Why (I Think) KickStarter Adopting Blockchain Tech is a BAD Idea

This is a repost of a KickStarter update. I’m sharing this here just in case.

Anybody who’s been following my work for a while knows that KickStarter is how I fund most of my work. I’ve run over 10 campaigns on the platform, nearly all of them successful. It’s because of KickStarter support that I can have any kind of living making comics – what I LOVE to do.

But this does not mean that KickStarter is perfect. Or immune to criticism. It’s because I’m grateful to KickStarter that I feel this post needs to be shared.

First, however, I gotta go into blockchain.

For folks who are unaware, blockchain technology is what cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are made by. Blockchain is a kind of programming, usually open-source, that houses information and makes it visible to everyone. This quality is handy for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Because then, programmers can look at the code to see if anyone has tried to artificially inflate or deflate the crypto’s worth. The intent of blockchain technology is to make it so cryptocurrencies’ worth is visible to anyone who has access to the code.

Did you notice how I said the technology is supposed to be visible? Put a pin in that – we’ll circle back to it.

Now, evangelists will try to tell you that blockchain tech is “immune,” or at least resistant, to man-in-the-middle attack attempts. Man-in-the-middle is when someone or something gets between point A and point B and muddles up communication. Gaston Means did this to con the English and Germans during World War 1 and make millions of dollars off of both sides while doing it. (Put a pin in that, too).

Believe it or not, Bitcoin has already been hit by a man-in-the-middle attack. The only way to resolve it in blockchain tech is to make a fork in the code. This way, one prong goes off the directive that the attack caused. Meanwhile, the other fork is supposed to fix the damage. There’s a bit of a war going on with Bitcoin because of this.

Did you notice how Bitcoin can’t just go back into the code and rewrite it so the man-in-the-middle attack never happened? That’s on purpose. Blockchain tech is not built to FIX hacks. Blockchain tech is not built to rewrite itself. That’s by design. It is purposefully built this way. The intent is so people are not “supposed to” rewrite codes in the middle to change Bitcoin’s quality.

This doesn’t stop con artists from trying this with other cryptocurrencies, though.

In fact, right now, there’s a glut of fraud happening. Scammers are going into codes and inputting commands so that customers’ crypto wallets either fork for the scammers’ benefit. Or the scammer will input a command saying, “By the way, funnel your NFTs and wallet into this other account.” This issue is RAMPANT in blockchain tech. I’m convinced that half of all tweets on Twitter in the crypto-sphere are people bitching about how their wallets got hacked into and “won’t somebody please do something?!”

By the way, none of this is FDIC-insured. So people are funneling real-world money – often by the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars – into digital currencies. Which are, btw, massive bulls-eyes for scammers to go into and rewrite code for their own benefit. There’s already one high-profile case of a YouTuber who laundered Bitcoin. In fact, it’s really easy to use Bitcoin for money-laundering schemes.

If you need more rage-inducing facts about crypto, blockchain, and NFTs (or non-fungible tokens, the digital version of COVID-19), then grab a sandwich and check out Dan Olson’s video on the topic. It’s a feature-length film on YouTube, but he explains everything better than me.

And here’s the kick in the teeth – KickStarter wants to adopt blockchain technology into their platform.

I think this is a PHENOMENALLY bad idea for security reasons.

Blockchain tech, despite what the evangelists say, is not safe to use. It’s actually very easy to go into the chain, find information on the account holders, and scam them out of their money.

There are evangelists who want to put credit card info, bank account info, and even MEDICAL RECORDS on the blockchain. All of this is terrible and a massive security risk.

Look – the readership I have is very important to me. A solid one-third of them are transgender or nonbinary. Some are out of the closet, some are not. But maintaining the privacy of my readership is hugely important to me. I don’t want anybody who supports my work to be subjected to harassment.

If KickStarter is serious about adopting blockchain technology, that means all of that information is visible to ANYBODY… whether they are working for KickStarter or not. Blockchain is not immune to man-in-the-middle attacks or any other form of scam. Blockchain tech, as it exists currently, is ready to bring harassment campaigns to a brand new level.

“But wait!” I can hear the evangelists say. “We wanted KickStarter to adopt the technology so we can use cryptocurrencies to support projects we love!”

Remember how I mentioned that Bitcoin has a fork in it now? Because someone got into the code to alter its value? That’s a serious problem that blockchain technology is not built to fix. It’s not even built to address this issue. And this doesn’t even go into how the value of a cryptocurrency fluctuates from hour to hour, much less week to week.

Why does anyone want to accept a currency that’s worth $10,000 today, but could be worth $0.01 tomorrow? Nothing is stopping crypto from fluctuating like this. And fluctuations like this happen so frequently that some folks don’t even bother tracking them.

Nobody accepts crypto as payment for food or rent – and I argue that’s a good thing.

KickStarter, I love you. And it’s because I love you that I urge you to leave blockchain technology off your table. It is not safe on any level. And no amount of patching will fix it.

I hope there’s enough public pressure about this issue that it will change the minds of folks at KickStarter HQ. After all, it was public pressure that made them accept that their workforce wanted to unionize.

But here’s the thing – crypto bros want you to be confused about the tech. They want to make sure you don’t know how it works or what exactly it does. They want this so they can get your information and make themselves richer. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” as it were.

Do I know everything about blockchain and crypto? No. But I know enough to know that it’s a bad idea. KickStarter needs to abandon it for the safety of backers and creators alike.

Will I run another campaign on KickStarter? I don’t know yet. I’m looking into alternatives if KickStarter refuses to budge about this. I’d rather not change platforms – but if I must, I will. Iron Circus has already moved off the platform because of this issue… and Iron Circus is one of the biggest comics publishers who’s used KickStarter the longest.

Whatever decision I make, it’s with my readership in mind. I’m not risking their personal information for anyone else’s financial gain.

That’s all I have for now. Thank you for sticking with me in this overly long post.

You. Are. Awesome.

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