Wikimedia Foundation Agrees to End Cryptocurrency Donations

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The Wikimedia Foundation is no longer accepting cryptocurrency donations.

Based on user requests, the nonprofit began taking crypto contributions in 2014. Following a three-month comment period earlier this year, though, a majority of community members voted in favor of ending the practice in a 232-94 vote.

“We are making this decision based on recent feedback from [volunteer and donor] communities,” Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, Wikimedia Foundation chief advancement officer, wrote in a Sunday announcement. “Specifically, we will be closing our Bitpay account, which will remove our ability to directly accept cryptocurrency as a method of donating.”

Software engineer and Wikipedia editor Molly “GorillaWarfare” White in January proposed an end to cryptocurrency donations, arguing that the approach contradicts WMF’s “commitment to environmental sustainability” and signals an endorsement of technology she calls “inherently predatory.”

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum contributions made up only a “small portion” of the Foundation’s overall revenue; WMF collected $130,100.94 worth of crypto donations in 2021, The Verge reports—less than 0.1% of its $150 million earnings that year.

“We will continue to monitor this issue, and appreciate the feedback and consideration given to this evolving matter by people across the Wikimedia movement,” Seitz-Gruwell said. “We will remain flexible and responsive to the needs of volunteers and donors. Thank you again to everyone that has provided valuable input on this increasingly complex and shifting topic.”

Organizations have been ditching crypto payment options for a while, citing the digital money’s environmental impact: Tesla hit the brakes last year, claiming Bitcoin mining is too reliant on fossil fuels; Mozilla followed suit in January with a review of how cryptocurrency fits into its climate goals. Other concerns tend to revolve around the frequency with which digital currency projects turn out to be scams or get-rich-quick schemes.