The Wikimedia Foundation [WMF], the creator behind Wikipedia, has finally closed down its BitPay account and will stop accepting cryptocurrency donations after 232 members, or 71% of the WMF community voted in favor of a three-month-old proposal that rallied to put an end, citing environmental risk and for its “inherently predatory” investments.
The foundation which started accepting Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ether donations in 2014, also began to reconsider this policy. Some of the issues raised were the environmental impact of Bitcoin, various crypto scams, as well as the low amount of donations in cryptocurrency compared to other modes.
The WMF says it secured $130,100.94 worth of cryptocurrency donations in 2021, making up just 0.08 percent of the total contributions it received.
Following the community’s vote, the WMF made the final call to discontinue cryptocurrency donations. Terming it as an “Ethical decision”, Wikipedia editor Molly White stated,
“I’m really happy that the Wikimedia Foundation implemented the request from its community, and I’m really proud of my community for making what I feel was the ethical decision after a lot of thoughtful discussions. There are just too many issues with crypto for any potential donation revenue to be worth the cost of helping to legitimize it.”
White also referenced web browser Mozilla’s decision to cease cryptocurrency donations in April after receiving backlash from users, developers, and one of its founders, Jamie Zawinski, for posting a tweet reminding users that it accepts donations in Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Wikimedia Foundation said it “will continue to monitor this issue”
Crypto proponents took to Twitter to share their views on the foundation’s decision. One user by the name of Mike Wille tweeted that the argument of environmental impact and power waste was also said about the internet in the early days.
“If you fail to understand the utility of something, any resource allocation is too much,” he quipped.
Others called the announcement a “Shortsighted and Clumsy” as there are many blockchains that are low carbon, and there is one [Algorand] that is carbon negative, but to fully shut down crypto support was like”throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”
The WMF summed up the post by saying it “will continue to monitor this issue” and will “remain flexible and responsive to the needs of volunteers and donors.”