I had the pleasure of interviewing Fred Krueger, Founder and CEO of WorkCoin, and serial tech entrepreneur with nine exits totaling over $500 million.
Gene: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. Please give us a brief overview of your background and how you got started in this industry.
I’m a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits over my lifelong career in technology. I’ve been involved in everything from shrink wrap software, to internet games, social networks, and advertising networks. I got started in crypto rather late in 2017 on the advice of my good friend Brock Pierce when I founded WorkCoin, a pre-paid cryptocurrrency that powers the TroopMarket platform.
Gene: Can you please tell us more about what your company does? I love learning about advancements in the crypto space, so please feel free to geek out with me on this.
We’re building a completely open and transparent platform to power the future of freelance work. From my experience hiring and leading teams, I’ve often relied on experienced contractors to fill talent gaps. Anyone who has ever used existing on-demand platforms like Fiverr and Upwork knows they charge huge commission fees and hide contractor’s identities to prevent them from working direct with employers. TroopMarket users can create free profiles and verify their identities on LinkedIn or GitHub. Employers can search any term to find relevant freelancers with our hashtag-driven search engine, then pre-pay for the service in WorkCoin instead of credit cards. This allows us to be completely open and transparent, with transaction costs as low as 5%. The funds are held in escrow via a smart contract until its completion. All discussion of the project takes place inside a messaging interface similar to Slack, and arbitration is managed by a third party who reviews project collaboration within the messaging log to make a quick decision.
Gene: Who are your competitors in this space? What makes your company stand out?
A number of people are trying to tackle the problem of freelancing with crypto on the blockchain. We stand out because we have a working MVP live on both the web and mobile, plus a highly experienced team dedicated to evolving this space. Our view is mobile is incredibly important to mass adoption, and something that’s easily overlooked by crypto entrepreneurs because it’s an extra step — and investment — many are not willing to take.
Gene: What sort of traction have you guys gotten so far? Are you a well known brand? Still in the startup stage? Or somewhere in the middle?
We started accepting investment funds in February 2018 and already have close to $7MM in interest! Half of that is from senior investors with very firm orders. We recently won the media award at d10e Silicon Valley, which led to enormous presale interest in our ICO. We have been shocked at the response — there’s clearly a demand for what we’re building.
Gene: What is the most innovative project that you have ever worked on?
I’ve worked on many, including my first software project, Matisse, where I introduced the concept of Layers in a photo editing tool to the world (later acquired by Macromedia, now Adobe). WorkCoin could be by far the most disruptive. The freelance market is enormous — over 1 trillion independent contractors in the US alone — and only a fraction of the market is being addressed by platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. The idea of being able to search for and book any online service by clicking, finding an available freelancer, verifying their background (via Linkedin, web, Github etc..) and then purchasing with escrow and buyer protection is a total game changer.
Gene: What are some up and coming coins that we should keep on our radar?
My eyes are focused squarely on our own coin but I like Fr8 Network in the logistics space.
Gene: What is your opinion on bitcoin? Is it still a good investment?
Yes but the real action will be in the altcoin space and ETH and EOS in 2018.
Gene: What sort of regulations do you think we can expect to see in 2018? How will it impact the industry?
Undoubtedly there will be more regulation but eventually it will be easier to buy crypto. The idea of making crypto hard to get is simply ridiculous.
Gene: Who is your hero (In your business or personal life)? How have they inspired you to become the person you are today.
My hero is Albert Einstein for figuring out relativity simply by performing “thought experiments”. You can get a long way by simply thinking for yourself. In second place I would put J.S. Bach for composing the most amazing music ever. I listen to Bach every day. It never bores me.
Gene: If you could jump into a time machine, go back in time, and change one aspect of your past, what would it be, and why?
I would get into crypto two years earlier. 🙂
Gene: How will the work your team is doing impact humanity in the future? For example, bringing people closer together, creating more jobs, create killer robots that will destroy all of humanity (joking), etc.
The world of work is changing dramatically. An estimated 40 percent of U.S. workers are expected to be independent contractors by 2020 but that number will cross 50 percent in just nine years. Our TroopMarket platform will enable them to work from anywhere and sell their time and expertise in a way you cannot fully comprehend today. It will profoundly change the nature of work, and through that our entire lifestyles. You can live in Sante Fe, Idaho or the Loire region of France, own a home and work remotely for a company headquartered in New York or San Francisco. You’re no longer bound to live where you work.
Gene: Throughout our careers, we have all run into a few roadblocks. Can you please tell us about a time that you failed? How did you motivate yourself to keep going?
Once upon a time, I ran an online shoe of the month club e-commerce store and got killed by inventory, returns, and the fact that I had very little interest in womens high heels at the end of the day.
Gene: What are a your 5 tips that you would give to an inexperienced investor? Why?
- Jump in. Crypto is not going away.
- Diversify. Hard to pick winners at this stage.
- It’s not a bubble. ETH will do $1 trillion dollars+ in 2018. The usage is very real.
- It’s early, don’t draw conclusions too quickly.
- Don’t fear volatility. Things will go up and down a lot. That’s part of the landscape.
Gene: If you could spend one day with any person (alive or not), who would it be any why?
I would pick J.S. Bach but I would need an interpreter. I am fascinated by his music and would love to hear his backstory.
Originally published at medium.com