µtask: A microtasking platform

This blog post is one of a series of four total blog posts on the OST Alpha III phase. This series is going to take the reader through the project details, progress and timeline of the µtask project. The first entry in this series sheds light on the start of the project and the thinking steps of what it is going to be.

Having access to the new version of the OST KIT opened up new possibilities of creating a Proof of Concept (PoC) that in a neat and tidy manner utilises the KIT. The first step taken in the course of this project was coming up with an idea that we as a team felt like could work perfect with a Branded Token (BT) economy. Next was the actual first steps in making this economy and project idea a reality. As of writing we have created a project set-up using state of the art technologies. The next paragraphs discuss both steps in more detail and a plan for next week can be found after.

The idea

An application that makes use of a cryptocurrency economy should be one that encourages users to interact on a platform in a fast-paced manner. When constructing our idea we wanted to have users solve small tasks for other users. These tasks can range from checking a resume to masses of people filling in a survey. Since our focus is on quick interactions all such tasks should be completed quick and not take longer than a day to complete. These tasks can therefore be referred to as microtasks (hence the name µtask). A user having a microtask can list it on the µtask platform and have people completing it for a preset BT reward. The user that listed the microtask has the preset BT transfered to the user(s) that completed the microtask. The following flow graph visualises this.

microtask flow in µtask

There are going to be two different types of microtasks in the µtask platform, anonymous microtasks and identified microtasks (names are subject to change). The anonymous microtasks are tasks that are supposedly undertaking a generic action (filling out a survey for example). These microtasks can be done by anyone and don’t require a specific skill. Identified microtasks on the other hand do require the creator of the task to accept the user that wants to do the microtask at hand. An example of this would be a resume check. The microtask creator must be able to trust the microtask executor. This trust factor will be embodied by a user rating system that is based on user feedback (think the Uber rating system). Over the course of the coming blog post this concept will be made more clear with actual implemented examples.

The nature of microtasks enables the platform to conform to our idea of a fast-paced interactions. During the course of the project this idea is bound to be refined to a clear cut implemented PoC.

Token economy and project setup

Thanks to the OST KIT, setting up the token economy did not take longer than completing a microtask. No problems on that part so far, most likely things will arise sooner or later.

The project setup did, however, take more time. As any project setup does really.. We decided to go for a Django backend that will serve a React web-app frontend. The Django backend is also home to an API that is utilised by the React frontend. The entire development structure is Dockerized to eliminate inconsistencies on different machines.

Next up: build build build

The coming week, as the ones after that, will focus on us building the actual application. With the core idea in place we can start our work on implementation and usage of the OST KIT. Next week we aim to achieve the following:

  • Build a lightweight SDK that makes OST API usable for python
  • Build our own backend API (user system, etc.)
  • Build an initial version of the UI
  • Design a pleasant UI

Those points are among other smaller things that are left out to keep this post readable. These points do span multiple weeks, but will of course be split up into more concrete steps as time goes on. We are satisfied with the setup we created and now the interesting stuff can start!