The wiki community held a vote on whether the Wikimedia Foundation should continue to accept cryptocurrency donations, the result of which was a resounding “no.”
The proposal was made by Wikipedia admin, checkuser and supervisor GorillaWarfare based on three points: it could be seen as an endorsement of the cryptocurrency by the organization; the technology is not environmentally sustainable; and, finally, accepting crypto could harm the reputation of the foundation.
The Wikimedia Foundation currently accepts donations in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum, as well as traditional payment types. According to the community, crypto is one of the foundation’s smallest revenue streams, accounting for just 0.08% of 2021 revenue, or $130,100. Total revenue for 2021 was approximately $162 million.
The decision to accept the alternative money was made in 2014, as donor requests for the option coincided with the US Internal Revenue Service issuing guidance on it.
The foundation’s policy is to immediately convert crypto to US dollars using bitcoin payment service provider BitPay, a policy that also raises concerns as it can be seen as an endorsement of the provider.
Of the 326 votes cast between January 10 and April 12 this year, 71% (232) supported the proposal to stop accepting cryptocurrency while around 29% wanted to continue doing so. However, the results are not binding.
“We should never have started accepting them. Several years later, they don’t even represent 1% of annual donations,” a community member wrote at the time of the vote. “Wikimedia legitimizes a series of environmentally unfriendly Ponzi schemes by accepting Bitcoin and getting almost nothing in return.”
Another community member retorted, “To the contrary, cryptography aligns with our values of free software and freedom to use.”
A pro-crypto Wiki-accepting member said, “Beggars can’t choose.”
Yet another reminded voters that “bitcoin is an official currency in El Salvador.”
Additionally, opponents pointed out that there are less energy-intensive (proof-of-stake) cryptocurrencies, that cryptocurrencies allow people to donate anonymously, and finally, that fiat currencies have their own environmental challenges.
Last week, Mozilla announced that it would no longer accept “proof-of-work” cryptocurrencies, only those that were “proof-of-stake” and therefore less energy intensive. The decision was made after a three-month feedback period.
Mozilla Founder Blasts Browser Maker for Accepting ‘Planet-Incinerating’ Cryptocurrency Donations
“These decisions are informed by our climate commitments,” the nonprofit organization said.
For-profit financial technology company PayPal currently allows payments via digital currencies.
And while that has yet to materialize, rumors swirled last summer that Amazon would soon allow users to pay in cryptocurrencies, after job postings were spotted advertising a digital currency and a chief blockchain product for its payment team. ®