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Kickstarter moving to blockchain

RichGreen

Explorer
I sent them a mail where I voiced certain concerns regarding their plans. Got a regurgitated version of the info on the homepage back. Not ideal to say the least. It was also sent way too fast to be anything other than an automated response. The only things they pointed there was that backers/creators wouldn't notice anything different. Backers could pay with credit/debit cards, and creators would get ther money in fiat currencies as before (US Dollars, British Pounds, Euros etc)

I really hope that a human actually looks the feedback they get, but I am sceptical. I know from experience that normal support-issues are handled by a human, but those go to a different mail...
I got a reply telling me Celo (the blockchain they are using) is carbon neutral so nothing to worry about.

They only have 84 employees so hopefully they will become aware of how backers/creators feel pretty quickly. I think the VCs they are trying to attract with this won’t be very impressed that they are upsetting some of their most loyal customers either.
 

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Ulfgeir

Hero
Googled around a bit, and found some links elsewhere where more people are complaining about how bad idea this is.

Kotaku
Kickstarter Announces Blockchain Future, Doubles Down After Users Say 'No Thank You'

Cryptobriefing.com
Kickstarter Faces Backlash Over Partnership With Celo

Futurism.com
Kickstarter Creators Furious Over Company’s Move to Blockchain

Mashable.com

Dicebreaker.com

And some mainstream business as well.. CNBC
 
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Ryujin

Legend
What did I miss here?
Patreon courted, and received, an infusion of venture capital cash so of course they had to show profitability. They announced that they were going to add a per transaction charge, on the patron side, to payments for creators. If you had a horde of $1-$2 Patreon contributions that you were making then suddently you were going to be paying 20-40% more per month. Not such a big deal if you had larger payments, to fewer creators, but substantial if you were an average person, supporting a bunch of creators, at a lower level. My own support costs would have jumped from roughly US$50.00/month to US$70.00 per month, by my calculations, with no increase in payments to those I support.

The whole idea was (edit: "seemed to be"; this is my assumption) that they wanted fewer but larger creators, presumably because it would require less infrastructure and internal costs to maintain them.

People left Patreon in droves. Creators moved to alternate platforms, if they could. Patreon soon walked back their statement but the damage had been done. Many supporters have never come back.

 

Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
And some mainstream business as well.. CNBC
See, this one tickles the paranoiac who lives in the cave in the back part of my brain. Companies have wanted for years to "decentralize" the Internet, which resides on a massive number of servers connected via a massive number of informational "pipes," the "Intertubes" as we say in the business. (We don't, actually, that's a callback to a dumb thing a Senator said, back in prehistory.) If that system doesn't really sound centralized, well, it's really not. There are some major parts that are dependent on large companies -- for instance, when Amazon's services platform went down, it took a good chunk with it -- but the thing as a whole isn't really dependent on those parts.

What it's dependent on, primarily, and a main security concern, is DNS, domain name services. The companies that provide that service are fewer, and you could say they're the "central" portion of the Internet. When you say, "Computer, take me to Amazon.com," they're the servers that tell Majel Barrett Roddenberry where to go. And I don't see where you can replace just that part of the technology and still have the system work. What the stuff I've read online (and, maybe, barely comprehended, if at all) seems to be some idea to do that kind of service using the blockchain. Because DNS servers are high-traffic devices, they are also high-priority targets for hackers; a DNS-injection attack can be devastating. But, if anything, the blockchain seems to me to be fraught with a whole host of issues, and trust is one of them. Because everything's anonymized, there's no way to double-check anything.

It just seems like the buzzwords are clouding men's thoughts. Or maybe it's the idea of money clouding their thoughts, I don't know...
 

Ryujin

Legend
I'd say that companies don't want to decentralize the internet, they want to centralize it. To themselves. The internet is based on ARPANET, which was an experiment (among other things) in decentralization to provide communication in the event of a nuclear war.
 

Ryujin

Legend
Patreon courted, and received, an infusion of venture capital cash so of course they had to show profitability. They announced that they were going to add a per transaction charge, on the patron side, to payments for creators. If you had a horde of $1-$2 Patreon contributions that you were making then suddently you were going to be paying 20-40% more per month. Not such a big deal if you had larger payments, to fewer creators, but substantial if you were an average person, supporting a bunch of creators, at a lower level. My own support costs would have jumped from roughly US$50.00/month to US$70.00 per month, by my calculations, with no increase in payments to those I support.

The whole idea was (edit: "seemed to be"; this is my assumption) that they wanted fewer but larger creators, presumably because it would require less infrastructure and internal costs to maintain them.

People left Patreon in droves. Creators moved to alternate platforms, if they could. Patreon soon walked back their statement but the damage had been done. Many supporters have never come back.

I should also add that this bungle by Patreon sparked the development of a Patreon-like service by Kickstarter, themselves, though the name of it escapes me at the moment. Another group of creatives formed The Fantasy Network with membership charges that directly support them, and with a Patreon-like system that they've been meaning to roll out for a while now. Two concrete examples of what I described.
 




NotAYakk

Legend
Blockchain is just ledger entries, plus a cryptographic hash of the previous ledger entries.

Plus a pile if noise.

It is git, a source control system, with fewer features and (ideally) cryotograpically stronger hashes and weaker structure.

Distributing it with a consensus protocol to keep a single branch can keep multiple sources of truth synchronized in some nice ways.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Doesn't Bitcoin pretty much exist to finance crime and human trafficking?

Whether or not that was the original intent, when your tool is a method of financial exchange with specific focus on anonymity, you can expect that it will be useful to criminal enterprise.

Meanwhile, Kickstarter specifically doesn't need its transactions to be anonymous. I imagine they actually want them to be specifically tracked and auditable.
 

Staffan

Legend
Patreon courted, and received, an infusion of venture capital cash so of course they had to show profitability. They announced that they were going to add a per transaction charge, on the patron side, to payments for creators. If you had a horde of $1-$2 Patreon contributions that you were making then suddently you were going to be paying 20-40% more per month. Not such a big deal if you had larger payments, to fewer creators, but substantial if you were an average person, supporting a bunch of creators, at a lower level. My own support costs would have jumped from roughly US$50.00/month to US$70.00 per month, by my calculations, with no increase in payments to those I support.

The whole idea was (edit: "seemed to be"; this is my assumption) that they wanted fewer but larger creators, presumably because it would require less infrastructure and internal costs to maintain them.
That's not exactly how I remember it, though the end result was the same. The problem was that some creators on Patreon had trouble with people abusing the system. Basically, people would sign up for a patreon, download whatever was archived, and cancel their patronage before the end of the month when cards would be charged. Patreon's solution to this was to charge each patronage separately, monthly based on starting date. The additional charges weren't coming directly from Patreon (at least not mostly), but from credit card processors.

But the end result was the same: lots of people dropping their support of many creators. It's one thing to support, say, 15 creators at $3 each and pay an extra $1 in processing fees on top of the $45 monthly cost, but when you're paying the additional dollar once per creator that gets expensive real quick.
 


Ryujin

Legend
That's not exactly how I remember it, though the end result was the same. The problem was that some creators on Patreon had trouble with people abusing the system. Basically, people would sign up for a patreon, download whatever was archived, and cancel their patronage before the end of the month when cards would be charged. Patreon's solution to this was to charge each patronage separately, monthly based on starting date. The additional charges weren't coming directly from Patreon (at least not mostly), but from credit card processors.

But the end result was the same: lots of people dropping their support of many creators. It's one thing to support, say, 15 creators at $3 each and pay an extra $1 in processing fees on top of the $45 monthly cost, but when you're paying the additional dollar once per creator that gets expensive real quick.
The solution to that issue was to charge people the moment that they signed up as a patron, not wait until the end of the month. That was a completely different issue and the way that they dealt with it was reasonable.
 

Blue Orange

Adventurer
I do remember Kickstarter having a problem with 'creators' taking people's money and then not producing anything? (Kind of inevitable with this kind of platform of course.) So maybe having a record of everything would be a way to deal with that?

As people have said it is probably a plot to get venture capital--apparently Long Island Iced Tea Corp changed their name to 'Long Blockchain Corp' and temporarily tripled their stock price.
 

Yora

Legend
I do remember Kickstarter having a problem with 'creators' taking people's money and then not producing anything? (Kind of inevitable with this kind of platform of course.) So maybe having a record of everything would be a way to deal with that?

As people have said it is probably a plot to get venture capital--apparently Long Island Iced Tea Corp changed their name to 'Long Blockchain Corp' and temporarily tripled their stock price.
I don't see how. I don't think tracking down the people who set up the campaign ever was a problem. It was proving that they were engaging in fraud instead of actually failing their attempt to create their product with the available funds.
 

Staffan

Legend
The solution to that issue was to charge people the moment that they signed up as a patron, not wait until the end of the month. That was a completely different issue and the way that they dealt with it was reasonable.
That's the solution they landed in after the backlash. I believe it's also a thing creators can toggle, though I'm not sure.

Here are some links from the time in question:
Patreon's Fee Change Stokes the Ire of Creators (when the changes had been announced and people were very angry)
Why content crowdfunder Patreon is halting its hated fee change – TechCrunch (Patreon walking back the changes)
 


Ryujin

Legend
I do remember Kickstarter having a problem with 'creators' taking people's money and then not producing anything? (Kind of inevitable with this kind of platform of course.) So maybe having a record of everything would be a way to deal with that?
There's an easy way to deal with that sort of thing: Don't let serial abusers use your platform. Have a look at the following campaigns:

Pencil Dice
RPG Pencil Dice
Deck Dice
Spinward Traveller
Knights of the Dinner Table
Castles & Crusades: Beyond the River

... just as an example of serial abuse.
 

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