Wikipedia now accepting donations in bitcoins


“Currently, we accept 13 different payment methods enabling donations from nearly every country in the world, and today, we’re adding one more: bitcoin.”

Those were the words from Wikipedia on Wednesday announcing full bitcoin implementation.

After Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales incidentally launched a bitcoin donation campaign back in March, the open-source online encyclopedia officially announced in a blog post that it will start accepting donations in bitcoins. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to the decentralized bitcoin community considering Wikipedia is also a decentralized community.

Through a new partnership with Coinbase, which will now waive processing fees for every registered non-profit organization, the Wikimedia Foundation will seek contributions in the peer-to-peer virtual currency.

Lisa Gruwell, chief revenue officer at the Wikimedia Foundation and the blog post author, wrote that the grassroots community support for bitcoin adoption as well as the latest guidance from the Internal Revenue Service is what led to the leadership level to mull over the integration of the digital currency into the Wikipedia fundraising model.

“During this review, we identified a new way to work around past technical challenges, as well as to minimize the legal risks of accepting bitcoin,” Gruwell wrote. “Through our work with Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet and payment processor, we’re able to immediately convert bitcoin to U.S. dollars, requiring minimal technical implementation on our end. Since we now also have guidance on how to account for bitcoin, there is a clear understanding of how to legally manage it.”

It’s a simple process: enter Wikipedia’s donation page and choose to pay in bitcoin. Users also have the option of making a one-time donation or recurring contributions.

Coinbase director of business development Adam White told CoinDesk that Wikipedia will now become the biggest non-profit organization in the world to accept the digital currency, an incredible feat for the online encyclopedia. However, Wikipedia doesn’t have any plans of holding onto any bitcoins as the sums will be immediately converted into United States dollars in order to avoid volatility.

Wales opened up a Coinbase wallet this year, shared the address on Twitter and informed donors that all proceeds would be given to the Wikimedia 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,” he wrote in a Reddit thread this past spring.

This comes as we reported that BitPay waived fees for all merchants as long as they don’t need additional support or enterprise features. The latest news will likely launch a war between Coinbase and BitPay to snatch as many customers as possible.

It also comes as Dell became one of the largest companies in the world to adopt bitcoin.

At the time of this writing, bitcoin is trading at $574.

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