Most of us will agree that having the Wikimedia foundation (known for operating Wikipedia) accept Bitcoin donations could be a very important milestone in Bitcoin's adoption. They are famous for having refused for a long time with obscure reasons, but I believe they are warming up to the idea, and that it's high time we take concrete action about it.
In a recent discussion on Quora, Jimmy Wales has stated a few reasons to reject Bitcoin donations, and surprisingly they were all quite tangible. By this point it is already assumed that the donations will be immediately converted to USD via a provider such as BitPay, to help with accounting and make it easier to use the funds. The main objections were:
1. The amount that would be donated via Bitcoin is too small to be worth the trouble.
This objection is the easiest to refute; all we need is to demonstrate the quantitative aspects of our willingness to donate, and this is what this post is mostly about.
2. Adding more donation options is known to create "choice paralysis" and decrease the total amount donated. They have a process of A/B testing for measuring the effect of adding new options; this testing will increase the cost of even considering to add this option.
To this Jimmy suggested that they could add information about Bitcoin donations in a separate page not linked to from the main donations page. I find this to be a very acceptable compromise; we'll be able to donate, and we'll be able to tell people Wikipedia accepts Bitcoin donations.
3. Accepting bitcoins can be perceived as making a value judgement about Bitcoin, which they are hesitant to do.
I believe this can be alleviated with proper framing, and that making this available only from an orphan page will further reduce the perceived impact.
We have moved beyond the stage that we randomly bug them about taking bitcoins and hoping they'll eventually say yes. We need to have a serious discussion, and to do that we need to demonstrate that our intentions are serious.
And I believe a community pledge is a key component of this. These are funds raised with the sole purpose of donating to Wikimedia; they will be collected by the community of people who want to donate bitcoins to Wikipedia, for the benefit of both Bitcoin and Wikipedia.
Funds raised as part of the pledge can be used only to:
1. Donate to Wikimedia after they officially agree to accept Bitcoin donations.
2. Fund Wikimedia's research about the merits of including a Bitcoin donation option.
They will not be returned to donators if the drive fails, donated to Wikimedia without a move to officially accept Bitcoin, or donated to any other purpose. They will simply sit and grow until we succeed.
The funds needed are substantial, more than should be trusted with any single individual. I initially thought to hold them in a multisig address by a few trusted treasurers, but these are still hard to work with and error-prone. I suggest the next best thing: Interested, trusted members will post a Bitcoin address in their control, in which they will hold funds collected for the pledge; every donator will choose in whose address he is most comfortable storing the funds.
To reduce management overhead, only several highly trusted members should collect funds; I will update the OP with the addresses of treasurers I find suitable. Note that my standards are very high.
I offer my own collection address, 19HHHDya8PNqdVpiCdZYuwKyuWFoU1TC9A
, and to get things started I'm donating 5 BTC. I request that someone will quote this address to reduce risk of tampering.
The plan going forward is simple:
1. We keep the pledge going until a substantial amount of funds is raised. (I'm hoping for 1000 BTC but we'll work with what we can have.)
2. Backed by the promise of donating the collected pledge, I contact the head of Wikimedia's fundraising team with a detailed argument for their acceptance of Bitcoin.
3. We discuss the relevant issues, coordinating with other relevant parties as needed (such as BitPay or another payment processor), and get a sense of what it would take for them to agree to move forward.
4. We resolve any issues raised (with the possible inclusion of having to raise more funds, or donating some funds in advance to fund their research).
5. We succeed in convincing the Wikimedia foundation to accept Bitcoin donations, donate all collected funds, continue to donate more funds via their published address/button, and live happily ever after.tl;dr:
If you want Wikipedia to accept Bitcoin donations and to donate to Wikipedia, please send bitcoins to one of the following. Remember, every little bit helps.
Wikipedia pledge collection addresses:Meni Rosenfeld