Wikipedia editors don’t want crypto donations anymoreVish Gainon April 14, 2022 at 08:21 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic


More than 200 Wikipedia editors have formally requested the parent Wikimedia Foundation to stop accepting crypto donations such as bitcoin, citing environmental and ethical reasons.

Before the 232 to 94 vote concluded yesterday (13 April) in favour of halting all crypto donations, editors arranged a debate on the website between January and April that saw both sides, crypto sceptics and proponents alike, present their arguments.

Those in favour of banning crypto donations to the world’s most popular online knowledge compendium stressed the issues around environmental sustainability created by the mining of energy-intensive proof-of-work crypto such as bitcoin and Ethereum.

GorillaWarfare, the Wikipedia editor who proposed the ban, said that accepting crypto donations would mean an official endorsement from the Wikimedia Foundation and the movement as a whole, which also risks reputational damage.

“Cryptocurrencies are extremely risky investments that have only been gaining popularity among retail investors particularly in recent times, and I do not think we should be endorsing their use in this way,” the editor, known in real life as Molly White, wrote.

“In accepting them, I believe we are mainstreaming the usage of ‘investments’ and technology that are inherently predatory.”

Proponents of crypto donations, however, were quick to point out the existence of less energy-intensive options such as proof-of-stake crypto currently under discussion in some parts of the world to be made mainstream.

But White wasn’t convinced. She argued that even though proponents say Ethereum and Bitcoin might move to a proof-of-stake model at some point in the future, any change has been slow to arrive and that “the current models continue to be extremely damaging to the environment”.

what’s that rumbling noise in the distance, slowly growing louder, you ask?

it is the stampede of crypto zealots who have never once donated to the wikimedia foundation, shouting “guess i’ll take my money elsewhere!”

— Molly White (@molly0xFFF) April 13, 2022

Proponents of crypto also pointed out that bitcoin and Ethereum also provide safer ways for people in oppressive countries to donate money and engage in finance.

The vote, however, is non-binding on the Wikimedia Foundation and merely represents what a majority of editors on the platform want.

According to Ars Technica, foundation spokesperson Greg Varnum said in a January statement that “our teams will continue to follow this discussion and listen to the feedback; we are already considering what has come up here as we determine our path forward”.

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