Wikimedia voting on stopping accepting cryptocurrency donations
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The Wikimedia Foundation currently accepts cryptocurrency donations in currencies including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum, as explained on the “Other ways to give” page. I propose that we stop accepting cryptocurrency donations.

  • Accepting cryptocurrency signals endorsement of the cryptocurrency space by the Wikimedia Foundation and members of the Wikimedia Movement. 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. In accepting them, I believe we are mainstreaming the usage of “investments” and technology that are inherently predatory.
  • Cryptocurrencies do not align with the Wikimedia Foundation’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two most highly-used cryptocurrencies, and are both proof-of-work, using an enormous amount of energy. You can read more about Bitcoin’s environmental impact from Columbia or Digiconomist, and Ethereum’s from Digiconomist, or use your search engine of choice to do your own research. Discussions of energy usage in the crypto space often involve claims from proponents of Ethereum that they will be moving to a considerably eco-friendlier proof-of-stake model in the near future (though this has been promised for several years now), or that Bitcoin might do so in some future world (though they have not signaled an intention to)—regardless, the current models continue to be extremely damaging to the environment. While there are eco-friendlier cryptocurrencies, they are less widely-used, and still have the issues mentioned in point one.
  • We risk damaging our reputation by participating in this. One of our peers in the non-profit, FOSS space (Mozilla) is reevaluating their choice to accept cryptocurrency donations after considerable backlash from their supporters, including from their own founder Jamie Zawinski (aka jwz) ([1]).

I don’t expect that this change will cost us much in terms of lost donations, though I am still waiting for data on this. Even if we assume that those donating using cryptocurrencies would choose not to donate at all if crypto wasn’t an option (rather than donating in some other currency), my suspicion is we take few donations this way. I have asked for more information at Talk:Fundraising/2020-21 Report; I hope to receive an answer soon so this can be discussed with that information in mind, but wanted to get this started while I had a minute. GorillaWarfare (talk) 02:30, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

You currently take amazon pay. All 3 of your points could fit in right there. 104.175.199.193 06:39, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Discussion[edit]

How much in crypto has been donated to date?[edit]

In addition to the principled reasons to reject crypto donations above, I wonder whether they’ve even made a material impact on Wikimedia’s financial stability enough to even merit the risks and complexity of accepting them. Steven Walling • talk

I came here to ask the same. It seems like a pertinent question whether we’re talking about $2000 USD a year or $20 million USD a year. GorillaWarfare is waiting on a response here: Talk:Fundraising/2020-21 Report. —MZMcBride (talk) 06:13, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I also asked them via email a few days ago, I’ll update here if I get a reply. Lucas Werkmeister (talk) 13:46, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I think it is a good idea to ask for this information.–BanditoX (talk) 19:39, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Already immediately converted to USD?[edit]

My memory of Wikimedia Foundation Inc. accepting Bitcoin was that it was after the U.S. Internal Revenue Service put out guidance for how to handle it. And it was decided to accept cryptocurrency, but immediately transfer it to USD. Did that change? —MZMcBride (talk) 06:17, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

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See https://donate.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ways_to_Give#Cryptocurrency — this is done through a third-party processor. We only ever touch US dollars, so nobody’s actually *giving* us cryptobucks; what we’re doing is advertising to them that we think cryptobucks or whatever is a legitimate thing and that BitPay is a legitimate processor. Is it? Are they? Should we be saying that? Ultimately that’s the only difference between that and just letting people cash out themselves and give us dollars directly. Personally I don’t think we should be advertising for a cryptocurrency exchange service. —brion (talk) 14:45, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

+1 GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:52, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

+1 BradPatrick (talk) 18:55, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
It is worth noting that PayPal facilitates trading in cryptocurrency and there are good reasons to believe Amazon will soon follow suit. I think a case could be made that the Wikimedia Foundation’s decision to accept cryptocurrency donations in 2014, back when the cryptocurrencies were a much more marginal phenomenon, conferred some legitimacy on cryptocurrencies and may have boosted their adoption. However I have a somewhat harder time believing that the Foundation continuing to accept cryptocurrency donations in 2022 is a particularly meaningful signal, any more so than accepting USD signals endorsement of the systems of exploitation of labor and despoilation of the natural environment that underlie global capitalism. ATDT (talk) 21:42, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
This is the original announcement in 2014. It was after community requested it several times and after the guidance from IRS came out indeed. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:14, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Fees?[edit]

According to Fundraising, most of WMF funding comes from small donations averaging $15 USD. It has also been reported that cryptocurrency transaction fees make small transactions unusable.[2] Looking at the BitPay FAQs, it appears they use an “everybody pays” model for transaction fees. Merchants pay BitPay 1% to use the service,[3] and purchasers pay various network, mining, and transaction fees depending on various factors.[4] I couldn’t find any information if these fees are different for donations, but I wouldn’t expect them to be. Since those fees are paid by the donor, I doubt the WMF has information on what was paid in fees. According to this website, the average transaction fees for BTC and ETH have frequently been higher than the average donation in the past year. Average BTC transaction fees have been higher than 10% of the average donation since July of 2020. Is this system really that useful if donors are routinely charged fees between 10% and 200-400% of an average donation? Information on the size of donations via cryptocurrency would be helpful. —AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 18:51, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Bitcoin donations can be as low as fractions of a cent for a fee as low as fractions of a cent via the lightning network. You people are clueless. 2A02:908:1988:360:21F8:CAFC:D930:AAA8 23:53, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

BitPay does not use the Lightning Network (article is 2 years old but haven’t seen anything more recent). Tgr (talk) 00:25, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
BitPay is accepting BCH which have less than a penny transaction fees 145.226.30.83 09:22, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Offwiki discussion[edit]

Just noting for canvassing purposes that a link to this discussion is currently on the front page of the r/Ethereum and r/Bitcoin subreddits and has also been posted in several other pro-cryptocurrency subreddits. GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:08, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Wikipedia customarily adds a ‘Not a ballot’ notice at the top of discussions (e.g. AfDs) if there appears to have been significant canvassing on external websites. Is there a similar notice available here? AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:45, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, see Template:Not_a_ballot. — ArielGlenn (talk) 06:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Which I see has now been added. Maybe at least one or two of the crypto-Redditors will read it, though I suspect most won’t. AndyTheGrump (talk) 07:37, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I’ve done comment formatting and cleanup to strike through the most egregious instances but kept in place for transparency. Seddon (talk) 08:37, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Environmental burden of a bitcoin transaction[edit]

The RfC refers to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index and Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index (and the similar one about Ethereum). Both of those calculate the total energy consumption of the Bitcoin (or Ethereum) network. Digiconomist divides that by the number of transaction and calls that “cost of a transaction”. IANE but I don’t think that’s a meaningful number. The proof-of-work process in which a new block is added to the blockchain is very computationally expensive (Bitcoin’s security model is based on many miners competing to be the first to solve a very hard computational puzzle that’s required for adding a block; an attacker would have to outperform all of them, which has prohibitive electricity costs). Transactions are not computationally expensive so the WMF increasing the total number of Bitcoin transactions by accepting Bitcoin donations would cause approximately zero environmental burden. Miners get a fee for validating transactions, which might incentivize more people to invest into mining and thus increase the burden on the environment; but those fees are fairly small compared to the income miners directly get from creating blocks (the one who wins the race and is allowed to create the next block gets a few newly created bitcoins) – the ratio is not constant but fees are around 1-2% of direct rewards most of the time, so probably aren’t a significant influence on miners.

Thus, an organization like the WMF accepting bitcoin donations directly or indirectly does not increase the environmental cost of the bitcoin network. Numbers like Digiconomist’s 1000 kgCO2 / transaction don’t reflect any causal relationship between transactions and CO2 emissions. I don’t think the WMF’s sustainability commitment (“seek to minimize our overall impact on the environment”) applies here. One can still argue that, Bitcoin network as a whole being a huge environmental burden, it is unethical to interact with it, even if that interaction does not alter the burden, but that’s a different argument. —Tgr (talk) 00:21, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

That different argument you mention at the end is exactly my argument. I agree that it is unlikely that the individual transactions of currencies going to the WMF has a substantial environmental effect, but Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) as a whole are not something we should be endorsing or encouraging people to use in any way. I would also argue that the more mainstream and widely-accepted cryptocurrencies are, the higher incentive there is to mine them, which is an environmental impact. GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:30, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

The incentive for mining is straightforward: miners get to create new bitcoins. That doesn’t have anything to do with how widely accepted bitcoins are (of course if no one accepted them, they couldn’t be converted to real money and would be worthless, but there isn’t necessarily a difference between few and many places accepting them). It does have a lot to do with the value at which bitcoin is traded; but as can be seen from its wild swings, that is driven entirely by speculation and not real-world use (the price of bitcoin grew about five-fold in the last five years, even though the range of things you can spend it on didn’t change much). So I don’t think the WMF accepting or not accepting bitcoins would change the mainstreamness of the network – not only in the sense that we are one out of many users and small on our own, but even if a large fraction of the users quit, it wouldn’t necessarily affect miner motivation. Bitcoin is more of a speculatory investment device than a payment system – that’s kind of the problem with it, but it also means boycotts do not work the way they would for a normal payment system. Tgr (talk) 01:21, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Still the Bitcoin network will always consume more and more energy as it become more valuable and it becomes more and more attractive to add mining hardware. The WMF should only accept cryptocurrencies with a goal of consuming less and less energy. 145.226.30.83 09:30, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Environmental and activist considerations of Bitcoin[edit]

To provide a more balanced view on this RFC, please refer to these resources that provide an alternative lens on the environmental impact of Bitcoin (for example, did you know McDonald’s spends more energy making Happy Meal toys than the entire global Bitcoin network?) as well as Bitcoin as a tool for social, gender and racial activism from a progressive point of view. The environmental question of Bitcoin is a lot more complex than “it uses too much energy”. It is a multi-dimensional problem, and energy usage is just one variable in the equation. I urge everyone to understand more about Bitcoin as a whole package beyond its energy footprint (negligible when compared to the cost in oil and warfare of backing the US Dollar) as well as the continual exponential progress that has been made in making Bitcoin greener and greener. Advtadvt (talk) 04:11, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Alternative[edit]

Any cryptocurrency intended for donation must first be converted to proof of useful work or better quality, such as CureCoin or FoldingCoin. New4Q (talk) 06:54, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

  • Support Support as proposer. GorillaWarfare (talk) 02:30, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support. Long overdue. Accepting cryptocurrency makes a joke out of the WMF’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Gamaliel (talk) 02:42, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support. The cryptocurrency donation feature completely disregards the Sustainability commitment. Cryptocurrency takes a massive toll on the environment. Lectrician2 (talk) 03:23, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Not environmental sustainable. Would send a message that we do not want to be associated. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:36, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Bidgee (Talk) 03:42, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose The argument seems to be that Wikimedia’s core values are violated by the very nature of cryptocurrency, but hinging this entirely on the environmental costs of KwH usage for bitcoin mining suggests that there may be a vast array of activities the WMF should cease or oppose on the same basis. This is a movement that still gathers thousands of people physically in one city of the world each (non-pandemic) year. Executives and stakeholders crisscross the globe repeatedly, including the founder hobnobbing at Davos. Cryptocurrencies are a store of value worth trillions of dollars. If movement supporters want to use their liquid assets to support the movement, we should facilitate that and not make spot judgments that are more reflective of today’s cause celebre on Twitter than a considered and comprehensive judgment. Nathan T 03:48, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Because of Sustainability —Ameisenigel (talk) 04:01, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    There is nothing unsustainable about Bitcoin. 61.68.215.67 22:25, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support We never should have started accepting them in the first place. Steven Walling • talk 04:26, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Accepting cryptocurrencies is incompatible with commitments to environmental sustainability. Guettarda (talk) 04:38, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Please refer to the environment section of The Progressive Bitcoiner to understand more about the overall ESG impact and footprint of Bitcoin (instead of just looking at its energy consumption alone). The End The FUD page has further resources on evaluating Bitcoin as a whole. Advtadvt (talk) 04:16, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support per proposer. RamzyM (talk) 05:11, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support: Bitcoin mining in 2018 used slightly more energy than what was used by the entire state of Ohio[1] and contributes heavily to worsening the current climate emergency. The WMF accepting them is contrary to its commitment to environmental sustainability. — TNT (talk • she/her) 05:12, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    > more energy than what was used by the entire state of Ohio Logical fallacy.
    > contributes heavily to worsening the current climate emergency Falsehood. 61.68.215.67 22:26, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support — Regards, ZI Jony (Talk) 05:53, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose – I think cryptocurrencies are stupid and often malicious. However as long as their money spends just as well as anyone else’s, I think we should take it (On the understanding that we immediately convert it to something sane, and don’t promote cryptocurrency in any way). WMF’s purpose in accepting donations is to make the servers run – its not our place to try and effect the economic-political landscape of the world. In regards to the particular points made by the proposer: I don’t think accepting cryptocurrency signals an endorsement of the cryptocurrency anymore than accepting USD signals an endorsement of the US government. The environmental cost of crypto is effectively the same whether we reject it entirely or accept it and immediately liquidate (The environment cost comes from mining and indirectly from demand. Since nobody is buying crypto for the sole purpose to donate to us, arguably accepting and immediately liquidating probably reduces demand more than outright rejection, and is probably the more environmental option by an imperceptible amount). As to the last point, we should never let fear of backlash dictate policy – we should make decisions on their merits, not because we fear the twitter mob (Even if the twitter mob is in the right – its what they argue that should convince us; the fact they exist and are kind of scary should play no part). Bawolff (talk) 06:11, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose – To the contrary, crypto aligns with our values of free software and user freedom. Benjamin (talk) 06:42, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support – Sustainability and environmental impact issues · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:54, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Such donations are copyright violations. —Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 07:30, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportVituzzu (talk) 07:47, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Ainali talkcontributions 07:48, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support – in direct contradiction of the Sustainability Initiative. Cryptocurrencies are likely here to stay, but until the industry figures out how to not kill the environment while trying to make a quick buck, we should not support them. Anarchyte (talk) 07:52, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Bitcoin does not kill the environment but rather subsidises renewable projects in their initial stages and makes the energy grid more efficient though load management. 61.68.215.67 22:27, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support, for planetary survival and to not help inflate a financial bubble. It’s not worth much discussion, but anyone thinking that cryptocoins allow a better “anonymous” donation path should refer to the bitcoin donation page where you’ll find required fields for home address, email, name, etc. —Adamw (talk) 08:29, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support per OP. Golden (talk) 08:41, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support A very convenient proposal. Thank you. Xavi Dengra (MESSAGES) 08:57, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support@Bawolff: makes several well-reasoned points, for which I thank them – positive debate is good to see. They’re absolutely right that we shouldn’t fear backlash, but the flipside of that is we have to be even more aggressive about self-following both our morals and our principles, as otherwise we have nothing driving positive action. I think we are all “yes, pro-sustainability”, and part of that is our own actions and part of that is how we demonstrate we follow those principles. I’ve seen the WMF (and the projects) both consider and actually do dubious things in the name of “sending a message” (veering into virtue signalling at times), so I am always careful about this argument, but I think it has a fair place in sustainability measures. If we do it, and publicise appropriately, it lets us nudge others down that road without having to compromise our values elsewhere in the way that knowledge equity risks doing. It may or may not be a Twitter focus atm, but I’ve been asking the fundraising team to consider scrapping crypto for 15 months and spoke to @JBrungs (WMF): in December, so it’s not a flash opinion from us all. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:14, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support per OP. Le Loy 10:19, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support per OP. Zblace (talk) 10:26, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support, Wikimedia movement should not promote terrible environmental practices, and Wikimedia Foundation already gets quite a lot of money, no need to cling to Bitcoin and Ethereum. Wikisaurus (talk) 10:29, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support per proposer. — Q-bit array (talk) 10:37, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support In the United Nations summary of the issue they explained that a Mastercard transaction used 0.0006 kWh, whilst a Bitcoin transaction uses 980 kWh, enough energy to power a home for 3 weeks. The Wikimedia Foundation could gain a lot of public credibility by restricting all financial methods to sustainable methods. UN Source Anstil (talk) 11:30, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose There is no environment friendly currency, period. Ircpresident (talk) 12:24, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support per proposal & points raised by TheresNoTime, Adamw, Nosebagbear and Anstil. On top of being an extremely risky investments cryptocurrencies contribute significantly more to an enviromental crisis than other donation methods. This practice contradicts WMF’s committment to the Sustainability Initiative and damages WMF’s reputation in the long run. There are enough ways to donate while not contributing to the current enviromental crisis as much, so no need to use such unethical (and risky) methods to attract money. Meiræ 13:42, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Was thinking of posting such an RfC myself 🙂 —Lucas Werkmeister (talk) 13:46, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support There are no benefits from accepting cryptocurrency over normal currency, only increased risks. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 13:46, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support per OP’s position. In addition, I am actively against the kind of toxic environment that cryptos bring with them, made up of scammy techbros that talk, act, and represent the antipodes of what Wikimedia is. Sannitanot just another it.wiki sysop 13:47, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Not a viable source of income right now considering the 2030 goals and the already bad CO2 footprint of the WMF. Braveheart (talk) 13:51, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support I was surprised and disappointed when I discovered that Wikimedia accepts cryptocurrencies. – Nikki (talk) 14:13, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support I fully agree with the above arguments. —Mehman 97 14:32, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support We don’t actually hold crypto so the only difference between accepting it through a processor and not accepting it is that we’re signalling support for an ecosystem known for endemic scams and criminal behavior by accepting through a processor. I prefer not to accept; let them convert to dollars themselves. —brion (talk) 14:47, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support KTC (talk) 14:56, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support, per proposer and Nosebagbear’s arguments. ··· 🌸 Rachmat04 · 14:59, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • COMMENT So I would say support entirely for environmental reasons — EXCEPT that there is a cryptocurrency called Gridcoin, which is based on distributed processing using BOINC, which actually uses computing power to solve actual problems like climate models, COVID-19 protein folding and other actual scientific problems. SO! What I recommend is that a change in policy not be so blunt as to outright ban cryptocurrencies, but rather to only accept particular currencies that meet criteria set by community standards. Victorgrigas (talk) 15:06, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • I’m not anti crypto coins, but I am/have become anti bitcoin and any other coin which derives value from burning energy to the level that it does. And unfortunatley those are the only viable coins out there right now, so…. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:17, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support per Brion. Majavah (talk!) 15:21, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support for all those reasons. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:50, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Cryptocurrency scamming has brought more vandalism, misconduct, and bad behavior than any other topic. The financial shenanigans in cryptcurrency make scammers invest a lot of money in trying to put misinformation into Wikipedia. Not a single cryptocurrency advocacy or nonprofit group has ever come to Wikipedia or its community with good behavior or intentions to counter misinformation and misconduct. Whatever anyone says about crypto outside of Wikipedia, the field of crypto has been harmful within Wikipedia, and this despite Wikipedia being the single most consulted source of information on crypto and related technologies. There is no history of gratitude for all the favors and support which Wikipedia has done for the field of crypto, and instead Wikipedia volunteers are perpetually cleaning the messes that the crypto sector generates. We have no published evidence that crypto donations to Wikipedia have significant value. If the money were significant then the Wikimedia Foundation would have shared information in the past. We are past this time. Protect the wiki editors from hostile financial manipulators who will not follow Wikipedia rules or basic etiquette. Protect the public from a sector flooded with misinformation. We do not need this right now, the cost of associating here is very high and there is no evidence of benefit to us or our readers. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:00, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportDerHexer (Talk) 16:04, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportAkorenchkin (talk) 16:13, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportGardini (talk) 16:19, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportKein Einstein (talk) 16:21, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Supportsouthpark (talk) 16:25, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support based on their environmental impact. —Leyo (talk) 16:26, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support — It not only does not align with our goals but outright makes some of the tools we create a lot harder due to the incentive to mine on wikimedia infrastructure. Beyond the immediate cost to WMF in SRE time, it also costs volunteers like me time to keep tools usable. While it is likely the scammers will not stop once we stop accepting cryptocurrencies, I see no reason for us to join them in any way. Chico Venancio (talk) 16:33, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Chaddy (talk) 16:36, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose https://endthefud.org/; also it would prevent people from donating pseudonymously. “While there are eco-friendlier cryptocurrencies, they are less widely-used”, that’s not accurate, Cardano for example is #6 on CoinMarketCap and cryptocurrencies can easily be converted on most exchanges anyway. —Thibaut (talk) 17:03, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Thibaut120094: Donors using crytocurrencies are already prevented from donating pseudonymously, as BitPay collects the name and address of donors using their services. This information is required under tax and anti-money laundering laws. It’s worth noting that the BitPay privacy policy is less protective than foundation:The Wikimedia Donor Privacy Policy. —AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 18:07, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

    @AntiCompositeNumber courtesy note, the WMF donor privacy policy link 404s. The correct link is foundation:Donor privacy policy (although the display title is “The Wikimedia Donor Privacy Policy”). EpicPupper (talk) 04:31, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose OpposeBaah Thomas (talk) 17:02, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportBubo 17:16, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportFunkruf (talk) 17:21, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportRiepichiep (talk) 18:07, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support as proposer. —J. Patrick Fischer (talk) 18:29, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support It won’t change much but it sends a message. Amir (talk) 18:45, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportSquasher (talk) 18:46, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose – Bawolff and Victor make good points. We might however impose a minimum crypto donation of 100x the transaction cost, to limit waste. –SJ talk  18:53, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support — per proposer’s and AntiCompositeNumber’s arguments. DraconicDark (talk) 18:53, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support SupportEnvlh (talk) 18:55, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support However, I disagree that this is long overdue. I will try to mirror my comments over from this discussion: Cryptocurrency in 2014 was a massively different phenomenon than it is in 2022. There was a lot of optimism surrounding the technology in the way of privacy and decentralization. I was extremely happy when I saw the WMF was accepting cryptocurrency donations when it rolled out (though I wasn’t an active editor). In the seven years since then, the environmental concerns of the blockchain have come to light, and we are starting to see more and more companies use it for increasing profit. Even Jimmy Wales has decided to cash in on the crypto-craze.

    We have other forms of revenue which are much more ethical, so I think it is time to distance ourselves from crypto. –MJLTalk 19:09, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Disclosure: I have like $100 dollars in BTC which I had bought in 2014 (it would’ve been like a few cents worth). I was young and irresponsible. Don’t ask. –MJLTalk 19:22, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support: the environmental impact is bad, there are other options to donate, donations are not pseudonymous like was already outlined above. The only way this can be justified at this point is that we are helping people to get rid of their bitcoins or whatever, but even then it is not that good of a justification to continue this. While some people can point towards proof of stake etc. as a potential solution to this, you can hardly find popular examples of these in the wild and the claims of better environmental impact from these schemes still have to be evaluated.

    (I also plainly do not think that WMF has any obligation to accept all forms of donations, given that in some countries, for example, you cannot donate to WMF even if you wanted to, and bitcoin scheme is hardly different.) stjn[ru] 19:24, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Fantom (FTM) and Avalanche (AVAX) are popular examples of proof of stake cryptocurrencies in the wild. 2405:9800:B550:3E2B:CEB1:84DD:5D39:3E18 04:02, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Wikimedia should think more about it than just pecunia non olet.–BanditoX (talk)
  • Oppose Oppose Not all cryptocurrencies are the same, or have the same impact on the environment, which seems to be the main reason why people are supporting this idea. Moving to proof-of-stake cryptos addresses this specific issue. Rejecting all cryptocurrencies categorically for their impact on the environment seems wrong. 3BRBS (talk)
  • Support Support ban on acceptance of cryptocurrencies that are not environmentally sustainable. The environmental point is really not a trivial issue one can ignore with regard to the two most commonly used cryptocurrencies. I also do not see this as an issue of user freedom – it is people’s ability to actively contribute and be part of a sustainable community that matters most, not the freedom to financially support that community pseudonymously using a currency of their personal choice with no regard to the values of the community. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 20:38, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Money is money. Accepting it in a pointless form like bitcoin is no different than accepting Renminbi. It isn’t like our acceptance of Renminbi is an endorsement of the PRC’s policies. Should we also stop accepting Exon stock because of their role as an oil company? —Guerillero Parlez Moi 20:50, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support: Based on the environmental impact.–Tenniscourtisland (talk) 20:58, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose The central banking system does not grow on trees neither. Maybe accept POS currencies only. Sargoth (talk) 21:19, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Or accept my personal monopoly money instead which is as valuable as PoS Coins. 2A02:908:1988:360:21F8:CAFC:D930:AAA8 23:20, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose “Cryptocurrencies do not align with the Wikimedia Foundation’s commitment to environmental sustainability”: This statement is fundamentally flawed and not supported by the evidence. Energy use in Proof of Work is a feature, not a bug. Bitcoin is a consumer of last resort which is not tied to geographical location like human populations are, it subsidies greenfield renewable energy projects in markets where other consumers are yet to move in. Bitcoin is a technology which results in “green” outcomes, no matter how much energy it uses. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 61.68.215.67 (talk) 22:23, 11 January 2022‎
  • Support Support Cryptocurrencies are not environmentally sustainable, not an efficient way to transfer money from party A to party B (due to transaction fees), and manage to be even less ethical than the global banking system. Thryduulf (talk: meta · en.wp · wikidata) 22:24, 11 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose All world currencies have negative associations connected to war, oil, suppression of minorities, slavery, etc. To pick out only crypto based on energy usage would be to ignore that all other currencies uses several orders of magnitude more energy. The energy argument is misguided. Crypto currencies encourage miners to find the cheapest and most sustainable forms of enerygy to reduce their cost basis. Its because of mining that advancements in harnessing natural energy are being pioneered at the consumer level. The energy used to run Bitcoin is les than christmas lights in a year or even Decpecito plays on Youtube. Should Wikimedia also ban the mention of popmusic videos and the twinkling of cultural festive lights as well? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Titanruss (talk) 23:08, 11 January 2022‎
  • Oppose Oppose accepting the dollar is not endorsing the U.S. military. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2600:1700:e371:3ea0:ce7:239a:bec8:6500 (talk) 23:34, 11 January 2022
  • Support Support WMF is facilitating cryptocurrency advocates, who can point to it as an example of adoption, and try to align themselves with the values of the WMF in the process. The environmental impact of PoW blockchains is massive and completely unjustifyable for the amount of real-world usage they get. The wider space is full of scammers and wild speculation who prey on the naive and the greedy. People don’t get paid in Bitcoin, there is no need for them to convert to Bitcoin to donate. CMooney_(WMF)
  • Support Support per proposal ToBeFree (talk) 00:47, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Bank transfers, credit cards and Paypal are inaccessible for millions of people who don’t have government ID and therefore can’t open an account; they don’t allow anonymous or pseudonymous donations (could be risky depending on your personal situation); and they can easily be surveilled and censored. Cryptocurrencies such as Monero don’t require government ID or personal information such as full name and home address, have strong blockchain-level privacy, fees less than 1 cent and are CPU mined with regular computers (no large ASIC server farms), which uses a comparatively small amount of energy to provide an inclusive global financial network that helps people today. Wikipedia allows everyone to freely access and contribute information, regardless of where they live. Cryptocurrencies allow everyone to freely send and receive money, including unbanked people and people who need pseudonymity, which makes this financially inclusive donation method a perfect match for Wikipedia’s aim of accessible education for all. It’s as easy as downloading a wallet and posting the address on the donations page (no third party payment processor required). AnarkioC (talk) 00:48, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support It is grossly inappropriate that the WMF should be acting in any manner which might be seen as endorsing cryptocurrencies. They are environmentally damaging, financially and ethically dubious, and frequently used for unlawful purposes. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:11, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose I don’t think the environmental argument withstands scrutiny (see discussion section). Reputation risks and fees are potentially valid concerns, but ones the WMF is well-positioned to evaluate and an RFC isn’t, so that should be left to them to mitigate. What’s left is the question of whether we should try to police our donors to not act in ways that we find disagreeable. I don’t think we should. If someone wants to financially support the Wikimedia movement and feels bitcoin is the method that works best for them, we should just gratefully accept that (as long as the method is economically viable for the WMF). —Tgr (talk) 01:28, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support As Wikimedia increasingly commercializes its technology services, advocacy of a free web, commitment to the environment among other things…it sends a mixed message to support cryptocurrencies without further assessment and input from the community. Shushugah (talk) 01:43, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Beggars can’t be choosers. Stop acting like it diminishes WMF integrity, we had over $150m in donations last year and our ever expanding staff numbers (over 550 now apparently) means people need to get paid, we can’t be choosy about where the money comes from, its not like its blood diamond money or worse..cryptocurrency is here to stay and we have to go with time or get left behind..–Stemoc 02:54, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Matthew.kowal (Talk) 03:19, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Nobody is asking about the climate impact of the traditional banking system. This discussion is also tainted by the dominance of BTC. PoS uses way less energy and there are even other PoW chains like Bitcoin Cash that are way more efficient. BTC refuses to be more efficient. If at all, stop accepting BTC only. VierKäseHoch314 04:32, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Cryptocurrency is no more environmentally damaging than other forms of currency production, and with many countries providing renewable energy in abundance, the carbon footprint of crypto becomes even more negligible. By offering independence and a free-market alternative to traditional currencies, supporting crypto is in everyone’s best interests. Jnagyjr (talk) 03:42, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose By not supporting any currency the People deem of value you are de facto supporting a fiat system that is used to oppress the people. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 72.200.184.171 (talk) 03:43, 12 January 2022 (UTC)‎[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support Cryptocurrency certainly has its place in society, and I believe that it will continue too for some time. However, I agree with the views presented by this RfC and other Support !voters. Cryptocurrency has a much too large impact on the environment, carries immensely high transaction fees, and accepting it risks damaging the reputation of the Wikimedia movement and community. Additionally, endorsement of BitPay might even turn out to be negative, as it has come under recent criticism for only allowing BIP21 and not BIP70 (TLDR: causing potential security risks). The Oppose !votes here also are unfounded claims not backed by evidence in my opinion.
    • The Wikimedia Foundation is already drowning in money from initiatives such as the Wikimedia Endowment. Accepting cryptocurrencies as endorsing them is not akin to accepting PayPal/Visa/Mastercard/The US dollar, as those payment methods are already standardized. Not accepting them would truly mean losing a significant amount of profits.
    • Bank transfers/PayPal are inaccessible for many, however I doubt that other methods of contributing non-financially would not have the same impact (editing, hosting servers, developing software. etc). Additionally, cryptocurrencies themselves are hard to navigate for many.
    • Most articles linked from https://endthefud.org/ and similar sites trying to disclaim cryptocurrencies’ energy use/environmental impact are misinterpreted. For example, the Harvard Business Review article [5] linked actually stresses the importance of multiple perspectives in comparing energy use, and does not come to the conclusion that cryptocurrency energy use is necessarily negligible, rather, it acknowledges that it is a contributing factor to consider.
    • Some may argue that there are many other ways for the WMF to lower their energy use/environmental impact. Firstly, to quote a proverb, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Secondly, accepting cryptocurrencies is essentially endorsing an entire field known for energy waste/environmental negative impact, not just doing environmental impact on the WMF’s own part.
    • BitPay does not offer more privacy protections than PayPal or credit cards. They require the full name, address, etc of donors. Additionally, their privacy policy is less privacy-friendly than WMF’s donor privacy policy.

Finally, to refute a point, something that I’ve been hearing a lot on !opposes here is that there are “better cryptocurrencies”, that are “more environmentally friendly” (e.g. proof of stake), “carry less fees”, etc. While this may be true. I still believe that the WMF should wait and re-evaluate the field. Cryptocurrencies and the field (e.g. NFTs) are rapidly evolving, and alternatives may take years to develop. While the field is certainly promising for many reasons, and something that I personally am keeping a close eye on, it is simply not ready for donation production use at this moment. For all of the above reasons, I am strongly supporting this RfC, and feel that the WMF should suspend donations of all cryptocurrencies for the time being. EpicPupper (talk) 03:57, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

  • Oppose Oppose The level of environmental impact is arguable. Please look into https://endthefud.org/ User248672046879 (talk) 03:59, 12 January 2022‎ (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Cryptocurrencies have largely pushed areas using them to move towards sustainable power such as el Salvador and Iceland both having very large percentage of mining running on geothermal. Additionally the power ised by mining operations provide a rapidly adjustable load source to even out these variable power sources. The amount of power used by proof of work style coins is far less than that which is used to keep the current fiat system running and has drastically less overheaas all power is used to secure the network rather than to cool a corner offer with floor to ceiling windows of a banking manager. The amount of corruption in fiat is orders of magnitude more than the entire crypto market and has cause untold more suffering to the human race with the lies it has propagated. -THennesy — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.64.110.70 (talk) 03:59, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    “The amount of power used by proof of work style coins is far less than that which is used to keep the current fiat system running” – This is only true if you look at the overall amount of power used. The number of crypto transactions per year is almost non-existent compared to the number in the current banking system. If you look at it on a per-transaction or per-dollar basis – which you must do in order for this argument to be taken seriously – then the reverse is true. PoW crypto uses literally thousands of times more power than the entire global banking system. Even if you restrict this to just credit cards alone, PoW uses over a thousand times more energy per transaction. This kind of deliberately misleading information, commonly spread by crypto proponents, is yet another reason why WMF should distance itself from the entire movement. 140.128.251.133 05:28, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Bitcoin and Wikimedia are separate entities and Wikimedia should not be held accountable for Bitcoin’s global network power usage. Also when one understands the value proposition of Bitcoin, it becomes clear that using a little bit of electricity used to “back” Bitcoin as a global currency is actually much better (and moral, and ethical) than the current environmental and human cost of “backing” the US Petro-dollar. To accept US Dollars but not Bitcoin because of the environmental footprint is hypocritical at best. Every currency is backed by some commodity in the real world be it gold, oil or electricity – electricity is the cleanest and most renewable option of them all. Advtadvt (talk) 04:00, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support and IMO the canvassing above says all you need to know about crypto. Continued acceptance isn’t even ethically tenable. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 04:30, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support. Cryptocurrencies are a bad idea on many different fronts. The less we have to do with them the happier I’ll be. Rjhansen (talk) 04:32, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support The numerous supports have laid out the arguments far better than I could. This is the only thing on Meta that has actually motivated me sufficiently to make an edit here. This will probably be my one and only edit here for a long time. Trainsandotherthings (talk) 04:42, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support Cryptocurrencies are a planet-wrecking scam. I have yet to see even a single argument in favour of them that does not boil down to whataboutism.–Leptictidium (talk) 05:47, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Whataboutism is the fundamental nature of thought. What about global debt, debt overhang, 50% of those under authoritarian regimes, hyperinflation, financial repression, CBDC’s, capital controls, the petrodollar, the lower zero bound, etc. not so simple is it? —2600:8802:E03:1D00:CDAA:C9CE:A43:25A6 07:26, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support Cryptocurrencies are, besides being horrible for the environment, stupid internet monopoly money that only function as a scam, or as a mean to exchange illegal goods. While it is true that the WMF is smart enough not to touch such a radioactive and unstable asset directly, someone is actually exchanging the tokens for actual money, that typically comes from the purses of someone who’s being scammed. I consider not refusing any contact with such “crypto””currencies” ethically questionable. Joe the internet plumber (talk) 05:56, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Bitcoin shares the core values of open source. Mining gold and other metals use large amounts of energy and no one opposes it. Jan 12. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2800:b20:111c:ec7:3550:79df:86f9:b1e5 (talk) 06:19, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Crypto is a disaster. Heide OCE (talk) 06:23, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support The energy usage concerns with cryptocurrency may be solvable with alternatives to Bitcoin and Ethereum, but because they are the most popular at the moment, and both are Proof-of-Work, the energy use is an extremely important concern. If in the future, a genuine shift occurs to use algorithms that do not consume as much power, and this overtakes the current wasteful version, then they should be reconsidered Sarr Cat (talk) 06:46, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose The lack of education on Bitcoins environmental impact is awe inspiring. A modicum of research is warranted: https://www.coindesk.com/business/2021/03/05/the-frustrating-maddening-all-consuming-bitcoin-energy-debate/2600:8802:E03:1D00:CDAA:C9CE:A43:25A6 07:11, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neutral Neutral I can see the reasons for those supporting banning cryptocurrencies, but some currencies such as the Venezuelan bolivar are so unstable that using cryptocurrencies may be better. —SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 07:40, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support Cryptocurrency is a scam and extremely bad for the environment, I think WMF should stay far away from it.–Laurita (talk) 07:44, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose The WMF should accept all forms of appreciated assets (e.g. stocks), simply because it is tax-advantageous to do so (in the US). Suppose someone at a 30% tax bracket bought some bitcoin for $1,000 and it is now worth $10,000. If they donated the bitcoin directly, they would get a $3,000 tax writeoff, bringing the out-of-pocket cost to $7,000. If they sold the bitcoin and then donated in dollars, they would still get the $3,000 tax writeoff but would have to pay $1,350 capital gains, bringing the out-of-pocket cost to $8,350. If we let them donate bitcoin directly, then could easily take the $1,350 saved and donate it to an environmental charity – doing far more to help the environment that virtue-signaling by banning bitcoin donations. — King of ♥ 07:52, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Bad for the environment, basically worthless in the long term, no good reason to accept them. ThePlatypusofDoom (talk) 07:55, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose I personally don’t use cryptocurrency and i see, that the current way of mining cryptocurrency is very bad for our environment. But regarding environmental aspects, some banks are really bad as well. So should we ban some banks as well? In my opinion allowing cryptocurrency is an importand step into the future, especially for people who don’t like how banks are working today. So even when today the use of cryptocurrency isn’t too big, we should stick to it. Otherwise we should ban (some) banks as well, which isn’t practical. —Cave2596 (talk) 07:55, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support because of nature conservation —ɱ 08:49, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Notes[edit]