So far this year over $5.1 billion has been raised with crowdfunding!

In the last few years crowdfunding has exploded and turned itself into a great asset for businesses and entrepreneurs, generating much needed revenue and increasing the customer base, all the while aiding our country’s economy.

Crowdfunding is by definition, “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” Crowdfunding offers these individuals a chance at success, by showcasing their businesses and projects to the entire world.

Inventors can create a profile typically containing a short video, an introduction to their project, a list of rewards per donation, and some images to elaborate. The idea is to create a compelling message that readers will be drawn towards. Instead of traditional investors, crowdfunding campaigns are funded by the general public.

Millions of people are willing to throw hard-earned dollars at honest, good and sometimes, totally bizarre campaigns.

The highest crossing project to date was the Pebble E-Paper Smartwatch, one of the first affordable and functional smartwatches on the market, which raised $10,266,845 in 37 days.Other companies like OUYA, PonoMusic and Bitvore also got their start in this way raising, $8.5 million, $6 million and $4.5 million, respectively, to get their ideas off the ground.

But where will crowdfunding go from here? To find out more about the future of crowdfunding, its niche players, and its current state, check out the infographic below.