Kickstarter ICO? Don't Count On It Says Crowdfunding Leader

The company most widely associated with crowdfunding won't be shifting its business model to accommodate so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs).

AccessTimeIconDec 13, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:16 a.m. UTC
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The company most widely associated with crowdfunding, Brooklyn-based Kickstarter, has no plans to get into the initial coin offering (ICO) business.

Coming in response to the news yesterday that competitor Indiegogo would facilitate ICOs on its platform, supporting entrepreneurial efforts in this new area of fundraising, a Kickstarter spokesperson told CoinDesk that the firm isn't looking to follow this lead.

"The answer is 100 percent a very firm no," a company spokesperson said.

Since launching in 2009, Kickstarter has been used to successfully distribute $3.04 billion to creative projects, according to its self-reported statistics. It first crossed the billion-dollar mark in 2014. Total ICO funding so far is at $3.8 billion, according to CoinDesk's ICO tracker.

Kickstarter offered few details as to the reasoning for the decision, ultimately directing CoinDesk to its charter, which has five planks.

The first reads, "Kickstarter's mission is to help bring creative projects to life" and the fourth says, "Kickstarter is committed to the arts." In 2015, the company insulated itself from pressure to make profits its sole priority by reincorporating as a public benefit corporation (PBC).

PBCs are a relatively new legal entity that protects companies that want to pursue a social mission as well as fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. We previously reported on Blockstack, which also reincorporated as a PBC.

In this way, shareholders in Kickstarter earn an income stream rather than hoping for a giant return on a big exit down the road. (The company has long committed to remaining private, and one of its three co-founders has compared a share in the company to owning the rights to a popular song.)

But despite any similarities, the company said this unique structure protects it from the temptation to leverage its brand for returns in the frothy ICO market.

"Not something we looked into or will look into," the spokesperson said.

Kickstarter website photo via Shutterstock.

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