Kickstarter, one of the world’s most popular crowdfunding platforms, is moving to the blockchain. Actually, it’s creating an entirely new open-sourced crowdfunding infrastructure that anyone can then use to make their own Kickstarter-esque site.
The project does not yet have an official name and is still very much in early development. Bloomberg reports that Kickstarter hopes to move its own site to the new blockchain platform “some time in 2022.”
Switching to the blockchain won’t really affect how Kickstarter, as it exists now, functions. Creators will still be able to effortlessly use the site to raise funds for their projects, and users will be able to donate to them in exactly the same ways they have been since 2009. No knowledge of the blockchain itself will actually be necessary to use the new Kickstarter.
It’s difficult to overstate how big 2021 has been for the blockchain. It’s gone from buzzword to mainstream adoption with breakneck speed, propelled forward in no small by part by the meteoric rise of the NFT marketplace.
Decentralization to the max — Kickstarter’s blockchain plans are still pretty nebulous right now. The main creed of the project is clear, though: decentralization.
Kickstarter essentially wants the technology at the core of its platform to be available for anyone at all to build off of. This concept in and of itself isn’t new; open-source code has been around since the very earliest days of computing. The blockchain just makes it easier to keep all that open-sourcing organized.
As part of the new project, Kickstarter will be launching an “independent governance lab” to oversee the project’s development. The lab will conduct and share research about the decentralization process. Camille Canon, co-founder of Purpose Foundation, will lead the governance lab.
Blockchain madness — Kickstarter is tapping into a moment that’s both culturally and technologically significant. The use of blockchain technology to power new initiatives has, in just the span of a few months, gone from mysterious term to be used for marketing purposes to bona fide internet phenomenon, leeching into just about every corner of the tech industry.
The concept of using the blockchain for decentralization purposes isn’t new, either, but larger companies using it for that purpose certainly is. The only other major tech company in recent memory to do so is Twitter, which is currently in the process of working on a decentralized version of its social network called Bluesky.
One of the most prominent arguments against using the blockchain for any purpose is the technology’s power consumption, the full effects of which we still don’t have enough data to fully understand. Kickstarter will use Celo, a “carbon-negative” blockchain platform, to minimize its environmental impact.