This is an opinion piece by Kroum Kroumov, Editor, Editor and UX Writer.
Crowdfunding has always been a great way to get funding for your work and get your ambitions off the ground. Most internet crowdfunding platforms have not kept up with changes in politics, technology and advancements in online interaction, primarily the growth of online communities. Government censorship and abuse have played a vital role in sparking a need for innovation in crowdfunding.
Here, we’ll explore how Lightning is redefining crowdfunding, what new features are becoming possible, and which crowdfunding platforms are taking the lead in innovation and elevating the bitcoin/Lightning ecosystem to new heights.
Traditional crowdfunding platforms are obsolete
Unfortunately, not everyone likes new technologies, and many institutions and companies will fight to maintain the status quo, because they benefit from it. Therefore, innovation often becomes a threat in their eyes. Governments, with their efforts to keep a fiat system running, are an example of this. Another example is the government’s attempts to digitize fiat currencies through CBDC to maintain their fiat system.
Crowdfunding platforms have also been slow to adopt bitcoin. We could easily attribute the slow acceptance of bitcoin by crowdfunding platforms to government rhetoric, which sowed the seeds of uncertainty. Whatever their reasoning, platforms that don’t adapt will become obsolete because they miss out on the possibilities that Lightning brings.
Government exaggeration and censorship
Nothing has proven more that we need decentralized funding than recent censorship events, such as the truckers’ protest in Canada. A popular crowdfunding platform, GoFundMe, frozen assets given to protesters, bowing to government pressure. This protest and the resulting government response, namely the censorship of donated funds, proved that governments are reaching into people’s pockets to try to prevent our right to disagree.
A bitcoin-only crowdfunding platform that intervened during the protests was TallyCoin. TallyCoin enabled protesters to receive funds in bitcoin. This showed the world the censorship-resistant properties bitcoin has. As long as the project remained open, truckers could receive funds.
As unwarranted as the government’s overreach is during the truckers’ protest, the complete decentralization of crowdfunding platforms is not something anyone is looking to do. The funds resist censorship, while the project is not. TallyCoin did finally close the project, but the truckers received their funds and no one could withdraw their money while the project was active on the website, as bitcoin transactions are peer-to-peer.
A crowdfunding platform cannot take responsibility for helping fund illegal activity, in this case hosting projects it deems criminal. While we can decentralize the money, making it censorship-resistant through bitcoin, it’s hard to fully decentralize platform content.
Crowdfunding activated by lightning
Bitcoin adds a layer of censorship resistance to crowdfunding. The crowdfunding platform hosts projects in the role of a third party, while bitcoin donations remain decentralized, as they are peer-to-peer. Therefore, the money a user receives is as censorship-resistant as bitcoin itself.
The Lightning layer is a game-changer as it allows donations to arrive through third-party websites and various social media platforms. For example, you can receive donations directly to your wallet by posting your static Lightning address or QR code on tweets and blog posts. This means that a user would not need to log into the crowdfunding platform to donate to your cause.
One platform pushing the Lightning integration agenda forward is Geyser Fund. This platform is a good example of what the new generation of dynamic crowdfunding platforms looks like. It’s a Lightning-native crowdfunding platform that takes advantage of the innovation opportunities Lightning provides, including:
- Lightning addresses: Every project on Geyser gets a built-in Lightning address that creators can leverage.
- Static QR codes. Creators receive money directly into their wallet from their social media accounts by posting their static QR code, eliminating the need to log in to Geyser. This allows you to receive funds from anyone, anytime and anywhere.
- WEBLN browser integration. If you don’t prefer QR codes, you can use WEBLN browser integrations like Alby to receive direct payments through your permanent Lightning address.
- Live fund updates. The project page is updated as soon as funds arrive. This shows users how your project is growing.
- Completely borderless crowdfunding. With Lightning, you can send and receive funds for your project from anywhere, and from anywhere people can scan your code to send you tips.
- Engagement with donors and the community. Project owners can write articles and post updates to their project page to keep their community informed and engaged. In this way, the project is in a recurring and alive state.
- Interoperability with Podcasting 2.0: Receive tips for your crowdfunding campaign via the Fountain podcasting app.
- Censorship-resistant funding. The funds go directly to your Lightning wallet without going through the third party, in this case Geyser. The platform only hosts the project, not the funds.
Dynamic Crowdfunding with Lightning
If you think about it, all traditional crowdfunding platforms look the same: they are static pages. There is no engagement between communities and little or nothing happening live on screen.
On the other hand, Lightning-enabled crowdfunding websites are dynamic. Everything is alive, engaging, changing and interacting with users on both sides. Dynamic crowdfunding expands the reach of your project and brings in more funds through interaction and interoperability through social media platforms and browser integrations.
The traditional crowdfunding model has become obsolete due to government overreach and the technological opportunities offered by bitcoin’s Lightning layer. Now native Bitcoin/Lightning crowdfunding platforms such as Geyser.fund, TallyCoin and OpenSats take advantage of the innovation opportunities offered by Lightning to revolutionize the field.
Thanks to the Lightning layer, crowdfunding becomes decentralized, censorship-resistant, peer-to-peer and dynamic. We’re immediately reaping the benefits of better marketing reach through social media, alternative ways to receive payments, interoperability and community engagement – all of which improve fundraising, audience and accessibility.
So why not enjoy it ? If you’re looking to help fund a cause, you can now do so from your favorite social media platform, and if you already have a project, share it on social media and get funded. It’s time for crowdfunding to evolve with the interoperability and innovation of Lightning.
This is a guest post by Krum Krumov. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.