A group in Argentina has creating the first crowdfunding platform that will accept bitcoins. This move once again works to expand the usage of bitcoins, making them more popular. The platform is currently called Idea.me, and it is set up mostly for artists, musicians and retail projects. Although not philanthropic as a whole, most of the projects have a charitable angle. Although many of the projects have a local focus, they do work with multinational companies as well.
Similarly to other reward-based crowdfunding platforms, Idea.me allows individuals to launch campaigns to fund projects they are passionate about. They set up a system of rewards for those that pledge money to their projects. When the project is funded, they receive the money pledged, and they are then obligated to follow through we the promised rewards.
According to Pia Giudice, the website was created in Argentina, but is now accessible in seven different Latin American countries. While it is the only crowdfunding platform currently accepting bitcoins, it is also the only platform available in these countries. The website has raised over $750,000 in investments, and they are on tract to raise $2.4 million by March 2014.
To date, they have funded 450 projects and had over $2 million pledged. In addition to bitcoins, pledges can also be made through Paypal or credit cards. According to Giudice, “We’re the only platform that accepts Bitcoins in the whole continent, including US and Canada. Also, our business unit is unique in the world: Idea.me is the only platform that executes campaigns with multinational companies to fund specific projects.”
The success of Idea.me may pave the way for other crowdfunding websites to also expand their ability to accept alternative currencies like bitcoins. While many still view bitcoins as very risky, they have shown great success so far.
Accepting bitcoins was a big step within these countries, because the currency in many South American countries is very unstable, which puts people at risk financially. According to Giudice, “With the very limited access to formal capital in Latin American, Idea.me is essential for the development of our countries.”