Do you love the world’s online free encyclopaedia, but only do commerce in ether? Soon, you may no longer be able to demonstrate your Wiki appreciation monetarily.
On Tuesday, a consortium of long-time Wikipedia editors and others in the community voted for the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that hosts the online encyclopaedia, to stop accepting cryptocurrency donations. The vote comes after three whole months of deliberation via a comment thread, and follows in the footsteps of other non-profit companies making similar announcements.
As with the World Wildlife Fund and the Mozilla Foundation, which supports the open-source browser, one of the Wiki editors’ primary concerns came down to the massive environmental toll that’s incurred in the process of creating digital cash. The proposal explains that cryptocurrencies don’t align with the Wikimedia Foundation’s “commitment to environmental sustainability,” and additionally states “the current models [of cryptocurrency] continue to be extremely damaging to the environment.” For context, by some estimates, the energy used in a single bitcoin transaction is equivalent to almost 73 days of an average U.S. household’s power consumption, or nearly 200,000 hours of YouTube watching.
The Wikipedia editors’ proposal also highlights the inherent risk and predatory nature of crypto investments, and a desire to distance the Wiki community from the reputational peril of “endorsement of the cryptocurrency space.” The document was authored by Wiki administrator Molly White, AKA user GorillaWarfare, who also runs the Twitter account @web3isgreat where she catalogues and derides crypto scams and failures.
The final tally of votes was 232 to 94, or about 71% in favour of the proposal to deny crypto giving. But so far, the folks at the Wikimedia Foundation haven’t announced whether or not they will abide by the majority rule. It’s probably a really tough decision to make, though, considering last year’s crypto donations, totaled $US130,000 ($180,466), comprising a whopping 0.08% of all the money they received. “It remains one of our smallest revenue channels,” said Julia Brungs, a community relations specialist for the Wikimedia Foundation, in an online comment in the proposal thread.
In a statement to Gizmodo about the no-more-crypto vote, Wikimedia said, “We are aware of the community’s request that the Foundation consider ending our acceptance of donations in cryptocurrency. Our fundraising team is reviewing the request and related discussions and we will provide additional information once they complete that process.”