The Wikimedia Foundation, the organisation that develops the world's biggest encyclopedia platform, Wikipedia, has announced that it will no longer accept cryptocurrency donations and has closed its BitPay account. The information comes shortly after the Wikimedia Foundation had a three-month long discussion with 400 local community members after which longtime Wikipedia publisher Molly White's proposed a vote on whether crypto donations should be allowed by the organisation. More than 70 percent of participants in the vote agreed to discontinue all form of donations in cryptocurrency.
"The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donating," reads the update from the organisation. "We began our direct acceptance of cryptocurrency in 2014 based on requests from our volunteers and donor communities. We are making this decision based on recent feedback from those same communities."
As noted in the statement, the Wikimedia Foundation began accepting Bitcoin in 2014, when it reasoned that adding Bitcoin as a donation option would help make contributing to the Wikimedia Foundation “as simple and inclusive as possible.” The foundation initially worked with Coinbase to accept Bitcoin donations before switching to BitPay to facilitate donations in additional cryptocurrencies.
When the debate over crypto donations began in January this year, software engineer and Wikipedia editor Molly White noted that just 400 community members participated in the discussion. But many of the accounts, White observed, appeared to be “single-purpose accounts created just for the discussion” to persuade the foundation against crypto.
According to the report, a major argument against cryptocurrency was “issues of environmental sustainability.” But there are a number of more energy-efficient blockchains out there that do not use proof-of-work mining.
On the other hand, those in favor of crypto donations cited a need for pseudonymous donations in countries where Wikipedia might be illegal or censored. It was also argued that because Bitcoin is legal tender in El Salvador and the Central African Republic, the foundation should allow people to donate in their country's official currencies.