Wikimedia is the non-profit company behind Wikipedia and a number of other sites that operate under similar principles, and aims to “develop and maintain open content” and fund it. Now, after four months of community discussion and discussion, it has announced that it will no longer accept cryptocurrency donations.
The ‘no encryption’ campaign was started by the multi-talented Molly Whitesoftware engineer, creator of Web3 is doing great, a Wikipedia editor with the unbeatable name GorillaWarfare and a sworn enemy of crypto-bros everywhere. White made a Wikimedia’comment request‘, which ran from January 10 to April 12, during which time the community discussed both sides of the cryptocurrency donation issue.
About 400 community members participated, and according to the Wikimedia document, the most common arguments in favor of banning cryptocurrencies were “environmental sustainability issues”, “that accepting cryptocurrencies constitutes implicit endorsement of cryptocurrency issues” and ” community issues”. at the risk to the reputation of the movement to accept cryptocurrencies.”
Opponents of the ban argued that there are “less energy-intensive cryptocurrencies” that rely on 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 of environmental sustainability”.
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Interestingly, while this was going on, the thread was posted on various cryptocurrency forums and subreddits, leading to one thing that Wikipedia editors don’t like a bit: outside brigade on a subject of interest to the wider community. A disclaimer clarifying that ‘this is not a ballot’ was added, although as the aptly named AndyTheGrump noted: “Maybe at least one or two of the crypto redditors read it, although I suspect most don’t.”
Eventually, a community vote was held: 232 community members voted that Wikimedia should no longer accept cryptocurrency donations, while 94 voted that it should. This means that 71.17% supported the proposal and therefore the Wikimedia Foundation was asked to stop accepting cryptocurrencies, which it has now confirmed that it is doing.
This likely won’t make much difference to the Wikimedia Foundation in the short term: a very small amount of the organization’s total donations received were in the form of cryptocurrency. The Foundation shared that it received $130,100.94 in cryptocurrency donations in 2021, which represented just 0.08% of total donations. He had been accepting cryptocurrency donations since 2014.
I contacted White to ask about the campaign, but I still haven’t received a response. She, however, provided the following statement to Verge: “I’m very happy that the Wikimedia Foundation has implemented their community’s request, and I’m very proud of my community for making what I consider an ethical decision after much thoughtful discussion. There are too many issues with crypto for any potential donation income to count. the cost of helping to legitimize it.”
Mrs. White also made the following observation after several days of the cryptocurrency crowd getting mad at her: “For all the talk about community self-government and individual agency, crypto people sure get angry when a community they’re not a part of governs itself in a way they don’t agree with.”
The Wikimedia Foundation made this statement, which leaves the door open for a future reversal in policy: “The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donation. We began our direct acceptance of cryptocurrency in 2014 based on requests from our volunteers and donor communities. We are making this decision based on recent feedback from these same communities. Specifically, we will be closing our Bitpay account, which will remove our ability to accept cryptocurrencies directly as a donation method.
“We will continue to monitor this issue and appreciate the feedback and consideration given to this evolving issue by people across the Wikimedia movement. We will remain flexible and responsive to the needs of volunteers and donors. Thanks again to everyone who provided valuable information on this topic each increasingly complex and changeable.”