WHIRL – The startup fusing crowdfunding with blockchain technology
Crowdfunding has become a ubiquitous form of raising money and investing. It has become so prevalent within our society that millennials are now turning to this method in order to make their way on to the property ladder. According to Property Reports, Jatin Ondhia, CEO of Shojin Property Partners states “It’s no surprise that property crowdfunding has become very attractive to this age group, giving them the opportunity to get a foot on the property ladder, with an investment starting from just £5,000. Millennials are early adopters of technology, so they are happy to use their smartphones to invest small amounts of money across a range of investments.”
But this phenomenon of crowdfunding has been dwarfed by the colossal impact that blockchain technology has had. But now, one startup aims to merge the two, to combine the best of both worlds.
WHIRL is a blockchain-based, socially driven crowdfunding platform with a unique, pay it forward twist. On WHIRL, contributing to others boosts your own position, maximizing campaign success and inspiring a whirlwind of good that will echo around the globe. WHIRL is inspired by historic community giving funds, but uses blockchain technology to enable anyone to participate, regardless of geographic location or currency. In addition to facilitating campaigns from individuals, in areas such as art, education, healthcare, science, and travel, WHIRL works with leading nonprofits to enhance their exposure and give them access to new capital. Its leadership team has extensive experience in nonprofits, blockchain, and crowdfunding.
Powered by a team of 20 with support from a broad business network, WHIRL launches after years of research and after a year and a half of development with thorough legal vetting as the market’s first credible blockchain-powered consumer crowdfunding platform. WHIRL is co-founded by Roel Wolfert, a pioneer in digital payments, founding member of Liqwith, early adviser to Bancor, and former Senior VP at VISA, and Martijn Hekman, who has led large-scale humanitarian aid efforts across 15 countries, for World Vision, the United Nations, and multiple NGOs.
“Consumer crowdfunding was an original use case for blockchain technology, and today we realize its promise and potential with WHIRL,” says co-founder Roel Wolfert, “But we didn’t stop there. WHIRL is built to unite the world in mutual self-support and create a platform with real social impact that helps people realize their dreams.”
Over the last decade, crowdfunding has stagnated due to oversaturation, fraud, and declining success rates. WHIRL solves these problems by listing a limited number of campaigns at once and by incentivizing backers with a fair and transparent points system, called “Karma.” When you back a campaign on WHIRL you earn Karma. Then when it’s your turn to create a campaign to realise your dream, your Karma determines when it goes live and how much it can raise. This pay it forward feedback loop was inspired by historic community giving pools.
“WHIRL offers a fully realized and disruptive alternative to the bank loans of yesterday,” says co-founder Roel Wolfert, “without taking on debt, you can use it to fund anything: scientific endeavors, art projects, Olympic dreams, education, travel, medical bills, and new business ideas. It is fueled by the mantra that the more you give, the more you receive.”
As a socially driven platform, WHIRL helps individuals raise money for their dreams and obligations without having to beg friends and family for donations, ship gimmicky rewards, or take out expensive and often crippling bank loans. And it will help nonprofit organizations by increasing their exposure and giving them access to an immediate a new source of capital. Every nonprofit approved by WHIRL receives special campaign placement slots, no platform fees, and gifting backers with bonus Karma.
“As someone who’s led global humanitarian relief efforts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I know first hand how difficult it is for global nonprofits to receive and distribute aid,” says CEO and co-founder Martijn Hekman, “we built WHIRL to help nonprofits and populations who’ve been left out of the crowdfunding revolution due to their geography and banking conditions.”
WHIRL launches with 3 live campaigns. The first is to fund a performance art and music show by acclaimed artist and provocateur, Sandra Kowalskii. The second is to fund a personal expedition to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro. And third is to fund a unique fantasy video game that lets you wave your phone like a magic wand.
- First credible blockchain-powered consumer crowdfunding platform; launches after many years of research, a year and a half of development, and full legal vetting.
- Built by an all-star team of nonprofit, blockchain, and crowdfunding veterans, including Martijn Hekman (NGOs, United Nations), Roel Wolfert (Transtrack International, Bancor Foundation, Liqwith), Valery Zobov (MegaLine), and Anti Danilevski (KICKICO).
- Can be used to finance anything, within reason, from scientific endeavors to personal goals to medical bills to new business ventures.
- Designed to make every campaign into a success story by listing a limited number of campaigns at once, by incentivizing backing with a points system, and by introducing a fair and transparent campaign queue.
- For every dollar-equivalent you spend backing a campaign, you earn 7-20 Karma points. You need to meet a Karma threshold to create a campaign of your own and your Karma balance determines when your campaign goes live and how much it can raise.
- WHIRL supports 12 different cryptocurrencies: ADA (Cardano), BCH (Bitcoin Cash), BTC (Bitcoin), DASH (Dash), EOS (EOS), ETH (Ethereum), KICK (KickCoin), LTC (Litecoin), USDT (Tether), XML (Stellar), and XRP (Ripple). If you back a campaign with its platform cryptocurrency, WRL, you earn 10 Karma per dollar. Partner cryptos earn 8.5 and every other crypto earns 7.
- Because WHIRL is on the blockchain, it’s a global platform that lets anyone participate regardless of region or banking status. To reach the widest possible audience, WHIRL is also working on accepting fiat currency.
- WHIRL is a socially driven platform. Vetted nonprofits receive white glove support, their own campaign slots, waived platform fees, and increased backer incentives (20 Karma per dollar contribution).
Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company