Wikipedia Stops Accepting Cryptocurrency Donations Citing Environmental Concerns

After 8 years of accepting crypto , Wikipedia has elected to bring digital asset donations to a close. The decision should distance the community from any type of implicit cryptocurrency endorsement, alongside its environmental effects.

Succumbing to Crypto Controversy

The Wikimedia Foundation – a non-profit dedicated to funding Wikipedia – came to its decision through community vote. Over 300 users voted on the ban, with 94 voting against it, and 234 voting in favor.

As shared by Wikipedia editor Molly White, one of the common arguments supporting the ban pertained to “environmental sustainability”. After all, cryptocurrencies have come under political and cultural fire for the energy used in securing certain networks – especially Bitcoin.

Just last week, New York’s State Assembly passed a two year moratorium on permit renewals for carbon based mining. Activist groups claimed that such activity would negatively impact the health of the state’s finger lakes.

Among those against the ban, some argued that there existed many cryptocurrencies that didn’t have such a large energy footprint. These were specifically proof of stake cryptocurrencies – networks secured through staking users’ existing crypto holdings, instead of energy consumption.

In fact, Mozilla recently came to a similar donation decision that accounted for this fact. Like Wikipedia, the foundation has been accepting crypto since 2014, and recently altered this policy to not encompass Bitcoin. However, it still receives Proof-of-Stake currency donations.

Nevertheless, Wikipedia appears to have gone forward with a blanket ban. Accepting crypto was believed to constitute an “implicit endorsement” of the industry, which could affect its reputation.

Other arguments against the ban noted the ecological impact of fiat, and crypto’s necessity for donating within oppressive regimes. However, only 0.08% of the foundation’s revenue came through crypto last year, meaning its bottom line will remain intact.

Should Bitcoin Change?

Some leaders within the broader crypto industry argue that Bitcoin ought to transition to proof of stake in the future.

For one, Solana’s co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko recently claimed that the network would lose users if it doesn’t make the switch. “It is simply more efficient to build a proof-of-stake system,” he said.

Last month, Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen started a $5 million environmental campaign to have Bitcoin do just that. It targeted public figures with large influence among Bitcoiners to join the cause, including both Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey.

However, the community remains staunchly opposed to any changes to Bitcoin’s consensus mechanism. On Monday, the Bitcoin mining council issued a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency defending mining’s ethics and necessity.

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Co-signed by both Michael Saylor and Jack Dorsey, the letter slams congressional claims about Bitcoin’s tremendous e-waste as “patently false”. It also does a deep dive on the weaknesses of the proof of stake consensus mechanism, highlighting its inferior decentralization.

“In contemporary Proof of Stake systems, it is the largest holders of the tokens that ultimately determine the governance of the ledger,” reads the letter, “even if ‘tokenholder’ governance is not explicitly encoded into the protocol.”

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