The team behind the Skyllz platform is setting out to disrupt the traditional hiring practices with a more effective way to rate talent. The Skyllz Distributed Platform (SDP) is an open source, blockchain-based skills validation protocol.
As one of the project’s blog posts points out, Tesla and Google don’t care about degrees, they care about ability.
Users will have their skills evaluated by a community of anonymous raters with specific experience and skills. The SDP platform is underpinned by two elements: Proof-of-Skill and the SKT utility token.
The vision is for the network to operate as an ecosystem for companies that operate in the global EdTech and Online Recruitment industries worth an estimated $94 bn and $23 bn respectively, covering online course providers, recruitment platforms and networking sites.
The white-paper goes into extensive detail with regards to the logic behind the network, providing examples and use cases, outlining the roadmap, the underlying technology and the marketing strategies to be employed. On the other hand, given that the project is, at this stage, only open to accredited investors, there is little detail on the token sale, token distribution and how the funds raised will be used.
The basic concept behind the Skyllz white-paper is that the current model for skills recognition is outdated. New jobs are being created every year and new industries require people with new skills. In this environment, academic records are of little help in assessing an individual’s abilities.
Workkola, the company behind Skyllz has been working on a ‘talent branding’ solution since 2015. Marketed primarily to students, Workkola allows individuals to showcase and provide evidence of their digital skills. The platform currently has 20,000 users and 1,500 companies signed up.
The Skyllz platform will take this a step further, expanding the existing model to the blockchain to allow users to showcase an online portfolio and have their skills rated according to its own methodology that covers four particular areas:
Skills allocation: Concerns evidence of hard skills.
Skills acquisition: Provides evidence of the way an individual acquires new skills.
Skills contextualization: Provides evidence of the way skills are applied.
Skills boosting: Concerns the way an individual multiplies the effects of skills allocation, acquisition and contextualization.
By adopting this entirely new approach, Skyllz argues that it is better positioned to judge an individual’s abilities and aptness for a specific job role over the traditional CV and assessment of academic qualifications.
In addition, the Skyllz Distributed Platform (SDP) will act as an ecosystem for applications that offer education, networking and recruitment solutions. Any changes and additions to the platform will proceed only as the result of a voting mechanism involving only those who satisfy certain ‘Proof-of-Skill’ requirements, with participation requiring the use of SKT tokens.
An application layer will allow these third parties to build and integrate Skills Touchpoint Applications, or STapps, within the network. Users will then leverage one user ID to access these apps and build integrated and automated portfolios. When a user improves a skill on the SDP, their Proof-of-Skill score will automatically update to reflect this change.
The first STapp to be added to the platform will be the team’s own Workkola platform.
Any STapp can participate in the Skyllz Distributed Platform if it agrees to adhere to the following list of principles laid out by the Skyllz method:
Meritocracy: The Skyllz platform empowers people based exclusively on their abilities and talents.
Distribution of power: Three or more anonymized ratings are required to allocate Proof-of-Skill for a particular skill.
Unbiased: Users and raters are anonymous to avoid bias in the ratings and possible corruption of the system.
Impact: Only solutions that have a positive impact on the ecosystem will be accepted.
Transparency: Every skill rating and SKT transaction is publicly accessible to anyone.
Positive Achievements: The SDP only tracks positive achievements and does not store under-qualifying performance.
Game-changing: Solutions and features should focus on innovation and society’s needs.
The Skyllz project has an extensive roadmap, which began with the first test version of its Workkola platform back in 2015, and extending into Q1 of 2020. The Skyllz protocol and platform are being developed alongside the Workkola platform which received its own seed financing in June 2017.
The roadmap going forward can be divided into three phases:
Phase 1: Q1 2018 to Q3 2018 – Protocol development and deployment of SDP and SKT token.
Phase 2: Q3 2018 to Q3 2019 – Skyllz Beta released in a controlled and closed ecosystem, and integration of the Workkola platform
Phase 3: Q3 2019 to Q1 2020 – Phase 3: Skyllz v2 release and the opening of the protocol to third parties.
It’s clear when studying the detailed roadmap that the team plans a significant amount of testing of each aspect of the system. The platform will, therefore, have limited functionality until the first quarter of 2020.
The Skyllz core team is precisely the same team that founded Workkola in 2015. Alvaro Moreno, the CEO, is an entrepreneur with a background in marketing and marketing research. He previously founded Mappunto.com
Jesús Ávila is the CTO. He is a full stack developer with a background in computer science, whilst Antonio Román is the CMO and has a background in marketing and growth hacking.
The founding team is supported by six more team members with backgrounds in engineering, UX/UI development, business development, social media and organisational psychology.
The white-paper and website list seven advisors with a broad range of experience. José Luis Minguez, David Riudor, Carlos Rodríguez are all involved in blockchain investment and advisory. In addition, Manuel Rodríguez has 16 years’ experience in education focussed start-ups and Brent Nally’s background includes time at LinkedIn and Lynda.com.
We should point out that most of the core team do appear to be young, each having less than five years of experience in their respective domains. On the other hand, the project has onboarded a team of advisors who demonstrative much more extensive experience in the crypto, education and recruitment industries which should help to compensate.
The Skyllz Token (SKT) is an ERC-20 utility token. SKT, the Proof-of-Skill ratings mechanisms and the SDP’s smart contracts are all built on the Ethereum protocol. The primary role of SKT tokens is to reward the community of raters on the network.
SKT tokens will also allow users and third parties to access the services of any STapp on the network. The project team are hoping to negotiate a series of partnerships that will also allow for the token to grant access to services offered by third parties such as Udemy and LinkedIn.
The longer-term vision is for the SKT token to fuel the economies of other applications (STapps) within the Skyllz ecosystem. Each application will be able to build its own business model around the SKT token.
In the case of Workkola, companies, professionals and educators will be able to set challenges to find the solution to a problem. Users that solve the problem will earn Proof-of-Skill in addition to tokens pledged by the challenger. Other applications will use gamification principles to reward raters and users.
At this stage, the full token distribution profile has not been made available to the public. We will have to wait for that information to be made available to properly assess the token economy.
Over half the team have experience in marketing and business development, and this comes across in the white-paper, which includes a fairly extensive business plan, marketing plan and go-to-market strategy.
Building critical mass early will be essential if the platform is to attract raters and partners. Thirty percent of the total token supply will, therefore, be used to incentivize early users. The team hopes to reach a critical mass of 500,000 by subsidizing user activity in the early stages.
In phase 1 and 2, the marketing effort will be focused on building Workkola’s user base by using social media campaigns and community management.
In phase 3, the focus will be on attracting established platforms to add their own STapps to the ecosystem. These include leaning platforms like Udemy and Coursera, online portfolios like Github, networking sites like LinkedIn, and jobs platforms like Glassdoor and Monster. Developers and entrepreneurs will also be incentivized to create new businesses within the ecosystem. A further 7.5 percent of the total token supply will be used to incentivise these partners.
With regard to the marketing of the ICO, the current focus is limited to accredited investors only, perhaps explaining why the project appears only to have a limited following on traditional social network channels such as Telegram and Twitter.
In an interview, Elon Musk the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, said, “I don’t care about your degree, I care about your abilities.” The Skyllz project is seeking to address this new paradigm. Technology is already changing education, and it will inevitably change the way an individual provides evidence of their skills and ability.
This is a project which has been conceived in exceptionally thorough detail and which proposes a comprehensive marketing and business development plan. The key element here is whether the project team can attract a critical mass of users to the Workkola application in order to offer something substantive to the established third parties it is hoping to integrate into its network.
At that stage, the network effect should fuel growth, and a viable token economy will develop. The project is still elaborating the details of its public token sale, so readers will need to check in on the project’s own website for updates. A relatively modest hard-cap of $8 million appears to indicate a more much grounded approach in comparison to other blockchain start-ups competing for investment in the ICO arena.
In the meantime, this is very much one to watch out far, proposing one of the much more interesting innovations arising from the use of new blockchain technologies.