When Kickstarter unveiled its ambition to develop a blockchain-based crowdfunding system, the company characterized the move as a way to push creators closer to their audiences.
“Backers should be able to easily discover and participate more deeply in projects, better control their data, and have more robust tools to assess the trustworthiness and viability of a project,” Kickstarter said in a blog post earlier this month.
The reaction from users was hardly the sort of response Kickstarter had been hoping for.
A tweet by the company announcing the news was met with immediate backlash from Kickstarter customers who threatened to abandon the service, citing concerns with the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin and other digital currencies require huge amounts of electricity for processing transactions and minting new units of currency. For its part, Kickstarter said it would use Celo, a “carbon-negative” crypto payments platform, for the initiative.
Kickstarter envisions the new crowdfunding mechanism as a “decentralized” protocol that would make it easier for people to raise funds for projects, even outside of its own platform. The eventual aim is to move its entire website over to the new infrastructure.
Kickstarter’s proposal is all part of a buzzy new movement in the technology world known as Web 3.0, or “Web3.”
Web3 proponents argue that today’s online platforms are too centralized and controlled by a handful of large internet companies, like Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook parent company Meta.
Like the “metaverse” touted by Meta, Microsoft and others, Web3 is still a hazy concept.
Most proponents describe it as a decentralized version of the internet based on blockchain, the technology behind many major cryptocurrencies. You can think of the blockchain like a ledger of transactions that’s constantly being updated by multiple computers around the world.
It’s attracted lots of interest — and money — from venture capital firms such as Andreessen Horowitz and big tech names like Twitter and Stripe. Several conversations on Twitter about the trend are from people with NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, as their profile pictures.