In late July, Wikipedia announced that it would accept donations in bitcoin. In its first week of accepting bitcoin, Wikipedia racked up $140,000 in new funds, according to Coinbase, the service that powers its cryptocurrency influx.
CoinDesk, a publication that tracks bitcoin and other alternative, digital currencies heralds the news as suggesting “the staying power of digital currency donations, owing to the combination of tax benefits and transaction cost savings.” I’m slightly more skeptical, but it is without doubt that the donations are welcome at Wikipedia.
As TechCrunch previously reported, the Wikimedia Foundation — parent to Wikipedia — doesn’t intend to hold bitcoin, but instead convert it to dollars at the time of donation. TechCrunch also noted that the Foundation raised $18.7 million last year, making this $140,000 less than one percent of its prior haul. But one percent in a week could add up to a tidy figure, provided bitcoin donations continue.
Coinbase doesn’t charge non-profits transaction fees.
Recently, bitcoin has faded from the news media as the price of the stuff has settled into a predictable range, and volume isn’t growing. So, there hasn’t been too much to talk about.
What should we expect regarding donations to Wikipedia? That they slow down. How do we know? Bitcoin sales at Overstock.com slowed after an initial burst. Still, bitcoin donations to Wikipedia could make a material difference to its parent group.