Wikimedia No Longer Wants Cryptocurrency Donations
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Wikimedia No Longer Wants Cryptocurrency Donations

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7 months ago

The Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, has voted on a proposal that could disable cryptocurrency donations to the site.

Wikimedia No Longer Wants Cryptocurrency Donations

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In 2019, the Wikimedia Foundation enabled cryptocurrency donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash. Now, Wikipedia contributors have said no to crypto, voting negatively with an overwhelming majority on a proposal to disable the integration. 71% of (232/326) of Wikimedia contributors want the Foundation to stop accepting cryptocurrency donations.

The proposal was opened on January 11 with the following arguments:

  • Accepting cryptocurrency signals endorsement of the cryptocurrency space by the Wikimedia Foundation and members of the Wikimedia Movement.
  • Cryptocurrencies may not align with the Wikimedia Foundation's commitment to environmental sustainability.
  • We risk damaging our reputation by participating in the crypto space as a whole.

A lengthy discussion ensued, covering several interesting arguments. For instance, Wikimedia revealed that crypto was only 0.08% of their revenue in 2021 ($130,100.94).

Another point covered was cryptocurrency fees, with members arguing that high fees on crypto transactions was a point against using crypto for donations.

Undoubtedly the biggest argument against accepting cryptocurrencies brought forward by opponents was the environmental impact of Bitcoin.

According to one contributor, the Foundation should not support Bitcoin for the following reason:

"The Bitcoin network will always consume more and more energy as it becomes more valuable and it becomes more and more attractive to add mining hardware. The WMF should only accept cryptocurrencies with a goal of consuming less and less energy."

Other arguments discussed were the use of a potentially "greener" cryptocurrency, crypto as a tool of financial inclusion, and the role of Bitcoin as legal tender in El Salvador and its influence on the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikimedia Members: Bitcoin Harms the Environment

The consensus among the 71% in favor of disabling cryptocurrency donations to Wikimedia was the following:

  • Bitcoin (the most relevant currency for donations) is harmful to the environment and should not be endorsed.
  • Crypto is a slow Ponzi scheme.
  • Wikimedia should not even tacitly support risky investments, especially if they have no significant impact on the foundation's finances.

One contributor who signaled "Strong support" for the proposal summed it up as follows:

"Declaring something a ‘store of value’ with no additional/inherent/underlying reason why that thing should have value, or should maintain a stable value over time, is the current popular way to disguise a pyramid scheme / greater fool scheme / ponzi scheme, in which newcomers (greater fools) buy in and transfer their wealth to earlier adopters (slightly lesser fools). Through this lens, the constant hype and promotion of cryptocurrency to a broader and broader audience makes perfect sense: it's a feature not a bug. It's how the whole machine works. Wikimedia should avoid playing a role in promoting this scam."

Wikimedia rejecting crypto as a means of payment is likely to be a precursor of wider discussions to follow, as cryptocurrency payments seep into the mainstream. Expect this heated argument to be one of many more to come.

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