Lights, fashion, glamour. Many things come to mind when imagining the modeling industry. Beautiful women and beautiful men in beautiful clothes being photographed in beautiful locales. However, there is much more than meets the eye to the industry. For models and for clients, its current form can often take on a dark underside.
The top few agencies hold a monopoly over as much as 17% of total modeling revenue. This means incredible leverage for them over their models, meaning young girls who are often forced to work long hours for little or no pay in order to “break in” to the industry with a prestigious agency.
For those without the protection of larger agencies, scams and abuse are rampant. “Clients” and “jobs” can quickly turn into “creeps with a camera” and not being paid for time worked. On the other end, scam agencies can often send models that don’t look like they do in their pictures and then demand payment from clients.
Even worse, is that the industry has done little to improve or innovate since the invention of the internet. Sometimes paper-based, agencies are alienated from the efficiency that comes with current technology, and as a result, models and clients are not being served properly. Agencies profit from a lack of transparency, rather than the free flow of information.
Yes, the glamor of modeling is quickly subsumed by the harsh realities of an industry far too often run by the most powerful at the cost of the health and safety of a young, inexperienced, and expendable labor force.
That is where CRYSTALS comes in.
CRYSTALS is a blockchain-based, innovative company that is moving to not only technologically innovate the modeling world, but prove that technology can improve the agency and safety for models and clients alike.
CRYSTALS is a broad platform for both models and clients. Models create profiles with pictures, measurements, and past work that potential clients can easily browse and use to contact them while protecting their personal information. When a client decides to book a model, a first authorization of a transfer of CRYSTALS cryptocurrency, CRS Token, is initiated.
The model then reports for their job and using a smartphone app, the transaction is completed and the model receives the promised amount upon confirmation of completed work. The payment for their time is not left up to negotiation and registering the job on the network prevents dangerous clients from using the service for unsavory ends.
In a year where it seems like every single industry is going “crypto this and blockchain that”, CRYSTALS presents an actual case where blockchain could truly serve as a solution to increase the safety and security of an industry. CRYSTALS would allow the model to escape the often exploitative agency system and present themselves to clients with a guarantee of payment and promotion. The often empty buzzwords of “decentralization” and “security” would actually serve to promote the agency and self-empowerment of models everywhere.
CRYSTALS is in late development and still raising funds. It is expected to be functional and ready for use in the next year or two. When it does, the modeling industry will surely take notice. The question will be whether the agencies it threatens have the power to do something to the democratizing power of the website?
Questions like this are not specific to the modeling industry. As technology and the ability of cryptocurrency to bypass traditional financial tools increases, other sectors will face this same challenge presented by innovators like CRYSTALS. How they react and whether the traditional powers survive intact or the power is shifted to the decentralized labor force is a question many workers outside of models should be asking.
While cryptocurrencies will undoubtedly continue their mission to decentralize and anonymize currency, those same principles can continue to be applied to other sectors. CRYSTALS is not only a revolution for modeling but an example of how innovative technology can transform the lives and working experiences of an entire industry.
The American economy is sure to transform in the next couple of years due to blockchain technology. What industry do you think is next?