Wikipedia Hangs ‘No Entry’ Board for Bitcoin and Ethereum Donations

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Wikipedia has banned Bitcoin and Ethereum donations for the highly volatile crypto market

This disengagement is now the talk of the digital town, so to say. Wikipedia has decided not to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum from donors. Wikimedia Foundation, the parent body, remains as resolute as ever on receiving donations but after some intense discussions on the issue for four months— from 10 January 2022 to 12 April 2022— it has cited adverse environmental effects as the main reason for taking such a decision. In its own words, “ issues of environmental sustainability, that accepting cryptocurrencies constitutes an implicit endorsement of the issues surrounding cryptocurrencies, and community issues with the risk to the movement’s reputation for accepting cryptocurrencies.” It has also been officially stated that accepting cryptocurrency donations was a tacit endorsement of “extremely risky investments” and technology that are “inherently predatory”, and both Bitcoin and Ethereum were specifically identified in this context. The Wikimedia Foundation’s decision has been preceded by the same decision of the Mozilla Foundation. The trend seems to be related to preventing “reputational damage” to such entities which always look for credibility and the cryptocurrency market is highly volatile in nature.

The problem associated with the two leading cryptocurrencies is not unfounded in the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin has gained some notoriety with its “proof of work” mode in which miners contribute to dangerous levels of energy consumption, thereby adding to the carbon footprint. Ethereum, on the other hand, has been promising to make its “proof of stake” mode more environment-friendly by way of ensuring less energy consumption but it is taking too long to materialize.

The Wikimedia Foundation or Wikipedia goes on to explain that the ‘community-induced’ decision was an outcome of the feedback of both the willing donors and the volunteers. In the Wikipedia editors’ referendum, organized by the Foundation, more than seventy percent supported the decision though some argued against the proposal depicting it as an “extreme step” and suggesting that it was possible to opt for less energy-exploiting cryptocurrencies. But by any means, the verdict is based on a democratic process and it reflects that the Foundation is quite concerned about its image and credibility. Thus, the Wikipedia door for the time being is closed for cryptocurrencies.

Wikimedia Foundation being a non-profit organization, donations are important for it to sustain itself. It is not that the Foundation has never received payments in cryptocurrencies since it started having donations in 2014. However, it was in the habit of converting cryptocurrencies into dollars. But in any case, the fact is that the percentage of crypto donations, in which Bitcoin had dominated the show over other cryptocurrencies, was minuscule— only 0.08 percent of the total amount of donations. So, it does not deal a financial blow to Wikipedia by any means when it is going to close its Bitpay account to remove its ability to directly accept cryptocurrency as a donation.

Describing the issue as “increasingly complex and shifting”, a Wikimedia official states that the Foundation will remain “flexible and responsive” to the needs of volunteers and donors. So, it can be safely concluded that as long as the anti-crypto sentiment pervades the volunteers and donors Wikipedia will remain out of bounds for both Bitcoin and Ethereum from the cryptocurrency market.

 

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