Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has been inundated with over $2500 worth of bitcoins (4.5 BTC) since publicizing his Bitcoin address on Twitter.
Wales had earlier publicized that he’s experimenting with Bitcoin and made his first purchase. One user on Twitter asked for his Bitcoin address, which Wales tweeted it publicly. This set off a storm of donations from around the world. He posted on reddit that the large size of the amounts came out to more than just a tip and motivated Wales to donate the bitcoins to the Foundation:
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“When two or three people were giving me money ‘for a cup of coffee’ or ‘for a beer’ I didn’t feel like I had to give it to the Foundation since it was just people being nice. But it sort of blew up overnight… so obviously I’m not going to keep that for myself.”
The Bitcoin community had been lobbying for Wikipedia to start accepting bitcoin donations, to which they adamantly refused. In theory, the two make a good match as both run on a stated philosophy to make the world a better place on a more level playing field- be it through universal access to knowledge or financial reform. Opponents though feared a breach in Wikimedia’s mandate of neutrality as their accepting of Bitcoin borderlines on advocating it, and especially if it would lead to a bubble in the cryptocurrency’s value.
Wales said he’ll take the issue back to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Directors for revisitation. However, he cautioned that past research showed that the more avenues available for donation, the fewer donations they receive. This is highly counter-intuitive and it would not be surprising if extraneous factors influenced the results. Indeed, one of the pro-bitcoin arguments has been that Bitcoins’ acceptance would open the door to more donations, as some Bitcoiners had warned that this is the only way they’ll donate.