Creating Prosperity Through New Digital Livelihoods


The Prosper Series, hosted by Adriana, aims to envision, ideate, and create a new world of prosperity for all. In this session, the focus is on microwork and creating prosperity through new digital channels. The series began as an in-person retreat but transitioned to an online format due to the current climate of COVID-19.

Meditation and Setting the Stage

Before diving into the topic, a short meditation is conducted to bring the participants into a state of presence and openness. The purpose is to create an environment where participants can receive and engage with the session fully. The emphasis is on envisioning a beautiful life and a new world together.

Introduction to Microwork and Celo

Will Lee, a partner at C Labs, discusses the concept of microwork and its potential to support individuals in making money through their mobile phones. He acknowledges the challenges faced by cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption, particularly regarding usability. Celo aims to address these challenges and create opportunities for prosperity by abstracting complexities and making microwork accessible.

Impact of Current Climate on Informal Economy Workers

The current climate, particularly the impact of COVID-19, has hit emerging market countries and marginalized communities harder. The reduction in incomes has affected approximately 1.6 billion informal economy workers worldwide. Many individuals face shelter-in-place requirements, limiting their ability to work and earn a living.

Microwork Pilot and Results

A pilot program was conducted to test the viability of microwork in Kenya. Participants completed light-touch tasks such as identifying objects in images, contributing to algorithm training for programs like driverless cars. The pilot was successful, with participants earning between 20 cents and three dollars per hour. The platform’s simplicity and the ability to earn money quickly led to increased engagement and demand.

Benefits and Challenges of Microwork

Microwork provides an opportunity for individuals with limited skills or education to earn money in a simple and fast way. The tasks are easy to perform and don’t require extensive training or language proficiency. However, maintaining trust and ensuring timely and cost-effective payment remains a challenge. Blockchain technology offers benefits such as cross-border payments, transparency, and instantaneous settlement, but user trust and adoption are essential.

Future Plans and Collaboration Opportunities

The microwork pilot’s success has encouraged further exploration and scaling of the project into new geographies. Collaboration opportunities are welcomed, and interested individuals can join the Celo community, explore grants programs, seek mentorship, or contribute to the open-source code on GitHub. Celo aims to expand the project’s reach and improve user experience while addressing localized challenges and building trust.