Kickstarter responds to backlash over its decentralized crowdfunding platform

The company will ask for input regarding its blockchain plans.

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Jon Fingas
February 17, 2022 5:17 PM
UKRAINE - 2021/12/29: In this photo illustration, a Kickstarter, PBC logo is seen on a smartphone and on the background. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Kickstarter's plan to create a decentralized crowdfunding platform ran into more than a little criticism, and the company is eager to reassure jittery users. The firm has clarified how it will develop the blockchain-based system, with promises it would take input along the way. To start, Kickstarter said it was "not going to force" a decentralized system on the community without testing it. It would ensure a "proof of concept" existed for those creators who wanted to try it, and would only integrate those parts that "offer value" in light of community input.

To that end, Kickstarter promised to form an advisory council that will shape feature development, including the decentralized protocol. The council would include a wide range of users and participants.

The crowdfunding firm also noted that work on the platform would occur through a Public Benefit Corporation, and that it would ensure the necessary blockchain wasn't harmful to the environment. The team-up was already known to be using the "carbon-negative" Celo chain.

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Kickstarter unveiled the plans in December in hopes of bringing crowdfunding to many platforms beyond its own. As Mashable notes, the company soon faced a backlash over several issues. Critics were not only worried about the high energy consumption that often comes with blockchain-based transactions, but that Kickstarter was tarnishing its reputation by tying itself to the technology behind scam-prone NFTs and cryptocurrencies. Some veteran creators, such as Doctor Popular, vowed to either stop backing projects or host their own projects elsewhere.

The clarification might reassure users worried they would have to move to the blockchain just to buy or fund a hot new product. However, the response also follows two months after the uproar began. That's a long time to leave users wondering about certain issues, and it's not guaranteed disaffected users will come back.

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