Is Jimmy Wales testing out Bitcoin donations for Wikipedia? He is certainly considering it, according to a thread on Reddit. It first started with a tweet — Wikipedia co-founder set up a personal Coinbase account.
But then, Wales shared his wallet address on Twitter and Reddit. “I’m liking Coinbase and finding the interface pretty straightforward,” he wrote on Reddit.
Bitcoin users started voting with their wallets. Many sent small amounts of Bitcoin to show Wales that Bitcoin should become a new payment option on Wikipedia. While people are not donating directly to the Wikimedia Foundation, Wales clearly stated that he will donate everything to his foundation.
“I’m planning to re-open the conversation with the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Directors at our next meeting (and before, by email) about whether Wikimedia should accept Bitcoin,” Wales wrote. But the main issue is that Bitcoin is far from being a mainstream payment option. Putting a Bitcoin button would mostly scare people away — at least people who have never played with Bitcoin.
In other words, you won’t find a Bitcoin button on the fundraising page. Instead, Wales is thinking about sharing a Bitcoin address on social networks and in various popular Bitcoin discussion groups, such as the Bitcoin subreddit. This way, people who know what Bitcoin is will be aware that you can donate to Wikipedia using Bitcoin, and those who don’t won’t even know that the Wikimedia Foundation accepts Bitcoin.
While Bitcoin enthusiasts are very excited about the potential changes at the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia won’t become a big Bitcoin promoter. It won’t change a lot of things for mainstream Bitcoin usage.
For the Wikimedia Foundation, accepting Bitcoin is just a matter of adding a new payment option. The foundation will probably instantly change their bitcoins into USD to minimize the volatility risks.
So far, Wales has raised more than $11,000 with this small experiment. It looks like he’s enjoying playing with Bitcoin. “I used to be a currency trader,” he wrote.