Bitcoin meets Crowdfunding

 

We all have heard of sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe where users can ask for donations to help with bills, charities, and even start-up ideas. These sites are the first mainstream crowdfunding sites, and have seen great successes with products like the Ouya video game console and the Pebble E-paper Watch.

But being the first means the next “generation” is going to build upon every flaw of their predecessor. The next generation has arrived and has even had some time to mature. Bitcoinstarter.com has taken the crowdfunding platform to BTC, which I honestly believe is a better currency to use for such endeavors.

I am an innovator who has tried both of these USD-based crowdfunding sites and I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience at all. Since those sites use fiat currency, there are hoops the developers have to jump through at every corner. This kind of thing made the whole process feel financially invasive.

I recently set up a crowdfund project at Bitcoinstarter.com myself (). I recognized the difference immediately. The anonymity of Bitcoin makes the whole crowdfunding experience much easier for both donors and developers. Since the donor is simply putting in an input address, there is no being rerouted through PayPal or Banks and no worries about your personal info being intercepted.

Bitcoinstarter (BTCS)’s interface is quite similar to the others; you pick your goal amount, set pledge levels, and fill in the text box giving readers an inside look into your idea in hopes of convincing them your idea is worth donating to. I really liked how you could set your goal in BTC or USD, which guarantees that market volatility won’t affect your goal amount. For example, if your goal is 1 BTC, you might instead set your goal at the current USD value, very useful if you plan to sell the BTC to fund your idea and need a minimum USD amount.

**Get started with Bitcoin at Coinbase.**

When my project was approved, I assumed by the number in the link that I’m the 429th project to be approved. I like that number; it means potential donors don’t have thousands of projects overwhelming them. BTCS also has a very nice category system which gives donors a pleasant browsing experience.

I would recommend BTCS to anyone with an interest in starting a “crypto-adventure.” Many of those now willing to donate BTC were in the same boat as you few years ago; they will identify with you more than those on the other big crowdfunding sites, and will be better able to spot if you have a genuinely good idea. I wouldn’t really consider it a good platform for charity-type crowd-funds yet, maybe in a few months as BTC continues to gain popularity.

They currently have 15 fully-funded projects (you can have your project accept donations for up to 1 year) and they have received as little as .000001 and as much as 16 BTC. This tells me that if the idea is sound, it will get funding

The only big downfall to BTCS is how few people know about it, if you want your project seen by the masses, you will have to do most of your publicity yourself. Smartly, BTCS makes that easy to share to Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

A word of advice to anyone starting any crowdfund: be grammatically correct, be honest, and be thorough. Start off with a brief intro about your goal that’s quick and catchy, if the reader doesn’t know what you want to do after those 4-5 sentences, they most likely aren’t going to keep reading. Don’t make it sound super formal: remember that you’re asking for donations and that you need to appeal to their sense of reason and logic. On the other hand, don’t write something so informal people can’t decide if you’re a teenager or not. This is my “hook”:

I would like to create a website similar to Traffic Exchanges and Pay-To-Clicks that most of us have experience with. Users would be paid to surf websites, click on ads, sign-up for other websites, and other similar actions.

But with a twist.

Give a thorough walk-through and outline where donations will be spent or how they will be used. Specifics show research and effort, which go a long way to convince donors. Set your pledge level appropriately. Don’t undervalue your donors or overvalue yourself. For example, if your pledge level involves sending the donor something handmade, don’t offer something that takes you 4 hours to make for .000001 BTC. If your goal was .00001 BTC, you would spend 400 hours making the rewards for less than a penny’s worth of donations. Likewise, don’t offer just a “thank-you email” for .5 BTC (about $385 at time of this writing). That is worth that 4-hour handmade item.

Please take a look at my crowdfund project on BTCS () to see how I have approached it. If you like the project, I am also currently looking for funders and donations. Every bit counts. I wish you all good luck with your crypto-adventures in 2014!

 

 About the Author:Stuart Greene is a crypto-enthusiast. He lives in Virginia near Norfolk and is hoping he can learn to use BTC and other crypto’s to make a living. He trades BTC, LTC, and Doge, and is a Dogecoin miner. He believes that a global currency is really what we need as a planet if we are to move forward.