The non-profit organization behind Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, has decided to shut down its BitPay account and stop accepting crypto donations following a three-month long debate, the organization said in an update on 1 May.
The decision was made following a community vote on a proposal that was made back in January by contributor Molly White, listing several reasons for the organization to block crypto donations, such as energy consumption, exposure to crypto scams, and environmental sustainability among others. Out of the 326 users who voted, 232 (71%) decided to support the proposal to block crypto donations. Chief advancement officer at Wikimedia Foundation, Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, said in a statement on Sunday:
“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. We will continue to monitor this issue, and appreciate the feedback and consideration given to this evolving matter by people across the Wikimedia movement. We will remain flexible and responsive to the needs of volunteers and donors.”
As part of its decision the Wikipedia Foundation also revealed it will be closing down its account with BitPay, its crypto payment service partner, effectively removing its ability to directly accept donations in the form of cryptocurrency. The move is unlikely to financially hurt the Wikimedia Foundation, which according to the proposal had received only $130,000 in crypto donations last year, or around 0.08% of its total revenue.
One of the main talk points of the proposal was the high energy consumption of the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains, which did not align with the foundation’s commitment to environmental sustainability and could potentially damage the foundation’s reputation in the long run. The proposal also cited the decision of Mozilla to pause crypto donations back in January, and later update its policy to only accept crypto donations from proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchains.