A new crowdfunding platform that’s socially-driven and built on blockchain has been launched, called WHIRL, which is helping to finance peoples’ dreams.
The site’s taken 18 months to develop and is the work of Roel Wolfert, (pictured) previously of Bancor and Visa, along with colleagues, including Martijn Hekman, who used to work at the United Nations and World Vision. In an interview with Coin Rivet, he explains the detail behind the platform.
Wolfert, who is an expert in digital payments, explains that you only get to launch a campaign on WHIRL if you’ve contributed to previous crowdfunding endeavours on the site by earning so-called karma points that are not transferable beyond the platform.
He says WHIRL “gives the world a new way to finance their dreams and obligations, while introducing a revolutionary incentive system to encourage giving and maximise campaign success”.
Wolfert says that consumer crowdfunding was “an original use case for blockchain technology”, which is why they realised its promise and potential with the new site.
The premise, he explains, is “anyone, anywhere can create a campaign on WHIRL so long as they meet a minimum threshold of 500 karma”. Karma points are gained by supporting other campaigns.
“Once you’ve successfully funded your campaign, your karma resets and you can pay for the generosity you’ve received and begin to accumulate karma points,” he says.
WHIRL supports 12 different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum, Stellar and Ripple. Wolfert says they are “going to add fiat currencies, too”.
He believes that the platform has “real social impact that helps people realise their dreams”. Crowdfunding has begun to stagnate in the last few years as a result of oversaturation in the market and declining success rates.
The platform can be used to fund anything, Wolfert points out, from “scientific endeavours, arts projects to Olympic dreams, education, travel, medical bills and new business ideas”.
Projects seeking to fund drugs and adult-themed campaigns are obviously not allowed nor are those with political or religious motives.
“When campaigns hit the active zone (ie the head of the queue), backers’ money goes into these initiatives and only these initiatives,” Wolfert explains.
“These campaigns won’t exit the queue and leave space for the next ones until they are fully funded.”
It also uses WRL – WHIRL’s platform cryptocurrency, which he says “can be exchanged and sold outside the platform”.
But the karma points are “an internal accounting system that tracks your contribution to other people’s campaigns. Karma points are non-transferable and can’t be taken outside WHIRL”.
“Campaigns on WHIRL can be funded with all major cryptocurrencies. If you support a campaign with WRL, you earn significantly more karma points than supporting it with any other currency,” he adds.
Endless loop of giving
The vision, he says, is a world that’s inspired to support one another “in an endless loop of giving and generosity. It is to make an impactful difference on a massive scale in how people’s dreams, projects, passions and necessities get funded, removing the need to take out expensive and never-ending loans from banks, ship rewards to backers, or beg friends and family for donations.”
“It is to usher in the next generation of crowdfunding platforms with a product that’s truly global, blockchain-based, and dramatically increases campaign funding success stories.
“It is to be at all times socially driven, with an emphasis on helping nonprofits access a game-changing source of new capital.”
He is confident that in a decade “cryptocurrencies will just be a normal part of life, integrated into everything we do just as regular fiat money is today”.
Crucially, the “user experience will be much better and most people won’t know or care what’s going on behind the scenes – much like they don’t care how their iPhone works or how TCP/IP powers the web. It will just be another form of cash”.
Unlike other crowdfunding campaigns, WHIRL only receives 5% commission on all contributions. “Although contributions made with the WRL token will be burned and not retained,” he adds.
Ban hate speech
He points out that “all campaigns require a moderator’s approval to ensure they meet WHIRL’s terms of service, which bans certain categories like hate speech.”
It has launched with three campaigns – a performance art and music show by artist Sandra Kowalski, a second for a personal expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro and a third for a fantasy video game that “lets you wave your mobile phone like a magic wand”.