Crowdfunding is often used to promote innovation and social change, breaking down the traditional barriers of financial investment. In recent years, more and more often it has been invoked as a sort of panacea for all ills and a lifeline for economies hit by the financial crisis.
Usually, the web is the platform which allows the subjects involved in a crowdfunding project to meet and collaborate. According to the Framework for European Crowdfunding, “The rise of the crowdfunding industry over the past decade comes from the advancement in web and mobile-based web applications and services. Entrepreneurs and businesses can utilise the crowd to obtain ideas, collect money, and solicit input on the product, overall fostering an environment of collective decision-making and allowing businesses to connect with potential customers”.
Crowdfunding is an important source of funding every year for around half a million European projects which otherwise would never receive the funds to see the light. In 2013, around € 1 billion was raised in Europe. In the near future exponential increases are estimated (millions of billions by 2020) thanks to crowdfunding, which finds all the elements to be able to unleash its full potential in the Web 2.0. Crowdfunding initiatives can be divided in autonomous initiatives, developed ad hoc to support individual causes or projects, and crowdfunding platforms.
The one who brought fame to the crowdfunding overseas is Barack Obama, by paying part of his election presidential campaign with the money donated by his constituents, who were the first stakeholders.