Requests for comments on a proposal urging the Wikimedia Foundation to stop accepting donations in cryptocurrency have closed, with the majority of users voting in favor.
According to a Tuesday update on the proposal, roughly 71%, or 232 out of 326, Wikimedia contributors who responded requested that the Wikimedia Foundation — the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia — stop accepting cryptocurrency donations. The arguments in favor of the proposition included environmental concerns surrounding Bitcoin (BTC) transactions and “the risk to the movement’s reputation for accepting cryptocurrencies.”
The community first opened the proposal to comment on Jan. 10, expanding the discussion to include topics like El Salvador adopting BTC as legal tender, crypto as a tool for illicit financial activities, and digital assets’ role in financial inclusion. However, the majority of the topics seemed to focus on the energy usage and potential environmental impact of cryptocurrencies.
“Cryptocurrencies may not align with the Wikimedia Foundation’s commitment to environmental sustainability,” said the original proposal. “Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two most highly-used cryptocurrencies, and are both proof-of-work, using an enormous amount of energy […] the current models continue to be extremely damaging to the environment. While there are eco-friendlier cryptocurrencies, they are less widely-used.”
Among those arguments in opposition of the proposal included proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies that are “way less energy-intensive” and using tokens to provide “safer ways to donate and engage in finance for people in oppressive countries.” One user cited the Ukrainian government accepting crypto donations as an argument against the technology carrying a bad reputation.
“Crypto should remain an option for Wikimedia to accept donation,” said user C933103 on March 14. “Wikimedia is accepting donations in crypto not giving crypto out. If a country’s law banned donation to [the Wikimedia Foundation, or WMF] through banks then it is the country in the wrong not WMF. Accepting donations instead of giving them out…