Wikipedia announced that it no longer wants your money.
The Wikimedia Foundation, which is the parent company of the widely used web-based encyclopedia Wikipedia, is one that operates entirely on donations from its community of readers and contributors. Contributions from its readers, in the form of both information and currency, in an effort to build a global knowledge base is the premise of the website itself. However, according to The Verge, Wikipedia is eliminating one avenue of contribution. The company will no longer accept donations in cryptocurrency.
Wikipedia had been accepting donations in crypto since 2014. Its website details that back then the decision to begin accepting the currency was a result of the discussions and feedback that it had and received from its community. Now, in a surprising turn of events, similar community discussions led to the reversal of the initial decision that was reached in 2014.
Wikipedia did not arrive at its decision to stop accepting cryptocurrency lightly. An active discussion among 400 individuals in the Wikipedia community transpired between January 10, 2022, and April 12, 2022. During that time, the participants went back and forth weighing the pros and cons relating to continuing or stopping the acceptance of crypto donations.
Those who vied for the discontinuance of cryptocurrency donations cited reasons pertaining to crypto’s negative environmental impact and the “implicit endorsement of the issues surrounding cryptocurrencies.” Molly White, an editor for the publication Web 3 Is Going Just Great, emphasized, in particular, that Wikipedia accepting crypto completely disregarded everything that the company says it stands for. In her argument, she emphasized how “inherently predatory” cryptocurrency is and brought into question whether or not Wikipedia wanted to be associated with something such as that.
On the flip side, the defenders of crypto donations pointed to Wikipedia moving to accept only those currencies that pose marginal environmental risks. They also highlighted that for people in countries where public knowledge is heavily regulated crypto is often a much less risky way to donate to Wikipedia’s cause because it offers more anonymity. Ultimately it came down to a vote. In a majority vote of 232 to 94, nearly 3/4 of the community voted to do away with crypto donations.
Given the fact that Wikipedia operates entirely on donations, it may be concerning to think that the company would completely cut off a potential avenue for revenue. However, thankfully, in the grand scheme of things what Wikipedia made from donations via crypto is marginal, at best. In 2021, Wikipedia brought in a total of $130,000 collectively. That is a mere 0.08% of the company’s total donations. That does not even equate to a tenth of a percent in comparison to the company’s total donated revenue. Hence, the dissolution of crypto donations, for Wikipedia, is a negligible loss.
Even though Wikipedia has firmly asserted it will no longer accept crypto donations, they have also expressed that its decision is not set in stone. A statement on their website indicated that they will continue to keep abreast of the issue as well as informed about how their community feels in regards to it. It was made clear that should the issue ever need revisiting it absolutely would be. “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,” read a portion of an update on Wikipedia.