The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), the organization behind Wikipedia, has announced that it will no longer accept donations in cryptocurrency, as first reported by Web3 Is Going Just Great. In an update, the WMF says it “has decided to discontinue direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donating.” It also says it will close its Bitpay account, preventing any future contributions in crypto.
After a lengthy discussion with almost 400 members of the WMF community, the majority voted to do away with crypto contributions 234 to 94. Some of the main arguments concerned the environmental implications of Bitcoin, the risk of scams, as well as the fact that the WMF gets such a low amount of donations in cryptocurrency compared to other forms of payment. The WMF says it received $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 held an internal discussion and made the final call to discontinue cryptocurrency donations.
The WMF first began accepting Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ether donations in 2014, but a number of issues prompted the organization to reevaluate this policy. Molly White, a longtime Wikipedia editor and the creator of Web3 Is Going Just Great, proposed the WMF stop taking cryptocurrency donations in January, arguing that it contradicts the organization’s commitment to environmental sustainability and also signals that the Wikimedia Foundation supports “inherently predatory” investments.
White (who goes by the username GorillaWarfare on Wikipedia) also cited Mozilla’s reevaluation of its involvement in the crypto space. Mozilla ultimately decided 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.
“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 discussion,” White said in a statement to The Verge. “There are just too many issues with crypto for any potential donation revenue to be worth the cost of helping to legitimize it.”
The WMF concluded its update by saying it “will continue to monitor this issue” and will “remain flexible and responsive to the needs of volunteers and donors.”