The decision to remove cryptocurrency donations from the Wikipedia site comes after the Wikimedia community showed discontent with cryptocurrency. The company argues that it could become damaging to the organization.
The non-profit organization the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) came to the conclusion after a 3-month debate amounts its community members. For the past 8 years, the website had accepted donations in various cryptocurrencies, which include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
The news was broken on May 1st via the Twitter of one of the editors of Wikipedia. With a Tweet explaining the change “The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to stop accepting cryptocurrency donations. The decision was made based on a community request that the WMF no longer accepts crypto donations, which came out of a three-month-long discussion that wrapped up earlier this month.”
Why Did Wikimedia Stop Accepting Donations?
Plans to move away from crypto first came to light when a Wikimedia editor called Molly White began a discussion within the community, with members discussing the change between January 10th and April 12th, 2022. There were a total of 400 community members that voted, with a vote to discontinue crypto donations winning by 232 to 94, some 71.17% of the vote.
The reason for removing cryptocurrency was due to the environmental unsustainability of crypto and how that might come back to damage Wikipedia’s reputation, as well as endorsing cryptocurrency projects by reason of accepting the corresponding donation.
What Drove The Change?
In 2021 alone, the WMF received $130 worth of cryptocurrency contributions. This is a significant figure for donations, it only amounted to 0.08% of its total revenue. The most popular coin donated was Bitcoin, although all donations were converted into fiat USD before being used.
The environmental impact issues surrounding the crypto industry seem to be the main driving force, with some members discussing the benefits of “Proof of Stake” compared to Proof of Work protocols. As well as that, Wikimedia employees were concerned about money laundering, crimes and scams, pseudonym donations, mining ban in Russia, central bank’s fiat currency system, among other flaws.
For the most part, these claims seem unsubstantiated. But, with a moment of uncertainty in the market, it’s not surprising to see this move from Wikimedia. But, will they make a U-turn on their decision down the line?