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Proposal “south-asia-freelancer-research-education“ (Completed)Back

Title:Bringing Dash to the South Asian Freelancing Industry : An Accessibility, Research & Education Project
Monthly amount: 88 DASH (35298 USD)
Completed payments: 2 totaling in 176 DASH (0 month remaining)
Payment start/end: 2017-11-18 / 2018-01-16 (added on 2017-11-15)
Votes: 812 Yes / 144 No / 8 Abstain
External information: goo.gl/9AzQSz

Proposal description


Growing Dash Use in the Freelancing Industry across India, SriLanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. 
-An Accessibility, Research and Education Project


This project aims to promote adoption of Dash as Commercial Currency across the large and growing freelancing industry in South Asia, educate new users and research challenges to its adoption.

Freelancers accepting Dash can allow the Dash Community to start using their coins for backend services like IT / Graphic Design / Digital Marketing without converting to Fiat Currency; Building a small services loop. 

Freelancing is big business in South Asia,  growing at about 20% every year. Out of the ~100 million Freelancers in the world today, ~30 million work from South Asia across different segments like Web Development, Graphics etc. 

Pain Point: Cross-border payments are expensive, painful and slow. Dominated by legacy systems like SWIFT and Paypal, Freelancers lose between 5-8% in commission costs, wait for weeks and often face uncertain regulatory delays over payments.


For a $10,000 payment, that is $500-$800 lost on money transfer.

Dash offers a cheaper, faster and smarter solution for Freelancers across South Asia.

The project aims to focus on these points and educate Freelancers about Dash, through an educational course distributed at scale through a Comprehensive Digital Marketing Campaign. 

The campaign involves Infographic and Content Marketing, Facebook Multivariate Ads + Testing, Linked Ads, Youtube Advertising and Referral Building.

The project also aims to research the Cross-Border money transfer market;  Identifying specific pain points, understanding existing money transfer solutions, their Growth channels + levers and analysing how Dash can penetrate this market.

The Project is led by Gaurav Gupta, a Marketing and Usability technologist and Supreet Raju, an educational content designer for students outside the mainstream. The project involves a total outlay of 88 Dash/Month for 2 Months and includes development, design, graphics, platform marketing spend, incentives and research.  

About Us:

Click Here for Linkedin Profile : Gaurav Gupta

Gaurav Gupta is a Marketing Technologist, specialising in making marketing more effective through Lean acquisition at Scale, Simplifying On-Boarding processes, Funnel Optimisation, Better User activation and Marketing automation. He has led marketing for global consumer internet businesses like :

Squads.Com    (Amsterdam, Remote Top Talent Freelancing Teams)
Labster.Com    (Swiss Education Virtual Reality Business, Raised $13M)
Bridallive.Com  (Atlanta, #1 Solution for Bridal Shop Management). 

He has worked with businesses in industries such as SAAS, Virtual Reality Education, Agile Software Development across China, India, US, Latin America, and the Netherlands.

As a Marketing Technology Consultant for Philips (on contract through Squads.Com), Gaurav led an in-depth Market research and Analysis project for a consumer healthcare product in China, delivering online sales predictions for an unlaunched product using a combination of Growth Marketing techniques (collection of data under an assumed brand name ) and practical Data science (interpretation and analysis).

He offers an alternate approach to marketing and usability for Technology Products, side-stepping the need for large marketing spends to increase product adoption.

Supreet Raju

Supreet Raju is an education course designer, working at the intersection of Consumer Internet marketing and Learning Design. She is a design graduate from the prestigious National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi and a Gold Medalist from the 2010 batch, an honour accorded to the top student across 8 Centres of Excellence nationally.  

Having taught a cross section of students from outside the mainstream and working separately with consumer internet companies trying to educate users, she has developed unique insights into new user education. 


a)The Freelancer Market

The Gig-Economy has been on the rise for over two decades; Nearly 1 in 2 jobs is expected to go to a freelancer by 2020. Of the 100 Million Freelancers currently working across IT, Web Design, CAD/CAM, Video, Graphics, Digital Marketing amongst others, ~30 Million are located in South Asia; India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Increasing internet penetration, cost of living arbitrage and geographical imbalance between skills and jobs are factors fuelling the rise of the global freelance industry.

Upwork, Freelancer, 99Designs and Fiver are popular freelancing platforms; while Linkedin, Angelist, Remoteok.io are some others. 

b) The Money Transfer Market:

A Freelance Market PerspectiveCross-border freelancing overall is a ~$250B/year market, with South Asia accounting for nearly ~$50B in transaction volume. (~Estimates Vary)While projects greater than $1M utilise traditional banking channels (albeit expensive), smaller projects use different payment channels to collect payments.

Project Scope and Details

The Project comprises of two separate parts : Targeted Promotions and Research.

This project aims to educate and activate Freelancers across South Asia to quote and accept Dash as payment instead of transferring money via traditional currencies; saving themselves the cost of multiple currency conversions and the pain of dealing with delays. he second aspect researches the money-transfer market from a freelancer point of view.

1. Targeted Dash Promotions and Accessibility

Targeted Dash promotions involve a 4 step process: Acquisition, Education, Activation, Referrals.


A multi-channel approach will be taken up to advertise the Dashlancer platform to freelancers via Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and freelance forums using appropriate filters, targeting tools and techniques. The following methods will be used for the purpose of acquiring traffic:

  • Content Marketing and Distribution (40%): Short informative pieces written with the intent to educate freelancers to read how Dash can help them avoid large fees, transfer instantly and offer privacy. These articles will be distributed on Linkedin Sponsored Content, Facebook Sponsored Content and Freelance Talk Forums.

  • Direct Advertisements (30%): Multiple variations of sidebar Advertisements  directly targeting freelancers will be run on Facebook and Linkedin and users will be directed to the platform, Dashlancer for the course and wallet activation. Advertisements that do better will be scaled up and variations that perform below average will be culled.

  • Youtube Advertising (30%): Educational Videos targeted to freelancers through geographical, interest based filters to to attract more users.

1b) Education  

This encompasses developing an easy-to-understand course on Dash specially tailored to Freelance workers audience on dashlancer.com

  1. Introduction to Crypto-currencies
  2. What is unique about Dash ? 
  3. Advantages over Bitcoin.
  4. Setting up a Dash wallet
  5. How to secure and backup a Wallet.
  6. How to transfer Dash
  7. Private send and Instant Send.
  8. Dash Invoice Format
The course will be administered through different mediums and tested a choice of Email-Course, Infographic, Videos and an Embedded Presentation. As part of the course, the user will be directed to a page inviting them to apply for a Dash Credit in their wallet. Approved users will be awarded dash in their wallets.

 1c) Freelancer Activation Program


Users taking the course will be invited to apply for a small Dash reward in their wallets. On verification of any one link to their profile such as Linkedin / Github / Elance / Upwork, this reward will be transferred to the user as an incentive.

While pure giveaways isn't a marketing vehicle of choice, in this specific case this form of activation is likely to encourage these users to explore Dash further and become invested in the community. Also, the incentive lowers advertisement cost.

1d) Referrals

Referral Invite a Friend Campaign:

Users will be invited to refer a colleague who they believe could benefit from the campaign. Upon verification, the invited user will be awarded a small amount of Dash like other verified users. The process for verification will remain the same and the award will not be symmetric i.e, no extra award to the referrer.

This to avoid self-dealing (common problem amongst referrals). Referrals serve to lower the overall cost of acquisition. 

2. Research and Analysis

The project comprises of two different areas of research presented together in one actionable report. 

a) Pre-Project: Money Transfer in the Freelancing Industry

The money transfer industry is a gigantic business undergoing a major disruption by newer, faster and more user-friendly options.The first part of research will focus on the money transfer business to specifically understand some of the key trends in the industry. It would look at the size of various businesses, their growth trajectories and marketing channels, growth levers etc.The research will specifically look at ways to help Dash get a toehold in the money transfer business with optimised spends. 

*CLICK HERE TO READ IN PDF FORMAT ( Full Page Doesn't Render on Safari & Firefox) 

b) Post-Project : Marketing Unit Economics and Analytics  

The post-project research will involve analysing the results and metrics generated by the project and understand potential growth channels to reach out to Freelancers at scale based on data analytics and market data. The overall report aims to present a path forward for Dash to scale the effort to sign up Freelancers across the world and create a Dash-enabled supply chain.

Project Budget 



Project Timeline:

In case the project is approved to be funded through the next Superblock, the following are the proposed timelines for this project. A sprint is 15 days in duration, where subtasks are worked on by the team, with a team meeting in the middle of the sprint to compare notes and monitor progress.



Some Advance Anticipated Questions / Question on Pre-Proposal

Q: Why Freelancers and not some other market? 

There many factors that make Freelancing a very interesting market.

  1. Freelancers lose between 5-8% on their payments, wait weeks on end and face many regulatory hassles to get their money. Using Technology as is, Dash is significantly cheaper(~0.5%), fast and private. All it lacks is awareness and adoption. 

  2. Margins are higher in the services businesses overall, allowing better absorption of Dash price volatility as opposed to products, with lower margins.

  3. The supply chain is short and is largely comprised of users themselves. P2P transactions are easier to crack in Dash than more complex product supply chains involving physical goods, multiple suppliers and offline components.

  4. Freelancers are naturally more tech-savvy than other general sets of users on the internet. The are likely to like adopt this before less educated users.  
Q: Why not target brand awareness over building a use-case? 

Cryptocurrency is hard for new users. Setting up a wallet for the first time, securing it, backing it up requires guidance.

Brand awareness campaigns without substantive wallet use are likely to be forgotten quickly and eventually not lead to actual commerce, which is a key lever for term growth lever for Dash. 

Q: What if the value of Dash goes up by or comes down by half? How does that affect this project?

For expenses like Advertisement, Platform Spends etc, we intend to convert Dash into Fiat directly to ensure that we will be able to deliver without difficulty. Giveaways remain unaffected. All Salaries will all be paid in Dash and employees can decide if they would like to stay invested or convert it into Fiat.

Is there an offline element to this project?

This project is 100% digitally oriented, with no offline component. This project aims to create a repeatable and measurable process to educate and promote Dash to targeted users and build actual usage that can be replicated across geographies.

Show full description ...

Discussion: Should we fund this proposal?

Submit comment
1 point,29 days ago
*****************RESEARCH REPORT RELEASE***************


As part of our project we are excited to release our research report on the money-transfer industry for Freelancers. The report can be accessed here: https://goo.gl/Yb1ksy

The project researched some of the existing payment related challenges in the Digital Money Transfer Industry for Freelancers.

Despite advances in financial technology, a large majority of Freelancers continue to utilise legacy systems like Wire-Transfer, Paypal and Bank Transfers to move money.

Despite a compelling use case, Blockchain based payment systems lack awareness and a general fear of new technology create impediments to its growth.

With instant, private and near-zero fee transactions, Dash practically solves a large part of these problems today. These payment challenges neatly overlap with Dash’s unique strengths, creating prime conditions for Dash to find greater use-case adoption in the Digital Services Industry.

Look forward to feedback / comments!

Gaurav Gupta
2 points,1 month ago
**********PROJECT STATUS UPDATE )************

Here is the current detailed status of our project at the end of the 3rd Sprint. 


The platform was launched towards the later half of January and is live at DASHLANCER.COM.

Here is a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CfXOs3o2Hc

The platform features 4 custom illustrated animated videos that educate freelancers about

a) Challenges Faced By Freelancers
b) Introduction to Dash and Blockchain Technology
c) How to install a Wallet
d) How to transfer Dash

The platform is laser focused on Freelancers and acquired users can apply for $15 in Bonus Dash. The profiles are verified and approved Freelancers are accepted into the program. 


A multichannel marketing campaign is underway and is targeting Freelancers from Multiple Angles

1. Facebook Marketing: Our advertisements have not been affected by the recent changes to Facebook policy since we are largely promoting education. We have multiple ads live and constantly being tweaked as data comes in.

2. Quora Ads: We are utilising Quora to advertise to Freelancers

3. Community Posts: We are posting about the platform on various Freelance
Community Forums. Getting a strong response from this campaign.

4. LinkedIn Ads: Targeting Freelancers through Linkedin Ads.

5. Youtube Ads: Youtube ads targeting India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka are live.

This campaign is being A/B tested and tracked with tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel and Hotjar to optimise pages.

We have had 257 signups so far from various channels, including referrals


We are done with about 90% of the research into Freelancing Platforms and the Money Transfer Business.

The data sets have been collated and documentation is nearly complete.

We will be releasing the first part of the research on the 18th of February.

More Updates Soon!

Gaurav Gupta
2 points,2 months ago
**********PROJECT STATUS UPDATE************


Here is the current detailed status of our project after 1 out of 4 planned sprints :


For the Freelancer course, we have chosen a custom-color illustrated animation style. This style has high resonance with users and is readily marketable.

We are targeting a total runtime of about 6:00 across 4 videos. The videos are designed in a way that they can also be used as standalone ads.We aim to keep the course crisp, to ensure high interest levels and lower bounce rates.

While it can be tricky to build high quality animation, we have got a good team together that is working on this. The script has been finalized and the story boards are undergoing final revision after two draft submissions. We have hired a top voice-over artist with years of industry experience to narrate the course. 

We will put out the complete course together form start-to-finish for users to access.


The web development on the Dashlancer Platform is being actioned on and we are targeting a launch of the platform before the end of December. The requirements were earlier spec-ed out and the roles and tasks were divided for the development team. We are on track to launch this. 


We are currently drafting and reviewing short actionable content pieces for our upcoming marketing campaign. Some content pieces include short write-ups, ads and content pieces for Linkedin. We have two team members framing this.


We are done with about 60% of the research part of the project. We are through with researching the Remittance segment and also close to finishing researching freelancing platforms.

We are compiling data from multiple sources and collating them for analysis.
We expect the research documentation process to be completed by 10th of January, a little ahead of our original schedule. 

More Updates on our Launch soon.

Wish you a Merry Christmas !

1 point,3 months ago
Hi, what do you think is the best/most common way to buy dash for these communities?
0 points,3 months ago
Hi hibbik

Thank you for your question.

The process to buy/sell Dash depends on the specific regions to which a user belongs.

There are two major categories:

a) Countries with Exchanges: Eg Korea / Poland / European Union / Japan / China (Via Singapore): Users here can buy/sell through local exchanges for a fee (Usually in the 0.10 to 0.20% range.)

b) Countries with Exchanges but without Current pairs: Users countries essentially trade through ETH /BTC as a bridge currency. Users receiving Dash can convert it into BTC/ETH/LTC on any exchange online and convert it into Fiat at their local exchange. The reverse process applies for buying.


P.S Due to low supply side liquidity, Cryptocurrencies are trading at a premium in South Asia(+6-8%); Given this, Freelancers using Crypto for remittances are ending up with a net bonus after all costs. Eg they are getting >$105 for every $100 sent.

I have analyzed the economics of cross border remittances in detail on the pre-proposal. Here is the link : https://goo.gl/kZD5Mf
2 points,3 months ago
Thank you for the thoughtful, sophisticated proposal. You have identified a technically sophisticated group that is paying the high price of the legacy money transfer industry. They have to be dissatisfied. These people are ideal early adopters, and your plan appears to have an excellent chance of success. I vote yes and look forward to doing business again.

0 points,3 months ago
Thank you for your comment, Solarguy. Truly appreciate your support.

4 points,3 months ago
Hello Gaurav,

Congratulations with the beautiful plan! I think it is just the right time for it.

I live in Europe and see lately a lot of remittance commercials - 0% fee... first time.

Awareness is the first step. Some freelancers will get paid directly in Dash cutting out the middleman while others start demanding from the platforms to integrate. It is a huge benefiting market.

Looking forward to seeing your updates and I ll be waiting for the 'repeatable and measurable process' to generate the next proposal.

Thank you,

2 points,3 months ago
Hello Paul,

Thank you for your support. Truly appreciate it.

Bringing commercial transactions to the Dash Blockchain will indeed cut out some of the banks to begin with while putting indirect pressure on platforms like Freelancer / Upwork to integrate.

Building awareness around a genuine use case and facilitating commerce will likely fortify our position over time.

Should this pass, we'll spare no effort to ensure that your confidence in us was well-placed - through precise execution and regular updates.

0 points,3 months ago
Thank you Gaurav!
-1 point,3 months ago
While I appreciate all the effort you put into this proposal, I am a little unsure what you will be able to achieve spending this money marketing Dash to freelancers.

If the freelancing platforms don't accept Dash, what direct benefit does a few freelancers knowing about Dash have? Also, the reversibility of transactions is what makes the freelancing platforms work. People want a middleman to resolve disputes and issue refunds when necessary which would not be possible unless the platform holds the Dash, so you can't just circumvent the need for a middleman and make Dash freelancing trustless.

It seems like you're fighting an uphill battle trying to make a dent into the freelancing platforms' market-share. Rather than starting a Dash freelancing ad campaign and or starting your own Dash freelancing platform with no existing users and hoping that people start to use it, I would much rather you used the money to work on getting Dash accepted by the top free-lancing websites like toptal.com, upwork.com, freelancer.com, guru.com, fiverr.com, 99designs.com, etc. After all, it will save the platforms money to use Dash over credit cards or bank transfers. We would happily pay more to make one of these integration deals happen. Once that was successful and Dash was integrated, then I would be all for spending money promoting Dash's use on the freelancing platforms on YouTube and other media.
1 point,3 months ago
Hi Paragon

Thank you for your post! Some of my thoughts:

a) There is a lot of direct Freelancing outside these platforms between companies and individuals (Eg Through Angelist / Linkedin). This segment largely comprises of retainers, long term contracts, fixed work etc. Money transfer costs are very high on these transactions too (I have been part of many such transactions, on both sides). Increasing awareness about cryptocurrency (and thus, Dash) can help move some of that commerce to Dash.

b) Many of these platforms make a lot of revenue via hidden currency conversions. With Dash, they lose that stream. I have a suspicion we will face heavy pushback when we do reach out them for integration. Here is a thread discussing this: https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Exchange-Rate-Used-By-Upwork/td-p/127750

c) Our project is less about scale on signing up Freelancers (at this juncture) and more about researching their remittance problems. With actual data, we want to make a pin-pointed and compelling case for using Dash over existing payment methods. We want to be able to articulate that point of view to major platforms with a well-researched report.

d) With this project we want to create a measurable and scalable process to educate Freelancers about this use case at scale. Done right, this is likely to be inexpensive till low-cost marketing channels hit saturation. Also, without any sort of demand from users, we will find the going harder to get integrations.

e) In the medium-term, A small groundswell of Dash Users will encourage platforms to organically integrate with dash(hopefully without having to pay them for Dash integration).

Thank you for your inputs.

6 points,4 months ago
Looks like you thought it through, you have my support.
0 points,4 months ago
Thank you!
5 points,4 months ago
Sounds great , all the best for your proposal , keep up the good work and our dash team will shower your project with dash !! but losing trust is a very easy thing , so be careful to keep the team in constant updates
1 point,4 months ago
Thank you for your support, Dashmaximalist. Appreciate it.

The updates will definitely be regular.
1 point,4 months ago

The full proposal can also be viewed at https://goo.gl/6tTtRS in case it doesn't render correctly here.

2 points,4 months ago
About this:

Interesting since the West hires a lot of software development to India and nearby countries.

Several points of attention and suggestions .:

About this:

Growing Dash Use in the Freelancing Industry across India, SriLanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

What will be the official language of the course? I guess English.
I think it is essential that it be available in the languages ​​of your target audience, (which I think it does not indicate in the proposal):
The most spoken language in India, SriLanka, Bangladesh.
Pakistan I do not consider it attractive for this project.
Do you have this situation in mind? What can you tell us about this?

About this:
Direct Advertisements (30%): Multiple variations of sidebar Advertisements directly targeting freelancers will be run on Facebook and Linkedin and users will be directed to the platform, Dashlancer for the course and wallet activation. Advertisements that will improve will be scaled up and variations that will perform below average will be culled.

I think that a% of the funds dedicated to Marketing, should be dedicated to ads on freelander web portals and IT entrepreneurs web portals (paid ads), strengthened with articles on the portal.
Can you tell us if you would like to do this after the suggestion?

His initiative is interesting but from the point of view of educating in the official languages ​​of the countries he has said.
If it were in English there is a lot of content on the network with using a web search engine.

Thank you for your proposal, I await your answers.
1 point,4 months ago
Hi Blockchaintech.

Thank you for you suggestions. Here are some pointers:

a) Most of the higher-earning freelancers (who earn enough to care about money transfer costs) are business proficient in English. Projects are posted on platforms that largely in English. This is the segment we would look to target.

Also, India alone has 22 official Languages & English is only bridge language across the entire region, being the language of governance and all technical education. Same goes for the other countries.

b) The course, with a constant theme intends to focus on the specific use case for Freelancers. We want to control the messaging and keep it sharp and crisp for them.

c) Pakistan has a major Freelancing industry, given the combination of a young demographic, rising rates of internet penetration, reasonable quality of technical education and fewer local jobs. It is actually ranked 4 on the list of countries with the largest number of Freelancers. They also have a similar situation with transfer fees.


d) I had earmarked a budget for this under Content Marketing & Distribution.

-To paraphrase from my proposal:

"Content Marketing and Distribution (30%): Short informative pieces written with the intent to educate freelancers to read how Dash can help them avoid large fees, transfer instantly and offer privacy. These articles will be distributed on Linkedin Sponsored Content, Facebook Sponsored Content and Freelance Talk Forums."

I agree with you that this can potentially be a good channel for acquisition.

5 points,4 months ago
Its a chicken and egg problem. Do we try to reach a market that cant really use dash for day to day transactions or we wait to have a larger userbase to introduce usecases solutions. I think we can try to integrate platforms where theres already a large number of transactions. But for now dash is not liquid enough. Its a great usecase for a crypto, but I think theres some pieces missingto your project to be a complete solution.
1 point,4 months ago
Hi Beru.

Thanks for your comment!

We are seeking to establish an early adopter set (Freelancers- Tech Savvy - Genuine Pain Point), educate them about what crypto can do for them and really understand the channels and strategies that can bring dash scale on the supply side.

This is to also understand some of the underlying unit economics before scaling up and understand the sweet spot in this market.

The demand side(Dash Owners) is automatically growing quickly, there is an emerging base, looking for avenues to utilize their currency for regular uses. This process is already in motion and can be leveraged once there are avenues to spend.

As demand scales up further and regulations become simpler, it links up well with supply.

Integrating with transactional two sided platforms is a great step forward but only once there is a comparable base on both sides of platform.

Hope this helps.

2 points,4 months ago
Yes it helps, I can see that you have a strategy to scale while reacting to the market response and that give confidence. Voting yes
0 points,4 months ago
Thanks for your support, Beru!