For one thing, the site only supports donations made in Bitcoin. Plus, it asks funders to commit to monthly payments rather than the one-time contributions favoured by popular sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Sylvain, a 28-year-old Vancouver resident, told the Georgia Straight that the idea behind Satoshi Vote is to turn lots of $1 donations into jobs.
“In the Bitcoin ecosystem, how do we pay people monthly salaries?” Sylvain said. “And that’s what Satoshi Vote addresses. It addresses that with crowdfunding.”
Satoshi Vote launched on Monday (July 7). Last week, Sylvain sat down for an interview at Steamrollers (1195 Robson Street), which both accepts Bitcoin and hosts a Bitcoin ATM.
The entrepreneur said he first learned about Bitcoin in March 2013. He’s funding the development of Satoshi Vote—named after the cryptocurrency’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto—with the profits he made from investing in Tesla Motors “before it got really big”.
According to Sylvain, Satoshi Vote doesn’t handle any donations directly, since donors send money directly to Bitcoin addresses held by the campaigns themselves. While Kickstarter charges successful campaigns a five percent fee, Satoshi Vote will ask campaigns for a one percent cut if they reach their target.
A video on the site walks funders through the process of setting up recurring payments in a Coinbase wallet. Sylvain believes that campaigns will have to regularly report to their funders in order to keep their donations coming.
This model has many advantages over that of Kickstarter’s and Indiegogo’s lump sum funding, Sylvain maintained.
“What happens if there’s engineering mistakes and all of a sudden you need to increase the budget?” Sylvain said. “In Kickstarter, you have to launch a whole new campaign. With Satoshi Vote, you could just post an update saying, ‘Hey, we had this error and we’re going to continue on for another two months. If you want to keep supporting us—fantastic.’ So that’s just a huge advantage.”
Sylvain said that BitBonus is a program that will reward merchants who adopt Bitcoin—and those who sign them up—by sending them money. The CoinFest campaign will help cover the expenses of decentralized currency conventions around the world. Decentral.Bangtown hopes to gain funding for its incubator program in Vancouver.
BitBonus has a monthly goal of 20 bitcoins (BTC), CoinFest is looking for 5 BTC per month, and Decentral.Bangtown is seeking 2.2 BTC per month. (As of today [July 8], one bitcoin was valued at around US$620, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index.)
While Sylvain handpicked the launch campaigns, he plans to “decentralize” the selection of campaigns in the future. He’s created a forum on Reddit to encourage discussion about the project.
“Right now, I’m focusing mainly on Bitcoin stuff,” Sylvain said. “But in the future I’d love to go for environmental causes, space programs, all this other stuff.”