Wikipedia's community of editors has voted to stop accepting cryptocurrency donations after an intense, months-long debate.
The vote – 232 for, 94 against – means that the proposal now goes to the Wikimedia Foundation for consideration, which isn't bound to accept it.
The discussion was started by Wikipedia user Molly White, known as GorillaWarfare, who runs the excellent Web3 is going just great (opens in new tab) blog, highlighting frequent oddities in the crypto space.
"Cryptocurrencies are extremely risky investments that have only been gaining popularity among retail investors," White wrote back in January 2022. "I do not think we should be endorsing their use in this way."
One of the core reasons was that Bitcoin and ether, the two most popular currencies, use a proof-of-work model that requires huge amounts of computation power.
One of the main debates within the Web3 space right now is over proof-of-work versus proof-of-stake, a newer and less energy-intensive model that – if all goes to plan – Ethereum will eventually switch to.
In an email (opens in new tab) to Ars Technica, the Wikimedia Foundation said: "We are aware of the community's request that the Foundation consider ending our acceptance of donations in cryptocurrency. Our Fundraising team is reviewing the request and related discussions and we will provide additional information once they complete that process."
One popular estimate (opens in new tab) – which, it's worth noting, is dispute – shows that Bitcoin uses around 200 TWh of energy per year, or as much as 70 million people in Thailand.
As the climate crisis worsens, that much energy being consumed by an asset that is fairly useless outside of speculation is a very questionable thing to be happening.
Proponents of accepting cryptocurrencies at Wikipedia argued that the energy use comes from mining, not using the currency.
Similar debates have been raging at Mozilla, another independent web darling, which received a lot of criticism after a tweet referenced accepting donations in crypto.
The browser maker has since retreated and said it won't accept such donations in the future.