The Wikipedia community has just successfully resisted cryptocurrencies. The non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, which owns and runs Wikipedia, stated on Sunday that it will no longer accept bitcoin payments. The decision was taken during a three-month debate process following a request from the Wiki community to discontinue accepting cryptocurrency.
“The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donating,” reads the update from the organization. “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.”
Wikimedia said that it will cancel its account with Bitpay, the bitcoin payment service provider that is utilized to accept cryptocurrency payments.
“I’m really happy that the Wikimedia Foundation listened to the community’s wishes on this issue, and I’m really proud of my community for taking a principled stand,” said longtime Wikipedia editor and crypto skeptic Molly White in a message to Mashable. “It can be difficult when there’s money on the line—certainly an issue that I’ve seen everywhere in the crypto space—and it’s refreshing to see both the Foundation and the community do so in this case.”
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White also maintains the renowned website Web3 is Going Great, which monitors frauds and hacks in the cryptocurrency field as a whole. She was the first to report about Wikimedia’s plan to accept cryptocurrency donations.
Since 2014, Wikipedia has accepted cryptocurrency. The non-profit accepted donations in major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and others, as well as stable coins such as USDC.
However, as Web3 is Going Great points out, cryptocurrency accounted for just a small portion of Wikipedia’s total donation haul last year. This may have aided the Wikimedia Foundation’s decision to discontinue accepting cryptocurrency. In the previous fiscal year, only $130,000 in cryptocurrency – 0.08 percent of its earnings – was contributed to Wikipedia.
Crypto opponents presented their case for crypto contributions to Wikipedia on the proposal’s Wikimedia discussion page.
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Because of environmental concerns, most critics claimed that Wikipedia should discontinue taking cryptocurrency payments. Another common objection to cryptocurrency was that it legitimized and indirectly promoted a predatory system.
There was a “strong effort from crypto supporters to brigade the conversation,” according to White.
“It’s ironic that so much of the crypto ethos involves ostensible self-governance and individual agency, but then members of the crypto community who are not otherwise a part of the Wikimedia community try to force crypto on us,” she explained. “I hope they take this as a reminder that self-governance means listening to community members even when the outcome is not profitable or good PR for them.”
The Wikimedia Foundation said indicated it will continue to monitor the situation, maybe leaving the door open to accepting crypto payments again in the future.
For the time being, though, cryptocurrency opponents and the larger Wiki community have triumphed.