Crowdfunding is a billion-dollar industry. Entrepreneurs from around the world can reach out to their target audience online and gain enough funding to kickstart their project. No longer will do they have to be hampered by the restraints of traditional funding. According to startups.com, the projected total crowdfunding raised by 2025 is a staggering $300 billion. While these are some pretty impressive figures, the sad fact is that crowdfunding, as we know it today, is broken, and in desperate need for change.
Pledgecamp is a crowdfunding platform that incorporates blockchain technology for security and accountability. They aim to utilize smart contracts to bring positive disruption into the space. Before we take a deeper look at Pledgecamp, let’s acquaint ourselves with the issues plaguing the crowdfunding ecosystem.
Crowdfunding has a trust problem
Having a high degree of trust between backers and creators is critical for the well-being of any crowdfunding platform. However, the current crowdfunding platforms fail to achieve this because of the following reasons:
- Lack of accountability: There is no way to ensure that the creators are going to use the fund obtained from backers responsibly. The creators can simply run away with the funds after running a scam.
- Lack of transparency: There is also no way for the backers to make sure that the creators are actually going to use the funds in the way that they promised they would. Lack of transparency often leads to products which are way below par than what was initially promised.
- Centralization:Centralization is another huge problem which constricts the true scope of crowdfunding. Eg. Kickstarter creators must reside in one of 22 countries, equivalent to only 11% of countries in the world. Along with that, these platforms also have the right to censor creators and filter the kind of projects that are available on their platforms.
Pledgecamp: Crowdfunding + Blockchain
For crowdfunding to succeed in the long term, a decentralized approach is required, which promotes transparency and incentivizes its components to collaborate positively. Pledgecamp aims to leverage the blockchain technology to fix these issues in the space. Using the blockchain allows you to create smart contracts. Smart contracts are self-executing, automated agreements between two parties, which will enable them to:
- Directly connect with each other without going through a middleman.
- Allows for step-wise execution, meaning, each statement in a smart contract can only be executed, once the previous one has been executed to completion.
Smart contracts allow Pledgecamp to execute a game-changing innovation called “Backer Insurance.”
What is Backer Insurance?
Pledgecamp allows backers to enter into a smart contract with the creator. The backers will then contribute their funds, a percentage of which is held in escrow within the contract. These locked-up funds are called “Backer Insurance Funds.”
These funds will be released to the creator only when they meet certain milestones. These milestones are pre-defined before the funds are raised so that the expectations between creators and backers are clear from the beginning. Backers will then verify the milestones through a democratic vote. If the milestones are not met, then the backer insurance funds are refunded to the backers. Otherwise, it is credited to the creator.
Their demo product shows how this system will look like on the platform. So, what we have here is a hypothetical product called “The Egg Cooker of the Future.”
When you click on the project, you will see the following:
So, this product has a 38% backer protection. If this project doesn’t meet its milestones, then 38% of the fees will be refunded to the backers.
On scrolling further down, you can see that this hypothetical project has completed both of its milestones.
Platform Security and getting the community involved
Along with Backer Insurance, Pledgecamp’s other big aim was to build an organic and cohesive community. Not only will the community be willing to share its knowledge, but they will also be incentivized to take care of the platform’s security and credibility. Pledgecamp calls their community a “smart crowd.” This is how they are planning to leverage and incentivize their smart crowd:
- Community members can stake the native PLG tokens within the ecosystem to become Moderators. These Moderators are in charge of keeping the platform spam-free and healthy. They will be rewarded in proportion to their stake for the services provided.
- Pledgecamp also encourages an internal gig economy, wherein the creators can hire members from the smart crowd to do various jobs for them. These jobs can range from basic social media promotion to translation services. All payment will be made via the PLG token.
By making the community as involved with the projects as possible, Pledgecamp aims to create a community which will organically help each other to grow.
The backers and advisors of PledgeCamp
With a project as ambitious as Pledgecamp’s, it is vital that they have a group of credible and accomplished mentors advising them. Let’s take a look at the advisors that they have managed to bring in:
- Randi Zuckerberg: Founder of Zuckerberg Media, former Facebook executive, author, host, speaker, and supporter of entrepreneurship. Pledgecamp is Randi’s first engagement with a blockchain company. She also serves as an advisor to Huobi Chain.
- Matt Curcio: VP of Data at Ripple. Matt is a technical advisor assisting the Pledgecamp team with hiring talent and building out the platform.
- Keith Teare: Executive Chairman at Accelerated Digital Ventures, founding shareholder of TechCrunch, and active blockchain advisor.
- Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud: Member of the Saudi Royal Family with extensive knowledge in blockchain and entrepreneurship and interest in advancing the Saudi entrepreneurial community.
- Jim Augustine: COO at Zuckerberg Media, Managing Director at First Act Ventures, screenwriter, producer, NYU and Harvard alum.
- Ryan Scott: CEO of ICO Advisory Group, angel investor, and founder of CauseCast.
- Jorge Rodriguez: Ethical hacker and hands-on technical advisor assisting with security audits and smart contract design. Jorge was an early team member and developer at Ethereum.
- Christian Sullivan: Super angel investor and entrepreneur with multiple billion-dollar exits, advisor at Republic.co and LP investor at Polychain Capital.
- Edward Kim: VP of Business Development at GameFlip, General Partner at Cryptolux Capital - a cryptocurrency and digital assets hedge fund of funds.
- Dr. Sung Jae Hwang: CEO of Foundation X with 300 patents filed and issued.
- Dr. Ryu Jung Hee: CEO of FuturePlay, CEO and founder of Olaworks (acquired by Intel). Owner of 100 patents in the U.S. and South Korea.
- Alan Chang: Lead of Operations, Human, at Airbnb. Led Hong Kong and Northeast Asia expansion since 2012, currently managing an operations team at SF headquarters.
- Spencer Yang: Founding partner of #Chain, an esteemed blockchain accelerator. He also cofounded CryptoAudiences, the preferred advertising agency partner of CoinMarketCap.
- Reshma Sohoni: Founding partner of Seedcamp, a London-based VC firm with investments in Transferwise, Codacy, Erply, Fishbrain, Codility, Winnow, Try.com, and more.
- Patrick Yang: Founder and Managing Partner of Amity Ventures, former VP at Highland Capital. Yang is a major investor in Monero and Tari.
- Carlos Gotlib: CEO of Dreambits Labs and son of Adela Micha (Mexican journalist and TV news anchor and personality) with an extensive business network in Mexico.
- Alvaro Garnero: The “Mark Cuban of Brazil,” Alvaro has nearly 4 million followers between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Alvaro’s TV reality show, “50 Por 1 Destinos Espetaculares,” boasts the second largest audience in Brazil.
- Won Chang Yeon (KoreanRe): Member of the founding, owning, and managing family of Korean Reinsurance Company, the largest reinsurance company based in Seoul.
Along with such advisors, PledgeCamp also has the following sponsors:
- United States National Science Foundation (Bay Area Innovation Corps): A government-funded, Stanford University and UC Berkeley sponsored training program and curriculum for entrepreneurs.
- Foundation X: Top advisory fund in Korea and sister company to renowned Korean venture capital firm, FuturePlay. Providing key services such as white paper review, marketing, and endorsement to the Korean blockchain community.
- LD Capital: Top advisory fund and early investor in ETH, Binance, NEO, Qtum, Eos, Vechain.
- Link VC: Top advisory fund and early investor in Blockv, Tezos, QuarkChain, Quoine, Fantom.
- DU Capital: Top advisory fund and early investor in IOTA, BAT, Tezos. Founded by Peter Du (Dulinxu).
- Autark Ventures: Top advisory fund and investor in ICON, Wanchain, Hedera Hashgraph, Phantasma, Fantom, Nucleus Vision.
Along with the ones mentioned above, the following have also made significant investments in Pledgecamp - ATH Capital, BitForex, Blockground Capital, Blockmon, BRP Capital, Circuit Capital, C&S Investment, Mars Capital, Nomad Capital, Origin Capital, and Zorax Capital.
Pledgecamp has a promising concept which is looking to solve a game-breaking problem in a multi-billion dollar industry. Looking at the king of advisors and sponsors that they have attracted, it seems pretty evident that the project has promise and can potentially become one of the major players in a decentralized future.