Bounty hunters conjure up images of the Wild West where people search for outlaws to get rewards. (Blame Hollywood for that.) In a decentralized world of cryptocurrencies, bounties are given to anyone who fulfils a given task or solve a particular problem, not with cash but with cryptocurrencies and tokens.
So why talk about bounties when people could just get them through mining contracts or buying from exchanges? We’ll look at the implications of bounty hunting for cryptocurrency and why this could help solve specific problems the industry is currently facing.
Bounty Systems in the Cryptocurrency Space
Cryptocurrency goes beyond cashless, decentralized peer-to-peer payment systems by adding a new sector of the cryptocurrency economy. Primarily a mining industry, it quickly grew to include trading, investing, blockchain startups, ICOs, and now, a system of rewarding people for offering their work to the community.
With the arrival of bounty systems in the cryptocurrency space, we might well be seeing a revival of interest in rebuilding a decentralized economy. Bounty hunting invites everyone to participate without spending a dime on expensive mining equipment, or putting investor’s money on the line. All it takes is a range of skills in online marketing, coding, and a little bit of “hunting.”
Bounty hunting programs come in many forms. The most popular ones include signature campaigns, content creation, social media likes and/or posts, debugging, and coding. There are even bounties for tracking down hackers, fraudsters, and cyber-criminals; almost like a bounty hunter in a real sense.
Building Stronger Communities with Bounties
More people are taking interests in bounty hunting as barriers to entry in the crypto-space become more challenging during the past few months (crackdown on ICOs, mining farms, and cryptocurrency exchanges). Bounty systems provide a clever solution to get around excessive prohibitions and create an environment which could benefit all members of the community using their own resources.
Development teams and startups have benefitted a lot from bounty hunting programs. It accelerated the process of building new applications for blockchain and raising awareness about cryptocurrency by outsourcing some of the best talents in the cryptocurrency community. In return “hunters” are given cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or ICO tokens as bounties.
ICOs have saved a lot on marketing campaigns by using their own tokens as rewards. Bancor (BNT), and Iconomi (ICN), are just a few examples of successful ICOs that used bounty system as part of their marketing strategy. Some bounties were also offered for bug fixes. Status (SNT), had been giving away $1 million worth of tokens to anyone who can submit potential solutions to bugs in their software.
Bounty Hunters Reshaping the Online Industry
Global freelancing sites were among the first to “decentralize” the jobs market, allowing both sides to find the right people for the job, and the most rewarding work aside from the usual 9-5 jobs. Competitive industries such as online marketing, advertising, and software development come to these sites to fill the gaps in their workforce or hire additional personnel on a shoestring budget.
Bounty hunting sites might well become the future of decentralized freelancing for blockchain businesses. Bitcointalk.org, Bounty0x.io are among the few sites which offer bounty hunting programs for tasks like:
- Signature Campaign
- Content Creation
- Social Media Posts/Tweets
- Coding and Debugging Software
- Translating into Different Languages
Majority of bounty hunting programs aims at increasing people’s awareness about a new blockchain project and cryptocurrencies as a whole. Cryptocurrency is pretty much uncharted territory as a niche topic for most content creators. Hence, competition for writers and YouTube creators in the cryptocurrency industry may not be as tough as popular ones. Likewise, bounty hunting can also be an alternative source of income for coders with some background in distributed systems. Finally, people can work as translators for their ICO company’s whitepaper, any cryptocurrency for that matter.
For blockchain companies who bank on Google and Facebook for advertising, this seems to be the best, if not the only recourse, to circumvent their decision to ban cryptocurrency-related advertising on their platforms. But this might only be just the beginning, and cryptocurrency community could come up with more creative ways to grow without them. (Hint: the Internet, by design, is a decentralized network and has no single point of failure).
On the bright side of things, blockchain companies won’t be spending much on paid Google and Facebook ads. Instead, they can allocate their resources as bounties to spread the word about cryptocurrency or about a new startup company.
Some Potential Drawbacks to Keep in Mind
Bounty systems are also a potential for misuse, especially ICOs and promoters of cryptocurrencies who might use them for their pump-and-dump schemes. Bounty hunters might not realize they had a hand in spreading FOMO on an ICO or worthless cryptocurrency until it’s too late.
Bounty hunters might also end up with nothing after spending hours fulfilling the bounty task, or their tokens turn out to have very little value after the ICO. Not all bounty hunting programs are legit or turn out as expected. We still have to do our research and due diligence to have a high chance of success.
Bounty hunting as a two-way process helps build our cryptocurrency community. It calls on everyone, from every part of the world to participate in a global effort to bring cryptocurrency and blockchain technology into perfection. By doing so, we’re also sharing with everyone the very thing that runs our cryptocurrency economy.