Inspiration

We believe Timeless has serious potential to reinvent the way people are compensated for work. We were inspired by the cutting-edge tech presented by Ripple and we immediately had a few "ah ha!" moments about how it could be applied in creative ways. It wasn't just that the tech was cool, we actually found that this was something we could use to develop something incredibly useful and that would improve people's' lives. Working on this project, we were especially motivated by the belief that we could make a difference in the motivation-levels and success of people and reframe the way they think about payments.

Problem statement

Traditionally, employees have been paid in biweekly lump sums. While this may be convenient for employers and their book keepers, the system poses inconveniences for an employee or contracted worker. Here are some of the big issues which we set out to address:

  • Employees who are living paycheck-to-paycheck (which 78% of Americans according to a quick Google search) often find themselves strained for cash toward the end of the pay cycle. If a big deadline for rent or a car payment is due, the rigid timing of “pay day” may cause shortages of cash at unfortunate times.

  • There is lack of instant gratification for completed work. Sure at the end of two weeks it feels good to receive a big paycheck, but we think it would both feel better and be more motivating to be able to pull out your phone while you are at work and watch your bank account grow in real time as you are instantly compensated for your work.

  • The employee is subject to risk. The employee essentially racks up an “iou” throughout the pay cycle. In this limbo state when the employee is owed money, things can happen that would delay or prevent the employee from receiving the compensation they are owed. For example, companies can go out of business, employees may be subject to abusive employers who withhold wages, etc. This risk is more pronounced for people with longer pay cycles and those with dire financial circumstances (missing one payment could make a big difference).

  • Trust is perhaps an even more glaring issue when people are employed remotely (perhaps in other countries) with no intermediary holding the employer accountable to honest payments. Some examples of this are remote software development, consulting, remote counseling, etc.

What it does

Our project compensates employees in real time for their work. Using our web app, employees get paid by the second, meaning they can see their bank account steadily rising throughout a day of work as money streams in every tick. Due to the high overhead of online financial transactions, streaming small payments in real time like this has not historically been possible. However, thanks to the micro-payment infrastructure of Ripple, it is now feasible to send the equivalent of pennies (or fractions of them) in seconds with minimial financial overhead. Our web app utilizes this technology to enable employers to pay employees through a stream of ripple micropayments, often totaling only a few cents at a time.

The experience starts with the employer connecting a company Ripple account and entering the email of an employee into the system along with their hourly wage. Then, the employee hits a button on the employee portal of the site to “sign in.” So long as the employee is “signed in”, they get the equivalent of their secondly wage in Ripple deposited in real time into their account (which of course must be connected to their profile on our site).

How we built it

We used Wix for the front end, Wix database for the storage and Wix backend for some api calls. We also created a standalone node.js server apart from Wix to service the interface with Ripple and the interledger. The node server has an exposed web api called by the Wix backend to facilitate payments and retrieve user account balances. We use a test network for our Ripple interface for a better demo and testing experience. Although we considered some third party services to help interface with the Ripple interledger (such as Coil or DMoney), we decided to tackle that part of the project with raw javascript and plugins as specified directly by the ILP for maximum flexibility in how we control the payments and to eliminate a third party. We used a variety of Wix features, including drag-and-drop, debug, database, backend, external custom api calls, fetch and backend libraries, and numerous custom elements such as buttons, text elements and more.

Challenges we ran into

  • Integrating Wix with our server’s api
  • Rapidly learning how to use the tools we integrated (but in a fun way)
  • Learning how to interface with the interledger
  • Running out of/managing our time

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Creating a sleek front end using the useful tools provided on the Wix platform
  • Integrating Wix backend with our standalone node.js server api
  • Integrating our node.js server with Ripple
  • Integrating our node.js server and Ripple with the interledger

What we learned

  • A LOT of Javascript
  • How to use Ripple test nets and the interledger
  • Wix Code

What's next for Timeless

This is just the beginning for the Timeless Platform! Future updates to Timeless will make the process of getting paid even easier, with automatic location tracking to start getting paid as soon as you step through the office door, smartwatch support for accessing your current balance on the fly, and additional features to improve payroll in the workplace or in contracting situations. We would also like to integrate multiple currencies, which is enabled by the interledger. This cross-currency integration would enable Timeless to become a powerful tool for remote, cross-boarder services such as consulting, online counseling, or even software development.

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