Members of the Wikipedia community have formally requested that the Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees the volunteer-edited compendium of knowledge, stop accepting crypto donations.
A debate over the proposal, written by a Wikipedia user who goes by GorillaWarfare, ran from Jan. 10 to April 12 with about 400 participants.
About 71% of users who participated in the discussion voted to stop crypto donations, with common arguments centering around environmental sustainability, wanting to avoid being seen as endorsing cryptocurrencies and the risks to the foundation’s reputation by accepting crypto.
Those who argued for the acceptance of crypto donations said that other payment methods also have issues around environmental sustainability, and that bitcoin was only energy-intensive through the mining process, not transactions.
“For example, did you know McDonald's spends more energy making Happy Meal toys than the entire global bitcoin network?” user Advtadvt said, to which another user, TheresNoTime, replied, “The difference here being that we don't accept McDonald's Happy Meal toys as a form of donation. Probably.”
The foundation received about $130,000 worth of crypto in the last fiscal year, which made up 0.08% of its annual revenue. The most common type of crypto donated was bitcoin. The foundation converts crypto to fiat daily, opting not to hold on to it.
While 232 participants voted to stop accepting crypto donations and 94 voted to continue accepting crypto, the Wikimedia Foundation is not legally obligated to act upon the community request.
“Our teams will continue to follow this discussion and listen to the feedback. We are already considering what has come up here as we determine our path forward,” Greg Varnum, a foundation spokesperson, said in January. The foundation uses BitPay to process cryptocurrency donations, and the link on its website is still active.