Coronavirus a perfect excuse for shady crowdfunded gadgets

A tiny, bargain-priced drone that delivers cinematic HD footage? Full speed ahead, backers! But alas, there's a problem: coronavirus. The BBC reports on backers who pledged nearly $2m and are about to experience disappointment.

Ash Hall, who reviews drones, published a damning video opinion piece on YouTube. He was fiercely critical not just of the MicroDrone's video quality but of alleged broken promises about its battery life, camera and weight. Hall's video unleashed another wave of furious comments from disappointed backers, many of them demanding refunds. But when I spoke to Mr Kerswell, he was defiant, insisting unhappy backers were a small minority. His explanation for the delay was long and complex, involving various production challenges.

The obvious risk of crowdfunding creates moral hazard: people who suspect or know they'll fail to deliver have a bookful of excuses from the outset. Coronavirus, and its effect on the Chinese supply chain, is God's gift to all currently-outstanding scams and follies.