Yesterday, in a post on their site, the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter announced plans to fund and move to blockchain technology. In an article by founder Perry Chen and CEO Aziz Hasan, they outlined the future for Kickstarter. Here is an excerpt from that post that helps outline their plans:
“Our mission to help bring creative projects to life is a pledge to help unlock this latent potential in people and their ideas. To truly serve that mission, we need to build on what made Kickstarter so innovative in the first place: the power of a large network of people working together towards a common goal.
So, today we’re announcing our commitment to a more open, collaborative, and decentralized future. As a first step, we’re supporting the development of an open source protocol that will essentially create a decentralized version of Kickstarter’s core functionality. This will live on a public blockchain, and be available for collaborators, independent contributors, and even Kickstarter competitors, from all over the world to build upon, connect to, or use. We think bringing all that we’ve learned about crowdfunding since 2009 to inform the development of a decentralized protocol will open up exciting new opportunities for creative projects to come to life. In the coming weeks, a white paper will be released outlining the technology and plans for the protocol.
In the spirit of decentralization, we’re establishing an independent organization that will kick off the development of the protocol. Kickstarter PBC will provide this new independent organization with some funding, appoint an initial board, and commit to being one of the protocol’s earliest clients, meaning Kickstarter.com will be built on top of the protocol. As a user, the Kickstarter experience you’re familiar with will stay the same. You won’t “see” the protocol, but you will benefit from its improvements.
In addition, we’re establishing an independent governance lab. Initially, this lab will be committed to overseeing the development of the protocol governance. Along the way it will publish research, share learnings, and generally seek to develop governance resources for the commons through openly engaging with the notoriously challenging problems and critically important goals of good governance. We are entering a significant moment for alternative governance models, and we think there’s an important opportunity to advance these efforts using the blockchain. This lab will be led by Camille Canon, co-founder and most recently executive director of Purpose Foundation (US), an organization focused on developing and scaling alternative ownership and governance models.
We’ve chosen Celo, an open source and carbon negative blockchain platform, as the best technology and community on which to build the protocol. We’re inspired by the Celo ecosystem’s thoughtful approach to building the technology they want to see in the world. Like the internet in the early 1990s, the blockchain is a nascent technology whose story is not yet written. Celo’s efforts around minimizing environmental impact (and focus on global accessibility through mobile access to the blockchain), reminds us that the best way to get better systems is to build better systems.”
While I am far from an expert on Blockchain technology, this seems like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. I understand that they are facing pressure from Gamefound’s crowdfunding platform and feel the need to innovate, but this feels more like a marketing gimmick than truly making their platform better. As someone who’s spent some time on the creator side of Kickstarter, I think their funds would be better spent improving the functionality of that, which is fairly lacking.
Right now, despite pressure from Gamefound, Kickstarter is still the crowdfunding platform of choice. They have a large, built-in audience that’s very appealing to board game publishers. Yet I can’t think of a single person that has said the issue with Kickstarter is the lack of a decentralized platform. This move just boggles the mind.