Comic book creator Jamila Rowser resigns as Kickstarter’s Comics Outreach Consultant after the company’s decision to utilize blockchain technology.
Jamila Rowser, the Comics Outreach Consultant for Kickstarter, announced her resignation following Kickstarter’s new blockchain protocol.
“I’ve resigned as Kickstarter’s Comics Outreach Consultant due to their blockchain decision,” Rowser said on Twitter. “It’s been a rewarding experience and I’m grateful to have helped creators fund projects. However, I can no longer advocate for them while staying true to myself and the community I love.”
I’ve resigned as Kickstarter’s Comics Outreach Consultant due to their blockchain decision. It’s been a rewarding experience and I’m grateful to have helped creators fund projects. However, I can no longer advocate for them while staying true to myself and the community I love.
— Jamila Rowser (@JamilaRowser) December 17, 2021
Rowser, the founder of the independent publisher Black Josei Press, is an award-winning writer and editor herself, who has helped launch the projects of many creators through Kickstarter before since she joined the company in August 2021. For example, in 2018, Rowser launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish a deluxe edition of Robyn Smith’s comic book, The Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town.
Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform that has been used for years as a way for artists and creators to publically fund their creative projects. However, Rowser’s resignation follows Kickstarter’s recent announcement that they plan to launch a standalone, yet-unnamed company similar to its original crowdfunding system, but this time using blockchain technology. The company announced in December its plan to develop and fund a “decentralized crowdfunding protocol,” that will be built using the “carbon-negative” blockchain platform, Celo. Kickstarter plans to transition its website to this new technology sometime in 2022 and will make the tools available for anyone else to make their own crowdfunding platform as well.
“As a first step, we’re supporting the development of an open source protocol that will essentially create a decentralized version of Kickstarter’s core functionality,” Kickstarter founder Perry Chen and CEO Aziz Hasan wrote in a blog post. “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.”
Kickstarter framed this decision as a way for creators to connect more closely to their audiences. Not only that, but the company believes that the new infrastructure overall would make it generally easier for creators to raise funds for their projects. “Backers should be able to easily discover and participate more deeply in projects, better control their data, and have more robust tools to assess the trustworthiness and viability of a project,” Kickstarter wrote.
However, the decision was met with backlash from creators and community members with a variety of concerns. Namely, the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies with the large amounts of power required to produce them, as well as the concern that individual creators and campaigns will be negatively affected by the association with cryptocurrency. In general, blockchain technologies like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), for example, have received notoriety recently, and the industry has been largely labeled by many as a scam, with the notion of “digital ownership” over a product leading to issues of digital theft, copyright claims and lawsuits.
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