The Wikimedia Foundation has announced it will be closing its BitPay account. The closure comes as the company discontinues cryptocurrency donations after negative community feedback about digital assets.
Wikimedia Foundation halts crypto donations
The Wikimedia Foundation decided to halt crypto donations after a proposal tabled on January 10 to halt the donations was approved by 232 members. This is equivalent to 71% of the members of the foundation. The community said it was halting crypto donations because of concerns with energy consumption, vulnerability to scams and their ability to be used by sanctioned individuals.
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The foundation noted that accepting crypto donations would damage its reputation. The Wikimedia Foundation is behind Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, and it has announced a partnership with BitPay to facilitate crypto payments.
The chief advancement officer at the Wikimedia Foundation, Lisa Seitz, said, “The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donating […] Specifically, we will be closing our BitPay account, which will remove our ability to directly accept cryptocurrency as a method of donating.”
The discussions regarding these donations showed that only around $130,000 worth of crypto donations were made in 2021, which was equivalent to around 0.08% of the total revenues by the foundation. Therefore, halting these donations would not cause a dent in the foundation’s finances.
Wikimedia Foundation members react to ban
The members of the Wikimedia Foundation have mixed reactions to this ban. One member by the ID 220.127.116.11.01 said, “This is a shame. Especially the last argument made for this RfC turned out to be purely reactionary. Compare the media reception of Ukraine accepting cryptocurrencies for donations just a few weeks after.”
Some members also referred to Mozilla’s situation where the company halted crypto donations for the Firefox browser. However, it reversed its decision in April and started accepting crypto donations again through proof-of-stake networks.
However, some members have applauded the ban. A member dubbed “GorillaWarfare” said that it was great news and thanked the foundation for listening to the community. One foundation member also showed that he was not concerned by the sentiments of the crypto community.
“Wikimedia is the largest free web education collective on the planet, what’s Joe Crypto going to do to “destroy us”? Write a nasty op-ed? Tell his 650 Twitter followers to go to Everipedia?” the member said.
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