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Best of the Blogs: Crowdfunding Now a Billion Dollar Industry


Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best financial commentary from around the Web.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Use our comments section to post your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.
Venture Beat
"Until Kickstarter started gaining attention for giving people a place to raise huge amounts of money very quickly, the term crowdfunding didn't mean much. Now, crowdfunding has become a full-fledged industry, contributing $1.5 billion to new ventures in 2011. That total includes pledges from average people backing quirky projects like the Pebble smartwatch as well as seed funding for startups."
Wall Street Journal: Real Time Economics
"U.S. consumer credit expanded in March at the fastest pace since late 2001, boosted by higher student borrowing and a rebound in credit-card use. Consumer credit outstanding surged by $21.36 billion, or 10.2%, to $2.542 trillion, Federal Reserve data showed Monday. That was the biggest jump since November 2001, in both dollar and percentage terms. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones (^DJI) Newswires had forecast an $8.5 billion increase. February's expansion in consumer credit was revised up, as well, to $9.27 billion from an initial estimate of an $8.73 billion rise. With consumer credit expanding at the fastest rate in the six months ending in February since late 2007–before the credit crunch caused a painful contraction–and commercial banks showing an increasing willingness to lend, Deutsche Bank (DB) analysts said earlier Monday the household deleveraging process may finally be running its course." (For related content, see Majoring in Debt, Minoring in College.)

Reuters: Felix Salmon
"Change, of a sort, has come to Europe. On Sunday, François Hollande became the first Socialist president of France in almost two decades. The NYT, WSJ and Bloomberg each covered the results as a blow to German-led austerity. Greece, for its part, had a far more tumultuous election, in which attempts to form a new government may result in yet another vote. If austerity has upended politics in Greece and France, it's less clear how it will affect EU politics." (Also read: European Elections: At Full Speed Toward the Debt Iceberg.)
NPR: Planet Money
"Even when we talk about productive investment, much of the individual investors' gain is at the expense of other investors. For example in the case of Apple (AAPL), perhaps the country's most innovative company, we would still have smart phones, tablet computers, and downloadable music if Apple never existed. The products just would not be quite as good. Much of Apple's profit would simply show up elsewhere in the tech sector if the company did not exist. While Apple's innovations have clearly benefited society it would be inaccurate to say that the benefit is five times Apple's profits."
Wired: Epicenter
"Fourteen years ago, as a lawyer for Netscape, Mitchell Baker created the open source license that made Netscape's code free. It was a fateful event for both Baker and the web: Baker ended up leading a small skunkworks project called Mozilla that was eventually spun out into a standalone foundation devoted to making the web better generally, and to offering an alternative to Microsoft's (MSFT) Internet Explorer specifically. With its Firefox browser, Mozilla is now bigger and more influential than ever, and Baker still serves as its chair. Meanwhile, the open source, open-web spirit of Mozilla lives on in thousands of projects: GitHub, Android development, HTML5 apps and in Firefox itself. Now, with a healthy 25 percent browser share, Firefox is in a fast-paced browser race with Google's (GOOG) own open source browser and Microsoft's vastly improved IE9." (For related content, see Is Chrome a $1 Billion Hidden Asset for Google?)
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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