Lighthouse, a bitcoin startup founded in the spring of 2014, has released a beta version of its service.

Lighthouse’s specialized wallet for decentralized crowdfunding, developed by Mike Hearn, a former Google engineer, is now available online. It took many months and a $40,000 investment from Olivier Janssens to develop Lighthouse, first announced by Hearn at the Bitcoin 2014 conference in Amsterdam and then described on his blog on May 17th.  

Lighthouse is a completely decentralized tool that allows users to fund projects of any kind, in any country, without any restriction. “No middlemen unless you want them, and no fees beyond the usual Bitcoin transaction fees (just a fraction of a dollar cent)”, declares the platform’s website. The money is pledged to various projects with the help of the blockchain. Users can make donations or create his own projects.

If a user supports a project, they may download the project file and upload it to his Lighthouse wallet. They will then have access to the project page and see the total amount raised, past pledges, and messages for the supporters. Project goals are fixed and when the required amount is reached, the project backer can collect the whole sum. But before then, a contributor can revoke their pledge and take their money back at any moment.

The application supports various kinds of wallets including hardware, paper, and multisig, which reduces the risk of hacking. The only currency accepted is bitcoin: “No special coins - it's just the Bitcoin you already know and love”. As a beta project, Lighthouse is inviting developers, artists, photographers, lawyers, and any other interested users to contribute to its further development.