Wikimedia Foundation closes BitPay account

The Wikimedia Foundation, the project behind Wikipedia, is closing its BitPay account and has announced that it will no longer accept cryptocurrency donations based on community feedback.

The end of crypto donations was decided because 232 members (71 percent) of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) community voted in favor of a proposal on January 10th. This mentioned energy consumption, use to circumvent sanctions, cryptocurrency fraud and environmental sustainability as reasons for the abolition.

The Community expressed concern that the acceptance of cryptocurrencies could damage the Fund’s long – term reputation. Wikipedia is an open source online encyclopedia, and BitPay is a crypto payment service that this platform partnered with.

In a statement on Sunday on WMF’s original proposal, Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, the fund’s chief advance officer, stated:

“The Wikimedia Foundation has decided to stop accepting cryptocurrencies directly as a donation option. We will also close our BitPay account as part of this, which means we will no longer be able to accept cryptocurrencies directly as a donation option.”

From the proposal and the ensuing discussion, it emerged that only about $ 130,000 in crypto donations had been received by 2021. That accounted for 0.08 percent of the fund’s total revenue. Therefore, the fund will probably not suffer financial losses from this decision.

WMF member GorillaWarfare welcomed the decision, writing: “This is good news. Thank you for listening to the community.”

The user with ID “95.91.212.65.01” is clearly against this decision and has also expressed this out loud since January. He commented:

“It’s a shame. In particular, the last argument put forward turned out to be purely reactionary. Compare the media’s reaction to the acceptance of cryptocurrencies for donations in Ukraine just a few weeks later.”

Mozilla did something similar in January, banning cryptocurrencies for its Firefox browser. However, the well-known browser partially reversed this decision in April and now only quotes cryptocurrencies from Proof-of-Stake (PoS) networks such as Polygon.

Several people who voted also addressed Mozilla’s situation, saying it is also something to keep an eye on. For it can have an impact on how the fund makes future decisions regarding crypto donations.

In this context: NFT in Ukraine: Government accepts NFT donations

Advocates for the ban are unaffected by criticism from the crypto community. The fund member “Dronebogus” commented positively on this decision:

“Wikimedia is the largest free web-based education collective on the planet. What will Joe Crypto do to ‘destroy’ us? Write an ugly poll? Tell his 650 Twitter followers to go to Everipedia?”

Everipedia is a blockchain-based online encyclopedia that can be considered a competitor to Wikipedia. Incidentally, the Wikimedia Foundation has been accepting crypto donations since 2014.

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