Tech

Wikipedia editors have blocked Crypto donations

To be fair, mining takes a lot of energy.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
May 14, 2022

The editors of Wikipedia are ready to stop accepting cryptocurrency donations. The majority of editors agreed that such donations should be stopped, claiming that the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks use too much energy.

 

The Wikimedia Foundation was asked by more than 200 long-serving Wikipedia editors to stop accepting Bitcoin donations and they have. In the most recent fiscal year, the organization received Bitcoin donations totaling roughly $130,000, accounting for less than 0.1% of its revenue, which reached $150 million last year.

 

The plan was in a heated debate for the past 3 months. Wikipedia user GorillaWarfare, the original author of the proposal, wrote back in January: “Cryptocurrencies are extremely risky investments that have only been gaining popularity among retail investors. I do not think we should be endorsing their use in this way.” Molly White, a Wikipedian who has become somewhat of an anti-cryptocurrency campaigner, is GorillaWarfare. She also manages the Twitter account “Web3 is going just great,” which promotes the project. GorillaWarfare included the following in her Wikimedia Foundation proposal: “Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two most highly used cryptocurrencies, and are both proof-of-work, using an enormous amount of energy.”

 

The Bitcoin network consumes roughly 200 terawatt-hours of energy each year, according to a widely cited estimate. That’s roughly the amount of energy consumed by Thailand’s 70 million inhabitants. And each Bitcoin transaction consumes roughly 2,000 kilowatt-hours.

 

Bitcoin proponents replied that the currency’s energy consumption is dictated by its mining process, which uses roughly the same amount of energy regardless of transaction volume. As a result, accepting a Bitcoin donation does not necessarily result in an increase in carbon emissions.

 

Critics, on the other hand, said that Wikimedia’s de facto endorsement of cryptocurrencies may have aided in their price rise. The higher the value, the more time and effort miners will put into producing new currencies. People can easily transfer their bitcoins to dollars before donating, according to crypto critics. However, those who contribute an asset to a charity directly are eligible for tax benefits under U.S. law.

 

But the argument is that some people cannot simply use traditional banking systems, according to cryptocurrency supporters. In the end, 232 long-serving Wikipedia editors voted in favor of ending cryptocurrency donations, while 94 voted against it.

 

The Wikimedia Foundation does not bound itself to such votes. Legally, the foundation is separate from the Wikipedia community and is not obligated to respond to its requests.

 

The foundation followed the community’s request, but not only due to environmental concerns. The Mozilla Foundation said earlier this month that it will no longer accept cryptocurrencies that use the energy-intensive proof-of-work consensus technique. Bitcoin and Ethereum are two examples, but the latter is expected to switch to a proof-of-stake scheme in the future.

 

In case you missed it, Twitter allows users to tip creators in Ethereum.

 

Photo via Wikipedia