The non-profit organization, Wikimedia that owns Wikipedia has announced that it will stop accepting cryptocurrency donations from its users, citing environmental and sustainability reasons. This decision comes after Wikipedia received responses from its volunteers and the donor community on cryptocurrency donations. This debate lasted for more than three months (January 10, 2022, to April 12, 2022), wherein 400+ users participated in the discussion centered around whether Wikimedia Foundation should stop accepting cryptocurrency donations owing to the negative impact of mining such digital assets on the environment.
The poll voted in the favor of discussion – to stop accepting payments in cryptocurrency, with a tally of 71.7% or 232 to 92 votes. This poll excluded the new accounts and unregistered users. As the opposition votes were meagre in comparison to the in-favor votes, Wikimedia will no longer accept crypto-led payments anymore. This RfC is now closed on their page.
Wikimedia organized a poll to decide the fate of crypto donations
A few of the arguments presented in this debate were:
- The users believed that cryptocurrency mining adversely impacts the environment. Therefore, Wikimedia should stop accepting payments due to environmental damage.
- Accepting cryptocurrencies will be considered as a support for such digital assets and Wikimedia should not give in to such endorsements.
- The acceptance of cryptocurrencies doesn’t bear well with the movement’s reputation.
On the contrary, a few arguments against the proposal detailed:
- A few donors cited options of less energy-consuming cryptocurrencies. It talked around evaluating the proof-of-stake model to explore the cryptocurrencies that are not too energy-driven.
- Discussions around how cryptocurrencies are a safe and secure way of conducting transactions were also brought to light. A few community members talked around how cryptocurrencies can help finance people living in weak economic conditions.
- They also pointed how fiat currencies have issues with environmental sustainability.
After Mozilla, Wikimedia discontinues crypto donations
Starting May 1, Wikimedia Foundation has discontinued accepting cryptocurrency donations. Moreover, it was also informed that to implement this new measure, the foundation will close all its BitPay accounts that facilitate such crypto donations. The Wikimedia Foundation started accepting cryptocurrency donations in 2014 based on donor and volunteer requests. Wikimedia becomes the second non-profit organization, after Mozilla, which stopped accepting crypto-based donations based on the proof-of-work model from April 1, 2022.