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Mary Jo White

Crowdfunding 2.0: SEC just made it easier to buy shares in start-ups

If you've ever backed a project or business on crowdfunding sites Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you probably came away with some swag, a movie ticket or a discount on a soon-to-be-released product.

Soon, you'll be able to go to similar sites and come away with something potentially more valuable: shares of stock.

New rules approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday will make it easier for start-ups to sell shares directly to the masses.

The rules could be a boon for entrepreneurs looking to raise capital and a potential windfall — or loss — for investors hoping to be among the first to get a piece of the next Uber or Instagram.