A few days after they announced that they were accepting cryptocurrency for donations to the company, Mozilla says they are now pausing this and reviewing the system and their policy. This comes after one of its cofounders publicly criticized the company for partnering with “planet-incinerating Ponzi grifters”. Cryptocurrency has been receiving much concern and scrutiny lately over its energy use and environmental impact and having a company like Mozilla “dabble” in it even if it’s just donations seems to have sparked anger from people who used to be involved with the company.
Last December 31, Mozilla announced that they will be accepting donations in cryptocurrency through BitPay. The reaction was almost immediate and harsh. Jamie “jwz” Zawinski, one of the founders who built the Mozilla Project replied to the tweet and had some pretty big words to say to the company. “Everyone involved in the project should be witheringly ashamed of this decision” read part of his tweet. Gecko founder Peter Linss tweeted his support to Zawinski, telling Mozilla “You were meant to be better than this.”
While crypto has continued gaining traction the past few years, there is also very loud criticism of it specifically due to its energy use and environmental impact. Bitcoin mining supposedly eats up around 0.5% of the world’s energy, seven times more than Google as per Business Insider. Critics have also said that the crypto market acts like a Ponzi scheme, promising high return rates for investors based on money from other, later investors.
Mozilla tweeted last January 7 that they are pausing accepting cryptocurrency as a donation as they will be reviewing “if and how” the current policy fits in with the company’s climate goals. They also assured its community that this will be a transparent process “in the spirit of open-source” and they will be providing regular updates. They cited their appreciation for bringing this to their attention although they didn’t specifically name Zawinski or Linss.
It has become a trend for non-profits to accept cryptocurrency donations in the past years despite the aforementioned criticisms of the system. Proponents of crypto have cited societal benefits of digital currencies like the democratization of finance as well as the open-source public nature of it in general.