Kickstarter says it will switch to crowdfunding via the blockchain

Kickstarter is announcing some major changes to the foundation of its technology. The company said Wednesday that it will support the development of “an open-source protocol that will essentially create a decentralized version of Kickstarter’s core functionality.” according to a Kickstarter blog post published on Wednesday. The protocol will live on a public blockchain and will allow anyone, “even Kickstarter competitors”, to build upon or use it, the company says.

An independent organization will begin developing the protocol, and Kickstarter will provide this group with funding, appoint a board and be one of the protocol’s first clients, the company says. It also creates an “independent board lab” that oversees “the development of protocol management”. The protocol will be built on celo, an open-source blockchain that uses the more environmentally friendly proof of stake system.

The new company making the protocol has no name, according to Bloomberg, which also reports that Kickstarter expects to transition its site to the protocol in 2022. Kickstarter did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether the change will affect the company’s business model, but said in its blog that “as a user, the Kickstarter experience you know will remain the same.”

Kickstarter’s efforts are somewhat similar to what Twitter started with its Bluesky decentralized social networking standard. Despite being announced in December 2019, it is also still in its infancy, having just hired a project lead in August.