Wikipedia cryptocurrency donations may stop, because the organization is now facing criticism from its contributors and users to remove the choice of crypto receipts due to concerns about environmental sustainability.
According to a press release published by Wikimedia, the organization has been accepting bitcoin donations for several years. However, it only started using BitPay in January 2019. The team decided to switch after recognizing
“the rapid growth of cryptocurrency and its influence.”
The news about Wikimedia’s decision to take crypto donations was initially met with criticism from users and Wikipedia editors who demanded that the Foundation remove their choice of donation options.
A contributor submitted a concept recommending that Wikimedia cease accepting cryptocurrency donations. It is claimed that the Wikimedia Foundation strives to increase environmental sustainability, but taking payments in cryptocurrency goes against this goal.
The contributor also claims that by accepting crypto donations, Wikipedia might harm its reputation. The recent decision by a non-profit peer, Mozilla, to stop taking crypto donations is cited as evidence.
Unsurprisingly, the notion sparked debate right away, with some Wiki users also supporting it. The user claims that this decision is “long overdue,” and that accepting cryptocurrency discredits the Wikimedia Foundation’s environmental commitment. The same concerns were expressed by Andy Mabbett, an honorary Wiki editor. He noted that Wikimedia’s decision to reject fiat currency but accept cryptocurrencies is “hypocrisy.”
Wikimedia has not officially responded to the issue or comments of users and contributors so far. However, according to BitPay’s blog post about the partnership, it is expected that all payments will be recorded on the transparent blockchain ledger, allowing donors to track their donations with ease.
Although many people believe that Wikipedia cryptocurrency donations should be stopped, they don’t outweigh the individuals who think otherwise. However, the Wikimedia Foundation has stated that it will make a decision based on the most numerous arguments.
The debate between defenders and naysayers also concerned Mozilla’s recent decision to halt crypto donations. Last Monday, Mozilla co-founder Jamie Zawinski blasted the Mozilla Foundation’s acceptance of cryptocurrency donations to help maintain the world’s most popular browser.
Last week, we tweeted a reminder that Mozilla accepts cryptocurrency donations. This led to an important discussion about cryptocurrency’s environmental impact. We’re listening, and taking action. 1/4
— Mozilla (@mozilla) January 6, 2022
The energy consumption of Bitcoin has long been a topic of debate, with its “Proof of Work” consensus mechanism being criticized for having an environmental effect. Crypto miners, who validate transactions using the Proof of Work (PoW) method and utilize huge quantities of computing power, have been lambasted for harming the environment. The thing about US Congress getting ready for hearing to study the influence of crypto mining, especially the Bitcoin network, has started debates about this concern.
Mozilla’s decision was based on the following factors:
Bitcoin mining becomes more energy-consuming every day, with one estimate suggesting that in 2022, Bitcoin will consume as much electricity as the entire world does in a year. This is a major issue for crypto users who want to help sustain the environment.
Mozilla would like to believe that cryptocurrencies are capable of “enabling new business models and disrupting industries” while keeping personal information private, but they are still wary about enabling tools that are too energy-intensive. They don’t want to enable the usage of cryptocurrency when it has an adverse environmental effect.
Wikimedia is known for its efforts towards transparency and knowledge dissemination, hence, how this will unfold shall be watched in the coming days.
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