Wikimedia Community Votes to End Cryptocurrency Donations

Vote prompted by concerns over the ethics of endorsing cryptocurrencies and how much energy they consume to produce.

The Wikimedia community voted Tuesday in favor of a proposal to stop accepting cryptocurrency donations to the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. 

So far, it's unclear whether the foundation will act on the community's decision and halt cryptocurrency donations.

A proposal stating Wikimedia editors' concerns about cryptocurrency donations was created in January by Wikipedia administrator Molly White, who goes by the username GorillaWarfare. 

The proposal centers on the ethical implications of endorsing cryptocurrencies by accepting them, as well as how much energy it takes to produce cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, which go against the 

Wikimedia Foundation's commitment to environmental sustainability, according to White. The vote tally was 232 to 94, with 71% of the community supporting the proposal.

"Cryptocurrencies are extremely risky investments that have only been gaining popularity among retail investors particularly in recent times, and I do not think we should be endorsing their use in this way," 

White, who also runs a Twitter account chronicling cryptocurrency scams called @web3isgreat, said in the proposal.

"In accepting them, I believe we are mainstreaming the usage of "investments" and technology that are inherently predatory."

The Wikimedia Foundation said it has taken in $130,000 worth of cryptocurrency donations made by 347 individuals in the last fiscal year, accounting for less than than 0.1% of its revenue. 

Bitcoin accounted for most of its cryptocurrency donations last year. 

In addition to concerns over the validity the donation option gives to cryptocurrency, the proposal discusses the vast amount of energy it takes to mine cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, 

which are both proof-of-work rather than proof-of-stake, a type of blockchain protocol that allows blocks to be mined more efficiently than proof-of-work. 

According to the Digiconomist Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, the amount of electrical energy it takes to mine bitcoin annually is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of Thailand. 

In a statement to CNET about the proposal, the Wikimedia Foundation said its "fundraising team is reviewing the request and related discussions and we will provide additional information once they complete that process."

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