For more than a decade, Kickstarter PBC has convinced the public to pay people to follow through on their ideas to build a gadget, make a film or create a piece of art. It was, in some ways, a harbinger of today’s digital economy built around cryptocurrencies, decentralized organizations and NFT art.
On Wednesday, Kickstarter plans to unveil a project that will merge the two worlds. It’s hatching a standalone company to build a crowdfunding system much like Kickstarter’s but based on blockchain technology. When it’s ready, Kickstarter will switch its own website to the new infrastructure, and the new company will make the tools available for anyone to create a competing crowdfunding site.
The new company does not yet have a name. Development is slated to begin in the first quarter of next year, and Kickstarter expects to transition its site to the new protocol sometime in 2022. The change will take place entirely behind the scenes and shouldn’t affect how people use the site, the New York-based company said.
It’s a large, technical undertaking. Embarking on the project was a “big decision,” said co-founder Perry Chen, but it was ultimately an easy one to make because it fits with Kickstarter’s mission, which is “to help bring creative projects to life.”
Chen started Kickstarter with a pair of art-loving friends in 2009, and it was a near-instant hit with cash-strapped go-getters and eventually with celebrities and big companies looking to test consumer demand. The Peloton stationary bike started with a Kickstarter campaign ($307,332 raised), and so did the Oculus VR headset ($2.4 million). Kickstarter helped finance new records from Amanda Palmer ($1.2 million) and the pop group TLC ($430,000) and revived cult classic TV shows like Mystery Science Theater 3000 ($5.8 million) and Veronica Mars ($5.7 million).
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