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Kickstarter pulls back on previously announced blockchain plans

Kickstarter will no longer try to move to blockchain, though it is still interested in the technology's potential uses.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 29, 2023

2 Min Read
Graphic for crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

Almost two years after announcing it would pivot to blockchain, Kickstarter has since moved on from those efforts. Speaking to Polygon, the popular crowdfunding website confirmed it's now "not committed to moving Kickstarter to the blockchain.”

Even so, a representative for the site it will continue "exploring the opportunities that are in blockchain to alleviate some of the challenges that we face as a centralized crowdfunding company."

In late 2021, Kickstarter said its move to blockchain was to make a "decentralized crowdfunding protocol," enabling anyone to launch crowdfunding projects anywhere. Months later, it clarified that it wanted to gain feedback before fully going in on the endeavor. 

That feedback came in the form of high-profile creators leaving for other platforms and a 12.4 percent decline in tabletop project revenue. The latter makes up about one-third of Kickstarter's backer income, which goes to show how serious folks were taking their anti-blockchain stance. 

Kickstarter's community Council is helping to steer the platform's future

Part of the reason for Kickstarter's changed perspective on the controversial technology is its Community Advisory Council. The group was made up of popular users on the platform, and helped Kickstarter shift focus from blockchain to "the core business and needs of our creative community."

As explained in a recent blog post, the Council "emphasized the importance of fully embracing our position of leadership in the crowdfunding space. [...] The Council’s insights have helped us reframe our focus on the core business and provided us with invaluable perspective (ahem, tough feedback) on R&D efforts with protocol technology."

That same blog revealed the Council "significantly contributed" to an AI policy to be revealed in the near future. Much like blockchain, AI has been controversial in spaces like Kickstarter and ArtStation, both of whom effectively agreed late last year to let AI art exist on their platforms until it became a true problem. 

At the time, Kickstarter said it would consider art made with the technology on a case-by-case basis, and would get involved if the art directly copied someone's work or was actively harmful. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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