Primer is the first worker-sided payment protocol. It uses fractionalized Harberger tax NFTs to gamify the freelance marketplace to the freelancer's advantage.


Created At

Scaling Ethereum

Project Description

Primer Protocol


Current payment systems in the blockchain industry too closely resemble the payment systems of legacy institutions. The protocol Sablier, for instance, which acts as a means for any willing party to pay any other party in a continuous drip of funds, is very much like a “real world” payment contract, where the controller of the funds has the leverage. If we imagine the relationship between these two parties as that of a client and a contractor, then we can think of Sablier as a “client-side payment protocol.” The constitution of such a protocol works well when the client and the contractor are acting in good faith and on equal footing, but if the dynamics of the relationship are slightly skewed toward the client, or the “keeper of the purse,” then the contractor might find him or herself overworking for less than the market value of his/her labor, whatever it might be, strictly in order to maintain the possibility of future payments from the same client.


Time is money. So, the goal should be to guarantee that the worker is “always already” getting paid. To do this we would develop a payment system using fractionalized Harberger NFTs. With this NFT-based system, a contractor would be able to mint an NFT that represents the time-value of their work in principle. Based on the functionality of Harberger tax NFTs, in order for the owner of an NFT to maintain its possession, they are required to pay a constant tax, just as Sablier pays a constant drip. If the purchaser of said NFT (the client) were to stop paying at any moment, any other client would be able to purchase the NFT, and it’s underlying representation of the time-value of the contractor’s services, at any moment. This would allow the free market to immediately acquire the same contractor's services, giving the time value of a contractor’s services even more value.


Essentially, Primer is a platform that allows people to leverage their reputations to assign a value to their discretionary time. If a client decides to pay a contractor, the client must know that the contractor is not required to do anything. The contractor is merely incentivized to keep his/her NFT in play to increase the value of his/her reputation. The client can stop paying, and the contractor can stop working, but if either party were to act in bad faith, they would risk their reputation, which is difficult to build. Primer aspires to create a working relationship that favors the contractor in a way that resembles the system of employment in the National Basketball Association. In the NBA, when players are drafted, there’s no guarantee that the player will ever play, and whenever a player is traded from one place to another, their salary continues uninterrupted until it is renegotiated. In the NBA, very often drafted players never see a single day of playing time. In the NBA, it would be absurd for a player to lower their rate to maintain a relationship, or (even worse) to continue working without the guarantee of payment. Just so, with Primer, the time-value of the contractor’s schedule is immediately liberated should the client choose to stop payment, and the contractor immediately becomes “available” on the open market.

How it's Made

We'll be prepared to offer our video and our code in the next week, but unfortunately, we won't have this available for our judging session.

We'd still like to participate in judging if only for the feedback, and exposure it may bring.

It is possible that by the time judging rolls around, we will have more materials to share, and we hope that it is acceptable for us to share them at that time if we do.

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