Wikipedia cans crypto and will no longer accept digital currencies
The organization behind Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, has decided that it will no longer be accepting donations in cryptocurrency. Following four months of debate among the site’s contributors, the platform has pushed back on digital currencies, citing “issues of environmental sustainability” and “risk to the movement’s reputation”.
400 community members took part in a vote led by software engineer and creator of the Twitter account, Web3 Is Going Just Great, Molly White. The long-time Wikipedia editor started a ‘no crypto’ campaign which resulted in an open discussion, known as a request for comment, running from January 10 to April 12. The community debate drew mixed opinions, with those in favour of crypto donations arguing that proof-of-stake assets offer “less energy-intensive” solutions and that “cryptocurrencies provide safer ways to donate and engage in finance for people in oppressive countries”. It was too asserted that “fiat currencies also have issues with environmental sustainability”.
On the flip side, the anti-crypto proponents argued that “accepting cryptocurrencies constitutes an implicit endorsement of the issues surrounding” them. Eventually, a poll was held, resulting 232 community members voting that Wikimedia should cease to accept donations in digital currency, and 94 voting that it should continue with its current payment options. The majority rules with Wikipedia, and consequently the platform opted to pull the plug on its crypto acceptance. It’s worth noting, however, that donations in cryptocurrency only made up 0.08 per cent of all of Wikipedia’s monetary contributions. In 2021, these donations totalled just US$130,100, which is the highest amount since the digital encyclopedia opened its doors to crypto in 2014.
According to the Wikimedia Foundation, the initial move to allow donations in cryptocurrency was “based on requisitions from [their] volunteers and donor communities”. Meanwhile, the decision to reverse that payment option was “based on recent feedback from those same communities” The foundation went on to state that:
“Specifically, we will be closing our Bitpay account, which will remove our ability to directly accept cryptocurrency as a method of donating. “We will continue to monitor this issue, and appreciate the feedback and consideration given to this evolving matter by people across the Wikimedia movement. We will remain flexible and responsive to the needs of volunteers and donors.”
The shift follows years of heated debate about the risks associated with cryptocurrency, particularly over the digital asset’s environmental impacts and the potential loopholes for money laundering. Despite Wikipedia’s decision, however, digital currencies continue to gain popularity as a means of donation across non-profit platforms and causes. Ukraine, for example, has drawn over $100 million in crypto donations to boost its war effort.