Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia co-founder, recently said that he does not foresee any practical use-cases for cryptocurrencies on Wikipedia. Specifically, Wales shot down the notion of integrating cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology into the Wikipedia platform.
Jimmy Wales shoots down potential of Wikipedia crypto integration
These comments came during the recent CoinGeek Conference in London. Jimmy Wales spoke opposite to Craig Wright at the event, and Wales was adamant that cryptocurrencies would not add anything to the Wikipedia experience.
In fact, Wales even said that adding cryptocurrency or blockchain functionality could be harmful to how Wikipedia operates. This reasoning, according to Wales, comes from distinguishing between the “ideological” and “practical” nature of cryptocurrencies.
Although crypto’s practical utility is hard to ignore, especially with the growing emergence of crypto adoption, Wales was still hesitant. Wales has consistently ignored requests from crypto advocates asking for crypto-based rewards for content creators and editors.
A bad idea on the blockchain is still a bad idea
According to Wales, his hesitation mainly stems from problems with the fundamental concept of blockchain and crypto. Moreover, he does not think that rewarding concept creators with digital assets could work well in real life.
“This is a really bad idea. It’s an idea that doesn’t actually work,” Wales said. “If you take something that is a bad idea and put it on the blockchain, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea.”
Wales also worries that cryptocurrency integration could potentially harm the mechanism by how users edit Wikipedia. At the moment, Wikipedia relies on volunteers and enthusiasts to provide new content, as well as to fact-check articles.
Crypto integration on Wikipedia “is completely insane”
It would seem Wales worries that integrating cryptocurrencies or some type of digital assets could be a slippery slope. For example, this could lead to a situation where users would have to spend the cryptocurrency in order to perform edits or create articles.
“To say to them [the users], you’re going to have to pay or put money at risk in order to edit Wikipedia is completely insane.”
Wales also said that he does not believe in enabling the sort of behavior where users would effectively be competing against each other to perform edits. Furthermore, he hints that cryptocurrency integration could become a “mechanism” for triggering this behavior.
“Creating a mechanism where you effectively authenticate that type of behavior … isn’t going to help with the quality of Wikipedia at all.”
Interestingly, however, Wales also said that he would have “no problem” with accepting donations in different forms of cryptocurrency. Some would argue this is a form a crypto integration in itself, and Wikipedia accepts donations in Bitcoin since 2014.
Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.