October 1, 2022

The announcement follows a vote by the Wikimedia community in which 71.2% voted in favor of a proposal to stop accepting cryptocurrency.

Source: tokenist.com
Source: tokenist.com

Wikimedia, the non-profit foundation that runs Wikipedia, has decided to stop accepting cryptocurrency donations following a three-month debate in which the environmental impact of bitcoin was a major discussion point.

The decision came in response to a community vote on a proposal to the foundation from contributor Molly White, who goes by the user name GorillaWarfare, argued that accepting donations in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether signals endorsement of digital coins, which are “inherently predatory” as investments and don’t align with the foundation’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Excluding new accounts and unregistered users, of the fewer than 400 users who voted, 232 to 94, or 71.17%, supported no longer accepting crypto.

White argued that Wikipedia risked damaging its reputation by accepting crypto donations, citing the decision earlier in the year by non-profit peer, Mozilla, to pause accepting donations in crypto.

Wikimedia accepts bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and ether via BitPay. White singled out bitcoin and ether’s need for enormous amounts of energy, while noting that there are other “eco-friendlier” cryptocurrencies, although they are less widely-used.

Crypto miners, which use tremendous amounts of computing power to validate transactions using PoW, have been criticized for damaging the environment.

However, miners have been actively countering such criticism by using more sustainable energy sources for their mining operations. Furthermore, bitcoin supporters argue that miners can help drive a change to clean energy.

Meanwhile, the Ethereum network has been working towards transitioning to a “Proof of Stake” model for validating transactions, which uses less energy, although the switch has faced prolonged delays.

Wikimedia left the door open to possibly resuming accepting crypto, saying it will continue to monitor the situation.