Major Ukrainian Freelance Labor Exchange Starts Accepting Bitcoin

News and Analysis

Freelance labor exchange became Ukraine’s first platform to announce settlements between customers and contractors in Bitcoin.

Earlier the exchange carried out a research to find preferrable payment method for Ukrainian customers, which turned out to be online banking provided by PrivatBank. 25% of customers use its services, with Visa preferred by 17%, MasterCard and payment service Walletone tied at 13%, and LiqPay preferred by 11% of those surveyed.

The contractors, on their side, named Privat24 (74%), WebMoney (18%), and Yandex.Money (8%) as their preferences.

This week, the service added Bitcoin to its payment options. Currently, the cryptocurrency is converted into Ukraine’s currency, hryvnia, as it is a contract currency for the projects. However, the exchange intends to introduce bitcoin-only settlements as well. This implies that a contractor would be able to choose between hryvnia and Bitcoin.

“Bitcoin as a payments method was unavailable, however customers kept asking about it. This caused us to add cryptocurrency in the payment options list. Thus, bitcoins spread across more and more areas in Ukraine, and freelance market is no exception,” the company said.

ForkLog talked with Valentin Zuzin, the spokesperson for Freelancehunt, to find out what prompted the exchange to embrace cryptocurrency.

FL: Is there real demand for this settlement method from customers and contractors?
FH: It’s hard to make forecast so far. But they were asking about bitcoins all the time, that’s for sure. After we added the cryptocurrency payment option, we received several thank-you messages from customers.

FL: According to your press release, parties may work both directly and with the exchange as an intermediary. If it’s a peer-to-peer agreement, is there any fraud protection for a contractor?
FH: The site states the direct interaction method is performed ‘at your own risk’, so it writes itself. It is an unsafe and often inefficient method. We don’t recommend our users to engage in this kind of cooperation, however, the choice is theirs.

FL: Do you expect your competitors to follow your lead?

FH: Only time will tell. Bitcoin is becoming more and more popular, and it is impossible to pretend the cryptocurrency doesn’t exist.

As of September 2015, 80% of user base was from Ukraine covering almost 100,000 people, with almost 70% of them being freelancers.

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