A shorter post today than my usual, but I wanted to invite discussion on a particular subject. I have yet to formalise my view on what the future of work will look like. Work that is 100% running on-top of Bitcoin (whether people know it or not).


1. What do you think WILL change with the nature of our work? 2. Perhaps more importantly, what do you think WILL NOT change?

Potential Prompts

To help, it would be great to think about each aspect of our work:
  • Skills - generalists vs specialists
  • Mass production vs hand-crafted
  • Hiring process & length of contracts
  • Locations
  • Frequency of payment
  • Automation - what stays & goes
  • Longevity - temporary teams vs formal bootstrapped companies
  • Values, work culture, working hours, conditions & more
Would love to know what you all think and for you to share any links/resources (e.g. Aantonop videos) that have been influential / inspirational in your thinking...
  1. What do you think WILL change with the nature of our work?
  • based on contract instead of payroll.
  • based on skills/pow not schools or certificates.
  • pay with the result, not time.
  • people back to do what they love instead of what makes the most money.
I feel it's more like going back to how things used to be?
  1. Perhaps more importantly, what do you think WILL NOT change?
  • compatibilities, you most likely still prefer to work with someone compatible with your working style.
pay with the result, not time.
How do you see this working with bigger longer projects?
It can be installments based on milestones - I think paying for time is one of the stupidest things you can do when hiring - people would do things so much slower to get more payment or do less work, so it ended up wasting other people's money and their own time.
Now, I only pay people for their work instead of their time, so we discuss what should be done with a contract, and then you do it as you please in your own time, I would leave you alone, but feel free to contact me if you need anything else; and when it's done, I pay - so simple.
But then it also depends on the work itself, like is it ongoing? repetitive? But then the same thing, you negotiate the contract which is fair for both, then focus on the result instead of the time, as
  1. People are not supposed to work like a machine
  2. Sitting 8 hours to work is one of the least productive ways you can work
  3. People would come up with creative solutions in their own way to get work done faster.
At the end of the day, it's about contracts - think about what's good instead of doing the default 8-hour workday salary.
compatibilities, you most likely still prefer to work with someone compatible with your working style.
Agree with all of the above, but particularly this. It's actually amazing how working with the right people can make you far more productive, far more energetic. That's why I have a hard time thinking the most successful companies of the next 50 years will be single founders working with A.I. It's just so much more fun hacking away on something with someone, even if only for a few weeks/months.
433 sats \ 1 reply \ @kr 3 Feb
frequency of payment is one thing that i think might change.
if money is liquid, it can flow in a steady stream rather than being moved in discrete chunks.
imagine instead of having a bunch of transactions coming in and going out of your bank account, you have pipes where money is flowing in and pipes where money is flowing out.
i think that would be a fun way for people to visualize their budget and stay accountable to saving money.
if money is liquid, it can flow in a steady stream rather than being moved in discrete chunks.
I love that concept too. Being paid per second instead of by month. No more 90 day payment terms by predatory businesses. I think we'll look back on monthly payroll like we will for queueing up outside "holes in the wall" to withdraw paper fiat or writing on a makeshift napkin (a cheque). Just completely bonkers.
I can see many businesses moving to this model for workers that they trust. Perhaps it's a perk if you've stayed around long enough and passed your "probation". Or for successfully completing your 1st project. Especially as it's always felt a bit unnatural to me to define 'milestones' in projects that unlock payment.
Seeing the sats roll-in and seeing the cost of a meeting stack-up - could see to it that smaller companies or individuals perhaps become more productive. Mindful of the value of someone else's time, and therefore grateful when others choose to spend it with you. Or perhaps that's overkill 🤣
The future of work and the future of work because of bitcoin are different questions. There are lots of changes coming with or without bitcoin, but I don't think those are the point of the post.
In my mind, the most relevant features of bitcoin for this topic are it's deflationary nature (long-term) and the trustlessness of the network.
We've talked about some of the possible changes due to monetary appreciation before.
  • Wages are sticky (downward), which means workers really bristle at taking nominal pay cuts. I think that means more employment contracts will have smaller salaries with larger amounts of profit sharing. That both insulates employers and incentivizes employees to increase profitability.
  • There are two dimensions of shrinkflation: qualitative and quantitative. Most people associate shrinkflation with physically smaller products. Less often do people think about how products substitute lower quality inputs as prices rise. It stands to reason that a deflationary money would reverse that process and we'd see product quality gradually improve. That means more jobs would be geared towards high quality products.
  • Automation is often associated with rising labor costs, so one might expect this to also reverse, similar to the shrinkflation point above.
  • Another consequence of inflation that we discuss pretty often is that it forces people to invest rather than save, just to preserve their purchasing power. That is an enormous subsidy to the finance industry. On bitcoin, far far more people would just save their appreciating money. That means all those finance jobs will disappear. What will those people do instead? I have no idea.
I mentioned the trustlessness of the bitcoin network, because there will presumably be fewer people working as financial intermediaries. What will they do instead? I have no idea.
I think that means more employment contracts will have smaller salaries with larger amounts of profit sharing. That both insulates employers and incentivizes employees to increase profitability.
That's a really interesting perspective. I had only presumed it would just lead to shorter contracts, not greater remuneration via profit sharing (and/or shared ownership). It could definitely be a way to retain your best workers. Especially if profit sharing bonuses were distributed regularly and had a great UX (like 'prisms').
In today's unicorn businesses it feels a bit unnatural to employ that model, though for smaller startups it could work well. I just wonder how people would react to such ownership options if Bitcoin dramatically demonetises the inflated stock market.
lead to shorter contracts
Don't underestimate how much people value stable employment. I think permanent employment contracts will always be a thing.
I agree that we'll likely see more of the workforce in contractor type arrangements, rather than employee, but I don't attribute that to bitcoin. Maybe bitcoin pushes in that direction too, though.
442 sats \ 1 reply \ @davidw OP 4 Feb
100%. We have gone from:
  • Lifetime job
  • 10 year career
  • 2 year stints
  • Gig economy & project work
It is certainly easier to extrapolate the same trend. But who is to say that Bitcoin won't actually reverse it and bring back longer-term work? Given that you may be working more and more with people that you connect deeper with. If you're being paid well also... people may not be motivated to and be constantly needing to switch roles to keep up with monetary debasement.
Exactly. That labor trend might just be another fiat distortion.
Everything changes and with Bitcoin, at a deeper level than we're used to. Let's sit back and consider monetary value only as it relates to work.
Inflation is a royal pain. It creates a lot of tension as workers and employers struggle to maintain pay and staffing and at some point it's just tiring. Take away the money printer and I expect to see longer-term business relationships and more robust economic networks. Whatever nature might throw at us, inflation is something we'd rather not worry about.
In its place we'll see deflation which will require fundamental rethinking. I suspect this will manifest as a shift in employment values. Taking a page from tech where deflation is status quo, people will move past a survival mindset and toward results, with a side of intellectual gratification.
It won't be utopia. There'll still be greed and some violence and I guess human nature is what's least likely to change. We'll still love risk, and fall for scams, but when we go home at night we'll be able to relax in the recliner and nod off to the warm glow of honest money.
Inspirational link:
Ooo. I hadn't thought about the idea of sat "salary decreases" vs increases.
The emphasis would therefore be on the company to reduce the salary of the worker/employee NOT for the employee to need to request salary increases each year. The tide completely turns...
I agree with You
Absolutely. Will be great to follow more threads like Let's compare some prices in Sats!
I’m not super great with talking to people. Wouldn’t be surprised if an official diagnosis declared I was on the spectrum.
Therefore, I’ve been obsessed with hard skills. Namely digital sculpture. I’ve done some work for table top games and toys.
I’m starting to think hard skills will fall more to the wayside for humans the further out we go into the future.
I get a feeling we will all be entrepreneurs commanding a bunch of template code, robots and AI to execute our work for us.
This scares me bc my confidence comes from the quality of my work. The fact that I can let my work do the talking for me.
At the same time, as an artist, this kind of excites me. As opposed to sculpting out one character in a game, I can create the entire game world on my own.
Just my two cents.
At the same time, as an artist, this kind of excites me. As opposed to sculpting out one character in a game, I can create the entire game world on my own.
People pay to see originality and imperfections in work. To see the talents and craft of someone else. This is a quote lifted from the Diamond Age book I keep using:
"Hand art demanded commitment from the artist. It could only be done once, and if you screwed it up, you had to live with the consequences."
Many famous artists these days are production lines, hiring students or taking no more than several minutes to throw paint at a canvas (e.g. Damien Hirst). They won't survive for long when presented next to originality like you will be able to offer and when their methods are exposed.
Definitely keep focusing on the positives and on the quality of your work. The market will have your back I am sure of it.
497 sats \ 0 replies \ @k00b 9 Feb
What do you think WILL change with the nature of our work?
It will be increasingly indirect and abstract as all well-defined rote work is automated. We will work more because the work we do is less difficult with the work itself terminating on us doing the work of entertaining each other. Remote will stay and VR will prove a sufficient substitute for anything that benefits from air sharing. I think we'll see The Firm (in Coase's sense) degrade some as transaction costs come close to elimination.
Perhaps more importantly, what do you think WILL NOT change?
That people will find purpose in doing things for other conscious beings. That is the only absolute imo.
270 sats \ 0 replies \ @joss1 4 Feb
I think it's realistic to envisage a world running 100 percent on bitcoin. Fast forward 10 - 20 years from now, everything will be tokenised, including individual workers time. This will significantly diminish the need for all forms of money, be it fiat, Bitcoin or other as the frictionless exchange of tokenised assets including an individuals tokens will be a far more efficient way to exchange value. I expect that The Bitcoin Network (leveraging taproot) will play a role in this alongside a few other distributed platforms. Bitcoin will become the universal measure of value for a disparate set of assets and Lightning will be the means to stream these in real-time.
Payment will be streamed to you as you work instead of remitted to you 3 weeks after the work is completed.
People with superfluous jobs like managers will be less required, no one will pay too many sats for a person that replies to emails and does some powerpoints, the builders, creators that build things that people actually need will be the ones that get more pay. Construction, Farmers, Doctors etc. The salaries will be deflarionary probably or more steady, you can probably earn the same ammount of sats every year because prices get more stable, this in a bitcoin only world without fiat. People will choose to buy quality items that last longer because you don't want to spend sats. People will build and do more things for themselves instead of paying someone else to do it.
People will build and do more things for themselves instead of paying someone else to do it.
Makes sense to me. Definitely the last bit.
I do think we'll see a new era of entrepreneurship. One with VERY few regulations and rules. The opposite of fiat litigation today. The costs of starting and sustaining a business in my mind will become negligible again. I touched on that concept a bit on my fictional hyperbitcoinisaiton SN post this week.
257 sats \ 1 reply \ @quark 3 Feb
There will be less and less work to do as AGI and robots will keep replacing most of the jobs. But maybe then, hand crafted things will be more valuable. Maybe this is not for the near future but it is certainly very probable in the long term future.
Do you not think that our work will just evolve to be more impactful? People thought the production line would obsolete jobs too, and we just adapted our economies around it.
I am not sure I buy that there will be "less work". We might reduce our working hours out of choice and increasing remuneration, but surely there will always be enough work for the ambitious?
Pseudonyms instead of names and no delays in salary payments are always good news. I have a theory, international payments out of sight of govs and banks will make tax payments not mandatory but optional, bringing certain advantages in accessing some services depending on your annual contribution. Another interesting point that comes to my mind is about the millions of unbanked people starting to join a global labor market. Yep. I think I have more questions than answers, but the scenario is both exciting and imminent
With your response, I'm reminded of a few quotes from The Sovereign Individual:
Global competition will also tend to increase the income earned by the most talented individuals in each field, wherever they live, much as it does now in professional athletes.
This means that you will no longer be obliged to live in a high-tax jurisdiction in order to earn high income. In the future, when most wealth can be earned anywhere, and even spent anywhere.
Taxing capacity will plunge by 50 to 70 percent. This will tend to make smaller jurisdictions more successful. Within years, let alone decades, it will be widely understood that anyone of talent could accumulate a much higher net worth and enjoy a better life by abandoning high-tax nation states.
Wow this really makes me better understand my own feelings and thoughts, thanks for sharing mate
No worries. Must confess I pulled them from someone else's summary of the book here on SN. Probably won't be the last time I do that, but it's one of my favourite bookmarks.
Proof of work will be compensated more under a Bitcoin economy. Under fiat the less you work the more you make, but with Bitcoin the more you work the more you make without the fiat parasites sucking your life blood
I hope to see that too, the restoration of real wages. Right now you could say the opposite is true, but perhaps it is only so until the unprofitable unicorns find their fate.
185 sats \ 0 replies \ @KLT 3 Feb
I feel like values will change for the better. We’ll all want to earn sats seeing how much they appreciate in value so there will be an incentive for people we hire to ACTUALLY not do a half ass job like some folks do today because if they don’t, they won’t earn more sats.
Perhaps, you are talking about how Bitcoin will serve the future of global economy. If that's true, keep an eye; it's crooks vs the visionaries. Bitcoin is hope for future and until it's bright
I think there will be multiple competing realities in the future of work. Unfortunately, I don’t think a Bitcoin-powered future of work will feature highly in my country.
Singapore’s currency is rather robust. The Monetary Authority of Singapore actively discourages people from investing in cryptocurrencies (yes, Bitcoin is lumped together with the shitcoins haha) because they are viewed as volatile, speculative assets.
On the ground, we recently had a power move in which a bill payment platform called AXS partnered with a crypto payment platform called Triple A to let us pay for our bills with Bitcoin. But because of the way Bitcoin is framed here, I doubt many people will be taking advantage of it because even when they buy Bitcoin, it is with the intention of earning quick bucks in the future. ($100k Bitcoin, anyone? 🚀)
If Singaporeans don’t spend their sats, I doubt companies like Bitwage will want to make inroads into our country and provide an option of us receiving our wages in Bitcoin. I also don’t think my government will allow for this anytime soon because our central bank is actively developing our own CBDC.
Zooming out a little, I think even if cryptocurrencies were to be infused into the future of work, Ethereum will play a dominant rule. Already, there have been reports of how Ethereum attracts more new users these days than Bitcoin. Also it seems that there are more long-term holders of Ethereum than Bitcoin. When Ethereum sorts its shit out and lowers its gas fees, perhaps people may want to be paid in Ethereum.
A report some years back revealed that most crypto investors in Singapore hold ETH, not BTC. I don’t know exactly why we like ETH as a people, though. Haha
Let’s face it. ETH L2s like Arbitrum, Optimism and Polygon are more popular than BTC’s equivalent, Liquid. Of course I shouldn’t be comparing apples with oranges - but given that even governments have taken to using Polygon in their projects, I feel that the future of work with Bitcoin isn’t at all bright.
I do have expectations that crowdsourcing platforms like Fiverr will allow gig workers to receive their remuneration in sats in future. I set myself a goal of earning 5000 sats per day and am reasonably confident that I will meet it.
My two sats’ worth!
Being backed by the most powerful computer network in the world with new hash records constantly is all I need!
The current Bitcoin hashrate is 606.67 EH/s, representing the global Bitcoin network hashrate with a mining difficulty of 75.50 T at block height 828,786
Nothing needs to change, just switch the mean of exchanging value. Easier said than done, but that's the idea.