Hello, Thorriors! Dispatch from Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia in Eastern Europe, where I’ve gathered with CEOs and founders from incredible projects throughout the NEO ecosystem, including Spotcoin, Travala, Effect.AI, and more. Such exciting times!
The Georgians have a very family-oriented culture in which Grandma often lives at home, does all of the cooking — and serves incredible Kakheti wine. I didn’t know this, but our word “wine” actually comes from the Georgian word for wine, “gvino.” I’ve been told that Georgians have been perfecting their wine recipes for over 6,000 years, and you can taste it!
But what wine is truly remarkable for is its ability to bring together a community. Not just a family or neighborhood, but in our case, a community of companies from across the globe that are ready to revolutionize the ways we transact, interact, and, ultimately, connect as humans.
I’ve been struck by the strong sense of community here in Georgia, and how readily I’ve been welcomed into homes and around dinner tables. It’s reinvigorated my sense of the mission of this entire blockchain movement — to take this feeling of togetherness and bring it to a global scale.
This has materialized in a pragmatic way in the partnerships we recently announced with Spotcoin and Travala (with more news to come). Blockchain companies working in concert instead of in competition is our only way to take on the old guard of finance and banking, and summits like these are an important step in keeping our goals aligned and our eyes ahead.
Oh, also, if you haven’t heard, the troops have been hard at work back home putting together the beta of our platform! (while I’ve been here gallivanting through the countryside) I’m so excited to have a working model out so we can begin testing the basic functions of our app well ahead of open enrollment for healthcare in Q4. It will be pivotal to having a smooth rollout when the chips are on the table. Great work team, I’ll be home soon!
— David Chin, CEO, Thor
Coming together is a beginning
Keeping together is progress
Working together is success
- Edward Everett Hale
Obviously, the month’s biggest news is that we shipped the beta of our mobile platform, Thor Payments and Benefits! Whoo! This beta is the first ever blockchain-powered store that allows you to purchase items using credits obtained in a Token Sale!
It is available for download in the Android app store already, and will be available in the Apple store as soon as it is approved on their end. This beta is intended for our community to stress test our platform’s functionality with regards to the sending and receiving of digital credits. By getting well out ahead of any issues that arise in this version, we can assure that our healthcare rollout will be free from the problems that have plagued other online health insurance marketplaces.
Functionality is available exclusively to participants in our Token Sale. More details are available in our announcement. US residents, be sure to read the disclaimer at the bottom of the announcement.
As we’ve discussed in prior posts, the current regulatory environment continues to shape much of the blockchain landscape. Over the past six months, there have been a number of hallmark legal decisions on both the state and federal level that will effect On Demand workers and the companies that employ them. On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court unanimously announced a new test for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, No. S222732 (Cal. Sup. Ct. Apr. 30, 2018).
This new “ABC” test essentially narrows the criteria by which employers define their workforce. The court determined that a worker will be considered an independent contractor only if the hiring entity meets each part the test: A) The worker is free from the type and degree of control and direction the hiring entity typically exercises over its employees; and B) The worker performs work outside the scope of the hiring entity’s business, and whose work therefore would not ordinarily be viewed by others as working in the hiring entity’s business; and C) The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business, taking such steps as incorporating his business, getting a business or trade license, or advertising.
While the long-term impact of the Dynamex case has not yet been defined, the short-term consequences for large On Demand companies, like Uber and Lyft, for failing to properly classify a worker could have both financial and operational consequences. For example, a court may question whether driving can be separated from Uber’s core business. Much will depend on how that business is defined: Does Uber provide a transportation network, as Uber asserts, or just transportation?
So what does this mean for Thor? For now, the Dynamex decision has very little impact on our core business and only applies to businesses within the state of CA. There are thousands of independent contractors that fall outside of the new “ABC” test right here in San Francisco. In addition, we feel fortunate that our model has a use case that extends beyond the immediate focus of providing faster pay and benefits to the On Demand economy. This flexibility will allow us to easily pivot to the W2 workforce, should the need arise, as there will always be a demand for faster pay — both for independent contractors and standard employees.
For more detail on the CA decision and other regulatory updates, please check-out Investor Milton’s recent interview with Ben Lambert, Director of Legal Operations and Business Development.
Our business development team has been doing some fantastic work this month — and it feels like it’s just the beginning. The obvious headlines include David’s trip, which, among many things, has yielded official partnerships with Travala and Spotcoin. These and future international partnerships will be pivotal to bringing our platform outside of the confines of the United States and to a global audience.
These partnerships weren’t the only progress this month either — there was some very promising developments behind the scenes. We have secured a path to providing healthcare in the United States! Details are still being finalized, but official announcements will be coming soon. On top of that, we have laid major groundwork towards landing our first B2B customers on the On Demand side of the Gig Economy. Exciting time are happening at Thor HQ! Announcements will be made as soon as details are finalized. Stay tuned!