Wikipedia, an online free encyclopedia, announced it started accepting bitcoin through bitcoin wallet and payment processor Coinbase. The new were revealed on the official blog of the Wikimedia Foundation, an owner of Wikipedia.
According to the organization, the demand for digital currency support led to the discussion on the leadership level.
The move is notable as the Wikimedia Foundation earlier expressed distrust in the digital currency. The company announced it started discussing bitcoin donations in March, but Wikimedia’s co-founder Jimmy Wales then said it was taking a “cautious” approach.
The organization always wanted to make donations as simple as possible given millions of people all over the world supporting the Wikimedia Foundation through donations.
Wikimedia chief revenue officer Lisa Gruwell wrote in the blog post: “Currently, we accept 13 different payment methods enabling donations from nearly every country in the world, and today, we’re adding one more: bitcoin.”
The Wikimedia Foundation was encouraged to accept bitcoin by the recent guidance issued by the US Internal Revenue Service, which defines the status of digital currency. Moreover, there were a lot of asks from the community members to start using the cryptocurrency.
The organization sent a separate e-mail for Wikipedia supporters, saying that it is aiming at providing flexible payment options for those who donate to the company. The Wikimedia Foundation noted that bitcoin integration will offer encyclopedia supporters various donation options.
The prior apprehension was due to the operational complexity and uncertainties relating the legal status of bitcoin.
The Wikimedia Foundation noted that partnership with Coinbase will help to avoid some logistical needs that come with the virtual currency, including the need to exchange bitcoin for fiat currency.
The blog post reads: “Using Coinbase, a bitcoin exchange, 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.”
In an interview to CoinDesk, Coinbase business development director Adam White stated that want to ensure that full legal compliance is maintained. That’s why the company chose steady and slow approach. He added that after addressing all the concerns, Wikipedia became more confident and was able to choose a solution.
The advantage of bitcoin is the option to make donations, which is important for Wikipedia as it exists on the support of the world readership.