Crowdfunding platforms are pretty straight forward. You make a pledge of money, and in return get some kind of reward (if you give a lot). The premise is simple enough.
What happens when you bring in the concept of cryptocurrency?
Well you might be scratching your head, much like I was when I first read in VentureVillage about Swarm, a Berlin-based crowdfunding platform for startups, that allows it startups to issue their own digital currency. To give you an example of how this will work, the first of Swarm’s projects is with a startup called SpaceX who want to source money for their nanosatellite project. SpaceX, thanks to Swarm, will issue coins that will each represent one nanosatellite. If you purchase one coin, that will mean that you own an actual nanosatellite. This coin linked to the nanosatellite is transferable and tradable, this cutting out the middlemen, such as the bank, government or crowdfunding platform.
"We stated our vision to restore to all people the power currently monopolized by the 1%, the power to participate meaningfully in economic life."
Does this make sense?
This is all thanks to Bitcoin 2.0 technology, which Swarm uses as an application platform. This application allows you to make currency out of pretty much anything, and allows you to transfer shares, for example, without the regular mediator. By using this bitcoin protocol, Swarm enables users to set up their own ‘digital wallet’ which they can use to invest into startups directly.
Entrepreneur and software developer Joel Dietz is responsible for Swarm, and aims to transform the investor/startup relationship. He wants to shift the type of investors in a project to those who use it, and are passionate about it, and return the autonomy and vision to the founders of the project at hand, which can often be sullied by the demands of remote investors keen to turn a profit.
Dietz’ idea sounds promising, if a little confusing, and we can only wait and see if it will disrupt the crowdfunding industry as it proposes to do.
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