Over 700,000 user accounts from a freelancing website are moving onto the EOS blockchain.
Moonlighting, a marketplace for freelance professionals launched in 2014, has taken on a $5 million investment round led by the FinLab EOS VC fund, a joint venture of FinLab AG and Block.one. The investment will be used to grow Moonlighting’s user base and to integrate its existing infrastructure with EOS.
“We have been exploring blockchain protocols since the end of 2017 and [have] chosen EOSIO due to its ability to scale transaction processing, maintain low transaction costs and enable ease of user account management,” Moonlighting CEO Jeff Tennery told CoinDesk.
Stepping back, Block.one raised an estimated $4 billion in a yearlong initial coin offering that ended in 2018, using those funds to develop the EOSIO software on which the EOS blockchain is run. Block.one also invested in funders who would support applications meant to run on the new blockchain, most famously in Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. The FinLab EOS VC fund is a similar effort.
“We believe that Moonlighting contains the three key traits you look for in a decentralized application: real customers, real traction and a bona fide use case for blockchain technology,” Paul Grotowski, COO of EOS VC, said in a press release.
Germany’s FinLab AG has been investing in financial technology since 2005. FinLab board member Stefan Schuetze said in a release that people at his firm “believe they will be one of the early winners to validate blockchain.”
Integrating with Web 3.0 technology is a strategic shift for Moonlighting.
“We decided that we want our users to be able to port their profile to any platform and provide them a simple way to use their Moonlighting profile wherever they chose to use it,” Tennery said via email. “The gig economy is so fragmented, and our plan is to let freelancers control the use of their profile and provide a single sign-on, aggregated gateway.”
Critically, however, the company is not copying all of its data to the blockchain in plain text. Instead, it’s securing the data using hashes that still rely on Moonlighting’s centralized database to decrypt.
“The hashes on the blockchain provides audit-ability and validity to our freelancer profiles maintained off-chain,” he said.
This is important because the company plans to use this funding to increase its validation of profiles, for example by authenticating freelancers’ various training certifications.
“This funding facilitates implementing our blockchain plans to be the Oracle of Profiles in the freelance economy.”
It’s not Moonlighting’s first foray into crypto. The company considered, but never conducted, an initial coin offering in mid-2018 to help facilitate faster payments. “Too much scrutiny last year,” Tennery told CoinDesk. “Plus EOS VC preferred to invest in traditional equity.”
Moonlighting co-founders photo (left to right: Roy Slater, Ritesh Johar, Jeff Tennery) courtesy of the company