The Wikimedia Foundation stops accepting crypto donations. The non-profit released a public statement just yesterday and the decision is closely tied to the debate on whether cryptocurrencies are dangerous for the environment or not. With more and more voices that are raised against crypto, it seems that crypto sceptics gain more impact on the market.
What were the reasons for Wikimedia’s decision and will other institutions and companies follow the example?
A debate over 3 months
It is important that the WMF has debated this point for over three months within its community and that this lengthy debate has concluded after both sides have been heard. The WMF was accepting crypto donations since 2014 through BitPay, a company that processes crypto payments and transfers cash to the receiving party of a transaction.
The major reason for the decision is the environmental impact of mining. Critics claim that proof of work blockchains are contributing to climate change and would like to see the technology getting banned all along.
It seems that the WMF has picked up on that argument. But the environmental concerns were not the only ones that were raised during the debate.
Only a fraction was donated in crypto
The WMF received 130.100,94 US-Dollar last year in crypto donations which was about 0,08 % of the overall revenue that was received in donations. Given the fact that only a fraction of donations were received in the last year in crypto, the WMF also considered that offering the feature isn’t vital for receiving donations and financing its work. This is highly important because it seems that this was contributing strongly to the decision.
Other organizations like Mozilla chose to opt for crypto donations but only support proof of stake blockchains. This move acknowledges that even if you buy into the argument that proof of work is harmful, then there are still alternatives to consider that align with environmental policies and concerns. It might have been the case that it was more important for the WMF to close this case and have this point off the table rather than engaging further in a debate without a strong incentive to continue with it.
At the end of the day, the WMF voted on this issue, and with 234 versus 94 votes, the decision to stop accepting crypto was clearly in support by the vast majority. It is still a sad day since the decision left the broader crypto community under the impression that it is more important to the WMF of how much money they are making rather than considering alternatives that are also censorship-resistant and undisputedly more friendly to the environment.