Kicking Kickstarter
January 25, 2022 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Crowdfunding site Kickstarter made all sorts of creative people (artists, game designers, musicians, etc) despair when they announced they were moving to the blockchain.

Enter Internet Hero Jeffrey Rowland (of wigu fame). His Topatoco company has been fulfilling merch for popular webcomics (and others) for many years now. He's handled plenty of product development, too. And now, with the announcement of TopatocoGO, he's created a platform for crowdfunding that explicitly calls out crypto as "ponzi scheme garbage nonsense." [Not a promotional post, just good news for creators!]
posted by rikschell (71 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not a good idea to see this right after finishing watching the Dan Olson video posted below.
posted by njohnson23 at 1:08 PM on January 25 [12 favorites]




ffs. rokoverse take note: i'm setting Jan 1 2022 as my arbitrary demarcation for "blockchain singularity apocalypse"
posted by glonous keming at 1:18 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


glonous keming: "ffs. rokoverse take note: i'm setting Jan 1 2022 as my arbitrary demarcation for "blockchain singularity apocalypse""

I just took a screenshot of this comment and made an NFT of it. It's gonna be worth sooooo much in 5 years.
posted by chavenet at 1:22 PM on January 25 [44 favorites]


Just once I want to see a tech project that makes use of the term "blockchain" in a way that 1) describes it accurately, 2) applies it in a circumstance for which it makes sense as an enabling technology, and 3) isn't obviously a grift...
posted by mystyk at 1:27 PM on January 25 [16 favorites]


Welp, after ten years and dozens of campaigns backed I've removed my payment methods from Kickstarter, will back no further campaigns, and delete my account after the active campaigns I've backed are wrapped up.

If you're likewise not happy about this, Kickstarter helpfully suggests "Send your thoughts! Email ideas, tips, comments, and questions to protocol@kickstarter.com"
posted by jedicus at 1:30 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


awww SHIT! Nice.

I was feeling low today, then I read the transcript of that "Line Go Up" documentary and the deep dive into the world of blockchain scams made me even sadder. But this makes me happy; Kickstarter's threatened move to blockchain has been something hanging over the heads of myself and all my artist friends who've used KS successfully since it was announced.

Perhaps I will send them some email and see if they would be interested in helping me finally get a second printing of my Tarot deck happening.

----

The two things I find most interesting about the KickChain announcement:

1. The announcement was at the beginning of December. They said "In the coming weeks, a white paper will be released outlining the technology and plans for the protocol." It has been close to two months with not a single sign of this.
2. It took the Kickstarter Worker's Union by surprise as much as anyone else, their response to it was basically "we know as much as anyone else does and we are waiting to see what this white paper will say".

Also, well, my comics/rpg friends who have long histories of using Kickstarter to take preorders are *not* currently talking about their next Kickstarter, they're talking about their next "crowdfunding campaign" and, well, unless KS comes out and says "okay the KickChain ain't happening" I think there's gonna be a big dropoff in their campaigns, because nobody outside of the blockchain hype bubble wants to be in the middle of a campaign when KS comes out and says "hey we are now totally on the BLOCKCHAIN now!" and have people pull their bids in protest. That post is Kickstarter's suicide note.
posted by egypturnash at 1:33 PM on January 25 [21 favorites]


As a user, the Kickstarter experience you’re familiar with will stay the same. You won’t “see” the protocol, but you will benefit from its improvements.

Go home Kickstarter, you're drunk.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:33 PM on January 25 [20 favorites]


> I just took a screenshot of this comment and made an NFT of it. It's gonna be worth sooooo much in 5 years.

I been hacked.
all my favs gone. this just sold 助けて ください。
posted by glonous keming at 1:39 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


I never understood why people needed a hide button for US politics, but I get it now with all these crypto posts.
posted by imabanana at 1:44 PM on January 25 [15 favorites]


I never understood why people needed a hide button for US politics, but I get it now with all these crypto posts.

Blockchain megathread?
posted by clawsoon at 1:46 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


Blockchain megathread?

The problem with a blockchain megathread is that every comment takes exponentially more effort to write.
posted by rorgy at 2:01 PM on January 25 [143 favorites]


That's why we are switching to Proof of Stake. Where the most frequent commenters are allowed to comment more frequently.
posted by muddgirl at 2:04 PM on January 25 [55 favorites]


Congratulations, your Kickstarter is fully funded, here is a jpeg of the money you asked for: This NFT is a one-of-one edition of the physical item and does not include the physical item.
posted by Lanark at 2:20 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


The problem with a blockchain megathread is that every comment takes exponentially more effort to write.

That's nothing compared to the effort it takes to keep reading them.
posted by mhoye at 2:25 PM on January 25 [21 favorites]


Yeah, I pulled my payment info, wrote them to say why, and I’ll delete my account once the last few fulfill. A sad end to a useful service. Oh, their response was a lot of warbling about web3, which….
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:27 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


It's kind of surprising there aren't more companies and organizations trying to get into this market. Ko-Fi and Patreon and Kickstarter have all proven there's no shortage of demand, it would be great to see companies that want to maximize for creators and customers rather than investors. I welcome TopatoCo getting into the mix and I hope it's both a big success for them and a pressure for other companies to do better. Unfortunately, right now this seems to be a "don't call us, we'll call you" situation so it remains to be seen if they open their doors to the general public the way Kickstarter has.

In an ideal world, there would be a non-profit facilitating crowdfunding, both for single-payment projects like Kickstarter and ongoing supprt like Patreon. Or better yet, this would be a service offered by postal banking, complete with zero fee or very low fee money transfers.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:32 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


I'm 51 so I'm Internet-ancient. I think a big reason Kickstarter was so successful was that its name and concept was so brilliantly simple. Anyone could understand the basic idea for it, even if said person had no interest in it.

This just mucks things up. At no point in any of this do they explain why this is a good thing. They just call it new, innovative, more, etc. A bunch of meaningless adjectives when applied to their basic working model.
posted by SoberHighland at 2:38 PM on January 25 [16 favorites]


You know what we haven't tried yet? NFTs of tulip bulbs. Not PICTURES of tulip bulbs, but actual nonfungible tulips (abbreviated to "NFTs", for maximal confusion). Buyers get my written promise that I have the bulb, somewhere, and then we throw that sucker on the blockchain, burn several acres of old-growth Amazon rainforest for good measure, and let the secondary resale market take over. We'll make a billion dollars. Who's with me?
posted by Mayor West at 2:38 PM on January 25 [37 favorites]


This was also the impetus for me to cancel my Kickstarter account when they first announced it.
posted by Foosnark at 2:40 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Question… Couldn’t a metafilter thread be done as a blockchain? Number of favorites increases a comment’s value in MetaBucks?
posted by njohnson23 at 2:43 PM on January 25


I'm so f.cking tired of Dunning Krugerrands...

Not a good idea to see this right after finishing watching the Dan Olson video posted below.

Agree. So let's just post the link again.
posted by DreamerFi at 2:43 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I pulled my payment info, wrote them to say why, and I’ll delete my account once the last few fulfill.

If I had an account with them I would join you.
posted by DreamerFi at 2:45 PM on January 25


SoberHighland: Anyone could understand the basic idea for it, even if said person had no interest in it.

The concept itself is odd when you think about it. Kickstarter themselves emphatically say on the site that “backing isn’t buying”, only handing money over to possibly have the chance to buy something later, maybe with some schwag along the way. Backers have no equity in the thing being produced and are entitled to no profits, residuals, interest, etc of any kind. Once the funding goal is met and KS takes their cut, they’re completely out of the picture.

I’m sure KS users here on the blue are all on the up-and-up, but there has to be a hundred scams for every one good egg on the platform.
posted by dr_dank at 2:50 PM on January 25


You know what we haven't tried yet? NFTs of tulip bulbs.

An interesting thing is that, as the poster child for speculative bubbles, the Dutch Tulip Craze wasn't a speculative bubble. That reputation is a result of later reporting. I won't say that the Tulip fad was a good thing, people suffered financial damage, but it was much more a case of rich people spending obscene amounts on dumb ephemeral fad items which they eventually got tired of rather than a bubble proper. The railway bubbles of the 19th C are probably better choices.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:51 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Here's the BBC program More or Less talking about it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:55 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


GenjiandProust: An interesting thing is that, as the poster child for speculative bubbles, the Dutch Tulip Craze wasn't a speculative bubble. That reputation is a result of later reporting.

And my impression is that the debunking isn't quite as thorough as all that. Here's an article, for example, titled There Never Was a Real Tulip Fever. But when you read the article:
That’s not to say that everything about the story is wrong; merchants really did engage in a frantic tulip trade, and they paid incredibly high prices for some bulbs. And when a number of buyers announced they couldn’t pay the high price previously agreed upon, the market did fall apart and cause a small crisis...
To me that sounds like there was a tulip bubble. It didn't go as far down the economic ladder or cause as much widespread damage as later bubbles, but it did inflate and then pop. It was more of a Beanie Babies bubble than a South Sea bubble.
posted by clawsoon at 3:04 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter was Meta before Facebook was Meta, and also had a blockchain way before it was uncool to have a blockchain

PAY ATTENTION WE ARE THE FUTURE
posted by chavenet at 3:05 PM on January 25 [15 favorites]


(I also have the impression that the debunking of tulip mania was mostly done by efficient market evangelists for ideological reasons.)
posted by clawsoon at 3:08 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


I’m sure KS users here on the blue are all on the up-and-up, but there has to be a hundred scams for every one good egg on the platform.

Kickstarter was basically my way of dealing with 2020 and 2021. I have backed a lot of things over the last couple of years (93 total since 2018), and everything has eventually delivered. A couple of items were not as great as they might have been and one was just a disappointment but as return on money paid goes it has been pretty good.

My hope is that their blockchain idea goes nowhere because, well the inherent uselessness of blockchain. They seem to be making an effort to be sensitive to the environmental concerns of blockchain tech and I do not see them mention using cryptocoins or NFT's. They may be thinking that they can use it to better track projects and pledges but until there whitepaper sees the light of day my fingers are crossed that this is just vaporware.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 3:26 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


At least there was art and gardens created during Tulip mania. Crypto will leave behind nothing but ewaste and a slightly accelerated climate catastrophe from all the extra electricity used.
posted by interogative mood at 3:33 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


Just once I want to see a tech project that makes use of the term "blockchain" in a way that 1) describes it accurately, 2) applies it in a circumstance for which it makes sense as an enabling technology, and 3) isn't obviously a grift...

I know of some academic tech folks trying to use it to make a portable medical record that can be easily transferred between providers but I don't know enough about blockchain to know if this makes sense.
posted by brook horse at 3:42 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


This conversation seems like it's just going to be "Kickstarter's pivot to blockchain is stupid" rather than "TopatoCo's response is a good sign that new kickstarter competitors will emerge" so I'll just say that a company investing heavily in any kind of crypto/blockchain technology makes zero sense.

The only reason to use blockchain at all is for ease of peer to peer transactions, but big companies have the resources to run their own centralized databases and marketplaces. Kickstarter doesn't need to use a blockchain to keep track of who owes money to who, it has servers for that. The only reason any of these companies are involved at all is because investors are interested in (making lots of money from) crypto right now so they're either making up blockchain bullshit to make investors happy or minting meaningless NFTs to try and capture some of that money for themselves.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:43 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


From the South Sea Bubble section of Mackay's Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds:
The most absurd and preposterous of all [the new projects of 1720 in London], and which showed, more completely than any other, the utter madness of the people, was one started by an unknown adventurer, entitled “A company for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is.” Were not the fact stated by scores of credible witnesses, it would be impossible to believe that any person could have been duped by such a project ...
(The link is to the Project Gutenberg PDF of the book, not the specific quote, which I got from a page which is now lost.)
posted by jamjam at 3:45 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


You know what we haven't tried yet? NFTs of tulip bulbs.

Third hit on google.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 3:50 PM on January 25


So, I've attempted to read (okay, skim) the announcement, and I don't see answers to the main questions I have:

How will this affect Kickstarter supporters, directly?
How will this affect Kickstarter creatives, directly?

If I were raising money or contributing money using Kickstarter, how would this affect my participation?

I am plenty convinced that what they're doing is wrong-headed - I love the vague unfulfilled promise of what blockchain was supposed to be, but any association with blockchain in the present-day real world is a big red flag for me - but I don't actually understand what, specifically, they're planning to do (besides developing "an open source protocol" and "establishing an independent governance lab", which, well, whatever).
posted by kristi at 3:51 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Dang. I had a good run with Kickstarter: several books, some friends' albums, a couple of movies, countless electronic things. But if I cancel now, I won't get my copy of "I Was A Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator!" from Keith Knight that's still showing as estimated delivery Apr 2014 ...
posted by scruss at 3:56 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


This post reminded me that there's a small company who I've backed on KS before, and who seemed to have been planning a new campaign for this year. I just visited their website, and found that they have preorders for their 2022 lineup available, sans Kickstarter. Guess I know how I'll be supporting them this year, and wondering if they'll be going the KS route at all in the future.
posted by May Kasahara at 4:00 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


The KS blog post honestly skims like a whole lot of nothing. They jumped on a bandwagon that they thought everyone loved and presumably have been learning that sentiments are more mixed.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:06 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


wait so kickstarter announced they're changing their back-end software and not planning any changes to functionality and everyone here is deleting their accounts?
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 4:14 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


wait so kickstarter announced they're changing their back-end software and not planning any changes to functionality and everyone here is deleting their accounts?

blockchain delenda est
posted by CrystalDave at 4:16 PM on January 25 [24 favorites]


blockchain delenda est

why you gotta harsh on Carthage?
posted by clawsoon at 4:19 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


I feel like them announcing a "move to the blockchain" is a short distance from offering us household cleaning supplies that are better then anything you use at home. It reeks of that VC/MBA/"Maximising Shareholder Value" bullshit that goes against what I thought Kickstarter was all about.
posted by Sphinx at 4:47 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


"we’re supporting the development of an open source protocol that will essentially create a decentralized version of Kickstarter’s core functionality. This will live on a public blockchain, and be available for collaborators, independent contributors, and even Kickstarter competitors, from all over the world to build upon, connect to, or use. We think bringing all that we’ve learned about crowdfunding since 2009 to inform the development of a decentralized protocol will open up exciting new opportunities for creative projects to come to life."

It's like VC-bait MadLibs.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:47 PM on January 25 [23 favorites]


and even Kickstarter competitors

Maybe this is a Trojan horse thing to destroy their competitors. "You can get all of our functionality for free! ...but you have to run it on the blockchain, while we stick to regular databases and watch you fail."
posted by clawsoon at 4:53 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


I cannot grok what this is supposed to do for them. Or anybody. What am I missing? What is a blockchain blah blah going to do in relation to the crowdfunding campaigns?
posted by jzb at 5:44 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


It reeks of that VC/MBA/"Maximising Shareholder Value" bullshit that goes against what I thought Kickstarter was all about.

Just like Patreon, Kickstarter took a lot of VC funding and is now beholden to their stupid demands to chase after a quick buck rather than just be a useful service for their customers.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:57 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


wait so kickstarter announced they're changing their back-end software and not planning any changes to functionality and everyone here is deleting their accounts?

Thing is kickstarter holds a lot of money/transactions for other people. They need to be trustworthy and buying into the blockchain loonacy means they no long are.
posted by Mitheral at 6:05 PM on January 25 [16 favorites]


I have a theory that the plan is to use smart contracts to control campaigns and pledges, so Kickstarter can keep taking its cut for doing less and less and having a legal smokescreen for when campaigns break down. My feeling is that if you stare into a monitor and say “blockchain” three times a grifter will come out of nowhere and try to hack your wallet or sell you on crypto land speculation.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:10 PM on January 25 [26 favorites]


2. It took the Kickstarter Worker's Union by surprise as much as anyone else, their response to it was basically "we know as much as anyone else does and we are waiting to see what this white paper will say".

Really curious to see how the union will respond to this, in time.

Just like Patreon, Kickstarter took a lot of VC funding and is now beholden to their stupid demands to chase after a quick buck rather than just be a useful service for their customers.

Dan Olson, again (2019): "[T]he investors who demand geometric growth are about to demand Patreon eat itself."
I predict a series of ill-advised feature rollouts, like they'll probably go gonzo and build a livstreaming platform or pivot to Fortnite or buy Teespring or something equally confusing, with a slow degradation of the core user experience.

Like you'll sign in and there'll be six popups asking if you've tried Patreon Mega and extolling how it can help you mega-engage with your audience, while you're just like "can I have a commission button so people can make one-time payments?" and they're like "no."

It's not going to die overnight, Patreon will still be here in 2020, it'll just be, you know, worse to actually use.
I'm not actually sure that's actually happened yet, but a good guide to how these things often go.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:25 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


What is a blockchain blah blah going to do in relation to the crowdfunding campaigns?

My guess is the "immutable record of your transaction" part appealed to them.

And I believe that when the last bitcoin bubble last popped in 2017-2018 that there was a large about-face by financial institutions portrayed to the media.

As they do.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 6:56 PM on January 25


I know of some academic tech folks trying to use it to make a portable medical record that can be easily transferred between providers but I don't know enough about blockchain to know if this makes sense.

Speaking as someone who knows a little bit about medical records and a little bit about blockchains, it doesn't really.

Blockchains are public. You can't put a medical record there. Private blockchains might have a use when you have several large institutions which want to coordinate without totally trusting each other, but this is a medical record we're talking about: you're going to be trusting anyone who can read or write to it anyway. A private blockchain is just an unwieldy distributed database without all the decades of engineering that have gone into making existing database systems suck less.

The technical problem* with medical record portability comes down to needing an API to allow different systems to interoperate. Blockchain doesn't make this any easier! if you somehow could build an API that every medical record can interoperate with, you could do it without a blockchain. When it comes down you it you still have a bunch of bytes in one electronic medical record which you need to package up, transfer, and reconstitute in another EMR without anything breaking; the blockchain can't do anything to help one EMR system understand what a bag of bytes handed to it means, and that's the hard part.

*there are administrative, legal, and monetary problems too, but let's leave those aside
posted by BungaDunga at 7:32 PM on January 25 [13 favorites]


I have been railing against KS for years as they have taken over the board game publishing business, with lots of negative examples. This does not change my point of view...
posted by Windopaene at 7:34 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


The only reason to use blockchain at all is for ease of peer to peer transactions, but big companies have the resources to run their own centralized databases and marketplaces. Kickstarter doesn't need to use a blockchain to keep track of who owes money to who, it has servers for that.

And of course there's no way in hell this will actually allow peer-to-peer payments that Kickstarter won't be able to get in-between and block, reverse, or freeze. Imagine Day One and the Taliban starts fundraising with Decentralized Kickstarter On The Blockchain. Are they going to just shrug and say "sorry, we're too decentralized to kick the Taliban off our platform"? I doubt it. So they'll build-in a mechanism where they can kick them off.

Decentralization!
posted by BungaDunga at 7:46 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


Does know one know the parable of the book chain and block chain.

"This means if one block in one chain was changed, it would be immediately apparent it had been tampered with."

So, let's raise capital using a system built on the premise like fresh snow on the front door will prove no one entered and just trust that no one can cobble a snow cone machine into a counter measure. So, is this thing like sending our Trillion reciets after transaction. How can that be kept secret. How can these chains of Marley be viable fiats.
posted by clavdivs at 8:25 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


announced they're changing their back-end software and not planning any changes to functionality and everyone here is deleting their accounts?

I double-check my data exports for framework updates that are far less ideological than this.

Other than that - would reasonably common PGP adoption have forestalled a lot of this, or am I remembering it only through the optimism of youth, or do the current setups innately allow more tax-avoidance than sturdy pseudonymity would have?
posted by clew at 9:17 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]




I know of some academic tech folks trying to use it to make a portable medical record that can be easily transferred between providers but I don't know enough about blockchain to know if this makes sense.

People who don’t really know CS stuff often seem to take “blockchain” to mean “decentralized” but there are plenty of decentralized technologies. Blockchain is only really useful if you want to store data in a decentralized way, you can’t have (or don’t believe in having) any formal chain of authority at all, in fact, and you don’t trust the contributors not to try to falsify things. Otherwise it’s pretty much a waste.

So no, it doesn’t really make a ton of sense for this use case. Best case for a lot of supposed blockchain offerings might actually be that they are really just hopping on the blockchain bandwagon to sell “decentralized.”
posted by atoxyl at 9:44 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


They use to say Software is eating the world. Now it’s just marketing bullshit eating software eating the world.
posted by UN at 2:00 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]


So, let's raise capital using a system built on the premise
like fresh snow on the front door will prove no one entered
and just trust that no one can cobble a snow cone machine
into a counter measure.
So, is this thing like sending our Trillion reciets after transaction. How can that be kept secret.
How can these chains of Marley be viable fiats.


I swear this is hip-hop.
posted by clawsoon at 7:04 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


Other than that - would reasonably common PGP adoption have forestalled a lot of this, or am I remembering it only through the optimism of youth, or do the current setups innately allow more tax-avoidance than sturdy pseudonymity would have?

Oh man. Okay, so. I'm not really an expert here, but I was also too bitterly cynical to believe in PGP even before cryptocurrency became a thing.

PGP and cryptocurrency both might've allowed some amount of sneakiness and tax avoidance, but a lot of the point of PGP was the web of trust - the idea that actors verified each others' identity in a decentralized way. Like, I signed some keys and had some signed back in the day, and nobody asked me for ID or required me to participate in a high-control Discord or Twitter or anything.

Of course, I had to know people who held key-signing "parties" (basically deeply nerdy meetups) and have physical proximity to them, which is a level of social integration and technological and cultural privilege available to the very, very few. I expect most people who are well-connected enough to cryptography and cryptographers to do key-signing are NOT marks falling for blockchain hype. I'd be unsurprised to learn that a bunch of them are the smoke salespeople peddling that hype, but that's different.

The number of nerds who believed in PGP was teensy-tiny, they were largely doing it for philosophical reasons other than "getting rich," and people who weren't nerds found the system unintuitive and finicky.

Cryptocurrency has radically different goals and implementations than PGP did. The whole process of blockchain updates (mining) is about trusting one another as little as possible. It's not "decentralized" like "there are no authority figures here :D we're all pals :D embarked on a collaborative project to make the world more fair and private :D " (which was always kind of naive). It's "decentralized" like "anybody with enough computing hardware and/or money can become an authority figure, without trusting or collaborating with the existing authorities. You, too, could ✨💰💎 be your own boss! 💎💰✨" (said with extremely similar energy to LuLaRoe/Amway/doTerra/HerbaLife/NXIVM, but for finance and programming bros).
posted by All Might Be Well at 7:20 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


All Might Be Well: PGP and cryptocurrency both might've allowed some amount of sneakiness and tax avoidance, but a lot of the point of PGP was the web of trust - the idea that actors verified each others' identity in a decentralized way. Like, I signed some keys and had some signed back in the day, and nobody asked me for ID or required me to participate in a high-control Discord or Twitter or anything.

My impression is that Debian is run on a system with this kind of signed-key web-of-trust. Here's what I see in the Debian Maintainer Guide:
step 1 : Identification
You must have a strong (>= 2048 bit required; 4096 bit recommended) RSA or an ECDSA GnuPG key (see line above)
and it must be signed by at least one (but ideally more than one) Debian Developer.

If signed by only one DD, try to make sure there is at least another trust path to your key.
...but I'm not familiar enough with what you're saying or what they're saying to know if there's a family resemblance.
posted by clawsoon at 8:16 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


The link is to the Project Gutenberg PDF of the book, not the specific quote, which I got from a page which is now lost.

It is found on page 55 of my dead-tree edition (Templeton Foundation Press, 1999); p. 53 of the electronic version you linked.
posted by nickmark at 9:09 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Apocryphon > I'm not actually sure [Patreon turning terrible] actually happened yet, but a good guide to how these things often go.

So yesterday Patreon sent out a link to a survey to everyone with a creator account and there was one section with several ideas of things they are thinking about implementing and guess what, one of them sure was NFTs.

Their Discord is now chock full of people saying “NO NFTS FFS”. I fully expect them to build some terrible NFT integration in anyway. I certainly don’t expect them to ever say “okay we heard you, no NFTs”, so now there will be this Sword of Damocles hanging over everyone the same way there’s one hanging over every potential Kickstarter campaign.

I am really hoping that comradery.co (“Patreon except it’s a co-op with no VC involved”) is out of beta by the time that happens. Or perhaps I will end up moving to another patronage service, Ko-Fi has one, I think Commiss.io has one too, there’s definitely alternatives out there.
posted by egypturnash at 9:32 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


My impression is that Debian is run on a system with this kind of signed-key web-of-trust

I used to be a PGP WoT nerd. My details may still be up on biglumber. It's completely unlike anything blockchain-like. Formal signing requires meeting in person, checking IDs and having someone you already know vouch that this new person is the someone they say they are. It's boring as all-fuck-off, and means you can send encrypted, trusted email to people you probably would never email anyway. I stopped doing it, and am much happier now. My PGP key may even have expired and. I. don't. care.

The intersection with cryptocurrency libertarian types comes when you meet someone who insists on *not* using government ID, because why would you trust fiat ID, blah blah blah, beard beard beard.
posted by scruss at 9:45 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]


I've funded a comic book series on Kickstarter, across a multi-year period. My most recent campaign was last year.

Speaking as a creator, Kickstarter is the biggest and most legitimate platform for crowd-funding. There are a few new services trying to fill the void, like the one listed here, but it takes time to build up trust and reach. It's not something that happens overnight, and it might not happen at all, despite the best of intentions.

If you decide to abandon the platform, you're also abandoning creators who have no legitimate, trusted alternative with anything close to the same audience.

That is completely your choice. If you are upset with Kickstarter's vague blockchain future, I get it. I am too, and I've made that known to the platform. But understand who your decision is hurting.
posted by jordantwodelta at 9:55 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


Is Indiegogo not a thing anymore? (genuine question - I've not been keeping track of this scene)
posted by trig at 10:19 AM on January 26


Account deleted. Haven’t backed anything in a while anyway, but… Christ, blockchain is immoral. I cannot think of a single good reason that justifies the energy usage behind it.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:31 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


If you are upset with Kickstarter's vague blockchain future, I get it. I am too, and I've made that known to the platform. But understand who your decision is hurting.

I get what you're saying here and I agree that this is going to hurt a lot of creators. But let's put the blame where it belongs.

"Blockchain" schemes have a long, documented history of attracting all manner of scammers and con-artists if not simply being straight-up scams themselves. And most of them are just straight-up scams as I'm sure you're aware. If not, just look over the last week or so of blockchain/crypto posts here on the Blue.

The best possible scenario is that Kickstarter is putting this out purely as marketing/PR to appease the VC types and never actually implements anything even remotely blockchain related. But even that's not great because it suggests that KS knows that blockchain is a scam and is pushing it anyway. Because money. Which...basically makes KS scammers too? I mean, I don't necessarily know who they'd be scamming—Creators? Supporters? Investors? All of the above?—but it doesn't really matter.

It should go without saying but it is not my, nor any other person's, moral responsibility to expose ourselves to a scam to support another's livelihood. If they've looked into this for more than about five seconds, Kickstarter should be fully aware that people are going to be upset and leave the platform; if they weren't before they certainly are now. Regardless, it was entirely predictable and they chose to do it anyway. Any harm to creators is a consequence of that decision and the responsibility for it rests solely with Kickstarter and not any individual refusing to participate in a known scam.

Of course, KS may be true believers in blockchain technology. But in that case, they're just providing cover for a whole world of con-artists. They're exposing people, who may have remained ignorant, to blockchain and lending the idea credibility that it absolutely and unequivocally does not deserve.

Which, I guess, is really just a long-winded way of addressing this:

Kickstarter is the biggest and most legitimate platform for crowd-funding.

While it is certainly still the biggest, those leaving the platform see its legitimacy as being seriously damaged.
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 12:51 PM on January 26 [11 favorites]


One thing I've noticed is that people's interest/trust in the blockchain is directly proportional to how many magic beans (cryptocurrency) they own. I would guess that Kickstarter's management team and VC overlords own lots and lots of magic beans. One big problem is the magic going away, so finding more and more reasons to use them is a strong incentivizer. Conversely, those who hold zero magic beans find the entire rush the blockchain baffling or straight-up offensive.
posted by chaz at 1:57 PM on January 26 [6 favorites]


Public key encryption using tools like PGP to generate digital signatures or TLS on websites using https are almost the exact opposite of blockchain because there is strong identity associated with the public key a and central certificate authorities where keys are verified as trusted. For example Metafilter’s SSL certificate is verified by Let’s Encrypt until Feb of 2022. I can visit LetsEncrypt.org and understand their practices as a certificate authority if I have concerns.
posted by interogative mood at 2:15 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


« Older On post-viral sequelae   |   (Schwarzenegger voice) ZEISS...to meet you! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments