In what is surely a landmark moment, Kickstarter recently passed the $1 billion mark in pledges. A crowd of some 5.7 million people contributed those funds to all manner of creative projects. Signaling that the crowdfunding moving is really just finding its footing, about half of that sum came through in the past 12 months. If Kickstarter levels out at $500 million per annum, it will be on par with the GDP of Dominica. If it keeps growing — and it very well may — then the sky is the limit.
Well over half of the donations came from the United States, with the UK coming in a way-distant second in the tally. Still, crowdfunding is a global movement as evidenced by the fact that more than 224 countries as far-flung as Kyrgystan, Suriname, Papua New Guinea, and Botswana all had contributors within their borders.
Apparently, for some, Kickstarting projects is addictive — nearly 16,000 donors have pledged to more than 50 projects each, Neil Gaiman among them — and return contributors account for 62 percent of the total, or $619 million. Gaiman, whose wife Amanda Palmer raised a few pretty pennies via the site, notes, "There's a sort of weird and lovely magic of, 'I'm part of this; I helped create this; this thing exists because of me; isn't this fun?'"
Another repeat offender, Espen Arntzen, takes a philosophical approach to spreading his wealth: "[I] back projects that aren't so much about making a product, but rather helping out a community… I try to support projects that I think are interesting and that wouldn't normally get made with more traditional funding methods."
Kickstarter has certainly changed, if not created, the crowdfunding game. Let's hope the sharing of wealth and creativity gets them to the next billion in record time.