conceiving what form our economy should take. The name of this innovation? A decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. 

Now I know what you might be thinking: another arrogant buzzword that tech nerds like to throw around to act all cool (you’re not wrong). BUT, DAOs have the potential to reshape everything you think you know about the way the world works. They’re also the center of this article from now on, so listen up.

WTF is a DAO?

A decentralized autonomous organization is a traditional company pyramid flipped on its head. The central pillar of DAOs, unsurprisingly, is decentralization, which means that ownership and power are distributed among contributors, users, and investors instead of a few executives at the top

Entertain the following analogy: a DAO is like a democracy. In a democracy, citizens have the power to vote on people and policies in hopes of achieving a larger goal. A DAO is no different, except “votes” take the form of “tokens”, a blockchain-native currency. People interested in the DAO obtain tokens by contributing to the network, or the DAO’s mission. Tokens can then be leveraged to make decisions on how the DAO operates.

DAOs are unique because they align the incentives of users and companies, enabling an incorruptible meritocracy (no, not you Goldman…). The rules of a DAO are written into code through a feature called “smart contracts”, which means that the DAO operates transparently.

Source: my creativity

It’s tempting to think that DAOs might eradicate all of our personal problems at work: mean bosses, unfair promotions, and inflexible work hours. They might. Because DAOs are so transparent, and there exists a plethora of them, the power of labor is shifted back into the hands of employees, who have more power to optimize their work life. 

For a complete and utterly astonishing deep dive into the industry of DAOs, check out this briefing by The Generalist.

However, like with any great innovation—iPhones, 5G, or electric vehicles—technology precedes infrastructure. DAOs have the potential to revolutionize our economy, but their promise has outrun their practicality.

Let’s return to my infamous analogy connecting DAOs and democracies. In any democracy or government, disorganization and bureaucracy are pervasive. While the rules are theoretically “fair”, it is hard to get things done, attract talent, or explain to the rest of the country WTF is going on. 

DAOs are no different. Dariya was adamant that while their intentions are in the right place, DAOs as they exist today are inaccessible for regular people, fail to make idle skill sets productive, and fall short in onboarding contributors. In one word: fragmentation

A feature of DAOs solidifies our dubiety: the central mode of communication in DAOs is over Discord, which looks something like this:

A regularly designed Discord chat for some of you, yes. But for my parents, or my professors, interfaces like these might as well be in another language. 

Another issue is that DAOs exist on a spectrum of decentralization.

In their current form DAOs can hardly be classified as decentralized, relying heavily on powerful intermediaries like Discord, Telegram, and Twitter. Also, if the above picture is any indication, DAOs might be better described as ‘digital communities’ rather than ‘legitimate organizations’.

WTF is Layer3?

Fragmentation has always existed in various forms. It’s why behemoths like Amazon, Uber, and Ziprecruiter have emerged, connecting supply and demand in an otherwise disoriented marketplace.

Enter Layer3, a platform dedicated to making it easier to contribute to DAOs and be compensated. 

Dariya imagines a world where anyone can open Layer3 and see dozens of opportunities to participate in DAOs. He described the platform as “open and earn”—people won’t be judged on who they are or where they come from but on what outcomes they can provide.

Layer3 is like Upwork but with web3 rails: ownership, permissionless, and flexibility. 

→ Ownership because when a contributor executes a certain task, they are rewarded in a company’s token, or crypto. This is analogous to earning the common stock of a company and sharing in their upside.

→ Permissionless because anyone can complete a task regardless of their age, ethnicity, religion or gender. It’s meritocracy at scale.

→ & Flexible because you can choose which projects to work on. Think of ‘tasks’ as short term rentals for work. Tedious 9-5s or freelancing in your parents’ basement (i.e. unemployed) needn’t be the only two options. 

Let’s make all of this relevant: Say I’m a freelance writer looking for work. Layer3 makes it possible for me to execute on a variety of content-driven projects and be rewarded in a particular company’s currency, or crypto. All I have to do is go to Layer3’s website,  choose if I want to contribute to a contest, bounty, or project, execute the task, and earn crypto if the DAO values my contribution.  

To make this even more relevant, I’m going to teach you how to use Layer3 so that YOU can get involved with Web3 right now. 

How To Use Layer3

Web3 is known for its inaccessibility. This is expected, though. If you’re smart and crazy enough to create an entirely new version of the internet, odds are that you’ll be designing products suitable for you, not my sociology-majoring friends.

Layer3 is singular in the “accessibility” category. 

Head on over to their website https://beta.layer3.xyz/, which is in its beta stage.

When the page loads, don’t be frightened: the user interface appropriately exemplifies “out of the box”, as if designed by a digital artist on shrooms:

Their trademark “Earn crypto by doing sh*t” is reassuring, and once you get over the site’s overwhelming color patterns, the user interface is quite intuitive. 

The first step is to connect your wallet, which is Web3’s version of signing in to a platform. If you don’t have a wallet already, create one by following this guide: https://www.odysseydao.com/articles/how-to-use-a-hot-wallet.

From there, a simple and tempting click on “Start earning” will transport you to the main event. As a reminder, Layer3 exists to remove the friction in contributing to a DAO or community.

by manvinder.eth#4033 on Discord

There are three possible paths to achieve this as a user: contests, bounties, and projects:

1. Contests — Contest are bounties that anyone can choose to participate in. DAOs choose what they want performed and then a subset of DAO members choose winners out of all the submissions. The contests range from simple and informal—“Create a funny/viral TikTok video”—to advanced and serious—”Execute a Crypto Q/A”. In other words, there’s a home for everyone in Contests, whether you’re a TikTok-obsessed teenager or regretful investment banker honing your Web3 skills. 

To enter a contest → simply click on the one that interests you → read the “Mission” and “Instructions” → view other submissions for reference (helpful) → “Enter contest” by linking to your submission.

2. Bounties — Bounties are the “quick-earn” portion of Layer3. They are small, instantly gratifying tasks which are predefined. The goal is to be compensated for participating in web3.

3. Projects — Projects are one-to-one matching between contributors and projects within a DAO. Projects are more extensive than contests. Contributors are deliberately matched with a DAO to assist in a larger mission, like redesigning a website or rebuilding a project’s backend system. 

Projects foster a sense of job security in crypto for the people turned off by the idea of short-term ‘rental’ tasks. This feature, through clearly laying out the project’s attributes—length, compensation, goals—will lower the friction in onboarding beginners to Web3.

‘Projects’ are being finalized and will be released soon, Dariya told me.

The Mission 

Last year Dariya wrote a short article titled, “Web3 Lets Anyone Be a David Choe”. For context, David Choe was an artistic visionary who saw the future…literally. He painted murals in Facebook’s SF office and decided to take his $60,000 compensation in stock rather than cash. The value of that gig when Facebook IPO’d in 2012? $200,000,000, or $200 million. Greatest investor of all time?

In the piece, Dariya maintains that contributing to DAOs in exchange for governance tokens (company stock) can generate life-changing wealth. But, he worries that the friction in DAOs makes it “difficult to get involved [with DAOs] on a part-time basis—no matter your skill set. You’re either a full-time contributor, or a full-time shitposter.

In his own words, Layer3 makes it easy to be a David Choe: “With us, you’ll earn crypto (ownership) in 4 clicks.

1. Browse communities

2. Pick a task

3. Submit your work

4. Claim your bounty"

I’m a great believer in Layer3's mission to foster talent worldwide. Only time will tell if they can turn a startup into an industry-disrupter. But for now, it’s just $2.5 million, seven people, and a whole lot of runway ahead…

We’re eager to write more pieces about startups and projects in Web3. If this interests you, shoot us a DM at https://twitter.com/shiftmediaco.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to share it!

To receive more deep dives, thought pieces, and educational resources, join 939 others who receive Shift's publication weekly:

With love,