Talent Protocol, Your Resume For web3

This article was initially published in the WTFcrypto newsletter, on November 27th, 2022.

Talent Protocol, Your Resume For web3

Rise ‘n shine, friends! I’m thrilled to share Round 2 of our deep dive on Talent Protocol, a web3 professional community for the world’s most talented builders.

This article is a sponsored deep dive, articles where I showcase promising startups I believe in. WTFcrypto is compensated for these. I expose the good, bad, and everything in between. I have the final say on editorial decisions. I won’t shill the company but explore its mission, nuances, and broader industry.

Let’s learn 🚀

Background 🔙

Round 1 consisted of some heavy-hitting. In the piece, we overviewed the three most significant issues that Millennials and GenZ face in the labor force today:

1/ Workers are becoming increasingly individualistic.

2/ Society isn’t properly nurturing hidden talent.

3/ Traditional networking is antiquated.

Point number #3 led us down the rabbit hole of exploring better alternatives.

Talent Protocol, an emerging fighter, is a VC-backed startup trying to fix these issues by building what they call the “web3 resume”.

Their secret sauce lies in a ‘Talent Token.’ It’s a type of cryptocurrency that lets individuals put a monetary value on their success. Think of it like an IPO (initial public offering), but for a person rather than a company:

Instead of garnering fake LinkedIn connections, talented folks can raise money and build a network of people who want to support their careers (by buying their tokens).

It’s an excellent idea in theory, but in the piece, I didn’t shy away from potential blunders, like what happens when someone decides to take a break in their career. Will their supporters bail and sell their tokens? And what are the mental health implications when someone’s career becomes an investable asset?

Today we’re concentrating on Talent's progress over the last few months and what the future holds for this fast-moving startup.

Szn 2 🤝

There’s nothing better than when someone makes good on their word, like when your friend Venmo’s you promptly for the $27 Uber you shared last night.

At the end of Round 1, I teased some upcoming features that Talent had in the works, like public talent profiles and Polygon compatibility.

Unlike Elon Musk with deadlines, Talent checked off these to-dos in months. The Polygon launch in September marked a significant achievement for the ambitious startup, letting Ethereum users integrate into the platform more easily.

And in the wise words of Borat, so far, this move has been “great success!”.

  • The platform has over 150,000 registered users, up 800% since April.
  • Over 500 social tokens have been launched.
  • Over $600,000 have been invested into talented people on the platform.

Let’s first dissect the redesigned public Talent Profiles, Marques Brownlee-style, and then we’ll understand why they matter.

1/ The first section is like LinkedIn with web3 sprinkles. You’ve got the classics: followers, taglines, and humble brags.

Then there’s this thing at the bottom: “$2,654.83 Market Value”. This must be the Talent Token part (we’ll get to it soon).

2/ The second section, “Journey,” is also LinkedIn-reminiscent: past positions and companies:

Check out that top position, though. It’s in the … future. Talent Protocol isn’t just focused on your experience. It wants to know what you’re building for the future.

3/ If you keep scrolling, things get more interesting.

You’ll see information on Flavia’s social token, which I overviewed in the first deep dive.  Instead of connecting with randos with fancy degrees, people can receive monetary support from professional connections that want to help them succeed.

The token is like the Patreon aspect of LinkedIn: support people you like and receive something in return:

By buying Flavia’s token, you get to support her career, develop a relationship with her, and unlock access to her consulting services.

It’s an innovative idea, but my dubious side makes me wonder how scalable this is. Will people support someone they’ve only met online (with their money) for a phone call? Perhaps.

But maybe this is a feature and not a bug. Folks will realistically only support a limited number of professional connections, so perhaps a person supported by 4-8 highly committed people is a win in Talent’s book.

4/ Finally, every profile contains a customized web3 gallery that lets someone showcase the POAPs, NFTs, and cryptocurrency tokens they own or have earned.

The Protocol Layer 🔍

So there it is, the “web3 resume”—the LinkedIn ice cream with web3 sprinkles.

But in a world abundant with ice cream, you don’t win by throwing a few rainbow sprinkles on top. And it turns out there’s more to Talent than meets the eye.

Your reputation on Talent is verifiable. This is unlike LinkedIn, where you can connect with anyone and say anything. Shoutout online Harvard courses and 500+ connections. 🥂

On Talent, your network is your reputation. It’s more intimate. You support people with an investment, not a follow request. It’s like Snapchat: anyone can look good in a few selfies, but it’s not until you go on that first date till you realize if the person is actually who they say they are.

Linkedin = Snapchat; Talent = coffee dates

Second, there’s a hidden problem with most internet platforms today: they own your data. I know that’s buzzwordy, so here’s a simple explanation.

1/ Let’s say I’m a freelance writer who gets business on Upwork.

2/ My entire reputation exists on Upwork: my resume, writing samples, what people say about me, my ratings, etc.

example user

3/ My entire business is reliant on Upwork. If they disappear, there goes my business. If they lose credibility, I have to start over on another platform, like Fiverr. 👎

Not on Talent.

It promises “self-custody of your resume.” In other words, you own your professional information and can choose what you do with it. You can import your data onto another platform.

It’s the ground floor for your resume:

build a network, prove your reputation → go off into the world and leverage it. That’s the value prop. So will people buy it?

It depends.

Successful consumer apps like Facebook and Google have obvious value-adds integrated into their products. Download Facebook to connect with the rest of the world. Download Google to find information about anything.

On Talent, the MOAT (verifiable reputation) isn’t obvious at first glance. It takes some explaining and even more understanding to do. It is a convincing MOAT (own your data, nurture more intimate connections, and supercharge your career), but this isn’t obvious if you just glance at their website.

What’s next? 🥊

Beyond the platform and protocol exists a thriving and growing community on Talent.

My favorite part of the community is the Talent Houses. This scholarship program hosts web3 builders, engineers, and designers in houses around the world to work and live together in person.

Talent wants to connect talented folks with other startups as part of their Talent Collective (jobs board). For anyone not seeking a career shift, Talent curated a list of exciting opportunities for folks in web3. Check that out here.

I’m psyched to see what Talent achieves in the coming months. The team is incredibly passionate, forward-thinking, and, of course, talented. Follow them on Twitter to stay in the know.

We’ll be back with Part 3 soon. 💜