Wikimedia Foundation–the non-profit organisation that runs Wikipedia– has decided to stop accepting donations in cryptocurrency, citing the impact cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have on the environment. “The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donating … we are making this decision based on recent feedback from [volunteers and donor] communities,” the foundation said in a statement.
According to a Wikipedian who goes by the name Molly While on Twitter, the decision to stop accepting crypto as the donation was made based on a community request, which came out of a three-month-long discussion that wrapped up in April.
In the three months-long discussions held, the pitfalls and promises of cryptocurrencies were discussed, and voting was organised where 400 Wikipedia editors participated, out of which 232 users—71.7 per cent were in support of the proposal against crypto donations and 94 editors voted for crypto donations, others (75 users) were excluded from voting.
The proposal to first stop crypto was signalled in January. The proposal was sent out by a Wikipedia editor that goes by the name Vermont.
“Cryptocurrencies are extremely risky investments that have only been gaining popularity among retail investors particularly in recent times, and I do not think we should be endorsing their use in this way. In accepting them, I believe we are mainstreaming the usage of “investments” and technology that are inherently predatory,” the proposal read.
Common arguments in support of the proposal to stop crypto included issues of “environmental sustainability, that accepting cryptocurrencies constitutes an implicit endorsement of the issues surrounding cryptocurrencies, and community issues with the risk to the movement’s reputation for accepting cryptocurrencies,” Vermont wrote in a Wikipedia post.
Meanwhile, the opposition argued about the existence of less energy-intensive cryptocurrencies (proof-of-stake), that cryptocurrencies provide safer ways to donate and engage in finance for people in oppressive countries, and that fiat currencies also have issues with environmental sustainability.
According to Vermont, accepting crypto means risk damaging our reputation by participating in this. The Wikipedian also gave an example of Mozilla, a popular web browser which is re-evaluating their choice to accept cryptocurrency donations after considerable backlash from their supporters.
However, a few days ago, Mozilla has continued payments in cryptocurrency. The company in a blog post said it would only allow Proof of Stake cryptocurrency, as oppose to Proof of Work cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, etc.
As per the information posted by Vermont, the Wikimedia foundation received crypto donations worth $130,000 in the most recent fiscal year, which is evidently less than 0.1 per cent of the foundation’s revenue, which topped $150 million last year. In the last financial year, Wikipedia had 347 donors who used the cryptocurrency option—and Bitcoin was the most common used mode for payment via crypto.