Before we begin, let me emphasize that crowdfunding is a real word. Just ask the Oxford American Dictionary. They have Oxford in their title, so they ought to know. Historically various forms of crowdfunding can be traced back to the 17th Century, starting with early forms of subscription systems for the publication of works by Martin Luther. This link to the Reformation is not surprising since crowdfunding carries with it a certain inherent rejection of hierarchical authority. Part of the modern appeal for crowdfunding is its libertarian appeal, as it holds out the possibility of a level playing field. All projects are born equal in the eyes of Kickstarter.