‘We are not committed to moving Kickstarter to the blockchain’
In December 2021, Kickstarter stunned customers when it unilaterally announced that it would transition its platform to blockchain technology. What followed was a sharp and swift community outcry, a small but significant exodus of high-profile creators to competing platforms, and a $33 million (12.4%) drop in revenue from tabletop projects – a category historically well is for about a third of the crowdfunding giant’s revenue from lenders. The company has since softened its stance, confirming to Polygon in an email Thursday that it is “not committed to moving Kickstarter to the blockchain.”
“As we have shared with our community in previous blog posts, we are exploring the opportunities blockchain offers to alleviate some of the challenges we face as a centralized crowdfunding company,” a Kickstarter spokeswoman said in a written statement to Polygon. . “However, we are not committed to moving Kickstarter to the blockchain or doing anything specific there. We are open to exploration and experimentation, but want to do it in a way that feels tested, working with our community and considering the experience they want from Kickstarter.”
Thursday’s statement follows a news report on June 22 that ended Kickstarter’s inaugural Community Advisory Council. The board was announced in March 2022, just days before the company’s previous CEO, Aziz Hasan, announced he would step down. In the news report, Kickstarter thanked the council members, who were selected from the community of creators for a one-year term. It also said that due to their feedback, the company has shifted its focus from blockchain technology to “the core business and needs of our creative community”.
Here’s an excerpt from that news story:
The Council regularly shared feedback on how Kickstarter is emerging in the world and our approach to emerging technologies. Several members emphasized the importance of fully embracing our crowdfunding leadership position. They encouraged us to use our influence as a powerful force to build trust and raise awareness for the entire industry. This perspective has contributed significantly to the development of future AI policies, knowing that our community relies on us to support initiatives that drive progress across the industry while supporting creators. In addition, the Council’s insights have helped us reframe our focus on the core business and given us valuable perspective (ahem, hard feedback) on protocol technology R&D efforts.
Board members came from across Kickstarter’s community of creators, including Ivan Askwith (film and television), Annette Azan (fashion), Ellia Bisker (music), Stefanie Black (pop culture), Kat Calamia (comics), Jose Cardona ( engineering), Thomas Negovan (publishing, art and music), Tony Patrick (art), Philip Reed (gaming), George Rohac (marketing), Philomena Schwab (gaming) and Philip Winter (engineering).
Kickstarter added extra clarity about the impact of the municipality in its statement to Polygon on Thursday.
“Where we are focused and very committed […] is on our core business and making Kickstarter better,” said the spokeswoman. “That’s why we’ve prioritized finding ways to give creators access to the commitment management and digital marketing tools they need to be successful during and after their campaign period.
“The creation of the Community Advisory Council actually grew out of the feedback we received on the [blockchain] protocol,” they continued. “We saw the need to create another platform for feedback and conversations with our community so that they could be involved in our direction and our decision-making – not just on the protocol, but on all the topics that matter to us and our community of be importance. We hope to continue this dialogue this fall with our second cohort of the council.”
The community’s work has been so successful that Kickstarter has announced the formation of a second Community Advisory Council. Applications must be submitted before July 18, and the position includes a $5,000 honorarium for each member.