Requests for comment/Stop accepting cryptocurrency donations

The following request for comments is closed.
This RfC was open to community input between January 10, 2022 and April 12, 2022. A little under 400 users participated in the voting and discussion concerning the proposition that the Wikimedia Foundation stop accepting cryptocurrency donations.

Common arguments in support include: issues of environmental sustainability, that accepting cryptocurrencies constitutes implicit endorsement of the issues surrounding cryptocurrencies, and community issues with the risk to the movement’s reputation for accepting cryptocurrencies.

Common arguments in opposition include: the existence of less energy-intensive cryptocurrencies (proof-of-stake), that cryptocurrencies provide safer ways to donate and engage in finance for people in oppressive countries, and that fiat currencies also have issues with environmental sustainability.

Excluding new accounts and unregistered users, the tally is 232 to 94, or 71.17% in support of the proposal. These results indicate overall community support, with a significant minority in opposition.

Thus, the Wikimedia community requests that the Wikimedia Foundation stop accepting cryptocurrency donations.

Happy editing, Vermont 🐿️ (talk) 22:56, 12 April 2022 (UTC)


Proposal

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 may 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 see the list below, 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)

I've received an answer to my question about the total amount of cryptocurrency donations the Foundation is receiving. Copying it here for visibility, from Talk:Fundraising/2020-21 Report:
  • The total $ value of donations made in cryptocurrencies
    • In the last financial year we received $130,100.94 worth of donations in cryptocurrencies. Crypto was around 0.08% of our revenue last year, and it remains one of our smallest revenue channels.
  • The total number of donors who opted to donate cryptocurrency
    • In the last financial years we had 347 donors who used the cryptocurrency option.
  • Which cryptocurrencies were donated (preferably with information about total value and number of donors using each)
    • In the last financial year the most used cryptocurrency was Bitcoin. We have never held cryptocurrency, and spot-convert donations daily into fiat currency (USD), which doesn’t have a significant environmental impact.
GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:50, 17 January 2022 (UTC)
See also: "Should the Wikimedia Foundation continue to accept cryptocurrency donations?" in the enwiki Signpost. GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:29, 30 January 2022 (UTC)

Discussion

How much in crypto has been donated to date?

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)
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)
I think it is a good idea to ask for this information.--BanditoX (talk) 19:39, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
Yep, this is what should be asked even before the voting starts. It's true that the arguments stated are mostly independent of the actual number of donations; but, it still tells people how much money are we even talking about. I suspect the amount of money will be negligent, and not worth of even discussing and could be removed without anyone noticing. --Running (talk) 11:22, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • This is an interesting thread. RamzyM (talk) 01:56, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

Reply from the WMF

Hi @GorillaWarfare,

Thank you for your questions. Please see the answers below:

  • The total $ value of donations made in cryptocurrencies
    • In the last financial year we received $130,100.94 worth of donations in cryptocurrencies. Crypto was around 0.08% of our revenue last year, and it remains one of our smallest revenue channels.
  • The total number of donors who opted to donate cryptocurrency
    • In the last financial years we had 347 donors who used the cryptocurrency option.
  • Which cryptocurrencies were donated (preferably with information about total value and number of donors using each)
    • In the last financial year the most used cryptocurrency was Bitcoin. We have never held cryptocurrency, and spot-convert donations daily into fiat currency (USD), which doesn’t have a significant environmental impact.

Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 07:56, 17 January 2022 (UTC)

--Thibaut (talk) 10:19, 17 January 2022 (UTC)

Already immediately converted to USD?

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)

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)
+1 GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:52, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
+1 BradPatrick (talk) 18:55, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
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)
There is a very important difference between accepting bitcoin donations and requiring people to cash out first. As detailed by "King of Hearts" in their vote below, it is highly advantageous in places such as the USA to donate appreciated assets rather than realize the capital gains yourself, pay taxes on them, and end up donating a lot less. This is really the best reason for donating (or accepting donations in) bitcoin and it makes a big difference so it would be really unfortunate to remove this option. Canadian Shores (talk) 17:48, 12 January 2022 (UTC) Canadian Shores (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Inasmuch as we're advertising that BitPay is a legitimate processor, it seems we're doing the same for PayPal and Amazon Pay. Both Amazon and PayPal are pretty evil. I'm not sure exactly what line we're attempting to draw in the sand here. --MZMcBride (talk) 18:54, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
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)
Nice find. :-) --MZMcBride (talk) 18:55, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
@TheDJ: Do you recall where those community requests surfaced? I tried to search on Meta and enwiki but came up short at least in terms of RFCs. Steven Walling • talk 20:19, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Very much doubt these were RFCs. More likely comments on the mailing list or OTRS etc or even in survey responses. But I do remember it being talked about back then. very vaguely. its been a long time. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 23:14, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
There's always been a lot of discussion about bitcoin in Wikimedia spaces. I believe WMUS-NYC first opened a bitcoin wallet and then WMF followed suit because it looked silly to send bitcoins to a small chapter. Nemo 16:49, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
@Steven Walling, TheDJ, and Nemo bis: Not sure about "always" "a lot". In December 2013, Odder started a mailing list thread titled "Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method" which saw a lot of participation by regulars and might have been influential. For an example of an early objection after the 2014 rollout, see these comments by Jorge Stolfi ("this highly visible decision, and the terms of the announcement, help lend an undeserved credibility to bitcoin, that may induce unwary people to put their money into an investment of extremely high risk (to put it very mildly), in a market that is infested with scammers and incompentent entrepreneurs").
Regards, HaeB (talk) 04:54, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Brion's point is key. WMF already doesn't accept bitcoin donations; it just deflects questions by bitcoin enthusiasts by telling them to use one of their preferred services to send dollars instead. This used to be a big deal, but Bitcoin is fully mainstream now: nobody cares about one entity receiving 100 k$ from bitcoins. This free advertising for Bitpay can probably be removed without second thoughts. Whether to close the Bitpay wallet is another consideration. Nemo 16:49, 18 January 2022 (UTC)

Fees?

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)

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) 2A02:908:1988:360:21F8:CAFC:D930:AAA8 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
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)
That just means that we need to replace BitPay with another transaction processor, not that you need to stop accepting Bitcoin no_alone (talk) 10:00, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
BitPay is accepting BCH which have less than a penny transaction fees 145.226.30.83 09:22, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Saying fees are "too high" is not a compelling argument since high fees automatically deter usage without the need for policy changes. Simply put, if fees are too high, people will not use the technology. If people are willing to pay fees then, by definition, the users obtained value from the transaction, for whatever reason (ex. censorship resistance). The same is true for arguments on energy. Energy is not free. Therefore, if a technology uses too much energy for what it achieves, and is inefficient, the cost to use it will rise with its energy consumption and its usage will automatically curtail on its own. For example, Hummers are no longer popular vehicles because they aren’t cost effective. No establishment ever needed to refuse business from people using energy hungry vehicles. The fact that people are willing to incur the costs is proof that a technology is useful to them. If the costs are too expensive, people won't use the technology. End of story PaulJohansson (talk) 16:38, 12 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

When it comes to fees, we can consider also cryptos zero or very low fees. E.g. quick web search shows an article listing IOTA and nano as zero fee cryptos, and Stellar, Cardano, Litecoin, Dash, Tron, EOSIO, Zilliqa and Digibyte as low fee cryptos. (other parameters, like environmental burden, in other sections) --KuboF Hromoslav (talk) 18:03, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Some of these coins are also MUCH more environment friendly because they don't use a POW algorithm but some variant of POS instead. I think having a norm for both fee and environmental friendliness, and also e.g. throughput, can be a better way to take this argument public, instead of just disabling access to support for e.g. African countries where Wikimedia is super relevant but monetary infrastructure very poor. --LaPingvino (talk) 20:37, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Offwiki discussion

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)

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)
Yes, see Template:Not_a_ballot. -- ArielGlenn (talk) 06:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
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)
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)
I don’t think striking comments is a good idea, the banner {{not a ballot}} clearly says However, you are invited to participate and your opinion is welcome. Adding a small note after the comment like it’s done on the English Wikipedia (i.e. en:Template:spa or en:Template:canvassed) would be better so we don’t give the impression that we censor some opinions.
Of course, I’m not talking about the unconstructive and trolling comments. --Thibaut (talk) 10:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
I've pulled the {{SPA}} template over from en.wiki for use here and tagged a few more accounts. I haven't struck any, nor have I changed Seddon's choice to strike some coments—I'll leave that decision to someone else. I agree that we should at least note the SPAs. GorillaWarfare (talk) 15:55, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
I fully trust the competence of any closers of this discussion. My concern is that we are permitting a distortion of a live conversation that should be between members of the community not with the entirety of the internet. When community members arrive here, its a lot to expect from people to have to parse from an already complex discussion, what are SPA's and what are legitimate views from fellow community member. I've not engaged in the discussion myself because I feel torn between points of view and I'm trying to get a feel for where this community is. I'm not that bothered about how a subreddit might perceive us, what I am bothered about is an engaging and fair discussion between community members. I'd like to encourage us to take a firmer stance on the canvassing during the discussion and not simply after the fact. For the time being though I'm happy to adjust my approach to align with GorillaWarfare. Seddon (talk) 17:12, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

It was also posted on Hacker News here --Haansn08 (talk) 12:42, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Also looks like the cryptocurrency publication Cointelegraph ran an article about this discussion this morning, and linked directly to it. Cointelegraph is also pretty widely syndicated. GorillaWarfare (talk) 18:12, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

CoinDesk too: [5] GorillaWarfare (talk) 18:21, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Environmental burden of a bitcoin transaction

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)

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)
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)
On the other hand Bitcoin prices did take a hit when Tesla announced to not take them for payment anymore. The WMF alone is not going to produce such an effect, but if enough people stopped accepting it, it would have an influence on the price. Further, the higher the price, the more miners there will be, since profitability sinks. Just because bitcoin is largely pure speculation, doesn't mean these things have no influence at all. KPFC💬 11:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Speaking of Tesla, after pausing payments in Bitcoin due to environmental concerns, they announced yesterday that they started to accept Dogecoin for payments (only for merch atm).
Elon Musk said that he worked with the Dogecoin’s development team to find a solution for the environmental issues.
Dogecoin is a PoW cryptocurrency but according to an analysis by TRG datacenters mentionned by CNBC, it uses significantly less energy than Bitcoin and is accepted by Bitpay. Thibaut (talk) 13:04, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
bitcoin mining or pow is a tool to secure the network , it was not created in the first place to mine additional bitcoins. the bitcoin reward is a economical incentive to attribute energy to the network ( we don't work for free). My whole point is that before we make decisions that we use facts and good arguments. An argument can be made to ban pow protocols when they have a large carbon footprint and you can say that only stores of value with a low carbon footprint will be accepted. then we as a community need to decide how we will define and calculate the low carbon footprint. I only want us to have a thorough nuanced discussion based on fact,arguments from both sides without thinking black/white. We have enough people in the world already that define something good or bad without knowing the whole story. Wikipedia and the wikimedia foundation should on of the few places where there is place for nuance, discussion ,complexity in thought. 2A02:1808:280:5DBA:7D05:3BA9:369D:A258 15:58, 15 January 2022 (UTC) 2A02:1808:280:5DBA:7D05:3BA9:369D:A258 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
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)
A network becoming more valuable and attractive is a tacit admission that it is useful. When users actively choose to use and pay for services that are energy hungry, by definition, those users are putting their own individual needs first. That is not for the WMF to decide otherwise. Energy is not free. Therefore, if a technology or service uses "too much" energy for what it achieves, and is therefore inefficient, the cost to use it will rise with its energy consumption and its usage will automatically curtail on its own. There is no way around those market forces. Hummers are no longer popular vehicles because they use too much fuel and aren’t cost effective to drive. A McDonald's Drive-Thru does not need to step in and refuse money from people driving Hummers because such inefficient vehicles are not cost effective for end users. Bitcoin would be no different. If Bitcoin becomes more valuable, and fees remain affordable, then it is by definition useful to those who use it. You may not like that, but your opinions are not relevant to that value proposition. If Bitcoin transactions remain affordable and people choose to pay for those transactions, then Proof-of-Work by definition is efficient and provides good value for those users. If Bitcoin is as inefficient as you say it is, it simply will not survive. End of story. If Bitcoin survives and is affordable to users, then it is therefore efficient at what it achieves. Either way WMF can continue to accept all forms of money and let the market decide what is most efficient for end users. PaulJohansson (talk) 16:06, 12 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Bitcoin has build-in limitation that the mining rewards will half every 4 years. This will mean that in next 10 years the mining reward is smaller than the transaction validation reward. This will effectively limit the energy usage. It will still grow if Bitcoin is successful, but not so steep as this far. Editor92345 (talk) 18:26, 16 February 2022 (UTC) Editor92345 (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

Environmental and activist considerations of Bitcoin

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) Advtadvt (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

did you know McDonald's spends more energy making Happy Meal toys than the entire global Bitcoin network? - the difference here being that we don't accept McDonald's Happy Meal toys as a form of donation. Probably. -- TNT (talk • she/her) 23:55, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
That was a narrow take away from the whole argument, part of which is that Bitcoin's energy use for network security via proof of work is ridiculously low compared to the proof of war required to defend the value of sovereign currencies, which you readily accept without second thought. Dawillus (talk) 16:54, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

I suggest reading this report (https://nydig.com/research/report-bitcoin-net-zero) from NYDIG and this piece (https://www.lynalden.com/bitcoin-energy/) before making snap judgements about the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies, and more specifically, Bitcoin. It's energy use is relatively small, on the scale of miscellaneous industrial activities such as zinc production, whose energy usage we do not point to as "useless". Fundamentally, all opposition to Bitcoin's energy use stems from the notion that Bitcoin and the Bitcoin network have no value nor viable use case. This judgement is of course typically passed down by members of developed countries with stable currencies which they can freely transact without censorship or fear or retribution. From that lens it is easy to write off Bitcoin as redundant and therefore useless. That could not be farther from the truth for citizens of Turkey, Argentina, Palestine, Nigeria, Vietnam, etc. who already utilize Bitcoin and the Bitcoin rails to facilitate daily transactions as their sovereign currencies burn down around them or are seized at centralized hubs necessary for sovereign currency transfers (governments or the likes of Western Mutual). By refusing Bitcoin donations, you exclude some of the most vulnerable people of the world in the name of the fiat currency system which compounds their suffering. All this in the false sense that you are protecting the environment, when in fact your success would further doom it by extending the consumerist culture bred by inflationary sovereign currencies. Dawillus (talk) 16:55, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

Not reliable sources, not peer reviewed, not academic publications.
The NYDIG report is by Nic Carter (again), their job is to promote bitcoin ventures, so definitely not a reliable source.
The Lynalden web page is a promotional newsletter selling "investment strategies". There is no author named, but presumably it's the website owner, Alden. The sources it references includes an unattributed quote from from "Bitcoin Wiki". This is a self-published blog by a non-academic apparently promoting themselves. Not a reliable source.
--Anstil (talk) 15:00, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
all academic publications are prone to assumptions, error and biases as are the reports so we have to have a thorough dicussion about it .It is true that bitcoin uses a lot of energy ,but so does a lot of other technology, it is very difficult to say that the energy used is useful , is watching netflix , having christmas lights useful? I like to game sometimes but my wife also find it a waste of energy , so that is a very difficult discussion. we see that with upcoming technologies like IOT and 5G that we are in an era where we are going to need more and more energy to add value. It is however very important that we look at each application critically and force it to improve its efficiency and force it to lower its carbon footprint through the use of renewables? , nuclear? , other sources?. Each energy consuming product should be held against the standards. It is important that we also have a very thorough discussion on cryptocurrencies based on facts , arguments and considering second order effects. we have enough people on the world already that have only the good/bad mentality 2A02:1808:280:5DBA:7D05:3BA9:369D:A258 16:09, 15 January 2022 (UTC) 2A02:1808:280:5DBA:7D05:3BA9:369D:A258 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. S

Alternative

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) New4Q (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

Bitcoin's infamous Proof of Work consensus protocol requires expensive, specialized, energy-hungry hardware. This results in the enormous amount of 121 TWh of energy consumption per year and more than 9 kilotons of e-waste. By using consumer-grade hardware that is easily re-purposed Signum also avoids e-waste and in comparison, requires less than 0.002% of that energy to drive the Blockchain.
On Signum, energy-intensive calculations are done only once when the miners plot their available disk space. Thereafter the mining process requires reading through a very small fraction of this disk space (1/4096, less than 0.025 % of the plotted capacity). The hard disks are idle most of the time as this small fraction only needs to be read every few minutes to secure the network. 2601:602:8800:ADC0:F8AE:9C3C:303C:D80A 20:20, 13 January 2022 (UTC) 2601:602:8800:ADC0:F8AE:9C3C:303C:D80A (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Please don't use this RfC as an opportunity to shill your pet blockchains. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:22, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

Environmental impact of alternative methods of payments

The other ways to give are:

  1. Credit/debit card, Internet Banking
  2. PayPal
  3. Checks via mail
  4. Bank transfer

Options 1, 3 and 4 rely on the traditional banking system, which uses twice as much energy as Bitcoin mining.

Regarding Paypal, they consumed 264,100 MWh of energy in 2020, 76% was from renewable sources. (source). Bitcoin mining therefore consumes 466x more (123.15 TWh/y). However, the onchain transaction volume on Bitcoin was $527.1bn in Q2 2021 vs $310.99bn for PayPal during the same period. So the impact per onchain transaction of Bitcoin is 275x higher than Paypal's. But, Bitcoin transactions can also be done on the Lightning Network. These transactions are not recorded onchain and barely consume energy. My guess is that Paypal and Bitcoin could reach similar levels of energy consumption per transaction given the Lightning network's growth but I assume that, as of today, Paypal is at least 10 times more energy efficient than Bitcoin.

No matter the method used, most donations are probably in US dollars, the world's reserve currency. The petrodollar system elevated the US dollar to this status. That's why "Bitcoin’s Footprint (& Bootprint) Is Tiny Next To The Petrodollar". See also: The Hidden Costs of the Petrodollar.

So if energy consumption is the main reason to abandon donations in cryptocurrencies, then credit/debit cards, checks, bank transfers, and all USD transactions (including Paypal) should be abandoned as well. A455bcd9 (talk) 14:52, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

You are conflating a settlement layer (Bitcoin) with transactional layer (PayPal). Retail transactional systems like PayPal cannot achieve final settlement between banks. It is more accurate to compare Bitcoin to Fedwire or TARGET2 which are extremely expensive Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) systems that censor transactions are backed by militaries and large institutions with extremely large carbon footprints. Retail payment systems like PayPal and Visa can sit on top of Bitcoin for final settlement. Lightning Network is an example of an open payment system that sits on top of Bitcoin.

"Even at PayPal, we understand the difference between a settlement layer and a transactional layer. :)" [1]

PaulJohansson (talk) 16:20, 12 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Word salad garbage. When sources like the United Nations credible statement stating that a Bitcoin transaction is over a million times more energy expensive than using a Visa card are being dismissed in preference to "sources" such as personal tweets from Daniel Brain "opinions are my own", a software engineer who advocates for Bitcoin, and a newspaper chasing cheap headlines by re-quoting opinions with incomprehensible faux sophistry about gold mining costs from "Galaxy Digital" which is run by "billionaire former hedge-fund manager Mike Novogratz", then the single purpose accounts used by bitcoin lobbyists rushing to edit this page after being canvassed on bitcoin forums is equivalent to accepting Flat Earth presentations at an astronomy conference in order to show that woke astronomers can keep an "open mind". --Anstil (talk) 11:23, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Please stay civil in your comments.
The article from the UN says that it’s according to some commentators, the UN itself says Despite these issues, UN experts believe that cryptocurrencies and the technology that powers them (blockchain) can play an important role in sustainable development, and actually improving our stewardship of the environment.
As for the cost per transaction comparison, this metric is misleading according to Harvard Business Review. Thibaut (talk) 13:52, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
As mentioned in another thread, the opinion piece by Nic Carter in HBR is not a peer reviewed article and as Carter's job is to lobby for Castle Island Ventures investing in public blockchain startups, it is more than bizarre to take their opinions over a statement by the United Nations which included a very specific credible measurement of comparative energy costs. Anstil (talk) 17:37, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
As mentioned in another thread, this metric is also disputed by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
As for the UN article, if you read the article from start to finish and not just one paragraph, you’ll see that they seem optimistic for the sustainability of cryptocurrencies Thibaut (talk) 23:20, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
This RFC is about what the Wikimedia Foundation should do this year, not in some theoretical future based on PR spin or magical thinking.
This may read as rude, but just reading their reports, CCAF is promoting PR that bitcoin mining might soon become climate friendly, when the reality of current trends is that by their own figures it became 80% more damaging last year.
There is not one publication by the CCAF that has passed peer review and their reports appear to never had their original data independently validated or published.
Given that there are huge amounts of venture capital being thrown around in this area of FinTech, it's no surprise that a business centre in Cambridge might take some of that money, but their publications are neither independent (as illustrated by the full page spreads by their sponsors) nor the best quality sources to illustrate reality or testable scientific fact.
If you can find some peer reviewed reliable sources that move the discussion forward, that would be super. --Anstil (talk) 15:12, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
Cambridge University's CBECI is a en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Scholarship reliable source for en:Bitcoin#Criticisms. No CCAF sponsored content has been cited in this RFC. JamesPem (talk) 03:15, 16 January 2022 (UTC)
Based on their website and publications the CCAF owns the CBECI. Please provide reliable sources for your claim that the CCAF does not "sponsor" the CBECI. --Anstil (talk) 12:38, 17 January 2022 (UTC)
Conversation moved to Requests_for_comment/Stop_accepting_cryptocurrency_donations#CBECI_governance JamesPem (talk) 03:50, 18 January 2022 (UTC)

CBECI governance

With regard to the independence of the CBECI a project of the CCAF, their self publications include the statement:

This research study would not have been possible without the generous support and participation from industry actors: we would like to express our gratitude to the following cryptoasset entities for contributing to this research study by completing our surveys. Some survey respondents prefer not to publicly disclose their participation.

— CCAF 2nd Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking (page 8),[2] 2019

The support and participation includes (just picking a handful under 'B' and 'C'):

  • BitBox
  • Bitlox
  • Bitcoin
  • Coinbase
  • Crypto.com
  • Cryptobuyer
  • Cryptomine

Nowhere in their publications is there a statement about governance or any apparent good governance policy, such as whether the support from the large number of crypto businesses includes financial support or more direct participation. There is no claim that they are independent of influence or loyalties to the listed supporting crypto businesses and bitcoin related agencies, or indeed the secret support of companies which as not been disclosed but is stated by the CCAF to exist.

Robert Wardrop is the director of the CCAF and has a "portfolio of senior advisory and board-level positions" which is not publicly declared. --Anstil (talk) 11:47, 17 January 2022 (UTC)

That's not how en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Sponsored_content works. When Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Scholarship sources accept sponsorships, it does not disqualify all other content. You have cited a benchmark study that is very clearly labeled as en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Sponsored_content. No one else has cited sponsored content here, other than you. Please familiarize with how en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Sponsored_content works:

Sponsored content is generally unacceptable as a source, because it is paid for by advertisers and bypasses the publication's editorial process. Reliable publications clearly indicate sponsored articles in the byline or with a disclaimer at the top of the article.[3]

CCAF has clearly indicated its sponsored content, just as you have shown. en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Sponsored_content clearly states that reliable sources can have sponsored content, so long as it is clearly labeled and that sponsored content is not cited. CBECI does not list a direct sponsor and therefore falls under valid en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Scholarship content.
Note that en:Bitcoin uses CBECI as a neutral Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Scholarship source in order to critique Bitcoin. JamesPem (talk) 03:46, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
Furthermore, en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Scholarship sources do not need to be peer-reviewed, so long as they are vetted:

"Reliable scholarship – Material such as an article, book, monograph, or research paper that has been vetted by the scholarly community is regarded as reliable, where the material has been published in reputable peer-reviewed sources or by well-regarded academic presses."[4]

CBECI material has been cited and published in academic press and peer-reviewed publications.[5][6][7][8] JamesPem (talk) 05:25, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
Your responses here only act to confirm my assessment.
  • CBECI reports or CCAF publications have never been peer reviewed, not a single one.
  • CCAF owns the CBECI, so claims that the CCAF does not "support" the CBECI are bizarre.
  • There is no transparency over which organizations fund or otherwise materially support CBECI, despite the massive but incomplete published list of crypto businesses with their logos thanked for "support and participation".
  • The director of the CBECI has a "portfolio" of board level positions in companies which remains undeclared.
  • The CBECI makes no claims about governance, nor has any assertion of being independent of crypto related businesses been found.
At no point have I said anything about English Wikipedia policies, however I cannot find any specific consensus about whether this source is original research or itself must be considered reliable.
I have specifically stated that the CBECI may have been quoted in peer reviewed sources. Clearly this is not evidence that the CBECI self publications have been peer reviewed or that anyone other than the CBECI has ever verified (or "vetted") their secret source data.
As a comparison which may help, many peer reviewed academic publications will quote opinions or publications from celebrities, pundits, lobbyists and politicians, this does not mean that "peer review" has confirmed these secondary or original sources as facts or reliable, they exist and well written academic publications should use them in context. --Anstil (talk) 09:50, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
CBECI's FAQ does say that its methodology has been reviewed.

"Marc Bevand, Christian Stoll, and Lena Klaaßen kindly reviewed the methodology of the index."[9]

Christian Stoll and Lena Klaaßen have both published critical POV peer-reviewed research on Bitcoin's energy consumption [10]. JamesPem (talk) 14:28, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
Checking the link you have provided, which was a snapshot of the FAQ as of May 2021, it contains no such statement. Further today's live versions of the FAQ at https://ccaf.io/cbeci/mining_map/methodology and https://ccaf.io/cbeci/index/methodology contain no statement about a review. --Anstil (talk) 14:41, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
Apologies. I accidentally referenced the wrong citation. The citation has been fixed. See "Who else has contributed to this project?" section. JamesPem (talk) 16:30, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
Checking through that FAQ section ("Who else") and the index/methodology page, this reads as a tangent to this discussion, which is about governance and conflicts of interest behind the CBECI, not whether the logic behind their calculations or data collection are reasonable. A real dive into the logic of the methodology is beyond the purpose of this RFC.
However, it is worth stating that though the FAQ namedrops these people, their review or recommendations has not been published. We have no idea if they support or were deeply critical of the method, or had varied objections which were ignored by the CBECI management or resulted in changes being made to improve it.
Tangent -- A brief glance through the methodology shows massive assumptions being made based on little more than speculation, for example the assumption that while the industry standard for data centres considers a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.8 as normal in practice, somewhat weirdly, it is assumed that the upper bound for Bitcoin miners PUE can be set at 1.2, i.e. even the worst case scenario for (unregulated) Bitcoin mining kit is four times more efficient than the average case scenario for data centres. It then opts for a PUE of 1.1 as the best-guess estimate PUE, so presuming that on average unregulated Bitcoin miners are eight times more energy efficient than the average for regulated data centres. This is unacceptable levels of cherry-picking the data to support a pro-Bitcoin viewpoint considering the assumptions have no tested evidence, which such evidence would be easy to collect.
Anyway, this tangent offers nothing to support a view that the CBECI or publications of the CCAF have any credible independent oversight or follow any standard best practices for good governance. They don't, otherwise they would have said so in their publications.
--Anstil (talk) 11:11, 20 January 2022 (UTC)
Unlike the data center industry, mining is an extremely competitive business where only the most efficient miners are able to consistently mine blocks and stay profitable. Because of this ruthless competition and thin margins, Bitcoin miners really do operate at higher levels of efficiency than data centers. Whereas the 1.8 PUE figure for data centers comes from the industry's own surveys. To stay in business, competitive Bitcoin miners must beat the "greenest" data centers. Miners often take advantage of state-of-the-art immersion cooling or other innovations, which reduces the needs for energy-intensive cooling infrastructure and improves profitability. Other parts of the economy, including data centers, benefit from these efficiency innovations that come from competitive mining. We know that Stoll and Klaaßen approved of these PUE values in their peer-review because very similar PUE values were proposed in Stoll and Klaaßen's own research. Here's a direct quote from Stoll and Klaaßen's peer-reviewed paper on Bitcoin mining:

For large-scale miners, we use a PUE of 1.05. For medium-scale miners, we use a PUE of 1.10 because of less optimized cooling systems. For small-scale miners, we assume a PUE of 1.00, as there is no need for cooling systems, converters, load transformers, and adapters (see Data S1: Sheet 2 for a sensitivity analysis of these assumptions and Sheet 3.7 for interview notes with a mining company). [10]

JamesPem (talk) 03:50, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
This is a tangent as the methodology is not the topic of this section, the governance of the CCAF is.
Factcheck: your assertion "competitive Bitcoin miners must beat the greenest data centers" is supported by a source that makes no such statement, in fact datacenterknowledge.com says nothing at all about Bitcoin mining.
Factcheck: your assertion "other parts of the economy ... benefit from these efficiency innovations" is based on the video of Mr. Brooks giving a statement in support of his own bill in a hearing of the USA House Energy and Commerce Committee. However Brooks gives no examples, neither does the Bill, nor is there apparently any publication by him about this. Some guy's verbal statement in a YouTube video is not a fact nor a credible reliable source to demonstrate that this is more than speculation.
Factcheck: Stoll et al's assertion that PUE of 1.0 can be assumed for "small scale" bitcoin miners is bizarre and unrealistic. Checking their source data, I can't see the logic of this at all. A simple thought experiment debunks this. We know that Iceland attracts a lot of pro and amateur data miners due to cheap electricity, a place where temperatures average at 1C this time of year and often drop to -10C or lower. It is inconceivable that small scale miners run their kit in a shed with no heating or environmental controls. Consequently to assume a perfect PUE for all small scale bitcoin mining everywhere they exist on the entire planet is indefensible as an estimate, it just does not withstand basic scrutiny and I'm astonished this was not raised during the peer-review. Check the policies for Joule/CellPress where this paper was published, there is evidence of an 'advisory board' but the peer-review process is stated to be secret ref and the statement "Our editorial teams set specific peer-review policies that reflect the norms and standards of the different communities we serve" is very disappointing because there are no specific peer-review policies. This gives us no clue as to the competence of reviewers selected, nor how much time they invested in checking the assertions and assumptions made in the paper. This issue of justifying a (bizarre) PUE for any sector of a perfect theoretical "1.0" is not acceptable and should have been picked up as an issue in peer review.
If you want to keep on making assertions about the peculiar pro-Bitcoin assumptions of the CCAF in their publications based on what you can find on YouTube or random PR websites which can be shot down with 5 minutes of scrutiny, please create a section for it, because this is a tangent. --Anstil (talk) 10:53, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
This is a pretty funny response actually. Anstil has backed the validity of this entire RFC into a corner by dismissing CCAF/CBECI, Stoll et al, and Joule, as these were collectively the bulk of the main critical sources for the environmental case against Bitcoin. Alex de Vries (aka Digiconomist), who works for the Dutch Central Bank, and is one of the most outspoken critics of Bitcoin's environmental impact, published his work in Joule.[11] So, according to Anstil there is little to no reliable evidence that Bitcoin is an environmental issue! PaulJohansson (talk) 15:38, 21 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Still a tangent. Everything stated about the index and CCAF is factual and correct. They have never had any publications pass peer review, they have never declared their personal conflicts of interest, they have never declared their sponsors. --Anstil (talk) 19:50, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
At this point nobody cares. You've artfully and successfully eliminated all of the main sources that critics cite to attack Bitcoin's environmental footprint. Couldn't have done it better myself. Thank you and good luck to you, sir. JamesPem (talk) 02:53, 22 January 2022 (UTC)

Bitcoin is a green energy stimulus

This proposal aims to stop accepting cryptocurrencies because they use "enormous amount of energy". However, we should care about the carbon footprint, and not the mere energy consumption.

  1. It turns out that 56% of Bitcoin mining uses renewable energy according to the Bitcoin Mining Council. The NYT wrote in September 2021 that "Globally, estimates of Bitcoin's use of renewables range from about 40 percent to almost 75 percent." (source). In any case, that's way greener than the energy mix of most major countries.
  2. Also, as mentioned by Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance: "Bitcoin miners can tap into so-called ‘stranded’ energy assets that cannot easily be put to productive use by other industries. In those cases, Bitcoin miners are not competing with other industries or residential users for the same resources, but instead soaking up surplus energy that would otherwise have been lost or wasted."
  3. To cite Messari's report: "Bitcoin miners are unique business partners, because they optimize for a single variable (lowest KWh), and serve as a mobile “energy buyer of last resort” for energy that can’t be easily transported." This means that some renewable energy projects, that would otherwise be unprofitable and never built, for instance because they are too intermittent, would become profitable with Bitcoin. As explained in Square's report: "the Bitcoin network functions as a unique energy buyer that could enable society to deploy substantially more solar and wind generation capacity." Reuters provided an example today: Costa Rica hydro plant gets new lease on life from crypto mining

Bitcoin is therefore a green energy stimulus, aligned with the Wikimedia Foundation's commitment to environmental sustainability. It should be promoted as such. A455bcd9 (talk) 14:21, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

But can we guarantee that Bitcoin is ONLY using surplus energy that would otherwise be wasted ? 145.226.30.86 15:04, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
We cannot. But in practice Bitcoin miners have a strong financial incentive to use the cheapest sources of energy available. It would be economically unsustainable for them to use expensive sources dedicated to human consumption (unless there are government subsidies). A455bcd9 (talk) 15:11, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
This is nonsense really. The use of renewables by bitcoin mining isn't a positive, since demand for renewables outstrips supply. In addition, as you say, they are likely to go for the lowest cost option, which means they're skimming the cream off renewables and keeping the average cost high. Since new solar or wind capacity costs less to add than new coal or natural gas, keeping prices high makes fossil fuels more competitive. There's a whole lot fo "could" and "might" in there, which is not the same as "does" or even "will".
As far as hydro goes - it's not a growth industry. Not only is conventional hydro limited by the lack of rivers left the dam, the construction of new dams comes with a huge environmental cost. Dam removal is generally seen as environmentally positive, and keeping dams running that would otherwise be removed doesn't count as "green". In addition, energy costs are just a part of the issue - a bigger issue right now is chip demand. Given the environmental costs of chip production, glossing over this misses a huge point.
Then there's the sources you're using. Try using peer-reviewed sources that are independent from the industry. These sources wouldn't fly in a Wikipedia article. Guettarda (talk) 16:15, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
What are the peer-review sources you used to back your claims? I used The Hindu (citing the Bitcoin Mining Council), the New York Times, Reuters, and the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, an independent research institute based at The University of Cambridge, Judge Business School, and two industry sources (Messari and Square). "Do as I say, not as I do"...
"since demand for renewables outstrips supply": not if there are not in the same location. A volcano in the middle of a no man's land can only be used for Bitcoin mining (unless we find a way to transport electricity without losses over great distances). As explained by the CCAF: "Unlike other industries, Bitcoin mining is relatively mobile. In their quest for cheap and abundant energy sources, miners can set up new facilities fairly quickly all over the world, including the most remote areas (in fact, you can visually track these seasonal mining migrations with our mining map)." A455bcd9 (talk) 16:26, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
One of the most important things Bitcoin does, through it's proof of work algorithm, is supply a disruptive force to fossil fuel regimes that's directly linked to the value of the energy it's using in financial markets. Government subsidy of fossil fuels is the largest contributor to fossil fuel emissions. bitcoin's fossil fuel energy consumption is a rounding error, and in the end, bitcoin will only use as much energy as the market demands it use. the market constantly self corrects and is resilient to change, and in the case of proof of work and bitcoin, governments incorrectly formed subsidy regimes are exposed and loopholes should be closed. So if we want to solve the problem of being "green" bitcoin is a far more beneficial contributor to the effort to do so. Articles written to try and paint bitcoin as a polluter are the true nonsense. Jeffness (talk) 21:09, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
This is a heavily nuanced topic and is not easily explained in a RFC. I highly recommend listening to Intelligence Squared: Debate: Crypto vs The Environment, with Lyn Alden and Alex De Vries. In the debate, De Vries, who is one of the most outspoken Bitcoin skeptics, debated financial analyst Lyn Alden. The debate was moderated by a Senior Editor at The Economist. The moderator took an informal poll at the beginning of the debate, asking the audience if they thought Crypto was a threat to the environment. Pre-debate results were 40%:Yes, 26%:No, and 34%:Undecided. When the debate was over the results were 32%:Yes, 43%:No, and 25%:Undecided. I think if you listen to the debate you'll learn that the environmental impacts are oversimplified and exaggerated by the media—the reality is much more complex and nuanced. It is worth noting that even the environmentalist (De Vries) admitted that the amount of emissions created by Bitcoin is extremely tiny on a global scale. JamesPem (talk) 00:26, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
I am struggling to read this with a straight face. The argument appears to be that bitcoin wastes so much energy that it creates a need to generate electricity in an environmentally friendly way? That's analogous to saying we should be grateful for shipwrecked oil tankers because they promote investment in the ecological remediation industry, or that we should encourage drunken driving because it stimulates improvement in trauma medicine. It's an insane line of logic, and feels particularly dishonest when it appears alongside the other pro-crypto standard: that the energy consumed by bitcoin is exaggerated anyway. You can't have it both ways. 149.155.219.44 11:06, 14 January 2022 (UTC) 149.155.219.44 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Why do we care about opinion pieces from Lyn Alden (not notable enough for Wikipedia)? I'd rather not watch some random YouTube video partnered with Eqonex (not notable enough for Wikipedia) to promote crypto venture capital, or gambling.
If you can find a peer reviewed reliable source, rather than blog posts and 'reports' from people paid to promote Bitcoin trading, that would be great. Thanks --Anstil (talk) 15:23, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
@Guettarda and Anstil:: you will find a long list of peer reviewed reliable sources confirming the positive environmental impact of Bitcoin here. Enjoy! A455bcd9 (talk) 15:55, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
Is there any evidence indicating that any big Bitcoin setup is using solely surplus energy? Rather than gobbling energy and making things worse for everyone? Energy is one of the most fungible assets. Note that this framing completely ignores that it is often redirecting power from more productive use (just because short term profits here are greater) and increases uses of also bad energy - see articles like "Bitcoin Miners Are Giving New Life to Old Fossil-Fuel Power Plants". "Bitcoin is a green energy stimulus" is a claim that is at best controversial and likely misleading and untrue. Also, note that even something using solely surplus energy still will produce large amount of electronic waste due to basing entire thing on various proof-of-waste schemes Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 10:39, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
No, there's no evidence for Bitcoin being 'green'.
Meanwhile, since this RFC opened, Kosovo has banned cryptomining which was unregulated in the country, taking advantage of cheap electricity prices based on 90% of domestic energy coming from burning low-grade coal and government subsidies. The lives of citizens are being massively disrupted by rolling blackouts, soaring prices of energy and taxpayer's money being used to subsidise electricity. It's a puzzle as to why more countries concerned about massive rises in global energy prices are not also banning wasteful bitcoin mining operations.

Panic as Kosovo pulls the plug on its energy-guzzling bitcoin miners ... announcement by Kosovo’s government of an immediate, albeit temporary, ban on all crypto mining activity as part of emergency measures to ease a crippling energy crisis.

— Guardian 16 January 2022[12]
--Anstil (talk) 13:19, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
The truth of the matter is that miners go where electricity is cheap, regardless of whether it is green, and often at the expense of local communities. Also see this report that was published today about the cryptomining-caused energy crisis in a region of Georgia, which has enormously damaged their electricity infrastructure—infrastructure that residents rely on for heat: "Georgia’s mountainous cryptocurrency problem". GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:56, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
Indeed, there will be isolated examples of negative externalities. This is true of any currency, especially a en:petrocurrency such as the US dollar. The Georgia article points out that the region has cheap energy because it has many hydropower plants. The region needs upgrades to its grid to improve quality of life and mining revenue can help subsidize those upgrades. It is unfortunate that demand outpaced supply, but the demand from citizens is real. Mining has also offset the loss of income from the drop in tourism, during the global pandemic. Furthermore, a 2018 World Bank report encouraged Georgia to take full advantage of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies in order to innovate and improve its services.[13][14] PaulJohansson (talk) 02:18, 19 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
@Anstil: if you read the article you quoted you would see that:
  1. Kosovo's ban is temporary,
  2. "The largest-scale crypto mining is thought to be taking place in the north of the country, where the Serb-majority population refuse to recognise Kosovo as an independent state and have consequently not paid for electricity for more than two decades." => I think this situation is terribly bad but it's not at all "at the expense of local communities" as @GorillaWarfare: wrote but exactly the opposite: local communities defy their government, steal electricity, and, among other things, use that stolen electricity to mine Bitcoin. This is a long-lasting problem (two decades...) that has nothing to do with crypto/bitcoin. Also, because the Kosovo government doesn't control this region I guess its ban is just pure communication. If they've been unable to prevent electricity being stolen for two decades, how will they prevent Bitcoin mining there? A455bcd9 (talk) 10:03, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
By the way, according to RFE, the Kosovo's "ban" seems illegal ("And any seizures of equipment bought legally could be fraught with legal challenges" ""There is not enough of a legal basis for the ban of cryptocurrency mining, considering that no special law regulates this issue," Arber Jashari, a Kosovo-based legal expert"). And it targets mostly (or only?) ethnic Serbs as "People in northern Kosovo have not paid for electricity since 1999, when NATO launched a bombing campaign to halt Belgrade's crackdown on Kosovo's mainly ethnic Albanian community." A455bcd9 (talk) 10:10, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
You can legally buy a truck full of fertilizer, but the police will still impound it if they find you are using it to make a bomb. Using computer equipment to do anything that the government has made illegal makes it entirely 'legal' for government agencies to seize the equipment.
With regard to "if you read", the points I made are perfectly well supported by that source and I have been able to read at an adult level for several decades, thanks for your concern. The spin that the news coverage should be read as being about how to prevent electricity being stolen and is not about Bitcoin mining, given the title is Panic as Kosovo pulls the plug on its energy-guzzling bitcoin miners, is an incredibly bizarre take-away. --Anstil (talk) 15:29, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
"entirely 'legal' for government agencies to seize the equipment": that's not what reliable sources say. But if you have reliable sources backing your point, please provide them. Otherwise your opinion is moot.
Yes, reading reliables sources, the ban being temporary and de facto focused on ethnic Serbs who don't pay electricity, it's about preventing electricity being stolen: "Finance Minister Hekuran Murati. "We cannot allow the illegal enrichment of some, at the expense of taxpayers."" (RFE/RL). That's why according to Euractiv they won't just ban Bitcoin but cut the power for ethnic-Serbs: "In November, Kosovo’s energy network operator KOSSTT announced it would stop supplying Serb-majority municipalities with free electricity but it is not clear when this will happen."
Anyway, the Kosovo "state of energy emergency" ban expires next month (24 December 2021 + 60 days max) and we'll see if and how the government regulate Bitcoin/crypto mining afterwards. A455bcd9 (talk) 15:57, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
On the legality: "However, police operations raised questions over their legality as experts say there is no legal grounds to ban cryptocurrency mining as Kosovo has no law regulating the issue." (AFP/SCMP) A455bcd9 (talk) 16:10, 19 January 2022 (UTC)

Interestingly enough, in another part of Europe, Swedish regulators are complaining that Bitcoin mining uses too much renewable energy. --Thibaut (talk) 04:55, 20 January 2022 (UTC)

  • At the top of this section there is also the claim that cryptocurrency is "way greener than the energy mix of most major countries." Bitmining uses electricity, the energy mix of pretty much any country also includes fuel for road and air transport and other hydrocarbon based processes. Even if Crypto were analagous to a country (it isn't), it could be seen as disingenuous to compare its energy mix to that of countries as opposed to that of national electricity grids. A more relevant comparison might be with gold mining. Humanity does have many uses for gold in addition to storing it as bars and bullion. But all gold mining could be suspended for decades if governments around the world agreed not to stockpile gold, and such an agreement would be a big win for the environment. Of course if you make the comparison with gold mining, we have the anomalous situation where the WMF doesn't advertise itself as open to accepting donations of gold bars or coins, but it does advertise that it accepts some forms of crypto. This RFC proposes that we resolve the anomaly by ceasing to accept donations of crypto currency. I think that's a sensible and ethical move. WereSpielChequers (talk) 09:45, 1 February 2022 (UTC)

Discussion moved from proposal section

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) 104.175.199.193 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
While Eth has yet to implement Proof of Stake. There are active chains which are currently using this consensus method. Wouldn’t the statement be more directed if only Proof of Work chains were discontinued as payment methods? 87.196.81.35 14:33, 12 January 2022 (UTC) 87.196.81.35 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
When Wikimedia accepts funds from countries with authoritarian governments, does that signal an endorsement of those currencies or those governments? Emerging technologies always have higher levels of risk as they gain popularity. There’s nothing particularly unique about the risks of cryptocurrency in investment terms. Wikimedia currently accepts stock donations through a depository trust and receives stocks with high levels of risk.PaulJohansson (talk) 15:23, 12 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Digiconomist is a [questionable source]. Digiconomist is a blog run by Alex de Vries, who is [an employee] of De Nederlandsche Bank NV (DNB), the central bank of the Netherlands, which is a direct competitor to Bitcoin. Bitcoin replaces central bank Real-time gross settlement systems like Fedwire and TARGET2. De Vries is effectively a paid opposition researcher, which would make him [sponsored content] or covert advertising. The validity of de Vries's work has been questioned and [may be misleading].
  • "extremely damaging to the environment" is hyperbole and lacks evidence. There is no reliable evidence that Proof of Work is extremely damaging to the environment. Even the Cambridge University Centre For Alternative Finance, which you also cite below, states that Bitcoin does not have a meaningful impact on the environment:

"There is currently little evidence suggesting that Bitcoin directly contributes to climate change. Even when assuming that Bitcoin mining was exclusively powered by coal - a very unrealistic scenario given that a non-trivial number of facilities run exclusively on renewables - total carbon dioxide emissions would not exceed 58 million tons of CO2, which would roughly correspond to 0.17% of the world’s total emissions... available data shows that even in the worst case (i.e. mining exclusively powered by coal), Bitcoin’s environmental footprint currently remains marginal at best." [15]

PaulJohansson (talk) 15:43, 12 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
@PaulJohansson: if your job is to promote or represent crypto or bitcoin products or companies, or you are in some form being paid to lobby this topic, could you be transparent about it and add a declaration to the user page for the account you are using? See Paid editing.
Note the quote from a website FAQ page you have formatted here is not current, and may misrepresent the current published views of CBECI. Please make that clear, or replace it with a quote to verifiable publications, if one exists. --Anstil (talk) 16:49, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
I do not, nor have I ever, received money or compensation to promote or represent cryptocurrency. And I don't particular appreciate being accused of that given all I have done is express a position that is opposed to yours. Furthermore, Bitcoin does not and cannot pay anyone to support it—it is supported by independent individuals with no affiliation. I have no affiliation to any part of the industry and I don't particularly care for the "crypto" industry if I'm being honest—I believe all other cryptocurrencies are scams.
I chose the July '21 quote because it explains there is no reliable evidence that bitcoin has a meaningful impact on the environment. The most recent Cambridge quote is found in the "Is Bitcoin Mining an Environmental Disaster?" section here and is very similar to the original quote, with different wording. The original point remains that Bitcoin does not have a meaningful impact on the environment, because its impact is too infinitesimal on a global scale and the latest quote continues to support this. PaulJohansson (talk) 18:18, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
With reliable sources consistently stating that increasing energy costs of Bitcoin mining is disastrous for its damaging carbon footprint, there is nothing convincing here.[16]
CBECI is paid to self-publish reports for the FinTech pro-Bitcoin lobby. It's meaningless to copy and paste their unsupported opinions from their website pages (not even from their self-published reports in PDF) as if they were facts or were not opinions written as part of pro-Bitcoin lobbying.
If you want to add to this RFC please find some credible reliable sources. --Anstil (talk) 12:24, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
Incorrect. CBECI is a reliable source as en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Scholarship. CBECI is not pro-Bitcoin as its data is what is used as a reliable source to question the environmental impact in Wikipedia en:Bitcoin and in peer-reviewed research [17] CBECI content lists no sponsorship and therefore it is not en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Sponsored_content. JamesPem (talk) 01:33, 16 January 2022 (UTC)

This research study would not have been possible without the generous support and participation from industry actors

Companies do not use generous support to mean "no sponsorship".
--Anstil (talk) 11:56, 17 January 2022 (UTC)
CBECI conversation moved to Requests_for_comment/Stop_accepting_cryptocurrency_donations#CBECI_governance JamesPem (talk) 03:52, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
  • "There is no reliable evidence that Proof of Work is extremely damaging to the environment" - there is reliable evidence that various proof waste is damaging to the environment, impacts actually useful use of electronics, is hive of scammers, spammers. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 10:41, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
    No one disputes that there is some environmental impact. The question is how extensive it is. Bitcoin emits 22.0 MtCO2 per year and global energy-related CO2 emissions were more than 30 GtCO2 in 2016.[10] This works out to roughly 0.1% of global emissions. That's a rounding error, on a global scale.
    It's fine to point out that Bitcoin creates some environmental damage. Nobody will dispute that. It's quite another to claim that 0.1% of global emissions is a meaningful level of impact. People who spend their time raising awareness for environmental rounding errors are likely causing more harm than good, as it ends up being a distraction from real environmental issues that do have a meaningful impact. PaulJohansson (talk) 20:08, 18 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
    By that logic, nobody should stop using plastic bags as the resulting CO2 emissions are currently less than cryptomining, and all the cows should be killed before anyone stops cryptomining, as they produce 2% of global emissions. --Anstil (talk) 22:01, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
    Regardless, 0.1% of global emissions is not "extremely damaging" to the environment no matter what kind of unrelated comparisons you want to make. PaulJohansson (talk) 01:12, 19 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
    Reliable sources, expert opinions, evidence shows the opposite. The 0.1% figure you are using is not well sourced either, other estimates show Bitcoin may contribute up to 0.9% to global emissions by 2030.

... the peak annualized emission output of the Bitcoin mining industry would make it the 10th largest emitting sector out of a total of 42 major Chinese industrial sectors. In particular, it would account for approximately 5.41% of the emissions of the electricity generation in China according to the China Emission Accounts & Datasets

— Nature, "Policy assessments for the carbon emission flows and sustainability of Bitcoin blockchain operation in China", 2021[18]
--Anstil (talk) 11:20, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
Again, you've not produced any reliable sources that claim Bitcoin is "extremely damaging" to the environment. The math is not on your side here. Your source's prediction, even if it were true, is still a rounding error. And that level of output (assuming a high degree of coal-based energy) would effectively necessitate that Bitcoin's price was 10x or 20x higher, which suggests it replaced a larger share of the inefficient legacy financial system. The prediction you cited assumes China's coal regions are a large contributor to mining operations, however China evicted those miners in mid 2021. So, the prediction's assumptions were already totally invalid shortly after that paper was published.
Predictions on Bitcoin's energy consumption have a poor track record. In 2017, the mainstream belief was that Bitcoin was on track to consume all of the world's energy by 2020. I'm sure people so-called experts believed that at the time, but we now know that was a ridiculous prediction with ridiculous assumptions.
The critical reliable sources linked in this RFC only express some environmental concern, which is of course a valid opinion. As is pointing out those concerns are perhaps overstated. However, the prediction you've cited is based on future assumptions that are already false. By all means, take the largest outlier you can find and extrapolate its percentage of global emissions and it will still be a tiny rounding error on a global scale. PaulJohansson (talk) 16:20, 19 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
... you've not produced any reliable sources that claim Bitcoin is "extremely damaging" to the environment - you mean, apart from the multiple sources quoted throughout this RFC that are not opinions from Bitcoin advocates and speculators?

Here's another:

Environmental disaster: The energy usage of bitcoin alone is staggering, consuming as much electricity as some countries, and this is likely to keep increasing as the technology behind it does not and cannot scale in any reasonable way. While so many of us are trying our best to reduce our carbon footprints, it feels counterproductive to indulge in technology that undoes that hard work.

— Forbes, Barry Collins, quoting von Tetzchner co-founder of Vivaldi Technologies and former CEO of Opera Software, January 2022[19]

--Anstil (talk) 11:47, 20 January 2022 (UTC)

Unfortunately, von Tetzchner did not present any evidence that mining is extremely damaging to the environment. He stated an opinion based on his feelings that he doesn't value the energy that is spent on mining. You can find opinions on anything—all they do is reflect personal values and biases. Von Tetzchner's actual quote demonstrates this: "For obvious reasons, that sort of energy consumption isn’t good for the environment as the energy could clearly be spent better somewhere else." He's only stating what he likes and doesn't like. His primary source is another en:WP:SELFPUBLISH blog. It's an opinion on what he and another blogger perceives as the lack of benefits—not the actual measured impact to the environment itself. You need actual math to objectively quantify and measure the impact of something.
Whether Bitcoin mining is worth the resources is a different question than whether Bitcoin mining is destroying the planet. People are welcome to have their own opinions. Whether Bitcoin mining is worth it, depends on whether its benefits exceed the costs to society and miners. Whether Bitcoin mining is destroying the planet is somewhat related, but is primarily about its external costs. Ultimately, saying Bitcoin mining is destroying the planet is disingenuous as we've already established that the emissions from Bitcoin mining is only about 0.1% of global emissions.[10] The math is unavoidable. If electricity generation produces externalities that are harmful, then one should be in favor of taxing the harmful byproducts of electricity production. This is true regardless of whether the electricity is being used to power a hospital, an air conditioner, an Xbox, or a Bitcoin mining rig. To specifically target any of those use cases as uniquely bad when it comes to energy usage is not a serious position. PaulJohansson (talk) 17:05, 20 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Your opinion that "we've already established that the emissions from Bitcoin mining is only about 0.1% of global emissions" is based on a single source, published in 2019 in "Joule" for which I've been unable to determine the credibility of peer review as the specific policy they applied for peer review (like how many reviewers, or what experience or qualifications was required of peer reviewers). The source, "Energy Consumption of Cryptocurrencies Beyond Bitcoin" does not make any such statement.
What you appear to have done is take data that is five years old about Bitcoin power consumption and use that to make your own calculation and assert that it must be 0.1% of global carbon emissions and paint that claim as being made by Stoll et al. That's a lot of leaps of logic and does not stand up to scrutiny compared to reliable sources making statements about the most current understanding about the environmental damage from Bitcoin mining.
Your opinion that an industry by your calculation might be responsible for 1/1000th or more of global carbon emissions is not significant is bizarre, as there are populations of entire countries, like Chad with 16 million inhabitants, that generate a smaller carbon footprint than this.
Keep in mind that your opinions and original research are not reliable sources, but the published views of technology leaders like von Tetzchner are worth quoting and examining, if indeed we are going to repeat opinions rather than facts. Of course, if you have verifiable facts, please do bring them up in preference to misquoting sources and rhetoric from pro-Bitcoin lobbyists. --Anstil (talk) 11:41, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
Unfortunately, there haven't been any estimations conducted on Bitcoin's current carbon footprint, since 2019, that you are willing to consider. So, we are left with either CBECI, this single source, or von Tetzchner's hyperbolic opinion. You've conveniently dismissed all of the available evidence. Dismissing the only recent available sources, to favor hyperbolic opinions, suggests that you are not approaching this with a en:Wikipedia:Neutral point of view.
Opinions require evidence if they are to be taken seriously and the burden of proof is on the person making the extraordinary claim. Von Tetzchner even contradicted the claim when he said the consumed energy should be spent elsewhere, not that the energy consumption was so damaging that it needed to be curtailed. But, I digress.
This RFC makes this extraordinary of Bitcoin being "extremely damaging" but provides no reliable evidence or math. The RFC should therefore clarify that Bitcoin being "extremely" bad for the environment is only an opinion and not fact.
I'm afraid the actual math is not on your side here. Take any critical source you can find and look for the biggest country it compares Bitcoin's emissions to. If you think Chad is too low, use Belgium or Chile as your comparison. Next, find that country's global share of carbon impact and see what the value is. Belgium is 0.26% and Chile is 0.23% of global emissions. Whether Bitcoin is 0.1% of global emissions or even 0.3% of global emissions, it's still a rounding error on the global environment by any metric. You are welcome to dislike these infinitesimal percentages, but it doesn't change the math. PaulJohansson (talk) 15:15, 21 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

Proposal to revert all SPA comments and votes

Given the proven cryptocurrency forum canvassing actively going on, and its speed, could we agree that this RFC has all single purpose account edits reverted. This would be all accounts with either no other editing records, such as with PaulJohansson (talk · contribs), AnarkioC (talk · contribs), Xfede (talk · contribs) and Advtadvt (talk · contribs), or accounts created after this RFC was raised with no other edits of significance.

Though it is often normal to just mark accounts which are clearly part of a canvassing campaign, the manipulation of this RFC by off-wiki canvassing has been fast and significant, with the risk that both vote gaming and manipulation of discussion to introduce bias and fake "bitcoin" news, will disrupt and confuse the outcome. Frankly the page already looks a mess from this manipulation. --Anstil (talk) 16:46, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

"fake "bitcoin" news"
Do you have an example? Thibaut (talk) 16:52, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
The quote above given by the single purpose account of "There is currently little evidence suggesting that Bitcoin directly contributes to climate change." is a web.archive cherry picked snapshot from a website FAQ on a domain that no longer exists. The CBECI current website (now ccaf.io) has edited this out, presumably because based on their own estimate, being responsible for 0.17% of the entire world's carbon emissions is the exact opposite of the claim it starts with. You'll note that the CBECI looks more like a lobbying think tank with its own self publications with links to FinTech sponsors, rather than a research institute with independently peer reviewed publications, as none is apparent.
If this is an unfair summary, please point to the list of peer reviewed publications, I'd be happy to review my point of view. --Anstil (talk) 17:17, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
I believe this is an unfair characterization. The domain is from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and it does still exists. The old domain, https://cbeci.org/faq forwards to the new domain for Cambridge, which is https://ccaf.io/cbeci. It's the same website. The same Cambridge team was cited in other arguments on this page. The new version of the Cambridge FAQ just has a different wording from the one that was selected, above. Here is the new wording of the same FAQ:

A radical thought experiment can provide an alternative perspective on this question. What would be Bitcoin’s environmental footprint assuming the absolute worst case? For this experiment, let’s use the annualised power consumption estimate from CBECI as of July 13th, 2021, which corresponds to roughly 70 TWh. Let’s also assume that all this energy comes exclusively from coal (the most-polluting fossil fuel) and is generated in one of the world’s least efficient coal-fired power plants (the now-decommissioned Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria, Australia). In this worst-case scenario, the Bitcoin network would be responsible for about 111 Mt (million metric tons) of carbon dioxide emissions1, accounting for roughly 0.35% of the world's total yearly emissions.[9]

The point is largely the same. Even under the worst case scenario, Bitcoin does not meaningfully have an impact on the environment. It's still a rounding error. JamesPem (talk) 19:50, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Worth noting that the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is not a lobbying think tank. They are part of Cambridge Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, UK. They are widely considered to be the gold standard for tracking Bitcoin's energy consumption. If you were to remove Cambridge as a valid source, then the entire discussion loses merit, since the Cambridge team is the only source of reliable data. JamesPem (talk) 20:07, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Disagree.
The only publications I can find by CCAF appear to be self published with no evidence of peer review. That is not "gold standard".
The publications they do make appear hand in glove with FinTech sponsors, with their names a logos appearing and sponsors get a full page spread to promote their brand in the example publications I checked out.
Again, no editorial board, no peer review, no credibility. Even where data sets are referenced, these are not published and remain unverifiable.
CCAF publications of this quality should be removed from Wikipedia articles as original research or self promotion.
You are welcome to provide a list of peer reviewed publications by trusted academic publishers, I have yet to find any.
--Anstil (talk) 17:12, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
I believe you are mistaken. The institution you are smearing is well trusted. See the Wikipedia article for Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance which says, "The Centre has also published research on regulatory innovation as well as regulatory implications of the emergence of FinTech firms. Several of these reports have been jointly published with other universities and research institutes...The Centre's publications have been cited in numerous regulatory and policy papers by international organisations and government bodies, some of which include the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the International Organization of Securities Commissions, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the UK Parliament" PaulJohansson (talk) 18:28, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Not one peer reviewed publication?
"Cryptocurrencies" responds to the CCAF's criticism of the comparison with Visa by highlighting how breathtakingly quickly climate impact has escalated based on CCAF's own reports.

... Bitcoin uses 80 per cent more energy than it did at the beginning of 2020. The Cambridge Centre now estimates the annualized electricity consumption at the beginning of 2020 was 71.07 terawatt hours but on 11 March 2021 it hit 128 terawatt hours, more than the whole of Argentina.

--Anstil (talk) 14:37, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
@Anstil: The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) publishes the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI). Cambridge's benchmark studies and CBECI are considered to be a reliable source WP:IRS by the editors of the WP Bitcoin page. The CBECI FAQ, often cited in this RFC comes, comes packaged with that data. If you believe WP editors are making the WP:IRS judgement in error, I would encourage you to raise the issue in those Talk sections. Also, be sure to peruse the WP Bitcoin:Talk section where the editors dismiss Digiconomist because it is not a WP:IRS, since its creator calls it a hobby project.
A bit of advice. I assure you that you very much want to maintain CBECI as a reliable source, since they are the source of data that is most often used to make an environmental case against Bitcoin. You will note that they are a main source in the WP Bitcoin criticism section. The CBECI FAQ explains that the environmental concerns are often overstated, but you are welcome to interpret the data differently if you prefer. JamesPem (talk) 22:38, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
Original research in the form of CBECI reports are interesting, but they are not reliable sources because they are unverifiable self publications. If a peer reviewed reliable source uses CBECI reports as data to make conclusions or add to analytical understanding, it's those that become the sources that should be used. You don't cite a telephone directory to prove how many Welsh people live in Scotland. --Anstil (talk) 11:12, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
This is false. CBECI falls under en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Scholarship and is therefore considered to be a reliable source. This is why en:Bitcoin and many peer-reviewed papers cite CBECI as a reliable source. JamesPem (talk) 21:10, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
I agree with marking/striking SPA comments and votes, including IPs. If disruption continues, I believe semi-prot is warranted. EpicPupper (talk) 17:19, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
If the page is semi-protected, established users who have never edited on meta before will have to make 5 edits on this wiki in order to vote though. Thibaut (talk) 17:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
AnarkioC (talk · contribs) has made one edit. To vote. --Anstil (talk) 17:26, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Simul (talk · contribs) who just voted, contributes since 2013 and had zero edits here. --Thibaut (talk) 17:37, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Agree, Simul is not a single purpose account. This proposal to revert SPAs as defined would not apply to Simul. Is there an alternative to page protection or would doing something sensible mean manually reviewing edits, which are coming in quite fast right now? --Anstil (talk) 17:41, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Not so fast that manual review is impossible. I've been keeping up with the changes to tag SPAs and am happy to continue doing so. GorillaWarfare (talk) 17:46, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
If it makes any difference, I have been reading Wikipedia on a regular basis for the past 10+ years and am thankful for its accessible and educational content. I couldn't donate to the fundraisers because I can't get a bank account, credit card or Paypal. Cryptocurrency or cash by mail are the only accessible options for me and many other people, either due to KYC restrictions (no access to government ID) or a need for pseudonymity for privacy or safety reasons. Banks refuse to open accounts for many people, so a cryptocurrency option isn't only nice-to-have, but also necessary for financial inclusion and accessibility. AnarkioC (talk) 18:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC) AnarkioC (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
or a need for pseudonymity for privacy or safety reasons BitPay does not accept pseudonymous donations. Additionally their Privacy Policy is less protective than the WMF donor one. Banks refuse to open accounts for many people I haven't heard of this being a wide issue. I believe that bank accounts generally don't require good credit, no? The only cases where I've heard of bank accounts being denied are criminals or those with a history of money laundering. EpicPupper (talk) 21:45, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
"An estimated 5.4 percent of U.S. households (approximately 7.1 million) were “unbanked” in 2019, meaning that no one in the household had a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union (i.e., bank). Conversely, 94.6 percent of U.S. households (approximately 124.2 million) were “banked” in 2019, meaning that at least one member of the household had a checking or savings account." Quote from https://www.fdic.gov/analysis/household-survey/index.html IamSylve (talk) 22:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
For anyone in the situation that "I can't get a bank account, credit card or Paypal", please reconsider trying to donate to Wikimedia. It's an organization with $180 million in reported assets, if you are struggling financially and have sadly been refused a bank account, then worrying about donating using a cryptocurrency is not a priority compared to buying food and protecting your health. --Anstil (talk) 13:03, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Interesting that first-time editors with opposing comments get this "SPA" tag while brand new accounts who support the proposal (several at the time of this edit) are left alone. Maybe apply rules evenly? Canadian Shores (talk) 18:20, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
We're volunteers and will get to it eventually. Seddon (talk) 19:00, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
That's not actually true: [6]. If there are SPAs that have been missed, please by all means point them out. GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:05, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
"Censor all contributions I disagree with and fix the vote!!!!" 61.68.215.67 21:18, 12 January 2022 (UTC) Note: An editor has expressed a concern that 61.68.215.67 (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
See the banner: If you came here because someone asked you to, or you read a message on another website, please note that this is not a majority vote, but instead a discussion among Wikimedia contributors. GorillaWarfare (talk) 22:17, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Admin note: In line with RfC policy and the way RfCs are generally run, semi-protection of this page or reverting of low-edit accounts/IPs is not possible. Consensus of the participants of an RfC cannot limit future participation in that RfC. However, editors can make note of SPAs with the SPA and Canvassed templates recently created and used below, and this is generally encouraged. In other words: an optimal RfC scenario would not actively silence any voices, but would allow community members to inform each other which participants are not community members, who may have alternative interests. As for the outcome, the closing admin(s) or steward(s) will weigh the comments of each participant, taking into account their argument, support, and yes, account history. After all, RfCs are intended to gague global Wikimedia community consensus, not the consensus of people piling on from third party sites. I hope this helps. Best regards, Vermont (talk) 23:10, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Environmentally friendly cryptocurrencies

Much (despite not all) of the rationale for this proposal and the discussion is about environmental burden of cryptocurencies. Much is focused on quantifying the environmental impact specifically of Bitcoin (BTC). But, as colleagues above have already mentioned, Bitcoin is not the only one available cryptocurrency. And many more cryptos are by principle significantly less damaging.

A quick web search shows e.g. the article from thetimes.co.uk listing Chia, IOTA, Cardano, Nano, Solarcoin and Bitgreen as enviro friendly cryptos. Also, an extensive article from leafscore.com lists SolarCoin (SLR), Powerledger (POWR), Cardano (ADA), Stellar (XLM), Nano (NANO), IOTA (MIOTA), EOSIO (EOS), TRON (TRX), Signum (SIGNA), Holochain/HoloTokens (HOT), DEVVIO, Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR), Chia (XCH), Algorand (ALGO), MetaHash (MHC), Harmony (ONE), Tezos (XTZ), Flow (FLOW), Avalanche (AVAX), Gridcoin (GRC), Mina Protocol (MINA), ReddCoin (REDD), GoChain (GO), EFFORCE (WOZX), GreenTrust (GNT), Near Protocol (NEAR), MobileCoin (MOB), Electroneum (ETN) and as a Special mention also Ethereum (ETH) (after it will be fully proof-of-stake).

Some of these are declared to be carbon neutral, some wants to become carbon neutral, some uses its fees for planting trees. Some are even very competitive in energy usage to the traditional banking system (even if not calculating oil backed petrodolars...). So, if environmental sustainability is really so important to us as we declare (and I hope so), we have some decent options for reforming our crypto acceptance, rather than destroying it. (other paramenters, like fees, are in other sections) --KuboF Hromoslav (talk) 18:56, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Nano ticker is now XNO (https://xno.nano.org/) 2804:431:C7E6:9B8C:F850:583B:A206:7FF9 22:46, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
The so-called "environmentally friendly cryptocurrencies" attempt to achieve consensus using alternatives to Proof-of-Work. However, it's important to recognize that all consensus algorithms come with intentional trade-offs—since there needs to be a way to deal with bad actors. For Proof-of-Work, energy consumption is the trade-off. It's an intentional deterrent for bad actors. In Proof-of-Work, the energy consumption simply makes it too expensive to overthrow the chain. But, here's the key: There needs to be a way for users to band together in order to overthrow what consensus is—since there is no way to really know who is a bad actor and who is not.
Proof-of-Stake tries to avoids this energy consumption by shifting the trade-off to monetary penalties (i.e. slashing). However, there is no way to fairly distribute new coins to users with Proof-of-Stake, since nobody has any initial stake to begin with. Note that Ethereum had a 70% pre-mine and used Proof-of-Work (a meritocratic system) to distribute the remaining 30% of coins. Once all coins are distributed, proof-of-stake will permanently compound the existing voting power.
Proof-of-Stake can be more accurately described as "proof of wealth" as it gives the most voting power to those with the most coins. It's not difficult to see how a "proof of wealth" consensus is problematic—it is quite literally a plutocratic system. In fact, with pre-mines (which are typical for these eco-coins), plus staking and compounding, it is impossible for the users to overthrow the founders of the projects, since the founders and early insiders will own the majority of coins for voting. (This is not the case with Proof-of-Work, which is meritocratic).
In other words, Proof-of-stake users can never collectively overthrow the founders of these eco-coins. Thus, users implicitly trust the founders of eco-coins not to be bad actors. As such, these eco-coins cannot support minority user rights.
Because Proof-of-work uses is the only known consensus mechanism that protects minority user rights, it is imperative that critics understand it's value proposition. Proof-of-Work is efficient at what it achieves—which is a fair and trustless consensus model that has no rulers. If Proof-of-Work were not efficient, people would not continue to pay its fees, which pay for the electricity. A Proof-of-work system will simply die on its own, due to the costs, if it is not efficient. Thus, there is no need to ban it—the market will sort it out.
If the WMF were to block Proof-of-Work and only accept the so-called "eco coins," it would effectively be supporting centrally controlled currencies that rely on the trust of a small group of people, which defeats the entire purpose of cryptocurrency. I would highly encourage those enraged by Proof-of-Work to understand why it is necessary, what it does, and why it has value. Cheers. JamesPem (talk) 01:38, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
None of this applies to Nano (XNO)'s Open Representative Voting (ORV) consensus protocol, which is neither Proof of Work nor Proof of Stake. ATXMJ (talk) 19:53, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
You are missing the alternative of using proof of useful work such as in CureCoin, where relatively large amounts of energy are used, but to provide an unmistakable social good (protein folding, used in medical test and therapy design, and many other biomedical applications) instead of solving a useless and esoteric math puzzle (like finding SHA-256 collisions as Bitcoin does.) By the way, I have never owned any cryptocurrency of any kind, so I'm not shilling. New4Q (talk) 18:37, 14 January 2022 (UTC) New4Q (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
As Andreas Antonopoulos explains, proof of useful work creates a security vulnerability. The problem with work that some other people might consider useful, is that it splits the reward, meaning the miners have two reasons for which they are mining. One is to secure the network, and the other is to produce protein folding signatures or large primes. If the production of primes becomes more valuable than securing the network then it would not be worthwhile performing the security of the blockchain as a primary function—at which point you can no longer trust the promise that a miner committed energy to prove that they had backed the security of the network by validating transactions and the security fails. The purpose of proof-of-work is to secure the network. It is useful work. Protecting $1 Trillion in worldwide digital property is a social good. JamesPem (talk) 04:23, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
What's the difference between a rationale that more of the world's energy must be spent on Bitcoin mining or we risk the system collapsing, and a classic Ponzi scheme where more and more work must be done to stop the pyramid collapsing?[20] --Anstil (talk) 10:41, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
An excellent question, but that's not how it works. You referenced an op-ed and the author has made incorrect assumptions. I would encourage you partake in neutral-POV research. Mining is not expected to increase forever. Mining participation is mainly derived from the issuance of new Bitcoins which is finite and is structurally decaying over time (it's 90% done). Issuance will slowly be replaced by transaction fees. Unless you believe that the price of bitcoin is going to literally double in real terms every four years until 2140, mining participation will not grow forever and may even decrease as that transition happens. As such, the network does not perpetually require more and more mining. It only requires more mining than what a willing attacker can muster. Increased mining participation is a symptom of increased price appreciation and available issuance. Miners are free to choose how much or how little they wish to mine. The network will self-adjust the difficulty either way. JamesPem (talk) 02:14, 16 January 2022 (UTC)
@JamesPem: that makes no sense. The whole idea of using proof of useful work is that the work is valuable, inherently. The value is exactly what makes POUW superior to nonsense busy-work for securing the value of newly mined cryptocurrency. For CureCoin and FoldingCoin, it is computationally very easy to check that a solution to a protein folding problem is a local minima in terms of binding energy, so any solution from the Folding@Home screensaver (which is used to mine those coins) is checked upon submission, and a small proportion are fully audited to make sure the submitted solutions match the solutions from the version of Folding@Home that the miner is purporting to use. Any attempt at fraud will be quickly identified (nobody knows how to create suitable local minima energy solutions without actually doing the work; or more accurately, when they figure out any such method it is quickly included in a subsequent version of Folding@Home.) Work units that fail to be accepted simply don't result in the issuance of any coins, and those that fail auditing result in the corresponding coins being revoked by means of their value being deducted from the wallet of the defecting miner. Antonopoulos's explanation simply doesn't make any sense, and I would go so far to say it appears to be deliberately deceptive. New4Q (talk) 21:53, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
@New4Q: The work spent securing the network is useful. It's not nonsense busy-work. To put a higher value on alternative work is a tacit admission that the network's own security isn't worth the dedicated work. But, don't take my word for it—let's let the market decide what's best. JamesPem (talk) 03:15, 22 January 2022 (UTC)
@JamesPem: why isn't the network's value important enough to secure with work that has inherent value? Specifically, if society sees massive quantities of electricity being used for nothing more than the enrichment of speculators in mining, is that not a greater risk than providing a social good to secure value? What is the reason that you and Antonopoulos claim that an inherent value of work degrades the likelihood that it's a legitimate basis of value? Is there some kind of conflict of interest being suggested? The POUW miner is interested in obtaining credit for the work, certainly, but that is a reason that they are more likely to avoid fraud, but not any sort of reason that they won't be interested in perpetuating the integrity of the currency. New4Q (talk) 11:26, 22 January 2022 (UTC)
If you look at PoW coins in practice, you'll see that they rely on a small group of people mining, and that this group gets ever smaller. This small group mines relatively cheaply, since they have economies of scale (cheap capital to purchase mining equipment with, discounts on buying in bulk, cheap maintenance of this equipment). Combine this with the mining rewards that they gain from mining, and they not only increasingly profit from their scale relative to small miners but also have a very strong incentive to maintain the story of "decentralization through hashrate".
The reality is that miners spread their hashrate over multiple mining pools to hide just how big they've gotten, that research that looks into the trends of hashrate distribution shows that mining got more centralized, that nowadays an upper estimate of just 50 miners control ~50% of mining capacity and that they use this centralization to extract excess fees from users.
It's similar to how we all know and knew that tobacco is bad for you, that we need to rely less on fossil fuels, but that there are vested interests in maintaining the status quo. You are probably right that at some point the market will sort this out - the tobacco and fossil fuel examples are similar here. However, it would be better for the planet and everyone on it (barring these large miners) to speed up this decline.
As for these environmentally friendly currencies, your take on them is slightly off. While Bitcoin has had 1-conf doublespends in the past, has had 6-hour rollbacks of confirmed chains and suffered from inflation bugs, no such security bug has ever arisen on Nano. In fact, it's done over 140 million transactions without ever a doublespend, inflation bug or rollback. As a final addition, Nano was in fact fairly distributed, being given away for free to anyone willing to solve captchas. Additionally, there is no staking and compounding, so the aforementioned effect of the big getting ever bigger such as in PoW-cryptocurrencies is absent in Nano. ATXMJ (talk) 22:41, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
The attacks you mentioned for Bitcoin were a decade ago. A lot of the largest early PoW miners are defunct. Thus, the claim of the big getting bigger effect doesn't necessarily apply to all miners over the long term. Rather, it's meritocratic process of survival of the fittest that leads to large mining pools—and those groups of miners have earned their seats. There are tradeoffs to every currency. Nano is no different. PoW fees play a critical role in supporting the long-term security of a network, by making it costly for information to be stored on the blockchain, thereby disincentivizing spam and DDoS attacks that have historically plagued zero-/low-fee networks, like Nano, EOS and XRP. Most crucially, fees promote a competitive environment among miners which in turn makes it prohibitively expensive for single parties to successfully attack a network. Thus far, proof of work in high-fee environments is the only battle-tested mechanism known to the industry to be resilient against these attacks. Nano's network was flooded with spam last year in such an attack. PaulJohansson (talk) 13:46, 19 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Following last year's spam attack during which the network slowed down but did not stop working, an improved prioritization scheme was implemented. For the specifics I would refer to this article. ATXMJ (talk) 20:42, 19 January 2022 (UTC)

Another section relying on "sources" that turn out to be opinion pieces. No published academic research here, just claims and counter-claims which even the cited but paywall protected "Times" money mentor article states as dubious and nothing as firm as the United Nations statement that directly compared a Bitcoin transaction energy cost to a Visa transaction energy cost as being a million times more.

These discussions now read like a Bitcoin forum, full of non-scientific claims sourced to incomprehensible hand-waiving cryptocurrency advertorial self-publications. These are identical to the distract, confuse, counter-claim tactics of climate denial "science" a decade ago and mostly irrelevant to what are allowed as current donation methods to the Wikimedia Foundation which this vote is supposed to be about.

Anonymous donations work without relying on cryptocurrencies, there's no convincing reasoning based on real reliable sources or evidence in these multiple discussion threads, that changes basic facts or proves that Bitcoin is somehow preferable to a Paypal donation. However there is plenty of unfactual chaff and confusion, which may be effective at gaming the vote outcome here. --Anstil (talk) 13:30, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

For the UN "statement" and cost per transaction comparison, see my comment above. Thibaut (talk) 14:00, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
The UN statement and "energy per transaction" metric is misleading and has been disputed (please see Thibaut's comments). The metric was created by Digiconomist (see RFC section that questions Digiconomist as a reputable source). It is not opinion to state that Visa and PayPal rely on RTGS systems like Fedwire and TARGET2 for final settlement, whereas cryptocurrencies do not. Thus, the comparison between cryptocurrencies and transactional layers like PayPal and Visa is misleading and incomplete. JamesPem (talk) 14:26, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Thibaut's response is based on an opinion piece by Nic Carter, another person where their actual job is to promote "blockchain startups" for Castle Island Ventures.
Not a single tangible peer reviewed publication supports any of these pro-crypto word salad pieces. Promotional rhetoric from people literally paid to lobby on behalf of crypto FinTech is not a credible source.
"unfactual chaff and confusion" - these responses with spin painted as if they were science just confirm it. --Anstil (talk) 16:21, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

Does Bitcoin’s energy consumption rise proportionally with the number of transactions?
Bitcoin’s energy footprint is linked to block production, not transaction processing. This means that the number of transactions within a block has no impact on its energy expenditure: for a given difficulty level, a full block containing thousands of transactions has the same electricity footprint as an empty block with no transactions. The widespread misconception that Bitcoin’s energy consumption rises with a growing number of transactions seems to have its origins in the popular energy cost per transaction metric. Often used to compare the ‘energy efficiency’ of different payment systems, it is a purely theoretical measure that has little practical relevance without additional context.

— Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance
Thibaut (talk) 17:11, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Thanks. Precisely the point I made "Not a single tangible peer reviewed publication supports any of these pro-crypto word salad pieces."
A cut and paste self published opinion, with no credit given, from an business center's FAQ page is not "peer reviewed" nor is it even a credible publication. --Anstil (talk) 17:27, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
I fail to see how the self-published blog Digiconomist run by an employee of the Dutch Central Bank would be a better source than the University of Cambridge but anyway.
Each Bitcoin transaction is compiled into a block, mining a block use the same amount of energy whether there are transactions or not. Thibaut (talk) 17:39, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
We agree that the discussion lacks reliable sources rather than PR spin or FinTech venture capitalists promoting what amounts to gambling with no consideration of concerns like powering financial crime, money laundering, bad state actors taking advantage of a lack of meaningful regulation or the risk of serious permanent climate change damage.
And before this comes up, self publications by Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance which have no peer review and where the source data is not available for independent validation, are neither 'scientific' nor are they anything close to good academic standards compared to other university research centres which really do publish under the governance of independent editorial boards and enforce peer review.
See #Reliable_sources? where you are encouraged to shoot down inappropriate sources if you think they are not good quality, or propose some that you are certain are good quality or better reliable sources, that at least could underpin a Wikipedia article on the subject. --Anstil (talk) 11:25, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
It is empirical fact that retail transactional payment systems require central bank infrastructure to finalize interbank payments. That's not up for debate. It is concerning that you would dismiss this, using an ad hominem, given that eliminating the need for central banks is the entire purpose of cryptocurrency. This fact is well documented in published literature. For example, An Architectural Assessment of Bitcoin: Using the Systems Modeling Language, which explains how Bitcoin can eliminate the infrastructure, time, cost, and/or risk of interbank transactions. JamesPem (talk) 17:56, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Please avoid quoting sources that do not "document" the claim being made, this will mislead anyone reading the assertion.
The 2015 paper by Nicholas Roth is a systems analysis which mentions "efficiency" in the paper's abstract, which may be how you found it, but the content of the paper does not prove anything about efficiency, in fact it barely mentioned the topic. The only statement on this is a question in the text:

The cost per transaction has increased significantly over time, due to the value of bitcoins increasing disproportionate to the number of transactions. Some point to this as an inherent inefficiency in Bitcoin, and others expect that market forces will balance this over time at the agreed market value of a Bitcoin transaction.

— Sourced to Bloomberg Opinion[21]
The main conclusion of the paper states the following, and reaches no conclusions about efficiency:

The analysis provides insights for identifying potential focus areas, plus a misalignment between the guiding SoS [system of systems] level organization, the Bitcoin Foundation, and their support for an even playing field of competition between cryptocurrencies, in the same way that Bitcoin wants to compete against traditional options. There is potential to capitalize on differing approaches in deflationary or inflationary coin supplies to provide robustness to the overarching goals outlined in the original architecture specification. These decisions are likely to not be in line with what is the best for Bitcoin or the speculative investors, but the entire system of systems could be better off for it.

— An Architectural Assessment of Bitcoin, 2015, Nicholas Roth, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050915003026
Please ensure you have taken time to read the sources cited as evidence to prove an assertion about Bitcoin to check whether they really do or not.
--Anstil (talk) 12:29, 17 January 2022 (UTC)
You have cited obsolete sources, from 2014 and 2015. Bitcoin did not have a Layer 2, for bundling millions of transactions (The en:Lightning Network) until March 2018.[22].

"If we presume a large network of channels on the Bitcoin blockchain, and all Bitcoin users are participating on this graph by having at least one channel open on the Bitcoin blockchain, it is possible to create a near-infinite amount of transactions inside this network."[23]

Just like Fedwire acts as a settlement layer for US bank clearing houses, and retail transaction systems, Bitcoin acts as a settlement layer for the Lightning Network and other Layer 2 systems. Thus, the energy per transaction metric is misleading because it does not consider the fact that millions of high speed transactions can be settled in a single on-chain transaction. It would be similarly misleading to look at Fedwire's throughput without considering its settlement aspects. JamesPem (talk) 04:17, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
"You have cited obsolete sources, from 2014 and 2015", correct, Nicholas Roth was your citation. Please don't blame others when they read or comment on the sources you choose to provide as evidence.
I see that with the 3 year old post from Bloomberg and the draft and unpublished 5 year old document from "Joseph Poon" promoting the "lightening.network" (presumably this is precisely what you mean by an "obsolete source"), you are not making a claim that Bitcoin is any cheaper or more efficient end to end, i.e. including all collective and systemic costs, for taking donations than other methods.
Poon says nothing specific or measurable in the unpublished draft 2016 paper about fees that is not untested and hypothetical, qualifying opinions with "likely". It's also clear that Poon is not an independent analyst as they are promoting the lightning network.
The Bloomberg post by Camila Russo (which I'm having trouble reading due to paywalls and forced subscription pop-ups, here's an alternative archive version) was published at the time when the system was newly released. Actual costs both to the end user and carbon footprint are not in that article, as they were unknown. It does say "Enthusiasts say the Lightning Network will solve these problems with fees at a fraction of a cent and instantaneous transactions" but that's unproven in this article and just repeats the opinions of "enthusiasts".
I presume you have given up on trying to prove that Bitcoin donations to the Wikimedia Foundation are cheaper or more efficient than Visa, as you clearly cannot find credible recent sources? --Anstil (talk) 11:21, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
My sources came from the en:Lightning Network page. If you feel that those sources are not credible, you should feel free to edit the WP page and improve it. Lightning Network is now operational and is already powering high volume payments such as Twitter Tips. The fact that Twitter Tips can handle significantly more volume than Bitcoin on-chain transactions proves that Bitcoin acts as a settlement layer for higher volumes of payments. Twitter Tips allows you to send micropayments, to people in any country, and those micropayments will settle over Bitcoin with virtually no fees. It's extremely efficient.
Therefore, comparing Visa (a payments network) to Bitcoin on-chain transactions (a settlement layer) is misleading since en:Bitcoin scalability problem#"Layer_2"_systems payments technologies, like Lightning Network, are now operational and scale up payments. JamesPem (talk) 14:06, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
This RFC is on whether the Wikimedia Foundation should continue to accept the cryptocurrencies they currently do for donations in the light of well published ethical concerns. Repeatedly saying that it's impossible to compare the end to end costs or the carbon footprint of a Visa transaction to a Bitcoin transaction is plainly unhelpful and wrong.
If Bitcoin is 'greener' or more cost effective, provide some evidence to that effect.
I have been unable to find a single credible source that proves it, despite a flood of opinion pieces and evangelism from enthusiasts and Bitcoin investors putting it in writing like it was fact, including claims that transaction costs can be virtually zero or even negative (yes, that's in one of the evangelical "sources"), and that Bitcoin mining will very soon have no climate impact.
It's a payment method which has been in use for over 10 years, it should not be that hard to publish actual costs and provide credible comparisons with another payment method that has existed for 70 years.
Facts and quality reliable sources please. --Anstil (talk) 15:58, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
"Repeatedly saying that it's impossible to compare the end to end costs or the carbon footprint of a Visa transaction to a Bitcoin transaction is plainly unhelpful and wrong."
I think the quote from Cambridge's FAQ I gave earlier explained it quite well, but if you need more:

First, the use of transactions as the driver of future Bitcoin emissions is questionable, given the tenuous correlation between transactions and mining energy use. It is well established that energy use is driven by the computational difficulty of the blocks mined whereas the number of transactions per block can evolve (for example, via SegWit) with no direct effect on block mining difficulty. The authors themselves calculate Bitcoin energy use and emissions in 2017 on the basis of block difficulty, not the number of transactions. Without explanation, the authors switch to transactions as the driver for projecting future emissions, undermining their methodological consistency and the integrity of their projections.

— Masanet, E., Shehabi, A., Lei, N. et al. Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions. Nature Climate Change 9, 653–654 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0535-4
--Thibaut (talk) 16:44, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
Sure, you keep saying the same thing massaged in different ways, but it's still illogical.
The comparison is easy, if the pro-Bitcoin lobby wanted to calculate it.
Here's how. Take the total carbon footprint (and costs which must eventually be recovered by fees) of Bitcoin generation, storage, payment transactions and settlement costs in 2021 (or any other recent year) and divide it by the total number of Bitcoin transactions in that year. Do precisely the same calculation for Visa transactions including banking systems, and compare them. It's the type of evidence based calculation and estimation that economists do all the time.
The "end to end" cost is precisely this. It may vary hugely if underpinning technology or process changes in 2022 or follow years, such as the carbon footprint of Bitcoin mining radically being reduced because of regulation, but it's an absolutely fine benchmark and the calculations can be done transparently.
Right now, your only answer is to keep rejecting any comparison published by others, without actually providing an understandable alternative apart from rhetoric.
--Anstil (talk) 17:16, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
"divide it by the total number of Bitcoin transactions in that year": this is technically impossible as many (if not most in the future?) transactions happen off-chain and are therefore not tracked. As far as I know there is no way to even estimate this number.
We would all love to have the data you're talking about but, as of today, I don't think there are reliable sources that calculated the overall environmental impact of the banking system (+ VISA/Mastercard).
In the absence of such reliable sources, we can only conclude that we cannot conclude. Unfortunately. A455bcd9 (talk) 17:59, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
A455bcd9 is correct. Lightning Network transactions are private, so the data isn't really available. But, Anstil's point that costs must eventually be recovered by fees is worth considering. If it were actually true that Bitcoin were so terribly inefficient and using too much energy per transactions, people would not be willing to pay the fees to buy that energy and miners would turn off their machines. The fact that Lightning transactions happen instantly and cost fractions of a penny means that enough fees must be collected in order for people to maintain their channels. The system must be efficient in order to keep settling transactions and keep working. People can come up with their own ways of claiming how inefficient or efficient the system is, but it really doesn't matter since the prevailing market forces will either allow the system to thrive or cause it to fail. JamesPem (talk) 00:28, 20 January 2022 (UTC)
For what it's worth, a group of Bitcoiners did attempt to break down the theoretical environmental impact of Lightning transactions in a post titled Comparing Bitcoin & Lightning energy usage to the real world, if the network were to scale to 425.1 billion transactions a year (the equivalent of Visa, UnionPay and Mastercard, even though there is no theoretical limit on Lightning transactions). Although certainly not a reliable source, the post makes a few interesting comparisons and explains that Lightning is able to scale non-proportionally to energy usage. For example, an average human will emit the same amount of CO2 in a single day as approximately 6 Lightning transactions. The author argues that if bitcoin's Lightning transactions were scaled up to a global retail level, it would be a carbon effective way of transacting around the world.
Honestly, it would be just as well if WMF stopped accepting crypto payments. It's not like WMF is taking advantage of what the technology can do. WMF could ditch BitPay and use Strike's API to accept US dollar payments, from a range of major currencies, using Bitcoin Lightning as a highly-efficient payment rail. This would allow users to automatically tip en:Micropayments on each article, if they wanted to, instantly for virtually no fee. Alas, WMF would rather stick to the inefficient legacy system and apparently doesn't need the money. JamesPem (talk) 01:51, 20 January 2022 (UTC)
(Edit conflict.) And mining a block has the same energy footprint regardless of the number of transactions (Lightning or not Lightning), even Digiconomist’s Alex de Vries admits it. Thibaut (talk) 02:00, 20 January 2022 (UTC)

The Digiconomist is Disinformation

The noise about proof of work's environmental impact originates from the Digiconomist, which is authored by an employee of the Dutch Central Bank. In case you don't see the obvious bias conflict, the main idea behind Bitcoin is that it is a decentralized alternative to central banking. The Digiconomist is a propaganda outlet of the central bank system that is the dominant economic paradigm today that got us into the over-consuming environmental mess that we find ourselves today. They completely mislead the public as to how Bitcoin works: the notion of a "per transaction cost" is nonsensical, because one transaction on the blockchain could represent millions of real-world transactions, through transaction batching and layer 2 payment networks. There is no way of knowing the true number of transactions.

Bitcoin is the solution, not the problem -- fix the money, fix the world. The environmental FUD levelled at Bitcoin and Proof of Work has been debunked over and over again by those who actually understand Bitcoin and it's integration with the global energy markets. Bitcoin is a net positive for the environment, subsidizing the deployment of renewable energy production and directly reducing GHG emissions in the oilfield. As civilization progresses, we need to (and will) produce more -- not less -- energy. Bitcoin will play a vital role in subsiding sustainable energy rollout in global energy markets, in spite of the FUD being propagated by the incumbent financial powers and the misinformed who believe their lies.

Wikipedia should setup BTCPayserver and accept bitcoin donations over the Lightning Network. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Brentkearney (talk) 19:26, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

I've heard opposition to how Digiconomist defines costs per transaction, and I can see both sides to it—on the one hand it's correct that the processes involved with performing a single Bitcoin transaction do not themselves directly result in energy expenditure at the scale described by Digiconomist, we also have to acknowledge that Bitcoins don't just materialize out of thin air and have to be mined before transactions can occur. But my argument here (and from what I am seeing, most of the arguments here) are not based on per-transaction costs, and are rather concerned with the overall environmental impacts of the system, numbers which it doesn't seem you are disputing.
Regarding de Vries' background, it seems to make sense to me that an economist might have a day job in banking; he seems to be a data scientist rather than an executive or marketer or anyone with a title that would suggest a particular interest in propagandizing against Bitcoin. I myself have hobby projects that are critical of web3, and in my day job I develop software for a company building web products that are not blockchain-related; this seems somewhat parallel to having a hobby project critical of Bitcoin while doing data science for a traditional banking establishment, yet I am quite confident that my day job does not impact my opinions on web3.
As for your sources, if you are going to argue that the Digiconomist source has "biased conflict", it seems odd to counter them with pieces from heavily pro-crypto sources. GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:59, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Digiconomist isn't just biased and conflicted. De Vries is self published, has no editorial review process and he has a poor reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. This is easily proven by observing the data published on his Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index page. It is well known that Bitcoin's hashrate dropped 50% in June 2021, following China's crackdown on miners, before recovering in December 2021. Not only did Digiconomist not update the data in his metric to reflect this, de Vries showed the exact opposite—consistently publishing increasing power consumption and emissions figures in his metric. To this day, Digiconomist still does not show any 2021 drop in his official "estimated" network hashrate data. It's as if the China crackdown on mining did not happen. Anyone can independently check this. The data from Digiconomist is fabricated and does not reflect reality. Digiconomist is not a reliable source and does not live up to Wikimedia editorial standards.
In terms of providing neutral counterarguments to Digiconomist, I would recommend reading Is Bitcoin ESG Friendly for Equity Investors?, which is a relatively short and concise counterargument. It was written by a Senior Research Analyst in Alliance Bernstein's Sustainable Thematic Equities department. The opinion highlights that Bitcoin's environmental impact is "overstated" in the media and often ignores its role in financial inclusion. The author explains that, "4.2 billion people live in authoritarian regimes that don’t respect civil liberties and human rights, where governments can ban a citizen’s access to payment networks as a political weapon. Bitcoin separates money from state control and guarantees an individual’s right to their savings."

"...We believe concerns about the high-energy intensity of Bitcoin mining are overstated, and the technology can play a less-acknowledged but important role in promoting financial inclusion." Alliance Bernstein — Sustainable Thematic Equities: Is Bitcoin ESG Friendly for Equity Investors? [24]

JamesPem (talk) 04:21, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
William Johnston (AB Portfolio Manager) is not a researcher, their opinion pieces for Alliance Bernstein exist to sell their financial products. You are effectively quoting from sales pitches.
Not a reliable source. --Anstil (talk) 11:48, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
Here is peer reviewed research that argues Bitcoin is less carbon intensive than standard equity investments: Bitcoin investments and climate change: A financial and carbon intensity perspective

Bitcoin's carbon emissions are low compared to its market value, implying that Bitcoin is characterized by a lower carbon intensity than the average asset in the portfolio. Thus, an isolated focus on Bitcoin's absolute carbon emissions can be highly misleading from an investment and portfolio perspective...Importantly, in contrast to the widespread negative perception of Bitcoin in the climate change debate, we also find that Bitcoin investments can be less carbon intensive than standard equity investments. The addition of Bitcoin to a diversified equity portfolio can thus lower the portfolio's aggregate carbon footprint.[25]

If WMF is going to restrict cryptocurrency donations, then for consistency, it should be restricting standard equity donations as well. If WMF wants to restrict specific kinds of donations, it should have a robust methodology for determining what is "good" and what is "bad." Inconsistent restrictions on donations are unhelpful to WMF's mission. PaulJohansson (talk) 17:29, 14 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Wow, did you actually read the paper, or just the abstract?
The paper proves nothing of any possible relevance to this RFC.
It presumes that the reader only wants to see what would happen in terms of estimated carbon footprint for a $10,000 'portfolio' composed of S&P 500 (i.e. shares in the largest top 500 companies) if they were mixed with some Bitcoin investment.
This is a completely bizarre set of cherry-picked assumptions, bending over backwards to avoid any direct comparison of carbon footprint in absolute values during transactions. Wikimedia Foundation bitcoin donations are not $10,000 a pop, so the transaction costs are not equivalent, nor is there any evaluation of how ridiculous it is to just take the average carbon impact of a $10,000 shareholding in the largest companies in the world, like Saudi Arabian Oil or Amazon, and presume this is all anyone does with money, compared to, say, buying a cup of coffee, or donating $5 to Wikimedia.
Irrelevant, regardless of it being peer reviewed. --Anstil (talk) 18:00, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
Measuring the carbon intensity of a transaction is misleading, since a single transaction can contain millions of Layer 2 transactions and secures the transactions of every transaction that has ever come before it. Energy per transaction is a misleading metric. Secondly, WMF never actually touches or receives cryptocurrency—all it does is accept money from the equivalent of a foreign exchange. It's no different than if users did the exchange themselves and sent dollars with another service and paid another fee, which would only create more emissions and more friction. That doesn't help anyone.
The point of the paper is that the value of the asset being held/exchanged is not all that carbon intensive for what it achieves. Surely you can appreciate that this is a nuanced topic that deserves an objective perspective and not outright dismissing everything presented. PaulJohansson (talk) 18:26, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
This RFC is about deciding how to handle a donation transaction, not a $10,000 investment portfolio. The peer reviewed paper you have cited does nothing to compare a Visa transaction to a Bitcoin transaction. If you are trying to compare "end to end" costs or climate impact of transactions, then find reliable credible sources that put that logic together with demonstrated facts and verified analysis.
Considering the claims that Bitcoin is worth over $1 trillion, it should be easy, because investors must be paying for the research into the ethics of bitcoin use over and over again.
The only credible relevant peer reviewed sources I find are critical of the ever increasing damage Bitcoin mining is causing at a time when energy costs for domestic users are escalating. --Anstil (talk) 10:51, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
"The peer reviewed paper you have cited does nothing to compare a Visa transaction to a Bitcoin transaction."
Because, again, this metric is misleading. Thibaut (talk) 12:43, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
This is really quite simple. Digiconomist is dismissed by WP editors on the Bitcoin:Talk page, because it is not a WP:IRS, since its creator calls it a hobby project. The WMF should not be using a hobby project for policy decisions. JamesPem (talk) 22:41, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
Agree, better sources should be used. Do you have some reliable peer reviewed sources we can agree on to use instead? In particular not views from a paid Bitcoin lobbyist or unverifiable and unreviewed self published 'reports' from business centres. --Anstil (talk) 10:56, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
You are referring to sponsored FinTech benchmark research, all of which are fully disclosed and are not cited in this RFC. CCAF does not have any sponsors for its Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index (CBECI), which is neutral and what has been cited in this RFC. Note that en:Bitcoin cites CBECI as a en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Scholarship reliable source for its criticism section. Cambridge is also cited by peer-reviewed research to highlight Bitcoin's environmental impact. JamesPem (talk) 02:40, 16 January 2022 (UTC)
"sponsored... all of which are fully disclosed", literally the opposite of self published statements by the CCAF/CBECI. #CBECI governance
"CCAF does not have any sponsors for its Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index", the opposite of statements by the CCAF in their own publications.
--Anstil (talk) 11:58, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
Conversation moved to #CBECI governance JamesPem (talk) 14:09, 19 January 2022 (UTC)

Bitcoin is FLOSS

Note that bitcoin core is a FLOSS project attempting to promote monetary freedom. With bitcoin it is (at least theoretically) possible to perform monetary transactions using exclusively FLOSS software, without the use of a centralized proprietary infrastructure.

https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin

--Kim Bruning (talk) 22:16, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Right, but just being FLOSS is not in itself a reason for us to support a project. You could make a FLOSS project to say, profile edit histories to try and geolocate pseudonymous and anonymous Wikipedia editors for surveillance and censorship purposes. Or a FLOSS tool to DDOS Wikimedia servers. Our mission isn't to support the proliferation of free software. It's to create and distribute free educational content. Steven Walling • talk 01:41, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Sure, on the other hand you could make FLOSS projects that are somewhat more wholesome and promote freedom: tools to write software freely by yourself, run your own os on your own computer without needing to rely on others, write an encyclopedia and distribute it, communicate with others without fear of censorship, or exchange money electronically with your peers without needing to stop and wait for a bank. It's all part of the same culture.
If we start going after each other: "bitcoin is falling behind on sustainability!"; "people can use tor to violate copyrights!"; "linux is full of hacking tools"; "wikipedia doesn't support the conservative/chinese/russian/democratic narrative!" ... I don't see how that can end well? --Kim Bruning (talk) 02:16, 13 January 2022 (UTC) I forgot to add : Sure it's not *exactly* the same goals for each project... else it'd just all be the one same project; but it's definitely different aspects of the same set of goals nonetheless. So it's not just the same _kinds_ of people who get involved in each, sometimes it's actually the same people.
Kim has a point. Of all the techno-enthusiast reasons for using Bitcoin, software freedom is probably the only one that matters for WMF's mission. Ideally, WMF would add one FLOSS-friendly payment option before removing another. (But things could be done in a different order too.)
Did someone check whether Bitpay requires any proprietary client-side software? I see it has an option for a "no-script invoice", and some people claim it is/was possible to pay from your wallet without proprietary software. However, it seems that Cloudflare is in the middle, enforcing the usage of proprietary software either way (via captchas).
(I don't think it matters so much whether the payment infrastructure itself is free software. SWIFT probably isn't free software, and the companies which print US bills or cast gold bullions probably use proprietary software, but we don't know what OS or virtualisation providers are used by cryptocurrency nodes either. I only care that I can make a SEPA payment with my usual methods without interacting with whatever software is on the other side.) Nemo 16:59, 18 January 2022 (UTC)

Each point is untrue and/or misleading

Accepting cryptocurrency signals endorsement of the cryptocurrency space

This is not true, any more than accepting USD signals endorsement of the US Dollar or the US Government.

Cryptocurrencies may not align with the Wikimedia Foundation's commitment to environmental sustainability

The proposal conflates the existence of Bitcoin to merely using it. The proposal does not demonstrate that dropping acceptance of Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) will actually have an effect. As a technical matter, there is no direct relationship between making a Bitcoin transaction and energy usage (that's significantly more than the domestic banking system).

We risk damaging our reputation by participating in this

Besides being a purely subjective point that doesn't belong here, you risk your reputation by taking damaging political stances like this.

For these reasons, the RfC should be revised and resubmitted. Point 2 needs evidence that the call to action will accomplish the stated goal; points 1 and 3 should be withdrawn. --Awwright (talk) 22:49, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

You clearly disagree with my opinions, but that does not make anything I've said "untrue and/or misleading". You are certainly welcome to !vote below if you wish to present your own opinions. Welcome to the Wikimedia community, by the way. GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:46, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
First, reading the RfC, I would be led to believe that merely accepting Bitcoin is not just costly, but actually harmful to both the foundation and the general public. This is not true. It is not substantiated by any evidence, and in fact the opposite is probably true (that it is good to accept Bitcoin—I will let other users make this point). Second, "opinion" is ambiguous here. I would like to distinguish between a preference and a belief. My preference would be something like "I prefer to use Bitcoin", but this doesn't imply we have to stop accepting USD. You are expressing a belief that is, in theory, verifiable or falsifiable. I can have any belief I want, e.g. that the USD is used to manipulate monetary policy around the world, etc. But even if this were true, it doesn't necessarily translate into a call to action (we would continue to accept USD). --Awwright (talk) 19:29, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
I've appreciated your civil discussion on this and have not felt disenfranchised even if we may disagree on some things, nor am I going to feel shut out if this is decided in a different way than I would have liked. For this I have been surprise and will be glad to hear your ideas. However, Jamie Zawinski's Twitter vitriol is not helpful to the discussion and I don't see what he has actually contributed to any real solution. I think the best solutions are ones we arrive at through the types of dialog we have here (mostly), but I don't see where referencing his 'stance' is helpful to either come to the best conclusion here, or to actually open the door for another point of view. It appears to be a simple, juvenile rant and doesn't belong in a serious proposal. JIRFlow (talk) 18:27, 14 January 2022 (UTC) JIRFlow (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

Please see the reliable sources section below, rather than just disputing the one source. Plenty of high quality sources publish the fact that Bitcoin is a significant contributor to climate change and unethical energy waste, at the level of disrupting economies of entire countries.

Advocating that the Wikimedia Foundation must continue to accept the use of Bitcoin, and tacitly supporting its use, should at least have the same quality of reliable sources to justify that decision, rather than repeating and relying on PR spin and rhetoric from lobbyists, which most of the input on that side of the discussion so far seems to boil down to.

... as of November 2018, the annual electricity consumption of Bitcoin ranges between 35.0 TWh and 72.7 TWh, with a realistic magnitude of 48.2 TWh. We further calculate that the resulting annual carbon emissions range between 21.5 and 53.6 MtCO2; a ratio which sits between the levels produced by Bolivia and Portugal. The magnitude of these carbon emissions, combined with the risk of collusion and concerns about control over the monetary system, might justify regulatory intervention to protect individuals from themselves and others from their actions.

— MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, December 2018, The Carbon Footprint of Bitcoin
--Anstil (talk) 12:10, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
The MIT quote proves the point that this kind of criticism is misleading. Comparing Bitcoin to small countries, which has no relationship to the energy of a distributed network, or industry, is misleading and unhelpful in terms of assessing carbon intensity. Small countries often outsource their manufacturing to countries with much higher carbon footprints. Small countries also have carbon footprints similar to large metropolitan cities. For example:

We determine the annual electricity consumption of Bitcoin, as of November 2018, to be 45.8 TWh and estimate that annual carbon emissions range from 22.0 to 22.9 MtCO2. This means that the emissions produced by Bitcoin sit between the levels produced by the nations of Jordan and Sri Lanka, which is comparable to the level of Kansas City.[10]

Sparking outrage is the intention when people compare Bitcoin to small countries. If critical takes on Bitcoin only compared its footprint to cities, instead of small countries with little industrial output, it wouldn't cause the same level of outrage. The WMF would not solve anything meaningful by disassociating itself with the carbon equivalent of a city. It would be an inconsistent symbolic gesture that achieves nothing—except reducing some of its own income. PaulJohansson (talk) 18:03, 14 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
[withdrawn after warning from Thibaut] --Anstil (talk) 12:52, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
@Anstil: Please maintain WP:Cooperation and civility. These types of responses are approaching WP:IDENTIFYUNCIVIL. Would you please re-read your comments and strike through anything that might be interpreted as an uncivil comment, or re-word it calmly and neutrally please? Thank you. JamesPem (talk) 03:00, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
[withdrawn after warning from Thibaut] --Anstil (talk) 12:52, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
This is getting tiring, your behaviour, here and on other threads, is exactly what is described on en:Wikipedia:Civil POV pushing#Behaviors. Thibaut (talk) 12:21, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
Asking for reliable sources to support repeated claims, some being repeated several times by single purpose accounts, some are correctly described as "fringe", so is not POV pushing.
So far, only one peer reviewed source has been presented that puts a pro-Bitcoin view. I took care to read through that source, but it was just not especially relevant to this RFC due to its very restricted assumptions of how to select data that only made it relevant for large portfolio managers.
The unsourced claim that McDonald's framing of the carbon footprint of Bitcoin mining was "outrage" was not acceptable and firmly rebutting it should be part of the allowed discussion here.
However I'm taking your warning seriously as you are an administrator, even though you did promote the pro-Bitcoin lobbying opinions of Nic Carter as if they were a reliable source so cannot be considered "neutral". As a result I'm withdrawing the last two remarks. Up to you to decide if that's what was necessary to correct my "POV pushing", feel free to remove or strike anything else I have added here if you feel that's the right thing to do to the benefit of this RFC.
--Anstil (talk) 12:52, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
There is no requirement that peer-reviewed papers are required to support a view. That would be an unreasonable bar for many new and emerging technologies. Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) is already considered a en:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Scholarship source for en:Bitcoin as it is published in reputable peer-reviewed sources and by well-regarded academic presses. JamesPem (talk) 21:06, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
Ref #CBECI governance.
The CBECI's reports are self published by the CCAF and not subject to peer review. Other writers may use short picked quotes from the reports in peer reviewed publications for multiple purposes. Please provide evidence for your assertion that "it is published in reputable peer-reviewed sources" as not a single citation has been provided to demonstrate that any CBECI report, or the unpublished and unverifiable data that underpins them, has been peer reviewed. --Anstil (talk) 13:24, 17 January 2022 (UTC)
Conversation moved to #CBECI governance JamesPem (talk) 05:14, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
accepting USD is definitely endorsement of the US Dollar. In the same way accepting BTC is endorsement of BTC Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 10:45, 18 January 2022 (UTC)

Reliable sources?

In the light of the disruption resulting from single purpose accounts dropping in to vote and add to discussions, but these boiling down to rhetoric which on examination has zero reliable sources, here are a few more reliably independent sources and correctly peer reviewed publications that could be quoted to support various viewpoints and may help go beyond PR spin from "business centres", website FAQs or "opinion" pieces being reprinted for catchy headlines. Maybe others voting in this discussion have high quality sources (not just opinion pieces from those paid to lobby for bitcoin) and peer reviewed sources they can recommend:

  1. "The Carbon Footprint of Bitcoin", MIT 2018, jstor
  2. "Dark Commerce: How a New Illicit Economy Is Threatening Our Future", Princeton University Press 2018, Louise Shelley, DOI j.ctv346n56.13 ISBN 9780691170183
  3. "Bitcoin: Economics, Technology, and Governance", Journal of Economic Perspectives v.29 jstor
  4. "Money Laundering and Corruption in Mexico", Andrés Martínez-Fernández, American Enterprise Institute 2021, jstor
  5. "China's Blockchain and cryptocurrency ambitions", Alice Ekman, EUISS 2021, jstor
  6. "Iceland Expects To Use More Electricity Mining Bitcoin Than Powering Homes This Year", Chris Morris, Fortune 2018, link webarchive
  7. "Why Energy Is a Big and Rapidly Growing Problem for Data Centers", Radoslav Danilak, Forbes 2017, link
  8. "Cryptocurrencies", chapter 1 Bitcoin beginnings, Oonagh McDonald, Agenda Publishing 2021, ISBN 9781788214216, DOI link
  9. "Why Bitcoin is bad for the environment. Elizabeth Kolbert, 2021, New Yorker.[26]

--Anstil (talk) 11:14, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

Good initiative. Here are other recent reliable sources:
  • "Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI)". ccaf.io. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  • Huang, Jon; O’Neill, Claire; Tabuchi, Hiroko (September 3, 2021). "Bitcoin Uses More Electricity Than Many Countries. How Is That Possible?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  • "Bitcoin mining actually uses less energy than traditional banking, new report claims". The Independent. May 18, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  • Carter, Nic (May 5, 2021). "How Much Energy Does Bitcoin Actually Consume?". Harvard Business Review. ISSN 0017-8012. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  • Ramasubramanian, Sowmya (July 8, 2021). "Bitcoin mining uses 56% green energy, mining council says". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  • Masanet, Eric; Shehabi, Arman; Lei, Nuoa; Vranken, Harald; Koomey, Jonathan; Malmodin, Jens (2019-09). "Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions". Nature Climate Change. 9 (9): 653–654. doi:10.1038/s41558-019-0535-4. ISSN 1758-6798.
    • "[T]he scenarios used by Mora et al are fundamentally flawed and should not be taken seriously by the public, researchers, or policymakers."
  • Shan, Rui; Sun, Yaojin (August 7, 2019). "Bitcoin Mining to Reduce the Renewable Curtailment: A Case Study of Caiso". Rochester, NY.
    • "The enormous energy demand from Bitcoin mining is a considerable burden to achieve the climate agenda and the energy cost is the major operation cost. On the other side, with high penetration of renewable resources, the grid makes curtailment for reliability reasons, which reduces both economic and environment benefits from renewable energy. Deploying the Bitcoin mining machines at renewable power plants can mitigate both problems."
  • Bastian-Pinto, Carlos L.; Araujo, Felipe V. de S.; Brandão, Luiz E.; Gomes, Leonardo L. (March 1, 2021). "Hedging renewable energy investments with Bitcoin mining". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 138: 110520. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2020.110520. ISSN 1364-0321.
    • "Windfarms can hedge electricity price risk by investing in Bitcoin mining. [...] These findings, which can also be applied to other renewable energy sources, may be of interest to both the energy generator as well as the system regulator as it creates an incentive for early investment in sustainable and renewable energy sources."
  • Eid, Bilal; Islam, Md Rabiul; Shah, Rakibuzzaman; Nahid, Abdullah-Al; Kouzani, Abbas Z.; Mahmud, M. A. Parvez (2021-11). "Enhanced Profitability of Photovoltaic Plants By Utilizing Cryptocurrency-Based Mining Load". IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity. 31 (8): 1–5. doi:10.1109/TASC.2021.3096503. ISSN 1558-2515.
    • "The grid connected photovoltaic (PV) power plants (PVPPs) are booming nowadays. The main problem facing the PV power plants deployment is the intermittency which leads to instability of the grid. [...] This paper investigating the usage of a customized load - cryptocurrency mining rig - to create an added value for the owner of the plant and increase the ROI of the project. [...] The developed strategy is able to keep the profitability as high as possible during the fluctuation of the mining network."
  • Baur, Dirk G.; Oll, Josua (November 20, 2021). "Bitcoin investments and climate change: A financial and carbon intensity perspective". Finance Research Letters: 102575. doi:10.1016/j.frl.2021.102575. ISSN 1544-6123.
    • "Analysis shows bitcoin can reduce portfolios’ aggregate carbon emissions."
  • Öysti, Laura (December 13, 2021). "Bitcoin and Energy Consumption". [Master's Thesis]
    • "Research shows that bitcoin mining seeks to use cheap electricity and it can accelerate the generation capacity of renewable energy. The deployment of bitcoin mining can facilitate the transition to a more resilient and cleaner electricity grid."
  • Rennie, Ellie (November 7, 2021). "Climate change and the legitimacy of Bitcoin". Rochester, NY.
    • "In responding to these pressures and events, some miners are providing services and innovations that may help the viability of clean energy infrastructures for energy providers and beyond, including the data and computing industry. The paper finds that if Bitcoin loses legitimacy as a store of value, then it may result in lost opportunities to accelerate sustainable energy infrastructures and markets."
  • Moffit, Tim (June 1, 2021). "Beyond Boom and Bust: An emerging clean energy economy in Wyoming".
    • "Currently, projects are under development, but the issue of overgenerated wind continues to exist. By harnessing the overgenerated wind for Bitcoin mining, Wyoming has the opportunity to redistribute the global hashrate, incentivize Bitcoin miners to move their operations to Wyoming, and stimulate job growth as a result."
  • Fridgen, Gilbert; Körner, Marc-Fabian; Walters, Steffen; Weibelzahl, Martin (June 1, 2021). "Not All Doom and Gloom: How Energy-Intensive and Temporally Flexible Data Center Applications May Actually Promote Renewable Energy Sources". Business & Information Systems Engineering. 63 (3): 243–256. doi:10.1007/s12599-021-00686-z. ISSN 1867-0202.
    • "To gain applicable knowledge, this paper evaluates the developed model by means of two use-cases with real-world data, namely AWS computing instances for training Machine Learning algorithms and Bitcoin mining as relevant DC [data center] applications. The results illustrate that for both cases the NPV [net present value] of the IES [integrated energy system] compared to a stand-alone RES [renewable energy sources]-plant increases, which may lead to a promotion of RES-plants."
  • "What's the Environmental Impact of Cryptocurrency?". Investopedia. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  • Sigalos, MacKenzie (2021-07-20). "Bitcoin mining isn't nearly as bad for the environment as it used to be, new data shows". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  • "Bitcoin's Impacts on Climate and the Environment". State of the Planet. 2021-09-20. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  • Livni, Ephrat (2021-10-10). "Can Crypto Go Green?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  • "Why Bitcoin Might Be Good for the Environment, According to Cathie Wood's ARK Invest". www.barrons.com. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  • Rhodes, Joshua. "Is Bitcoin Inherently Bad For The Environment?". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
    • "Mining and transacting cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, do present energy and emissions challenges, but new research shows that there are possible pathways to mitigate some of these issues if cryptocurrency miners are willing to operate in a way to compliment the deployment of more low-carbon energy."
  • "Green Bitcoin Does Not Have to Be an Oxymoron". news.bloomberglaw.com. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
    • "One way to invest in Bitcoin that has a positive effect on renewable energy is to encourage mining operations near wind or solar sites. This provides a customer for power that might otherwise need to be transmitted or stored, saving money as well as carbon."
A455bcd9 (talk) 15:53, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
Nic Carter is not a reliable source regardless of getting a page in HBR, it's literally his job to promote Bitcoin. Nor is the article in the Independent that just requotes their promotional opinions a quality reliable source. Please strike these sources.
The Hindu article just regurgitates PR from the "Bitcoin Mining Council" forum one week after the forum was created. It's not a quality reliable source (having difficulty reading it due to endless pop-ups). Please strike it.
--Anstil (talk) 16:28, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
From Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Perennial sources:
  • "There is consensus that The Hindu is generally reliable and should be treated as a newspaper of record."
  • "The Independent, a British newspaper, is considered a reliable source for non-specialist information."
The research reported by The Independent was also reported by Business Insider.
HBR is not listed but I think it is considered reliable. Even though the author's job is to promote Bitcoin, the article is not just an opinion piece and went through HBR's rigorous review process.
I see no valid reason to strike them. A455bcd9 (talk) 16:50, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
I am not proposing that The Independent or HBR are unreliable sources, but Nic Carter's job is to promote bitcoin ventures. These articles are nothing but promotional fluff, not usable here as quality sources. Opinion pieces or editorials from clearly biased lobbyists are not facts and these do not help this RFC.
The Hindu article is a joke. It's literally spam from a forum that was created days before, there's no possible way to defend including it as useful to this RFC. --Anstil (talk) 16:56, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
Öysti, Laura's masters thesis may be nice for them, but it's not a reliable source. Please strike it. --Anstil (talk) 16:40, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
The whacky and unlikely scheme to set up Wyoming with windmills in order for Wyoming to compete with China for Bitcoin mining is not a source that makes any real sense. I don't see how it is relevant to this RFC and it's more an example of magical thinking, with the fantasy that local government wants to use green energy for Bitcoin mining rather than supplying retail industry, farming, or domestic electricity customers. Consider removing it please. --Anstil (talk) 16:51, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
"[…] but Nic Carter's job is to promote bitcoin ventures."
FYI, you just added The New Yorker that mentions Digiconomist, Alex de Vries’s job is to undermine Bitcoin (no pun intended), see #The Digiconomist is Disinformation. Thibaut (talk) 12:36, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
And Nic Carter's article isn't an "opinion piece or editorial" as all articles submitted to HBR go through a rigorous review process: "Our editorial process is more thorough than many other publishers’, and you may be asked to do multiple rounds of revisions. [...] It’s not enough to know your subject deeply — you have to prove it to the reader. Referring to supporting research is one good way to do this; describing relevant examples is another. If you have interesting data, let us know. [...] We don’t publish pieces that have appeared elsewhere, that don’t properly credit the ideas they present, that come across as promotional, or that do not include rigorous citations (though these may not appear in the finished piece)." A455bcd9 (talk) 06:12, 16 January 2022 (UTC)
You are unwilling to even remove a master's thesis?
This is not a credible list. --Anstil (talk) 10:06, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
I assume readers will make their own opinion. A455bcd9 (talk) 10:57, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
"Analysis shows bitcoin can reduce portfolios’ aggregate carbon emissions." - so? Investing in coal mines may reduce aggregate carbon emissions if someone was previously investing into even worse things. This does not make either friendly to climate Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 10:48, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
@Mateusz Konieczny:: I agree with your opinion on this article. Besides that one, what do you think about the other reliable academic sources concluding that Bitcoin "may actually promote renewable energy sources"? A455bcd9 (talk) 10:59, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
I have not reviewed them, but given such clearly misleading claim in list of them I am not tempted to review other. And my opposition to BTC and related is anyway also motivated by amount of spam that I deleted in my inbox and in communities where I am moderator. And amount of scams (recently mostly NFT), ransomware and other negative activity enabled by cryptocurrencies. And effect on electronics prices. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 11:22, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
"clearly misleading claim in list of them": what do you mean?
Weirdly enough, I receive a lot of spams from websites/people asking me to pay in dollars or euros. This has never created in me a hatred for these currencies.
"effect on electronics prices": do you have any reliable source to prove this point for Bitcoin mining? On this point, I only found this (from a non-reliable source, a Bitcoin think-tank): "Bitcoin miners account for roughly 1% of revenue for TSMC, the largest semiconductor firm.6 Moreover, chip foundries tier their buyers, preventing miners from competing with clients critical to global supply chains.7" A455bcd9 (talk) 07:47, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
Bitcoin is mined with ASICs, not GPUs. ASICs can only be produced by certain foundries that don't interfere with Tier I GPU production. The GPU shortage and resulting electronics shortage wasn't related to Bitcoin as ASICs weren't given priority by any foundries since the market is too small. The reliable source on the 1% figure is the Wall Street Journal:

But the global chip shortage means semiconductor foundries like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. are already scrambling to fill other orders. They are also cautious about adding new capacity given how finicky crypto demand has proven to be. Bernstein estimates that crypto will only contribute about 1% TSMC’s revenue this year, versus around 10% in the first half of 2018 during the last crypto boom.[27]

JamesPem (talk) 01:02, 20 January 2022 (UTC)

Bitcoin is Legal Tender in El Salvador

It is my understanding that the Wikimedia Movement wants to be a global movement. Thus I believe the fact that Bitcoin is legal tender and therefor an official currency in El Salvador should be taken into consideration when making a decision. There is a Wikipedia Article about Bitcoin in El Salvador which gives an overview of the Situation in El Salvador. I could not find that Wikimedia Foundation has active chapters in El Salvador. However if we did have a chapter there it is my understanding that we would legally be required to accept Bitcoin in El Salvador. I will also ping and notify Portal: El Salvador and Wikipedia:WikiProject El Salvador and ask them to join the discussion here and add their perspective (as I am a German, living in Norway and I don't even speak Spanish). Looking at https://donate.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ways_to_Give I don't see a direct option for El Salvador other than USD. Also while looking at that page I wonder weather Wikimedia Foundation accepts all other official currencies of sovereign Nations or are there some currencies which are not accepted at all? If so, why not? It is my impression that it is mainly a question of does a payment service provider exist that is integrated and able to accept / convert the local currency to USD. It seems to me that at least with Bitcoin and BitPay this is the case (of course decent arguments have been made in the discussion that a self-hosted BTCPayServer and the Lightning Network Node might be a preferable solution over BitPay) --Renepick (talk) 13:16, 14 January 2022 (UTC) (Note & Disclaimer: Besides one time with respect to OER topics back in 2016 I have not been active on Meta. I am however a member of WikimediaDE in Germany and a contributor to Wikiversity, Commons and Wikipedia and potentially biased as a Bitcoin / Lightning Network open source developer & Researcher which is the reason why I haven't cast a vote yet but I thought the argument itself has merit and was so far underlooked)

Tonga will present a bill this year to make Bitcoin legal tender as well (source). Given Wikimedia Foundation's goal to "open the knowledge" and reach underrepresented communities, people should be able to contribute no matter where they live. Today, neither Salvadorans nor Tongans can give by credit/debit card and the Tongan paʻanga isn't accepted. Bitcoin fixes this. A455bcd9 (talk) 15:19, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
The post in "cointelegraph" about Tonga is based on a tweet from a former MP for a speculative bill that might be looked at at the end of 2022. A tweet from a personal account is not a reliable source, and the Wikimedia Foundation should make strategic financial choices based on reality, not speculative futures.
In El Salvador, the government underwrites their use of Bitcoin against USD. If anyone living in El Salvador actually wants to donate in Bitcoin (have they ever?) then they should be able to donate in USD using the "government exchanger".[28] If the government does not allow foreign payments in the (pegged) dollar value, that's not a problem the Wikimedia Foundation should be expected to fix.
Keep in mind, it is highly likely that the level of donations from El Salvador in Bitcoin in 2021 was so minuscule it would cost more in employee time even to report on it than the income it created. --Anstil (talk) 15:42, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
I gave the example of Tonga just to show that other countries may follow the Salvadoran example.
Yes, Salvadorans could use the dollar. However, according to the World Bank, only 30% of the population has a bank account and only 6% has a credit card. Which means that most Salvadorans—and most people in the world—cannot give. Bitcoin fixes this, in El Salvador and elsewhere. A455bcd9 (talk) 16:32, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
There are no reliable sources that explain how "Bitcoin fixes this" given the yet to be understood specific implementation of the government managed scheme in El Salvador. Nor is there any evidence that more than $100 was ever raised from Bitcoin donations from El Salvador.
I find it unlikely that worrying about, or providing solutions, for El Salvador donations makes any measurable difference to Wikimedia Foundation income or would work out to be more in income than it would cost to sort out. --Anstil (talk) 16:46, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
+1. WMF already has enough fundraising, and to be frank, is fundraising a bit too aggressively, to the point where public perception has been affected. EpicPupper (talk) 00:33, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
Indeed. Jr8825 (talk) 18:56, 15 January 2022 (UTC)

U.S. Congress to hold a hearing on the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies mining on January 20

--Thibaut (talk) 14:27, 16 January 2022 (UTC)

Crypto as an pseudonymous way of donation

Currently, Accessing or sponsoring Wikipedia, or international non-profit organizations in general, is not exactly legal in a number of countries. Cryptocurrency is a way of contribution that allow individuals from those countries to made donation, without having to worry about their own personal information on the donation being revealed to the national government through the national banking system, and thus is a safer and lower risk option for them. (Not everyone living in such countries are in total poverty.) Eliminating cryptocurrency as a mean of donation would increase the personal risk of donors coming from individuals in those countries, and this in my opinion is extremely undesirable. (Identity of the donor will still be retained by the payment processor, however that payment processor is most likely in a different country from those aforementioned, and thus wouldn't have as much risk of donor personal information being revealed to relevant national governments.) C933103 (talk) 04:46, 17 January 2022 (UTC)

FYI today you have to give your full name to give, even with Bitcoin: https://bitpay.com/464448/donate
Of course, someone who wants to give anonymously could give an alias and no one could check anyway whether it is their true name or not. A455bcd9 (talk) 05:03, 17 January 2022 (UTC)
In this case, it will be the payment processor, aka Bitpay, which know the full name and address of the donor, instead of government of nations of concern or their banking system. Hopefully, the payment processor Bitpay is not located in one of those countries and couldn't be pressed to hand over its user data to government of those countries, as they have different physical location. And this make such payment method preferable to other options like bank transfer or credit cards or mailed written cheque, all of them involve revealing information to donor's domestic banking systems and/or national governments. C933103 (talk) 07:58, 17 January 2022 (UTC)
Bitpay...couldn't be pressed to hand over its user data to government of those countries, as they have different physical location. This is untrue, because governments can request user data internationally through mutual assistance treaties, and through other alliances such as the Fourteen Eyes. Additionally, BitPay has a less privacy-respecting Privacy Policy than the regular WMF donor privacy policy. Their policy about law enforcement requests is Law enforcement, government officials, regulatory agencies, our banks, and other third parties pursuant to a subpoena, court order or other legal process or requirement if applicable to BitPay, but WMF's is If we believe that a particular request for disclosure of a donor's information is legally invalid or an abuse of the legal system, and the affected donor does not intend to oppose the disclosure themselves, we will do our best to fight the request. WMF is committed to notifying you via email at least ten (10) calendar days, when possible, before we disclose your personal information in response to a legal demand. TLDR: WMF promises to fight invalid requests, and notify donors, but BitPay doesn't. This means that both organizations are affected by cross-border data requests, but WMF is more protective of donors, fighting invalid requests and notifying donors if possible. EpicPupper (talk) 21:46, 17 January 2022 (UTC)
Obviously those other countries can file request, but Bitpay would not be under pressure to hand over their user information to e.g. Iranian government.
If WMF's privacy policy is deemed not up to the task, then WMF perhaps should find another more privacy-respecting crypto handler to help process those payments.
WMF being protective of donor is not sufficient if the payment have to gone through bank system which the national government can obtain information from without having to make any international data request. C933103 (talk) 15:44, 3 February 2022 (UTC)

Cryptocurrency as a tool of financial inclusion

Reading this thread is frustrating. I am one of those "small number of people" who make donations by crypto. I do not have any access to banking services. The other option is to mail a money order, which costs me around $2 USD each time in fees and postage -- or, maybe buy a prepaid Visa gift card which costs me at least $5. Since the start of the COVID lockdown I made arrangements so I get paid in BCH or LTC. Donating them costs me a fraction of a penny in network fees (unlike BTC or ETH), and I can do it without leaving home. A lot of people in the First World only think of crypto as something akin to gambling or HYIP. But in many parts of the world it is a powerful tool of financial inclusion and also the most economical and reliable way to send money. WMF could demonstrate its environmental commitment by encouraging newer crypto technologies such as Nano (XNO) while discouraging high-energy and high-fees BTC and ETH, which aren't really suited for donating small amounts anyway. PacificWillow (talk) 00:28, 18 January 2022 (UTC) PacificWillow (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

If someone's circumstances are this difficult, it's hard to imagine why they are worried about making a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation. They must have more urgent problems to deal with. --Anstil (talk) 16:14, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
I beg to disagree. I know some people in this situation. They are Palestinian refugees in a Western country. Being stateless, they have little to no access to the regular banking system, despite having ressources to sustain themselves and make donations. I am very skeptical of cryptocurrencies, being an economist by training, but this is the one legitimate use of crypto I know of. Bokken (talk) 08:52, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
For anyone with cash but no access to banks, they can do what my Mum does with Amazon/Paypal purchases and no account. She gives the £20 to one of her friends who orders the item for her.
My grandfather was in a similar position, he had no credit cards and being blind did not trust using them and would always ask to pay in cash. It was always possible to negotiate a way around it.
This may sound flippant, but the cases of people with no access to bank accounts has been raised 3 times now. The amount of people in these circumstances who actually do want to donate to the Wikimedia Foundation is going to be tiny. As this RFC is not about access to grants but the access to have money taken from the end user, the logic about whether the level of cost of the transaction and the cost of setting up the system has to be taken into account. It makes no sense for the Wikimedia Foundation to continue supplying donation methods where a large fraction of the income it generates goes on the costs of running it, or may even be more than the income. That is perfectly reasonable to explain to the very few potential donors without bank accounts, rather than them finding out later that of their $5 donation, $4 was wasted on administering it. --Anstil (talk) 12:03, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
Telling to people to just use Amazon/PayPal is a bit of a privileged perspective. People who try to send cross-border remittances are often subjected to substantial transaction fees, as high as 15–20%. Cryptocurrencies can process small cross-border transactions for virtually no fee. Giving users more choices, rather than less, only frees up the market to figure out the best options and encourages competition. My impression is that the WMF seems more interested with increasing global giving participation, inclusion and accessibility, no matter how small, than anything else. You would expect this behavior from an organization that is trying to remain neutral. PaulJohansson (talk) 16:29, 21 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
As opposed as I am to nearly everything else PaulJohansson has contributed to this RFC, and even moreso their dedication to rephrasing or outright repeating the same tired free-market dogma that was evident from practically their very first comment here... all that aside, I am forced to agree on this point. A glib dismissal like, "they can do what my Mum does with Amazon/Paypal purchases and no account. She gives the £20 to one of her friends who orders the item for her." is not a helpful input to a serious discussion regarding the WMF policy towards cryptocurrency donations.
And while I am personally somewhat sympathetic to the position — or, perhaps more accurately, while it is my personal inclination to also argue — that "If someone's circumstances are this difficult, it's hard to imagine why they are worried about making a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation.", I'm further inclined to suppress that reaction rather than publicly make an argument along those lines. Primarily because I know that supporting causes and organizations can have a significant positive impact on a person's self-worth and feelings of empowerment, even when their financial situation is such that others might question whether it is the best use of their money. There are good reasons why a person of limited means might choose to give some of their money away, and it is not our role to question their motivations or judgement.
(That being said, I am also well aware that even the financially disadvantaged are vulnerable to predatory forces, which can often come in the form of requests for donations even when the donor is not in a sound position to be giving. The WMF's donation-seeking practices have, at times, hewn uncomfortably close to those practices for my tastes, and though that is largely irrelevant to this discussion, we should do everything we can to avoid preying — even inadvertently — on the financially disadvantaged.)
I really don't know if accepting cryptocurrency is a good or bad look for the WMF, nor have I decided whether I see cryptocurrency as a net positive or negative societal force overall. But I think its impacts on all of us, as individuals and collectively, bears scrutiny and consideration. Handwaving away the value some marginalized communities may find in using it as an alternative to government currencies is unwise, the same way it's unwise to handwave away its massive environmental impact. (Even 0.1%, PaulJohansson, is hardly a "rounding error". It is in fact a massive impact on a climate where just a 2°C rise in average temperatures has the potential to land humanity on the endangered species list. Consider it this way: at a minimum, it puts cryptocurrency in the top 1000 energy-consuming activities worldwide! Whataboutism regarding all other forms of energy consumption / carbon emissions is a classic deflection, but this conversation isn't about any of those other activities. Their environmental impact is irrelevant to discussions of cryptocurrency, and doubly irrelevant to discussions of WMF's donations policy.) FeRDNYC (talk) 14:42, 31 January 2022 (UTC)

Proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies are way less energy-intensive

If you need further proof that PoS cryptocurrencies should at least be considered, here's an extract from an article in today's Financial Times (archive):

[Erik Thedéen, vice-chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority] said that European regulators should consider banning a mining method known as “proof of work” and instead nudge the industry towards the less energy-intensive “proof of stake” model to cut down on the sector’s vast power usage.

— Eva Szalay, "EU should ban energy-intensive mode of crypto mining, regulator says", Financial Times (archive), 19 January 2021

--Thibaut (talk) 10:17, 19 January 2022 (UTC)

Every consensus method has its tradeoffs. Proof-of-Stake may have its use cases in a corporate or security-like structure, however it is not a replacement for creating a commodity with meritocratic Proof-of-Work. Proof-of-Stake technically means "proof of wealth," a plutocratic consensus mechanism where the minority have to users trust the wealthiest participants to make the rules and validate transactions.[29][30] It's not difficult to see why this would be problematic in a system to protect minority user rights. Proof-of-Stake also lacks a mechanism to fairly distribute new coins, which is why most pure PoS blockchains are often pre-mined. JamesPem (talk) 04:28, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
Yes, I know all that, just trying to find a compromise. Thibaut (talk) 06:02, 21 January 2022 (UTC)

The WWF published a well-sourced article about the "sustainability" of the Polygon blockchain network, I'm not familiar with this blockchain network (and not particularly a fan of NFTs) but it's worth a read. --Thibaut (talk) 16:44, 2 February 2022 (UTC)

Proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies are better than Proof-of-work in terms of energy usage, but they still consume large amounts of energy compared to more traditional payment systems (because everyone needs to process and store everyone's payments). Additionally they suffer from all the other disadvantages all cryptocurrencies have, like #Cryptocurrencies are only a tool for crime and a financial scam. --BlauerBaum (talk) 15:06, 16 February 2022 (UTC)

Both of those are refutable. First, you failed to present a source for your claim that PoS are still worse than traditional solutions. Second, well, setting aside that that thread also fails to present good sources, simply the qualifier "only" shows how patently biased this view is (Wikipedia accepts crypto, so are also a part of some crime syndicate? Sheez). Piotrus (talk) 12:28, 17 February 2022 (UTC)

Environmental impact of the US dollar

Per Wikipedia (citing The Economist and two seemingly reliable sources):

The United States dollar is the de facto world currency. The petrodollar system originated in the early 1970s in the wake of the Bretton Woods collapse. President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, feared that the abandonment of the international gold standard under the Bretton Woods arrangement (combined with a growing U.S. trade deficit, and massive debt associated with the ongoing Vietnam War) would cause a decline in the relative global demand of the U.S. dollar. In a series of meetings, the United States and the Saudi royal family made an agreement. The United States would offer military protection for Saudi Arabia's oil fields, and in return the Saudi's would price their oil sales exclusively in United States dollars (in other words, the Saudis were to refuse all other currencies, except the U.S. dollar, as payment for their oil exports).

Given the massive environmental impact of oil, should we stop accepting USD donations? A455bcd9 (talk) 15:18, 19 January 2022 (UTC)

If you can credibly compare a 1 dollar payment to the equivalent in Bitcoin, then you might start to have something meaningful.
--Anstil (talk) 17:10, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
On the petrodollar subject, I mainly found these sources:
If, like me, you cannot find reliable sources comparing 1 dollar payment to the equivalent in Bitcoin, then we have to conclude that the issue isn't settled, as of today. A455bcd9 (talk) 17:25, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
A dollar-equivalent transaction on Bitcoin would take place on the en:Lightning Network. Using an on-chain transaction to send the equivalent of $1 would be like paying for a packet of gum using a bank wire. While not a reliable source, this article on the energy impact of Lightning transactions attempts to make the comparison at full scale. They estimated 145 grams of CO2 per Bitcoin transaction. Lightning enables en:Micropayments which the legacy petrodollar system struggles with. I don't claim this is a reliable source, but you can follow the math for an interesting thought experiment. JamesPem (talk) 02:02, 20 January 2022 (UTC)

Proposed crypto trading and mining ban in Russia

On January 22nd, the Central Bank of Russia proposed to ban crypto mining, officially due to perceived risks to the country's energy supply. (FT)

The FSB convinced the Central Bank to ban cryptocurrencies in Russia as they are used to finance the opposition and independent media. (Bloomberg, Meduza). A455bcd9 (talk) 18:19, 20 January 2022 (UTC)

The Central Bank said "speculative demand" is driving the rapid growth of decentralized cryptocurrencies and risks creating a bubble in the market.
"Cryptocurrencies also have signs of a financial pyramid as increase in their prices is largely driven by demand demonstrated by new market participants," it said [...]
It also proposed banning crypto mining, citing the threat to Russia's financial stability through its "unproductive consumption" of electric power "and the implementation of Russia's environmental agenda." Russia has the world's third-largest share in the global crypto mining market behind the United States and Kazakhstan.

— Russian Central Bank Seeks to Ban Crypto Mining, Investment, The Moscow Times, 20 January 2022
--Anstil (talk) 22:58, 20 January 2022 (UTC)
In addition to the above Russian government propaganda, the interested reader can read here the reason behind the ban:

Bloomberg earlier cited sources as saying that Russia's domestic security agency, the FSB, had lobbied central bank head Elvira Nabiulina for a ban. The FSB cited concerns over Russians frequently using the hard-to-trace transactions to support "undesirable organisations", such as opposition groups.

— Russia's central bank calls for crypto crackdown, AFP/RFI, 20 January 2022
A455bcd9 (talk) 13:19, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
Fabrichnaya, Elena; Marrow, Alexander (2022-01-25). "Russia should regulate crypto market, not ban it, says finmin official". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-01-26.

"We don't want these technologies to leave the country, they should absolutely be developed inside the country," Chebeskov added.

A455bcd9 (talk) 06:15, 26 January 2022 (UTC)
According to Bloomberg:

President Vladimir Putin backs a Russian government proposal to tax and regulate mining of cryptocurrencies, rejecting the central bank’s proposal to ban it completely […] Putin supports the proposal to restrict mining to regions with a surplus of electricity, such as Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Karelia […] Russia has a number of regions that have a surplus of electricity due abundant supplies from hydroelectric plants or because energy-intensive Soviet-era industrial facilities shut down.

— Evgenia Pismennaya, "Putin Backs Crypto Mining Despite Bank of Russia’s Hard Line", Bloomberg, 27 January 2022
--Thibaut (talk) 15:25, 27 January 2022 (UTC)

Question to WMF comms team regarding statement to Cointelegraph

In a Cointelegraph article published today, they write,

Following a proposal from users to stop accepting crypto donations to Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit confirmed that it would proceed with crypto donations.

Contributors banded together to urge the foundation to disable the option to donate in crypto because of environmental concerns. However, while the organization will continuously monitor the conversations around crypto within its communities, it will not budge on accepting crypto donations.

Elise Flick from the Wikimedia team told Cointelegraph that Wikimedia’s fundraising approach is meeting donors where they are. Flick mentioned that the foundation aims to “provide the most desired payment options in different parts of the world.” This includes catering to the requests that the foundation received from donors requesting to be able to donate in cryptocurrency.

@GVarnum-WMF:, or someone else from the comms team, would you be willing to shed some light on this? It's not clear to me if Cointelegraph may have misinterpreted (or spun) a statement about the current state of donations that are being accepted, or if the Wikimedia Foundation has indeed decided to communicate to the community via a statement to Cointelegraph that they do not intend to consider the wishes of the community demonstrated in this RfC should it turn out in favor of ceasing accepting crypto donations. GorillaWarfare (talk) 18:59, 20 January 2022 (UTC)

P.S. If possible, it would be great to see a copy of the full statement from which they are quoting. GorillaWarfare (talk) 21:36, 20 January 2022 (UTC)
@GorillaWarfare: Hello! Cointelegraph has in fact misinterpreted our statement. In our exchange with them, we clarified the history behind the Foundation's acceptance of cryptocurrency donations, dating back several years, and our general fundraising approach, which prioritizes inclusivity. We also said that we are monitoring the current, recent community discussion. We did not say or "confirm" to Cointelegraph that we would proceed with crypto donations. Our press team is reaching out to Cointelegraph for a correction. Our teams will continue to follow this discussion and listen to the feedback; we are already considering what has come up here as we determine our path forward. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 07:14, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
Thank you, that is reassuring to hear. GorillaWarfare (talk) 18:39, 21 January 2022 (UTC)
And thank god Cointelegraph isn't considered an RS. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 15:23, 23 January 2022 (UTC)
I mean they have got COI in their name... Nosebagbear (talk) 12:27, 24 January 2022 (UTC)
@GVarnum-WMF "Misinterpreted" is an exceedingly polite way to misspell "willfully misrepresented", but I commend you on your diplomatic tact. FeRDNYC (talk) 15:11, 31 January 2022 (UTC)
Indeed. I note no correction has been issued, ten days later. GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:30, 31 January 2022 (UTC)

Cryptocurrencies are only a tool for crime and a financial scam

The environmental impact of bitcoin mining is a valid concern, but most important is the fact that cryptocurrencies are only two things: a tool for illegal payments and money laundering, and the object of the biggest ponzi scheme in history.
The requirement of decentralization has a very high negative impact on all aspects of a payment system -- including transaction cost, speed, capacity, safety, value stability, and convenience. Those disadvantages mean that cryptocurrencies are absolutely laughable as payment systems for legal commerce. Suffices to say that the Visa network processes 40'000 payments per second, confirms in less than 15 seconds, and costs less than $0.20 per transaction; whereas the bitcoin network cannot process more than 4 payments per second, takes 10 minutes or more to confirm, and costs more than $50 per transaction (which is paid by investors, not users). These are not implementation flaws that could be solved in time: they are unavoidable consequences of decentralization.
Criminals of all sorts love bitcoin, because it is the only online payment system that they can use which does not comply with the "know your customer" (KYC) and "anti money laundering" (AML) laws that existing systems must comply. THAT is the only advantage of decentralization. Thank to that "quality", bitcoin is the single reason why ransomware grew from a practically unknown risk to the major form of cybercrime, both in number of victims and in monetary value.
As an investment, all cryptocurrencies are negative-sum gambling games. All investors expect to get back the money invested with fat profit; however, any money that they may take out comes from only one source: new investment money. That is the very definition of ponzi scheme. There is no other source of money that can get back to them, but there is a big sink: the money collected by miners, which is not about 30 million USD per day.
An easy estimate says that people have spent about 20 billion USD more buying bitcoins than they received selling them. That deficit will never decrease; it will only increase, as long as the price is greater than zero.
Those who insist that Wikimedia accept bitcoin donations are not doing so because they intend to donate. Bitcoin believers will not part with their precious coins, which they are sure will be worth 10x or 1000x more "some day". They only want to use Wikimedia to make bitcoin more respectable -- because they know that their profit depends on more people investing in it.
--Jorge Stolfi (talk) 18:58, 1 February 2022 (UTC)

    • That about sums it up— crypto is a grossly speculative Ponzi scheme, and crypto bros only want to use WM donation to launder crypto’s reputation, not because they genuinely are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. And if they want to smear Wikimedia, then let ‘em. Wikimedia is the largest free web education collective on the planet, what’s Joe Crypto going to do to “destroy us”? Write a nasty op-ed? Tell his 650 Twitter followers to go to Evripedia? The right wing already tried all that crap and it failed miserably. Dronebogus (talk) 06:18, 2 February 2022 (UTC)
Problem is, what about criminal who are doing the crime of disseminating knowledge? That is Wikipedia in some countries. Wikipedia users there would be "criminal" in this sense. Hence such tool would be needed to them. C933103 (talk) 17:50, 3 February 2022 (UTC)
  • If Wikipedia is blocked in the Free Democratic Utopia of Such-and-Such then I think how you go about donating to it is the least of your concerns. Dronebogus (talk) 16:57, 4 February 2022 (UTC)
    Let just say large amount of readers of Chinese Wikipedia are still from China. C933103 (talk) 23:50, 24 February 2022 (UTC)

Recent developments regarding the reputation argument

Right now cryptocurrency is making some headlines because the Ukraine government has raised over $10 million in donations through government-controlled addresses promoted on Twitter. As I already mentioned in my vote below, the whole reputation argument based on the Mozilla backlash seems very reactionary, this situation further supports that and one could probably argue the very opposite based on it. This is also a good example of what other people already argued regarding the advantages of cryptocurrency and how it enables some people to donate in the first place. --95.91.212.65 01:16, 28 February 2022 (UTC)

A far higher value, a magnitude higher, is going to be the level of trading of Russians laundering their hundreds of millions to get around sanctions aimed against the war in Ukraine.

If two people or organizations want to do business with each other and are not able to do so through the banks, they can do it with bitcoin. If a wealthy individual is concerned that their accounts may be frozen due to sanctions, they can simply hold their wealth in bitcoin in order to be protected from such actions.

— Mati Greenspan, CEO of Quantum Economics, New York Post 24th Feb 2022.[31]
--Anstil (talk) 18:23, 1 March 2022 (UTC)
That's a nice personal opinion you have there, but the public perception and consensus so far clearly disagrees with you and Mr Greenspan[32][33][34]. Even many takes critical on crypto debate whether crypto is even a viable vehicle to circumvent sanctions for Russia[35][36][37][38][39].
But that doesn't even matter here and is not the point. This topic of cryptocurrency as a monetary vehicle for donations and other means has already gained much, much higher traction than the Mozilla outrage on Twitter ever did. Even several cryptocurrency exchanges outright refusing to ban Russian accounts has not caused an outrage in media[40], e.g. I can't find (even to my personal surprise) any articles calling for action against this decision. It's very clearly shown to be a non-factor for Wikipedia's reputation whether cryptocurrency is accepted for donations, and thus a non-argument for the debate at this point. 95.91.212.65 05:41, 2 March 2022 (UTC)
@Anstil your quote is indeed true but I think that is exactly why crypto should remain an option for Wikimedia to accept donation. Wikimedia is accepting donations in crypto not giving crypto out. If a country's law banned donation to WMF through banks then it is the country in the wrong not WMF. Accepting donations instead of giving them out also mean it won't be used to facilitate any new economic activities that could be target of sanction or be funding other illegal activities, as all the received currency will immediately be converted to fiat currency in WMF's account. C933103 (talk) 05:22, 14 March 2022 (UTC)
So I guess we can also start accepting blood diamonds because we're neither interested in the origin of the donation nor in how it was produced. Braveheart (talk) 09:16, 4 April 2022 (UTC)

Voting

  • Support Support as proposer. GorillaWarfare (talk) 02:30, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
    Are you aware that the traditional banking system also uses energy? 109.255.168.242 16:34, 12 January 2022 (UTC) 109.255.168.242 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
    Sure; however, it uses considerably less energy. Tol (talk | contribs) @ 23:27, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Support Support Bidgee (Talk) 03:42, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Support Support Because of Sustainability --Ameisenigel (talk) 04:01, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    There is nothing unsustainable about Bitcoin. 61.68.215.67 22:25, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that 61.68.215.67 (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Support Support We never should have started accepting them in the first place. Many years later, they represent not even 1% of annual donations. Wikimedia is legitimizing a series of environmentally unfriendly Ponzi schemes by accepting Bitcoin and is getting almost nothing back financially in return. Steven Walling • talk 04:26, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support Accepting cryptocurrencies is incompatible with commitments to environmental sustainability. Guettarda (talk) 04:38, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    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)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that Advtadvt (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Support Support per proposer. RamzyM (talk) 05:11, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support: Bitcoin mining in 2018 used slightly more energy than what was used by the entire state of Ohio[41] 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)
    > 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)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that 61.68.215.67 (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Support Support -- Regards, ZI Jony (Talk) 05:53, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Oppose Oppose - To the contrary, crypto aligns with our values of free software and user freedom. Benjamin (talk) 06:42, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support - Sustainability and environmental impact issues · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:54, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support Such donations are copyright violations. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 07:30, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support--Vituzzu (talk) 07:47, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support Ainali talkcontributions 07:48, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
    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)
  • 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)
  • Support Support per OP. Golden (talk) 08:41, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support A very convenient proposal. Thank you. Xavi Dengra (MESSAGES) 08:57, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Support Support per OP. Le Loy 10:19, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support per OP. Zblace (talk) 10:26, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Support Support per proposer. -- Q-bit array (talk) 10:37, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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.[42] Anstil (talk) 11:30, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    Comparison between Mastercard transaction and Bitcoin transaction is not comparing apples to apples. Mastercard transaction is only small part of what Bitcoin will do. Please compare Bitcoin Lightning transactions with Mastercard transaction, they are much closer to each other. Editor92345 (talk) 18:50, 16 February 2022 (UTC) Editor92345 (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
    The "apples to pears" argument is is a myth used by Bitcoin pundits in order to avoid answering basic questions. If the ultimate purpose of Bitcoin is payments, then it is entirely possible to add up all 2021 end to end Bitcoin mining costs and transaction fees, divide by the number of payments and compare that averaged cost per transaction to standard 2021 bank charges for transactions. Bitcoin has been running for over a decade, the reason that basic accountability and economics are absent is that Bitcoin traders and speculators do not want to publish their costs or fees. As for the Lightning network this was discussed above, there are no quality reliable sources with hard data on fees that can demonstrate your assertion. --Anstil (talk) 20:17, 16 February 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose There is no environment friendly currency, period. Ircpresident (talk) 12:24, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    Even if all currencies are environmentally unfriendly, that does not mean all currencies are equally environmentally unfriendly. - Nikki (talk) 13:30, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Support Support Was thinking of posting such an RfC myself :) --Lucas Werkmeister (talk) 13:46, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Strong support 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. Sannita - not just another it.wiki sysop 13:47, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    There's black sheep in all places where's money to be made, with that logic we should block USD and about any other currency out there. If you were to look deeper into crypto I am sure you'd find that a lot of it is built on top of honorable attributes and idealism that align perfectly well with some of this community's. Danwe (talk) 23:31, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Support Support I was surprised and disappointed when I discovered that Wikimedia accepts cryptocurrencies. - Nikki (talk) 14:13, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support I fully agree with the above arguments. --Mehman 97 14:32, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Support Support KTC (talk) 14:56, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support, per proposer and Nosebagbear's arguments. ··· 🌸 Rachmat04 · 14:59, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Support Support per Brion. Majavah (talk!) 15:21, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support for all those reasons. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:50, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Support SupportDerHexer (Talk) 16:04, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support SupportAkorenchkin (talk) 16:13, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Gardini (talk) 16:19, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Kein Einstein (talk) 16:21, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support -- southpark (talk) 16:25, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support based on their environmental impact. --Leyo (talk) 16:26, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support 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)
  • Support Support Chaddy (talk) 16:36, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose https://endthefud.org/ and per #Recent developments regarding the reputation argument; 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) edited at 12:33, 1 March 2022 (UTC)
    @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)
    @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)
    @AntiCompositeNumber: I see, thank you for the information. Thibaut (talk) 10:33, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose - Baah Thomas (talk) 17:02, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Bubo 17:16, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Funkruf (talk) 17:21, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Riepichiep (talk) 18:07, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support as proposer. --J. Patrick Fischer (talk) 18:29, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support It won't change much but it sends a message. Amir (talk) 18:45, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support - Squasher (talk) 18:46, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • Support Support -- per proposer's and AntiCompositeNumber's arguments. DraconicDark (talk) 18:53, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support SupportEnvlh (talk) 18:55, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
    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)
      • @MJL: This is me, asking anyway. Because I can't follow directions, and I'm a nosy annoyance. (Also, I've always been fascinated by people who've mastered the art of "possessing" and "growing" quantities of "money". Gainful employment, earning, saving, investing... all inscrutable wizardry and prestidigitation to me, sadly.) FeRDNYC (talk) 23:32, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
        • @FeRDNYC: I was a nerdy child/teenager who got lucky. There isn't much to really share. –MJLTalk 04:33, 11 February 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
    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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Support Support: Based on the environmental impact.--Tenniscourtisland (talk) 20:58, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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) PS I recently found this article: How Algorand Offsets its Carbon Footprint
    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)
    {{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 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • 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 (UTC)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that Titanruss (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • 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 (UTC)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that 2600:1700:e371:3ea0:ce7:239a:bec8:6500 (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Support Support Strongly support as:
    • 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 unjustifiable for the amount of real-world usage they get.
    • The wider space is full of wild speculation and scammers who prey on the naive and the greedy.
    • People don't usually get paid in, or generate any legitimate revenue with, Bitcoin. There should be no need for them to convert to it to donate. Cathal Mooney 23:25, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support per proposal ToBeFree (talk) 00:47, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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) AnarkioC (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Oppose Oppose Matthew.kowal (Talk) 03:19, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that 72.200.184.171 (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Strong support 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 [7] 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)
Thanks for understanding that banking, credit cards and Paypal are inaccessible for many people, especially for people without access to government ID or who need pseudonymity for safety reasons. Hosting servers and software development are important, but this requires specialized skills or resources, whereas many people can afford to donate $5-$10 to a fundraiser. Without access to banking, cryptocurrency or cash by mail are the only possible ways to donate. AnarkioC (talk) 19:00, 12 January 2022 (UTC) AnarkioC (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Oppose Oppose The level of environmental impact is arguable. Please look into https://endthefud.org/ User248672046879 (talk) 03:59, 12 January 2022‎ (UTC)
    User248672046879 (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • 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 — The preceding unsigned comment was added by 173.64.110.70 (talk) 03:59, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that 173.64.110.70 (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • "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)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that 140.128.251.133 (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • 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)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that Advtadvt (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Strong support 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)
  • Strong support 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)
  • 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)
  • Strong support 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)
    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)
  • Strong support 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)
  • 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)
    Note: An editor has expressed a concern that 2800:b20:111c:ec7:3550:79df:86f9:b1e5 (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Support Support Crypto is a disaster. Heide OCE (talk) 06:23, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
    {{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)
  • 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)
    As far as I can tell, we don't accept bolivars.[8] Emufarmers (talk) 17:52, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    It's likely because now the US$ has become the standard currency in Venezuela now. But if that's the case, then I'll Support Support SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 07:33, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    A lot of the economics of proof-of-work mining are because of existing inequalities in the economic system. China, for example, has long been a major producer of all things electronic and also a major "dumping ground" when these products need to be recycled. So machines are cheap and readily available as opposed to Western States. This is why most of BTCs hashrate has existed in China for the past decade (along with the major producers of ASIC machines).
    US influence through the native USD also plays a role. When the 1st round of US sanctions hit Russia in 2014, the value of their native RUS dropped 50% compared to the USD (and has yet to recover). So if citizens of Russia are able to find ASICs from neighboring China, they can mine BTC and exchange that for USD and earn a reasonable income. Iran and Cuba have taken this on for similar reasons. As well as any other country that can find cheap machines. The fundamental factors induce speculation and investment, which induce more miners, etc. JusCurt (talk) 19:53, 13 January 2022 (UTC) JusCurt (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Strong support 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)
  • 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)
    @King of Hearts: is this really how the US tax system works? In the UK, and the four other countries I know a reasonable amount on their tax code, you'd be able to recoup appropriately whichever order you did it in (although in the UK, most would gift aid to bump up the donation value rather than recoup the tax themselves) Nosebagbear (talk) 16:12, 31 January 2022 (UTC)
    Yes, the US is weird like that. The modern art market is a big scam. Step 1: Commission an artist to paint 10 paintings at $10K each ($100K total). Step 2: Sell one of the paintings to your billionaire friends for $1M. Step 3: Donate the other 9 to a museum, appraised at $1M based on comp sales. Step 4: ??? Step 5: Profit! If your tax rate is 40%, then you've just turned $100K into $4M. -- King of ♥ 03:13, 1 February 2022 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • No bank is bad on anything like the same scale; Bitcoin is almost unbelievably inefficient. If the real banking system did nothing but VISA transactions at the current rate and used all the electricity in the world to do it, it would still use less electricity per transaction than Bitcoin.
Support Support not just on environmental grounds but also because the space is riddled with fraud and cultists. Burn it with fire. Pinkbeast (talk) 13:29, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
> Bitcoin is almost unbelievably inefficient
Feature not bug.
Meanwhile it makes the grid itself more efficient. 61.68.215.67 21:20, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Note: An editor has expressed a concern that 61.68.215.67 (talkcontribs) has been canvassed to this discussion.
"It's good that the ship is sinking, because it means the men at the pumps will develop strong arm muscles!" 81.187.27.126 12:24, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support because of nature conservation --ɱ 08:49, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • GA candidate.svg Weak support On one hand, Wikipedia should not "pick and choose" currencies; supporting a currency does not mean we support that country. It could be said "because you can donate in Rubles, you support Putin", which is obviously not true. (Although I am not sure if you can pay in Rubles. I tried to pay with my foreign credit card right now, and it got denied for some reason. So maybe I am wrong in that anyway.) On the other hand, accepting bitcoin *directly* supports burning fossils, by encouraging directly spending on the chain and paying fees to the miners. So for that reason, I am weakly supporting this. Plus the number of donations will probably be abysmal anyway; most bitcoin users don't use it for paying or donating, as it's not worth the fees. --Running (talk) 11:51, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support Changing from weak support to support, given the abysmal rate of donations. Given how low the rate is, it makes no sense to continue showing it, other than "showing support" for cryptocurrency. --Running (talk) 04:54, 19 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose This is so first world problem. Do you trust the state? (1) Our values of free software and freedom for the user are embodied by cryptocurrencies. (2) some people under some governments cannot access foreign currencies and cannot trust their currency or they can but in doing so they are strengthening the power of this or that dictator or wannabe dictator, (3) plenty of people live in countries where wikimedia servers are blocked and are legally forbidden to have any relation with us, but if, against their laws, such people still choose to support us, means to donate to us that are a bit more covert than the banking system should be available. (4) as a form of compromise we might decide to limit which type of currencies we accept on an environmental basis, but a crypto way to donate shall be available.--Nickanc (talk) 12:08, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support The whole crypto ecossystem is rife with scam, spam and hype. And the environmental costs are just unjustifiable. GoEThe (talk) 12:12, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support for all the reasons stated above -- TheAncientMariner (talk) 12:23, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Bitcoin is an official currency in El Salvador 12:33, 12 January 2022 (UTC) — The preceding unsigned comment was added by 121.141.13.46 (talk) 121.141.13.46 121.141.13.46 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Oppose Oppose with this reasoning you also can't accept the USD. 2001:16B8:284A:4900:14FC:7AF1:266D:F571 12:52, 12 January 2022 (UTC) 2001:16B8:284A:4900:14FC:7AF1:266D:F571 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Support Support The risk of accepting the proceeds of crime as a cryptocurrency donation are too high. The WMF shouldn't accept brown paper bags full of cash. For the same reason, they shouldn't accept cryptocurrencies. MER-C 13:03, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • BA candidate.svg Weak oppose Ecology: As pointed out by others, not all consensus mechanisms are created equal and it could be good to favor cryptocurrencies based on proof-of-stake, which has a negligible energy cost. As I see WMF accepts stocks as well, if we want to be consistent we should stop accepting stocks from Shell & other petrol and gas companies as well, otherwise it is burying your head in the sand. Same for Chinese renminbi. Reputation/fees: Mozilla is not a reference in the FOSS world, and respectable organizations as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Tor Project, the Freedom of the Press Foundation used Gitcoin to raise funds in the last round from 1st December - 16th December 2021, the three organizations raising a combined amount >650k$ in just 16 days! Gitcoin's median contribution is 1.32$ and many use the layer 2 network zkSync on top of Ethereum to donate with very low fees. Therefore, I weakly oppose this proposal as the issue is more complex than presented, but I can understand there is worry on the ecological side and suggest to accept proof-of-stake currencies only for now. IamSylve (talk) 13:25, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Bitcoin perfectly aligns with Wikipedia principles: Freedom, Neutrality, Collaboration, Censhorship-resistance. Bitcoin seemed a utopian idea of a form of money not backed by a government, born on the Internet by the users, for the users with little chance to succeed with the ambition to change the world by pure voluntary contribution of first tens, then thousands, then million of indivituals; yet despite all it works. Wikipedia dream matches that of Bitcoin so closely I'm totally shocked it could be proposed to take an anti-Bitcoin stance. 94.75.109.226 13:32, 12 January 2022 (UTC) 94.75.109.226 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Oppose Oppose per Nickanc above. Anonymous ways to give in places where information freedom is not always a guarantee should be encouraged. Josve05a (talk) 13:33, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose --Novak Watchmen (talk) 13:34, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support per the proposer's arguments. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 13:39, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • BA candidate.svg Weak oppose Blocking proof-of-work makes sense for sustainability. Proof of stake has negligible energy usage, comparable to any other internet protocol. Regarding Ethereum, proof of stake is no longer just a promise. The proof of stake network has been running in parallel for a year, with billions of dollars in real ETH deposited. Mining will be eliminated when it merges with the main network, and code for the merge is running on a public test network. Previous Ethereum upgrades have all gone live within a year of the launch of their public test networks. As for values, I suggest that a sustainable, decentralized system built on open source is entirely compatible with Wikipedia. 208.104.68.28 13:52, 12 January 2022 (UTC) 208.104.68.28 (talk) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Oppose Oppose -- Wikipedia is knowledge by the population and not from state. Bitcoin is money by the population and not from state. Just look who are the countries that banned Bitcoin and look what contries banned Wikipedia - they are aligned. no_alone 13:58, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Bitcoin is the official currency of one country (El Salvador). According to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Bitcoin mining consumes as much as... fridges in the US! Most of Bitcoin mining uses renewable energy. And Bitcoin’s Footprint (& Bootprint) Is Tiny Next To The Petrodollar. A455bcd9 (talk) 14:02, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose -- Wikipedia is fundamentally a non-profit global encyclopedia with a global mission; while common currencies like USD are donated without a second thought, banning cryptocurrency by Wikipedia creates an unreasonable double standard. USD is the largest reserve currency backed by the largest, most powerful military in the world as well as the success of the US economy and its political influence. The environmental impact of the US military is significant (see https://earth.org/us-military-pollution/). Cryptocurrency provides an opportunity to escape that sphere of influence and truly offer a global encyclopedia that operates on decentralized rails not governed by a powerful nation state. Furthermore, non-crypto payment methods Wikipedia already accepts like the VISA payment network, PayPal for example are already heads down expanding ways to pay with crypto. Unless Wikipedia wants to drop these payment methods, the cryptocurrency ban is only partially effective and clunky at best. TheWikiJedi (talk) 14:29, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Wikipedia's core values, just as Bitcoin's, are based on principles like consensus, decentralization, independence, openness, equality of use, easy access, etc.. If it were a currency like Wikipedia, it would certainly be something like BTC. Are we willing to go against Wikipedia's foundational principles? BTC and other cryptocurrencies make use of the electrical grid just like any digital service do (Wikipedia servers and all the our user's PCs included). As my understanding, it is far from clear to state that BTC emits significantly more GHG than the whole grid's average, as it tends to prioritize low-cost independent off-the-grid energy sources. Beyond this, the electrical consumption of any good's production turns out to be the proper price the users spend for a useful technology they think it is much more worth, just like environmentally concious Wikipedia contributors would think of free access knowledge. Besides, are we also willing to apply the same moral standard to all other currencies that fail within these critics? Not that USD, EUR (not to talk about RMB, RUB) or any other likewise 'bad' institution do much better in these therms.. --Sersovi (talk) 14:34, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    • Decentralization (of our financial infrastructure and technical infrastructure) is not in fact a documented Wikimedia movement value. In fact, the Wikimedia Foundation is pretty explicitly a centralized, trusted legal entity to collect and disburse donations on behalf of the movement. Steven Walling • talk 18:44, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
      The current heavily centralized model is incredibly bad. The fact that we have a giant, single, and poorly managed foundation in San Francisco instead of a diverse group of well-funded chapters is horrible. --MZMcBride (talk) 19:01, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
      Perhaps, but it remains that decentralization doesn't seem to be stated in our documented list of values as a movement. And even if we agree it is, the Wikimedia Foundation accepting dollars converted by a third party processor from cryptocurrency doesn't improve our decentralization as a movement at all. Steven Walling • talk 19:22, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose -- Wikipedia is a global organization, needs to accept global money directly from anyone without relying on banks or governments for permission. Fx6893 (talk) 14:44, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Fx6893: except clearly we're not: it only makes 0.08% of our fundraising, and that is not significantly changing, and additionally as a US based organisation the WMF are required to make sure they're not sanction busting, hence the information gathered by our processor - which would defeat your whole proposal. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:06, 3 February 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support per GorillaWarfare, Brion VIBBER, et al. --Deskana (talk) 15:14, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose the foundation shouldn't be picky about what type of donations it accepts, fiat currencies, crytpo currencies, securities, real estate, etc - anything that can be used to further the mission unless the organizational cost of processing the donation once recieved exceeds the value of the donation. — xaosflux Talk 15:15, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support for the reasons expressed by GorillaWarfare and Brion VIBBER. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 16:21, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Absolutely no trust in the American government, so cryptocurrency is the only viable way for me to donate to the WMF. 4nn1l2 (talk) 16:24, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support Arguments that Wikipedia and cryptofinance have the same core values don't make sense. The crazy idea of Wikipedia that has worked out over the decades is that you can build a system were you trust pseudonymous people on the internet, that a bunch of randoms and a clever process on top can create trustworthy content. The donations are specifically being used to run servers and pay people via a centralized management system in the form of a nonprofit organization. Bitcoin etc. are founded on the core values that no one can be trusted and no one should run a centralized system. But in the end the similarities and differences of the projects aren't what matters; the wikis shouldn't accept bitcoin any more than it should accept ivory tusks, conflict diamonds, or stakes in other Ponzi schemes; as a society we have systems we call "money" and don't need to barter. If people believe their bitcoin is as good as money, let them convert it to money and donate that. —Ben Brockert < 16:29, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose The arguments presented in this proposal lack both merit and evidence. Energy is not free. Therefore, if a technology or service uses "too much" energy for what it achieves, and is inefficient, the cost to use it will rise with its energy consumption and its usage will automatically curtail on its own. There is no need for the WMF choose sides since market forces will automatically favor what is most efficient from an energy/cost perspective. PaulJohansson (talk) 16:30, 12 January 2022 (UTC) PaulJohansson (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Support Support If you accept any currency, make it Litecoin as it was not an ICO coin, it's almost as widely supported (e.g. Paypal) as Bitcoin, fees are cheap, and it doesn't waste near as much energy. Ywaz (talk) 16:38, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support About time. WMF shouldn't whitelist environmental damaging and scam catalyzing mania. Niclas Overby (talk) 16:41, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support All three reasons stated in the proposal are compelling. The counterarguments below are not. Those holding cryptocurrency who wish to donate may convert to USD on their own, taking on the fees and incurring the responsibilities themselves, without Wikimedia wading into those waters. Inthehands (talk) 16:47, 12 January 2022 (UTC) Inthehands (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Oppose Oppose Bitcoin uses far less energy to secure its value than other currencies. The U.S. "petrodollar" is secured with guns, oil and the encouragement rampant consumerism. Wikipedia should use real evidence for policies, and not assume Bitcoin makes this worse, even though many reasonable analyses show the opposite. Simul (talk) 17:18, 12 January 2022 (UTC) Simul (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Support Support The reasons stated above are compelling, and the while the basis is environmentally harmful, it calls WMF's environment sustainability efforts into question. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by JosephHeck (talk) 17:47, 12 January 2022‎ (UTC)
    JosephHeck (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • I don't think it's useful for the community to try to pressure the WMF into making a particular decision on this, especially since there's been nothing remotely resembling a cost-benefit analysis here, or even basic stats on the potential financial (or environmental) impact. I very strongly disagree with the argument that accepting donations in a currency is an "endorsement" of what's behind it, and it is very dangerous to have that as a precedent. Should we have to sort countries into good countries and evil countries as well, lest accepting a currency from an evil country be taken as an endorsement of their policies? That would be a disturbing break from institutional neutrality. Anyway, crypto: I suspect the original adoption of accepting cryptocurrency donations was not well-reasoned, but currently the WMF has the ability to actually figure out the impact. If it turns out that accepting cryptocurrency would be worthwhile even if we had to purchase some carbon offset each time, then the decision is very clear. If it turns out that accepting cryptocurrency has been more costly than it's worth, the decision is likewise clear. The RfC here doesn't seem productive. --Yair rand (talk) 17:50, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Yair rand: I suspect accepting crypto donations may in fact be net carbon-negative; the WMF sells the crypto immediately upon receiving it (via BitPay), which exerts marginal downward pressure on the price, which marginally discourages miners from turning on their machines or investing in new ones. --- King of ♥ 18:05, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose Rather reform our crypto donations, but do not destroy it. For environmental sustainability we should use crypto with low carbon footprint. We also can prefer (and so accept) crypto with zero or low fees. --KuboF Hromoslav (talk) 17:51, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • GA candidate.svg Weak support The problem in my opinion is not cryptocurrency itself, but rather the cryptos that are accepted as donations. Bitcoin and Etherium produces some of the largest environmental impacts with barely functional networks, plagued with absurd fees and offchain "solutions". As a result, I do weakly think I agree with stopping donations of those particular cryptos. However, cryptos donations of privacy coins like Monero should be considered because despite the proof-of-work environment impact, Monero provides one of the most anonymous ways to send money, and as such the benefits outweigh the environment impact imo. Should a proof-of-work free coin gain significant ground, it should also be considered. Titleos (talk) 17:59, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Titleos (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Support Support Per OP — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Blysse (talk) 18:04, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support Cryptocurrencies as they exist today have no economic utility beyond harmful things like ransomware, scams, speculation and pyramid schemes. They are a socially and environmentally ruinous phenomenon. Wikimedia should have nothing to do with them, not only because they harm our reputation, but because it's the right thing to do. Smite-Meister (talk) 18:17, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Chainlink has multiple use cases. Associated Press is using its oracles as a definitive way of determining data was sourced from them. Accuweather is doing the same. Both examples fight the spread of fake news, such as a fake publishing of "Walmart accepting Litecoin" caused multiple outlets to also publish the story because it looked real enough visually. JusCurt (talk) 20:14, 13 January 2022 (UTC) JusCurt (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
    Cryptographically signing data is nothing new, nor does it require a blockchain (particularly a horribly inefficient one like Ethereum). Blockchains are solutions desperately in search of problems, and they're not particularly good solutions at that. GorillaWarfare (talk) 20:20, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Mirer (talk) 19:38, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose - Digiconomist is not a valid source. Wikipedia should setup BTCPayserver and accept bitcoin donations over the Lightning Network. Brentkearney (talk) 19:34, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose - But the petrodollar is perfectly fine to accept? The proposal is absurd on its face. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by PrinceH125 (talk) 20:16, 12 January 2022 (UTC) PrinceH125 (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • BA candidate.svg Weak oppose Per Bawolff, King of Hearts. I also agree with tgr's comment above. I don't like bitcoin, I don't think it's environmentally sustainable, and I'll eat my hat it if becomes a major source of payments in day to day life, but I'm quite skeptical of the argument that merely accepting bitcoin is endorsement. I'm also not in favor of the foundation getting involved in non-wiki activism issues but I think that ship has probably sailed. I don't think refusing to accept it has a whole lot of downside though [pending better numbers] hence the weak oppose. NativeForeigner (talk) 20:30, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose I haven't seen any argument that quantifiedly proves that cryptocurrencies are much worse than alternatives, and many advantatges have been suggested. --Ssola (talk) 21:05, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose per Bawolff.--Wdwd (talk) 21:16, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose I thought I might be voting support actually, as per the arguments put forward here. But while sustainability is important, to us the 4 freedoms and our membership in the Free/Libre/Open Source Software ecosystem is even more important. We've had wikimedian(s?) look into at very least bitcoin (core) before and ... actually end up contributing to both projects. Our challenges are many. I'm not sure that infighting with other members of the wider FLOSS community is a good use of our time. Now of course the bitcoin project has been shown to have quite some imperfections (I'm not the biggest fan), but then again, so has wikimedia (also compare: bittorrent). Both projects would be better served by improving their internal issues, cooperating where possible and -- separately or together building a better 21st century. More in general; I would propose that if we do currently stop accepting crypto-currencies, we do so without prejudice. If/when we find crypto-currency projects that sufficiently align with our values, we could accept those. I think that it would also be important to take the conclusions of this poll, and at very least discussing them with eg the bitcoin core team and/or community. (I think they've already identified some of these challenges and have been working on them already?. --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:12, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support Although most folks are focusing on point 2 of the original proposal (environmental concerns) -- and I do find those concerns compelling -- I think point 3 is equally important. To those who think Wikimedia's (continuing) use of cryptocurrency donations won't harm its reputation, note the proposal's reference to the public shaming of Mozilla from its founder (as well as separately from the developer of Gecko, its rendering engine). It's not hard to see how the WMF discoutinuing its acceptance of cryptocurrency would be seen as a positive step and help improve its reputation. Of course the cryptobros will wail, but the WMF is already good at standing up to trolls with piles of cash. --QuixoticLife (talk) 22:07, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support for environmental and reputation reasons. Free Realist 9 (talk) 22:26, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Cryptos that spend less energy than bank branches spend can be used. The people who brought that comment to here, probably took money from someone to support this ban. And there is no blockchain information. And they even do not know what is money with LIMITED SUPPLY. --AliKd (talk) 22:50, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support Wikimedia doesn't want cryptocurrency itself, just like how my public radio station doesn't actually want broken-down cars. The difference is that old cars have a purpose and monitary value based on something tangible. Cryptos do not. As a currency, they are awkard and ineffeciant to a comical degree. In addition to the ethical and enviromental costs, the toxic reputation of cryptocurrency (for countless reasons) means it also has a negative PR cost, and that cost is very likely to grow worse with time. Grayfell (talk) 22:54, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose There are cryptocurrencies that are eco-friendly like Nano, Hedera, Cardano, etc. You saying that "they are less widely-used" is the same as saying that some kind of currencies are less used than others, and thus they should be banned as well, which makes no sense. Wimimedia-wise, accepting cryptocurrencies is mostly a convinient way for people to donate. People's investiments is of no interest to Wikimedia Foundation anyway. Furthermore, as of now there is 1 country which officially adopted cryptocurrency, so you are denying these citzens being able to participate in these donations. So what if in the future more countries officially adopt cryptos (possibly eco-friendly), create their own etc? TRANSviada (talk) 22:56, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose Bawolff made some good points. Now I am at piece with myself for not having made a similar proposal to decline USD donations while Trump was in power on the other side of the Atlantic.
    Besides that, as pointed out by several people, the proposal seems quite shortsightedly led by recent popular opinion ignoring the wider Cyrpto ecosystem beyond Bitcoin which offers alternatives with an extremely low carbon footprint. Danwe (talk) 23:22, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose There is no need to restrict donations from any particular currency. Many currencies have negative externalities, the US dollar included. Petrodollars are created through oil extraction and military conflict, which is considerably more impactful than cryptocurrencies. If we were to account for the massive footprint of the militaries and institutions that back the wire settlement layers of the largest nations, we would see much large environmental impacts. Unless WMF plans to assess every currency and make arbitrary standards as to which currencies are acceptable or not, there is no reason to single out cryptocurrency or any currency for that matter. Furthermore, since energy has a cost, the usefulness of a cryptocurrency per watt is shown in the user's own desire to pay for fees. If users do not find value in cryptocurrencies, then logically people will not use them. Either way, problem solved. Censorship resistance and open access is imperative for free speech, which WMF depends on. WMF should continue to support cryptocurrencies, the environmental impact is not even a rounding error on global emissions. JamesPem (talk) 00:08, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose The arguments being provided in favor of removing cryptocurrency donations are nonsensical. Money is money. Accepting a certain medium or currency does not imply endorsement beyond accepting what is given at face value; just like accepting donations in USD does not imply an endorsement of the US government or US Federal Reserve Bank. The energy used in the processing of calculating cryptocurrency transactions is and will only continue to go down as power efficiency in hardware improves over time; in any case, the power use has been a known factor since the very recent inception of cryptocurrency, why is it suddenly a problem now? Lastly, Wiki has no reputation to lose by accepting cryptocurrency donations because to do so does not imply an endorsement. Following the angry social media mobs does not lead one down the road to success, even if it might save them a cancel culturing or two. King Arthur6687 (talk) 01:18, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support For the environmental impact mainly. Also the unhealthy economic conditions that coin speculation is causing. Even if we don't ban coins outright, I think we should stick to proof of stake coins only: they're better for the environment. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 01:43, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose The proposal alleges that using cryptocurrency damages "our reputation". However, they have been accepted since 2014, so what has the damage been to the reputation? Nothing? Yes, new scam coins appear all the time, but Wikipedia doesn't accept those. I only agree that energy consumption in Bitcoin is unsustainable, but I don't consider that enough of a reason to prevent people from using it. No one's going to buy Bitcoins just because you can donate them to Wikipedia. The remaining issue, that accepting cryptocurrency "legitimizes" them may be true, but again this is completely unquantifiable and sounds more like an activist position than a fact-based argument. --SatanicPresence (talk) 06:32, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Feels rather POINTy for something that's not really related to the core mission. While cryptocurrency should be converted at the earliest opportunity, I have zero interest into allowing this over-calculation to seep into every transaction. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 06:58, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose per Nathan and JamesPem. Qashang (talk) 08:20, 13 January 2022 (UTC) Qashang (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Strong support Strong support // Gargaj (talk) 08:45, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support I think one look at this "discussion" is enough to persuade anyone of the pernicious and dangerous nature of cryptocurrency and its advocates. Planned and deliberate brigading, citations of the type of "news" and "science" sites which would earn users a temporary edit restriction (at the very least). This is not what wikimedia and wikipedia should be accepting, the potential for damage to the already-damaged community is just too strong. While in 2014 crypto might have seemed "cool" or "liberating", everything we've learned in the past eight years shows that the field is primarily about ponzi scams, money laundering, environmental catastrophe and criminality. Wikimedia should do better. --Khavakoz (talk) 09:20, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support Perfection7798 (talk) 09:38, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose Based on the reasons layed out by Awwright. Why block a way of donations, that some people prefere to use and which has no negative effects on wikimedia. --Tidoni (talk) 10:34, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support as crypto has morphed from an technically-interesting decentralised trust-free experiment into a toxic wasteland of conspicuous waste, speculation-over-use, scams and outright criminality controlled by a few large players exploiting an unregulated market to draw money out of everyone else, which is the antithesis of what it was "supposed" to be about (or rather what it was claimed to be about, just after the right people realised they could get rich that way). But, then again, the latest appointee to the Board of Trustees has a cypto-monkey avatar and hypes NFTs on Twitter, so, maybe accepting and cashing out whatevercoins isn't the only thing. Inductiveload (talk) 11:57, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support Currently used cryptocurrencies are extremely damaging. Couldn't agree more with the proposal. --Milhaus (talk) 12:27, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • GA candidate.svg Weak support it's probably more symbolic (but I'm interrested to get an answer to #How much in crypto has been donated to date?) but it does not seems to be a good symbol on multiple grounds (already explained at lenght above by multiples people). Cheers, VIGNERON * discut. 13:52, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support with Comment Comment: it was from community suggestions that we accept cryptocurrency in the beginning. Staff worked to find an approach that would work with the charities fiscal responsibilities which led to us accepting donations through bitpay. That was the right decision at the time, for the right reasons. It kept us at arms length and became merely one of a plethora of payment methods that we were able to offer to donors. The consensus is shifting and whilst I found the arguments for accepting donations from cypto via Bitpay persuasive enough then; things are pretty borderline.
Cryptocurrencies remain a pyramid scheme. A country adopting it doesn't change that fact. NFTs are a hotbed of IP theft; a pyramid scheme that risks destroying the lives of people without much money who are desperate to get more money; a genuine climate risk; and risks undermining a decade of outreach Wikimedia + Europeana + CC have spent in working to free knowledge as museums look to monitise. And for all the alternatives, who laud improved aspects: they are all clamouring for a home; all seeking purpose; desperate for a justification for their existence. Through our own reputation, they seek legitimacy. Given the recent appointment to the Board of Trustees, along with Jimmy Wales' recent dabbling with NFTs on the back of Wikipedia's identity now seems as good time any to divest ourselves of this particular revenue stream and to put some distance between ourselves and this technology. Perhaps the technology will serve our needs one day, but we should not be knowingly complicit in propping up speculative implementations. Seddon (talk) 14:45, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Struggling to find what investment isn't inherently speculative or what investment doesn't inherently benefit those who buy the most and get in the earliest - i.e pyramid scheme. The cleanest pyramid schemes are stocks where three people own as much wealth as half the US population - Bezos, Buffett, Gates. (Perhaps even more, written in 2017) As it stands, our entire retirement system is based on stocks. You get in early to something safe like SP500, and then you wait. Generations of people will invest their 401k, IRA, employee matches into the SP500 on the mere fact that "other people will too". The key fact being that by when you retire, and only a small figure of folks retire compared to how many that work and invest, your bags are pumped so you can live comfortably. Now we can debate about whether there's "real value" in holding something that's connected to a profit-making corporation, sure. But the system is not remotely set up to be this way - which is why the bull market has been going since 2009 and stocks like TSLA have gone well beyond reasonable PE ratios. All this, and WMF still accepts stock donations and makes close to 3 million in investment income. One has to wonder what the real argument is. JusCurt (talk) 21:51, 13 January 2022 (UTC) JusCurt (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
[Had to cut this reply in three - Antispam]
Crypto isn't geared like this. Someone created BTC, shared it on forums, didn't promote or dump, and disappeared. A so-called pyramid scheme becomes pretty poor when you have to use your holdings on transactions to be paid out to the facilitators or when you have to sell it to fund upgrades in the system. This might be why ETH has gone up 35,000% since inception, but Vitalik's net worth is only a tenth of what Elon's is.
There are plenty of people that make noise, like Bored Ape NFTS. But there are just as many people working on privacy, data, security, governance, financial ease, and collective action that don't get the spotlight. The wealth accumulation in the system wouldn't be sustainable if people weren't working on this for years when it was unknown or worth next to nothing. JusCurt (talk) 21:52, 13 January 2022 (UTC) JusCurt (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Celo facilitates foreign exchange in a myriad of ways. [Can't type more - antispam] JusCurt (talk) 21:57, 13 January 2022 (UTC) JusCurt (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Support Support per Seddon --Gnom (talk) 14:50, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support Uses more engergy than other currencies so we shouldn't support this in any way. --Gereon K. (talk) 15:11, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support Due to the environmental impact and the highly speculative financial situation, I support the proposal. --Kim Holger Keltingtalk 15:26, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    those repplies looks like copy-paste. dummy accounts? must search their contributions.
    And also; if all of your concern is just energy wasting, accept digital money like MONGOOSEcoin ;)
    That problem can not generalized for all cryptocurrencies. AliKd (talk) 16:21, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support As we should collect knowledge also for future generations that should be able to live on a intact planet that did not got destroyed by energy wasting crypto mining — Freddy2001 talk 15:47, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support per Seddon -- Wittylama (talk) 16:27, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Support Support Against cryptocurrencies, not against digital money. ✍️ Dušan Kreheľ (talk) 16:55, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose What exactly will this move change? Okay, fine, the donator is not able to donate to WP anymore. First, how does that change anything? It's like   Second — okay, fine, WP stops accepting crypto donations; will the donators cry and throw away their rigs? No, they will just turn around and spend that crypto on something else! -- Wesha (talk) 17:07, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    Seriously? Godwin's Law? In the wild... In Wikimedia? Thought I'd never see the day again. Seddon (talk) 17:39, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    Personally, I'm shocked that it took us two whole days to get here. GorillaWarfare (talk) 17:41, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    Admin action: some content above has been redacted per our urbanity policy. Please refer to Requests for comment/Policy § Handling an RFC. —MarcoAurelio (talk) 17:47, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote oversat.svg Strong oppose Wikimedia has the opportunity to show leadership on the environment, but not in the way this is proposed. The real opportunity is to accept environmentally friendly cryptocurrencies (ex: Algorand, Hedera) and help guide the industry toward a more sustainable path over proof-of-work. In 2014, Wikimedia took the step to take donations in crypto long before anyone knew it existed. We're now approaching the 8th year since, and the only fundamental thing that has changed is its popularity. I don't blame Wikimedia for that move as cleaner competitors simply did not exist as they do today, and the scale of transactions did not pose any environmental threat. The industry has changed dramatically since then, and a ban on all crypto donations would be the makings of a reactionary and a symbol of regression. The arguments made in support of this proposal are of the environment and of financial speculation. Yet if we were to apply this logic everywhere, it would not stand. Why does Wikimedia accept the USD if the State that backs it is the 2nd highest contributor of greenhouse gases? Convenience? Why does Wikipedia accept bank transfers from banks that haven't divested from fossil fuels? Convenience? Where is the ban on stock donations of Exxon, BP, or even more speculative stocks like TSLA, GME, or AMC? By all means, lets follow this logic through and not be able to take a mainstream donation at all. OR we could take a more reasonable approach and use our power in the best way to effect environmental change. The existence of environmentally friendly cryptos should be highlighted. They are much cleaner than bringing value to the currencies of environmentally-wasteful States, and the supposed speculation is hardly different from that of stocks. --JusCurt (talk) 18:08, 13 January 2022 (UTC) JusCurt (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.