Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales’ News Project to Pay Journalists in Bitcoin
The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has a lot of respect for the Bitcoin community. On April 25, he published a Reddit post describing a news project he envisioned called Wikitribune. In the post, he showered the Bitcoin community with praise, saying how much generosity the group demonstrated before and after Wikipedia started accepting Bitcoin donations. […]
The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has a lot of respect for the Bitcoin community. On April 25, he published a Reddit post describing a news project he envisioned called Wikitribune. In the post, he showered the Bitcoin community with praise, saying how much generosity the group demonstrated before and after Wikipedia started accepting Bitcoin donations. He also used an example of Bitcoin in regards to the kind of reporters he wants to recruit for his Wikitribune project.
He said, “At my new project Wikitribune I am going with a no-paywall “monthly supporter” model but I wanted to also reach out directly to you so you’ll know that I’m particularly thinking of this community as a great example of how lots of things are underserved by traditional media models.”
Wikipedia and Wales’ History with Bitcoin
It comes as no surprise that Wales has so much respect and dignity for the community. He has a strong bond with bitcoiners. He started toying with the digital currency back in 2014, when in march of that year he tweeted he was “playing with BTC.” In the comment section of the tweet he posted his BTC address. He received 5 BTC worth of unsolicited donations.
Those generous donations had an impact on Wales. On April 11, 2014, he tweeted he would make a recommendation to the Wikipedia board for a “light implementation” of the currency for donation acceptance.
@mrschtief Staff are looking into lightweight implementation and will make recommendation to board as I understand it.We are cautious. 🙂
— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) April 11, 2014
Not a full month later, he signed up for a Coinbase account and posted his experience on Reddit, where he mentioned he was a “newbie” and might have questions. The Bitcoin community reacted with pride and a genuine desire to help. Many people, including Rees from Coinbase, took the time to answer questions and warmly welcome him into the world of crypto.
Then on July 30, 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation (which includes Wikipedia) released a blog post saying they now accept Bitcoin donations. The post mentioned they discovered ways to overcome legal hurdles and that they achieved this by partnering with Coinbase. The announcement states;
“We identified a new way to work around past technical challenges, as well as to minimize the legal risks of accepting bitcoin. 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.
Wikitribune Project and Quality Bitcoin Reporters
Wales’ experience with Bitcoin and the community is what drove him to praise everyone in the space. It galvanized his initiative to involve Bitcoin reporters in his project. Wales said he plans for Wikitribune to be a neutral media reporting site, where journalists are paid entirely in the form of donations. However, he mentioned the project is divorced from the Wikimedia foundation or Wikipedia-based projects. It is a standalone gig, meant to keep news writing as an objective practice.
He specified that roughly 50% of the contributions will go to journalist salaries with the rest going to overhead and other fees. He said because he is so fond of the bitcoin community, he is pledging to use 100% of the contributions that arrive at the Wikitribune donation address to hire high quality neutral reporters for the bitcoin/blockchain beat.
How does Wales’ praise of the bitcoin community make you feel? Do you think the Wikitribune project idea is good? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Wikipedia.com
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