Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-03-15 Thread Daniel Zahn
On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 10:13 AM, Nathan nawr...@gmail.com wrote


 It's hard to credit that people are still pushing for the WMF to accept
 Bitcoin payments after the worlds major venue for trading them, the Magic:
 The Gathering Online Exchange, crashed and disappeared $500m. Obviously
 not a safe and secure payment modality right now, where is the rush to jump
 into something so risky?


The risk her was trusting a centralized place with being an escrow for your
money though,
not Bitcoin itself.

-- 
Daniel Zahn dz...@wikimedia.org
Operations Engineer
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-03-15 Thread David Gerard
On 15 March 2014 13:31, Daniel Zahn dz...@wikimedia.org wrote:
 On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 10:13 AM, Nathan nawr...@gmail.com wrote

 It's hard to credit that people are still pushing for the WMF to accept
 Bitcoin payments after the worlds major venue for trading them, the Magic:
 The Gathering Online Exchange, crashed and disappeared $500m. Obviously
 not a safe and secure payment modality right now, where is the rush to jump
 into something so risky?

 The risk her was trusting a centralized place with being an escrow for your
 money though,
 not Bitcoin itself.


Functionally, a currency is its social structures and how it flows -
not just the objects deemed currency themselves. It's not money unless
it flows, and Bitcoin flows through exchanges that range from
laughably inept to criminal.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-03-10 Thread Charles Gregory
Hi everyone,

I thought it may be worth pointing out that this conversation has be
re-opened by Jimmy on
reddit: 
http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/201fa6/hello_from_jimmy_wales_of_wikipedia/http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/201fa6/hello_from_jimmy_wales_of_wikipedia/

On it he states 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.  More info at the
thread itself.

Regards,

Charles / User:Chuq



On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM, Katie Horn kh...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 That very rough number that Matt threw out there has far less to do with
 the cost of applying human brainpower than it does with the cost of taking
 the available brainpower away from things we know are going to
 significantly increase our efficacy. We have several of those things
 looming on the horizon, and we choose to concentrate new development on
 what we know will be the biggest earners out of those.

 My understanding (I am no analyst) is that we continue to have a difficult
 time finding hard evidence that bitcoin is currently anywhere near the
 other top candidates, so it remains off the roadmap in favor of
 concentrating on solid numbers. If anybody would like to supply us with
 hard figures, we'd certainly be interested in seeing them.

 The main reason the expected earnings  one dude's salary calculation of
 worthiness doesn't work here, is that there are four people in fundraising
 engineering. The four of us support and maintain all existing payments
 functionality, ensure integrity of the donation pipeline, and do all new
 code development and review. For the sake of the foundation and the
 movement, each one of us has to do significantly better than individually
 break even.

 As the fundraising tech lead, I definitely appreciate any outside interest
 in potentially helping us out by modifying fundraising code in order to
 support more payment methods, and I would be happy to outline the general
 process of integrating with a new gateway in a way that is consistent with
 our current code.

 Before I get in to the nitty-gritty, though, I want to be completely clear
 on this one point: Even if I had the authority to do so (I do not), there
 is no universe in which I am willing to enable new functionality simply
 because the switch exists. Matt has already done a pretty good job
 outlining the scope of the collective distraction that bitcoin represents,
 and that scope extends well beyond tech. In fact, it seems to me that
 producing the actual integration code is the most trivial issue regarding
 bitcoin integration that has been brought up thus far, and I would not be
 pleased to see well-intentioned volunteer time go to waste over hastily
 dismissed blocking issues which exist well outside the purview of the
 fundraising tech team.


 That said, here is a very general 30,000 foot view of a typical new gateway
 integration from a purely technical standpoint:

 * Donation Interface[1]: This is the mediawiki extension that initiates
 payments. A new gateway adapter child class will need to be created, which
 will run in parallel to the existing enabled gateway adapters, and not
 short-circuit any of the class constraints that have been deliberately
 built in to the gateway adapter parent class. Then, an appropriate form (or
 redirect) should be created to handle the user experience, which uses the
 RapidHTML templating system. At the end of it all, after a successful
 donation has been made, an internal donation message should be queued.
 Happily, examples of all the things I just mentioned already exist in other
 gateway adapter objects; New gateways are rarely so unusual that we haven't
 nearly done it before.
 * Payments Listener[2]: Most payment gateways worth even brief
 consideration, have an optional near-realtime notification system. This
 system tells us when we receive new payments, and existing payments change
 status (cancels, refunds, chargebacks). We would need to create a listener
 to receive realtime payment updates, process them securely, and queue
 donation messages when appropriate. Though a realtime message listener is
 usually not strictly required in order to get paid through a new gateway
 integration, I have recently decided to require them wherever possible.
 * Nightly reconciliation / auditing[3]: Every payment gateway we integrate
 with provides a daily downloadable list of all the transactions we should
 have on record. So, a job needs to be created that will download the daily
 file and chew through our records to make sure we have all the relevant
 data, and rebuild anything we may have missed. This job needs to be set up
 to run daily.
 * Queue consumer module for civicrm integration[4]: The donations queue
 consumer will need to be modified, to accept and correctly process donation
 messages from the new gateway, in a way that is consistent with our
 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-03-10 Thread Andrew Lih
Jimmy's already noted this is WRONG, but the erroneous Telegraph story
reads:


Wikipedia charity begins accepting Bitcoin donations after co-founder
Jimmy Wales set up a personal account to play around with digital
currency and was swamped with cash

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/wikipedia/10687380/Wales-inundated-with-Wikipedia-donations-after-publishing-personal-Bitcoin-address.html

*Jimmy Wales* @jimmy_wales  https://twitter.com/jimmy_wales
7mhttps://twitter.com/jimmy_wales/status/443031310207311872

Yo, @Telegraph https://twitter.com/Telegraph, this story is wrong:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/wik
ipedia/10687380/Wales-inundated-with-Wikipedia-donations-after-publishing-personal-Bitcoin-address.html
 ... http://t.co/fM3CTBzRsE No decision has been made for Wikipedia to
accept BTC!





On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 9:26 AM, Charles Gregory wmau.li...@chuq.netwrote:

 Hi everyone,

 I thought it may be worth pointing out that this conversation has be
 re-opened by Jimmy on
 reddit:
 http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/201fa6/hello_from_jimmy_wales_of_wikipedia/
 
 http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/201fa6/hello_from_jimmy_wales_of_wikipedia/
 

 On it he states 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.  More info at the
 thread itself.

 Regards,

 Charles / User:Chuq



 On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM, Katie Horn kh...@wikimedia.org wrote:

  That very rough number that Matt threw out there has far less to do with
  the cost of applying human brainpower than it does with the cost of
 taking
  the available brainpower away from things we know are going to
  significantly increase our efficacy. We have several of those things
  looming on the horizon, and we choose to concentrate new development on
  what we know will be the biggest earners out of those.
 
  My understanding (I am no analyst) is that we continue to have a
 difficult
  time finding hard evidence that bitcoin is currently anywhere near the
  other top candidates, so it remains off the roadmap in favor of
  concentrating on solid numbers. If anybody would like to supply us with
  hard figures, we'd certainly be interested in seeing them.
 
  The main reason the expected earnings  one dude's salary calculation of
  worthiness doesn't work here, is that there are four people in
 fundraising
  engineering. The four of us support and maintain all existing payments
  functionality, ensure integrity of the donation pipeline, and do all new
  code development and review. For the sake of the foundation and the
  movement, each one of us has to do significantly better than individually
  break even.
 
  As the fundraising tech lead, I definitely appreciate any outside
 interest
  in potentially helping us out by modifying fundraising code in order to
  support more payment methods, and I would be happy to outline the general
  process of integrating with a new gateway in a way that is consistent
 with
  our current code.
 
  Before I get in to the nitty-gritty, though, I want to be completely
 clear
  on this one point: Even if I had the authority to do so (I do not), there
  is no universe in which I am willing to enable new functionality simply
  because the switch exists. Matt has already done a pretty good job
  outlining the scope of the collective distraction that bitcoin
 represents,
  and that scope extends well beyond tech. In fact, it seems to me that
  producing the actual integration code is the most trivial issue regarding
  bitcoin integration that has been brought up thus far, and I would not be
  pleased to see well-intentioned volunteer time go to waste over hastily
  dismissed blocking issues which exist well outside the purview of the
  fundraising tech team.
 
 
  That said, here is a very general 30,000 foot view of a typical new
 gateway
  integration from a purely technical standpoint:
 
  * Donation Interface[1]: This is the mediawiki extension that initiates
  payments. A new gateway adapter child class will need to be created,
 which
  will run in parallel to the existing enabled gateway adapters, and not
  short-circuit any of the class constraints that have been deliberately
  built in to the gateway adapter parent class. Then, an appropriate form
 (or
  redirect) should be created to handle the user experience, which uses the
  RapidHTML templating system. At the end of it all, after a successful
  donation has been made, an internal donation message should be queued.
  Happily, examples of all the things I just mentioned already exist in
 other
  gateway adapter objects; New gateways are rarely so unusual that we
 haven't
  nearly done it before.
  * Payments Listener[2]: Most payment gateways worth even brief
  consideration, have an optional near-realtime notification system. This
  system tells us when we receive new payments, and existing payments
 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-03-10 Thread Oliver Keyes
sarcasm

Wow, we've made an entire 1.6k out of bitcoin? This totally seems like the
highest-value way to spend our time! Thanks, Bitcoin! I'm sure that the
value of these items won't wildly vary in short spaces of time based on
things like, oh, your propensity to have banking neophytes host your
exchanges and end up shut down.

/sarcasm


On 10 March 2014 07:39, Andrew Lih andrew@gmail.com wrote:

 Jimmy's already noted this is WRONG, but the erroneous Telegraph story
 reads:


 Wikipedia charity begins accepting Bitcoin donations after co-founder
 Jimmy Wales set up a personal account to play around with digital
 currency and was swamped with cash


 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/wikipedia/10687380/Wales-inundated-with-Wikipedia-donations-after-publishing-personal-Bitcoin-address.html

 *Jimmy Wales* @jimmy_wales  https://twitter.com/jimmy_wales
 7mhttps://twitter.com/jimmy_wales/status/443031310207311872

 Yo, @Telegraph https://twitter.com/Telegraph, this story is wrong:
 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/wik

 ipedia/10687380/Wales-inundated-with-Wikipedia-donations-after-publishing-personal-Bitcoin-address.html
  ... http://t.co/fM3CTBzRsE No decision has been made for Wikipedia to
 accept BTC!





 On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 9:26 AM, Charles Gregory wmau.li...@chuq.net
 wrote:

  Hi everyone,
 
  I thought it may be worth pointing out that this conversation has be
  re-opened by Jimmy on
  reddit:
 
 http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/201fa6/hello_from_jimmy_wales_of_wikipedia/
  
 
 http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/201fa6/hello_from_jimmy_wales_of_wikipedia/
  
 
  On it he states 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.  More info at the
  thread itself.
 
  Regards,
 
  Charles / User:Chuq
 
 
 
  On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM, Katie Horn kh...@wikimedia.org
 wrote:
 
   That very rough number that Matt threw out there has far less to do
 with
   the cost of applying human brainpower than it does with the cost of
  taking
   the available brainpower away from things we know are going to
   significantly increase our efficacy. We have several of those things
   looming on the horizon, and we choose to concentrate new development on
   what we know will be the biggest earners out of those.
  
   My understanding (I am no analyst) is that we continue to have a
  difficult
   time finding hard evidence that bitcoin is currently anywhere near the
   other top candidates, so it remains off the roadmap in favor of
   concentrating on solid numbers. If anybody would like to supply us with
   hard figures, we'd certainly be interested in seeing them.
  
   The main reason the expected earnings  one dude's salary calculation
 of
   worthiness doesn't work here, is that there are four people in
  fundraising
   engineering. The four of us support and maintain all existing payments
   functionality, ensure integrity of the donation pipeline, and do all
 new
   code development and review. For the sake of the foundation and the
   movement, each one of us has to do significantly better than
 individually
   break even.
  
   As the fundraising tech lead, I definitely appreciate any outside
  interest
   in potentially helping us out by modifying fundraising code in order to
   support more payment methods, and I would be happy to outline the
 general
   process of integrating with a new gateway in a way that is consistent
  with
   our current code.
  
   Before I get in to the nitty-gritty, though, I want to be completely
  clear
   on this one point: Even if I had the authority to do so (I do not),
 there
   is no universe in which I am willing to enable new functionality simply
   because the switch exists. Matt has already done a pretty good job
   outlining the scope of the collective distraction that bitcoin
  represents,
   and that scope extends well beyond tech. In fact, it seems to me that
   producing the actual integration code is the most trivial issue
 regarding
   bitcoin integration that has been brought up thus far, and I would not
 be
   pleased to see well-intentioned volunteer time go to waste over hastily
   dismissed blocking issues which exist well outside the purview of the
   fundraising tech team.
  
  
   That said, here is a very general 30,000 foot view of a typical new
  gateway
   integration from a purely technical standpoint:
  
   * Donation Interface[1]: This is the mediawiki extension that initiates
   payments. A new gateway adapter child class will need to be created,
  which
   will run in parallel to the existing enabled gateway adapters, and not
   short-circuit any of the class constraints that have been deliberately
   built in to the gateway adapter parent class. Then, an appropriate form
  (or
   redirect) should be created to handle the user experience, which uses
 the
   RapidHTML templating 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-03-10 Thread Federico Leva (Nemo)

Charles Gregory, 10/03/2014 14:26:

On it he states 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.  More info at the
thread itself.


What's the board of directors?

Nemo

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-03-10 Thread Nathan
On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 11:02 AM, Oliver Keyes oke...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 sarcasm

 Wow, we've made an entire 1.6k out of bitcoin? This totally seems like the
 highest-value way to spend our time! Thanks, Bitcoin! I'm sure that the
 value of these items won't wildly vary in short spaces of time based on
 things like, oh, your propensity to have banking neophytes host your
 exchanges and end up shut down.

 /sarcasm


Sounds like an interesting headache for Jimmy's tax accountant! Income tax
implications of getting donations in bitcoins, cashing them out and
donating them to a tax exempt organization... might be complicated.

It's hard to credit that people are still pushing for the WMF to accept
Bitcoin payments after the worlds major venue for trading them, the Magic:
The Gathering Online Exchange, crashed and disappeared $500m. Obviously
not a safe and secure payment modality right now, where is the rush to jump
into something so risky?
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-01-08 Thread Erik Moeller
On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 2:54 PM, Steven Walling
steven.wall...@gmail.com wrote:

 In general, I would personally like it if the WMF avoided accepting
 bitcoin. Today, bitcoin isn't really a functioning currency of exchange --
 it's actually used more as an investment tool to create wealth that
 naturally appreciates in value, like playing the stock market or buying
 gold. Avoiding lots of risky investments is something our very competent
 financial managers already steer clear of, and I see no reason to start
 taking on more risk now.

While this is true, a more pragmatic view is that, as long as BTC has
value to some people, there's no harm in accepting it and transferring
it to USD the moment we receive any, provided legal/financial issues
can be addressed with reasonable effort.

The strongest counter-argument is that we might not actually get a
donation total that makes this worth our time. The Internet Archive
has a single-use Bitcoin address that's received a total of $30K at
current (insanely high) exchange rates.

But for me, the main reason not do this sooner is that it would have
significantly fueled the Bitcoin speculative bubble, and WMF should
remain neutral on the utility of Bitcoin. At this point though,
whatever WMF does or doesn't do is just a small drop in the bucket of
the overall Bitcoin mania, so I'm personally fine with a decision
being made on pragmatic grounds alone.

My own view is that Bitcoin has significant design flaws (built-in
economic inequality, most rational actors will hoard rather than
spend, doubtful long-term scalability, questionable value as an actual
currency due to crazy volatility, tendency to centralize power with
miners, rampant security attacks against BTC holders, etc.), but as
long as no more severe technical flaws are discovered/exploited, at
least some value will likely attach to BTC for some time to come, even
if it's dramatically less than the current exchange rate.

With that said, I fully defer to our fundraising team on this since
it's a decision that should be made purely on cost/benefit grounds,
perhaps by also comparing with other currencies that see relatively
little use.

The one unambiguous positive that I see coming out of Bitcoin mania is
a renewed interest in peer-to-peer networks; the last time that
happened was about 12 years ago, and it resulted in technologies like
BitTorrent, Tor, various file sharing networks and many others being
developed. Experimenting is, overall, a good thing, and no matter how
this one plays out (and how exhausting a topic it can be given the
idiocy of coverage about it), I'm optimistic that we will see positive
ripple effects for the free culture movement.

Erik

[1] https://blockchain.info/address/1Archive1n2C579dMsAu3iC6tWzuQJz8dN
-- 
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-01-08 Thread John Vandenberg
Thanks Erik for a well written overview.

Would it be possible for the WMF to give an estimate on what it would cost
to build and/or what the threshold of annual bitcoin donations would make
it worthwhile building. Someone might be interested in donating
specifically to have this built, or we could obtain pledges to donate to
see if the threshold can be reached.
On Jan 9, 2014 9:06 AM, Erik Moeller e...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 2:54 PM, Steven Walling
 steven.wall...@gmail.com wrote:

  In general, I would personally like it if the WMF avoided accepting
  bitcoin. Today, bitcoin isn't really a functioning currency of exchange
 --
  it's actually used more as an investment tool to create wealth that
  naturally appreciates in value, like playing the stock market or buying
  gold. Avoiding lots of risky investments is something our very competent
  financial managers already steer clear of, and I see no reason to start
  taking on more risk now.

 While this is true, a more pragmatic view is that, as long as BTC has
 value to some people, there's no harm in accepting it and transferring
 it to USD the moment we receive any, provided legal/financial issues
 can be addressed with reasonable effort.

 The strongest counter-argument is that we might not actually get a
 donation total that makes this worth our time. The Internet Archive
 has a single-use Bitcoin address that's received a total of $30K at
 current (insanely high) exchange rates.

 But for me, the main reason not do this sooner is that it would have
 significantly fueled the Bitcoin speculative bubble, and WMF should
 remain neutral on the utility of Bitcoin. At this point though,
 whatever WMF does or doesn't do is just a small drop in the bucket of
 the overall Bitcoin mania, so I'm personally fine with a decision
 being made on pragmatic grounds alone.

 My own view is that Bitcoin has significant design flaws (built-in
 economic inequality, most rational actors will hoard rather than
 spend, doubtful long-term scalability, questionable value as an actual
 currency due to crazy volatility, tendency to centralize power with
 miners, rampant security attacks against BTC holders, etc.), but as
 long as no more severe technical flaws are discovered/exploited, at
 least some value will likely attach to BTC for some time to come, even
 if it's dramatically less than the current exchange rate.

 With that said, I fully defer to our fundraising team on this since
 it's a decision that should be made purely on cost/benefit grounds,
 perhaps by also comparing with other currencies that see relatively
 little use.

 The one unambiguous positive that I see coming out of Bitcoin mania is
 a renewed interest in peer-to-peer networks; the last time that
 happened was about 12 years ago, and it resulted in technologies like
 BitTorrent, Tor, various file sharing networks and many others being
 developed. Experimenting is, overall, a good thing, and no matter how
 this one plays out (and how exhausting a topic it can be given the
 idiocy of coverage about it), I'm optimistic that we will see positive
 ripple effects for the free culture movement.

 Erik

 [1] https://blockchain.info/address/1Archive1n2C579dMsAu3iC6tWzuQJz8dN
 --
 Erik Möller
 VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-01-08 Thread Matthew Walker
I will probably regret saying this[1] -- but the figure we like to throw
around here in fundraising tech is that a new payments gateway [2] is not
even worth considering unless it is likely to make us at least 500K USD a
year[3]. Or, in the case that it is not an immediate payoff, if it is
strategically relevant for the future of our income stream (think our
recent forays into mobile). It's also worth stating that at this time we
only use four gateways (we get the hundreds of currencies through gateways
that serve multiple methods and countries.)

It is a significant undertaking to integrate a new gateway with our current
code (think several man months of time related to coding, code review,
donor services preparation, and testing; not including contract negotiation
and legal review.) In addition, every gateway incurs additional
maintenance, auditing, and troubleshooting costs on an ongoing basis.
Because of these costs, we have only four gateways (Adyen, Amazon,
GlobalCollect, and PayPal); with active plans to add another (already
determined) gateway this year for common methods and regions we don't
already serve.

Formally the dept has not conducted a cost/benefit analysis of accepting
bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. Nor have we asked the legal dept to
look into it from a compliance point of view. I have been attempting to
gather data for an informal blog post on the topic and I have found no
indication that if we were to conduct such a study formally that it would
come out positively.

I will state again the contents of our FAQ: We do, however, strive to
provide as many methods of donating as possible and continue to monitor
Bitcoin with interest and may revisit this position should circumstances
change. I would encourage those who are put off by the Wikimedia
Foundation's non acceptance of cryptocurrency donations to consider
alternative methods of donation and promoting of free knowledge; namely by
becoming active editors.

[1] personal hat
The bitcoin community should be aware that their persistent and often times
aggressive, rude, and vulgar messaging towards me and my fellow coworkers
is not appreciated; nor does it help their cause. If the goals of the
cryptocurrency movement include shedding the world of fiscal dictators,
centralized control, and autocracy; then perhaps it is time for some
introspection. From my standpoint the actions of the movement (or at least
the actions of a significant number who are public on the internet that I
have read) are scarily similar to those whom the moment stands to replace.
/personal hat

[2] A payments gateway can be simply thought of as a collection of APIs,
coupled into DonationInterface, our backend CRM, and financial software,
that can accept payments and remit them in an auditable way to the
Wikimedia Foundation in one of our working currencies.

[3] This number isn't set in stone and should not be considered a formal
estimate, but consider that the Wikimedia Foundation's yearly budget is
~$50M. As fundraisers ideally we want to focus effort on things that can
provide a significant portion of that. We also do not wish to spend money
on things that would increase our useful spending to overhead spending
ratio.

~Matt Walker
Wikimedia Foundation
Fundraising Technology Team


On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 7:05 PM, John Vandenberg jay...@gmail.com wrote:

 Thanks Erik for a well written overview.

 Would it be possible for the WMF to give an estimate on what it would cost
 to build and/or what the threshold of annual bitcoin donations would make
 it worthwhile building. Someone might be interested in donating
 specifically to have this built, or we could obtain pledges to donate to
 see if the threshold can be reached.
 On Jan 9, 2014 9:06 AM, Erik Moeller e...@wikimedia.org wrote:

  On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 2:54 PM, Steven Walling
  steven.wall...@gmail.com wrote:
 
   In general, I would personally like it if the WMF avoided accepting
   bitcoin. Today, bitcoin isn't really a functioning currency of exchange
  --
   it's actually used more as an investment tool to create wealth that
   naturally appreciates in value, like playing the stock market or buying
   gold. Avoiding lots of risky investments is something our very
 competent
   financial managers already steer clear of, and I see no reason to start
   taking on more risk now.
 
  While this is true, a more pragmatic view is that, as long as BTC has
  value to some people, there's no harm in accepting it and transferring
  it to USD the moment we receive any, provided legal/financial issues
  can be addressed with reasonable effort.
 
  The strongest counter-argument is that we might not actually get a
  donation total that makes this worth our time. The Internet Archive
  has a single-use Bitcoin address that's received a total of $30K at
  current (insanely high) exchange rates.
 
  But for me, the main reason not do this sooner is that it would have
  significantly fueled the Bitcoin speculative 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2014-01-08 Thread Erik Moeller
On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 8:38 PM, Matthew Walker mwal...@wikimedia.org wrote:
 It is a significant undertaking to integrate a new gateway with our current
 code (think several man months of time related to coding, code review,
 donor services preparation, and testing; not including contract negotiation
 and legal review.)

That makes perfect sense, Matt. It's easy to forget that because BTC
is so novel, none of the existing payment gateways we have implemented
support it, so comparing to existing currencies is really misleading.
So you're left with either the DIY approach the Internet Archive is
taking [1], or the technical effort of properly integrating something
like Bitpay.

 The bitcoin community should be aware that their persistent and often times
 aggressive, rude, and vulgar messaging towards me and my fellow coworkers
 is not appreciated;

Indeed. Unfortunately the incentive structure of Bitcoin's bubble
economy turns ordinary people into obnoxious hucksters.

Erik

[1] Srsly! Just one example:
http://blog.archive.org/2013/03/05/bitcoin-to-cash-converter-box/


-- 
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-13 Thread Steven Walling
On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 8:17 PM, John Vandenberg jay...@gmail.com wrote:

 As Peter just said, there is no risk if WMF converts bitcoin donations to
 USD immediately.


Uh... except that because Bitcoin is not a regulated currency, it's value
has the potential to fluctuate wildly, and seems to have done so since it
attracts speculators of all crazy sorts. Seems pretty fuckin risky to me.

Who's to say if the work involved in accepting bitcoins, monitoring
transactions, converting them, etc. will be worth the actual donations we
receive in bitcoin? Developing and maintaining payments systems doesn't
come for free. Fundraising and finance staff at WMF work extremely hard to
keep these systems running smoothly, and I for one don't think it's worth
adding yet another potential system to build/maintain just to placate
bitcoin devotees who want us to help promote their libertarian fantasy
project.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-13 Thread Tomasz W. Kozlowski

Steven Walling wrote:


Uh... except that because Bitcoin is not a regulated currency, it's value
has the potential to fluctuate wildly, and seems to have done so since it
attracts speculators of all crazy sorts. Seems pretty fuckin risky to me.


I see no reason why the fluctuation of Bitcoin would be of any 
significance for the decision of accepting it as a donation method or 
not, especially if you use same-day exchange systems. In the end, you 
cannot loose more money than you gain if you accept Bitcoin; even if its 
value drops significantly, it will still be more money than if you 
didn't accept it.


From where I stand, there is very little difference between Bitcoin and 
regulated currencies, except perhaps the fluctuation rate (as in 
quickness); take the Argentine peso, the Brazilian real, or the 
Zimbabwean dollar as examples that even government-backed currencies can 
fluctuate (or, more precisely, lose in value) in relatively short periods.


  Tomasz

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-13 Thread David Gerard
On 13 December 2013 11:43, Steven Walling steven.wall...@gmail.com wrote:

 Who's to say if the work involved in accepting bitcoins, monitoring
 transactions, converting them, etc. will be worth the actual donations we
 receive in bitcoin? Developing and maintaining payments systems doesn't
 come for free. Fundraising and finance staff at WMF work extremely hard to
 keep these systems running smoothly, and I for one don't think it's worth
 adding yet another potential system to build/maintain just to placate
 bitcoin devotees who want us to help promote their libertarian fantasy
 project.


This is probably the key point: will it be worth the resources? How do
comparable charities that accept Bitcoin do?

I'm sceptical about Bitcoin in general, but if it was worth it, then sure.

(If you have reliable payment conversion, the acceptance bit is easy.
Hardest bit is someone to supply reliable and trustworthy conversion
from Bitcoins to dollars. e.g. Mt. Gox wouldn't pass the sniff test
IMO. Some Bitcoin operations are *terrifyingly* naive, as if
financial-quality computer system reliability had never been thought
of.)


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-13 Thread Tomasz W. Kozlowski

Andrew Bogott wrote:

So, we have a problem, and then we have an already-implemented 
solution... what is left for anyone to do but dust off their hands and 
go to lunch?  If Bitpay has already solved the exact problem that we're 
discussion, why would the foundation spend a nickel duplicating their work?


There are, I believe, several problem with that solution: (1) Bitpay 
seems to have created that merchant account without ever discussing this 
with the Foundation, (2) the account is not owned by the Foundation, and 
the Foundation does not have any influence over it at the moment, (3) 
given choice, the Foundation might have decided to use the services of 
their competitor (for whatever reasons).


That's just off the top of my head, but I'm sure other people (not to 
mention Foundation lawyers!) can think of other things.


  Tomasz

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-13 Thread MZMcBride
Tomasz W. Kozlowski wrote:
Andrew Bogott wrote:
 So, we have a problem, and then we have an already-implemented
 solution... what is left for anyone to do but dust off their hands and
 go to lunch?  If Bitpay has already solved the exact problem that we're
 discussion, why would the foundation spend a nickel duplicating their
work?

There are, I believe, several problem with that solution: (1) Bitpay
seems to have created that merchant account without ever discussing this
with the Foundation, (2) the account is not owned by the Foundation, and
the Foundation does not have any influence over it at the moment, (3)
given choice, the Foundation might have decided to use the services of
their competitor (for whatever reasons).

Re: http://blog.bitpay.com/2012/11/donate-to-wikipedia-with-bitcoin.html

I'm not sure I'm following all of this correctly. I thought the idea was
that BitPay would exchange Bitcoins for USDs and then donate the USDs to
the Wikimedia Foundation. Why would that require the Wikimedia Foundation
being in control of whatever account is used to transfer the funds? Isn't
the merchant account simply a means of transferring USDs? I'm lost. :-(

I think Andrew makes a compelling argument, though it's difficult to be
sure when the implementation details are not entirely clear.

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-13 Thread Nathan
On Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 8:24 PM, MZMcBride z...@mzmcbride.com wrote:



 Re: http://blog.bitpay.com/2012/11/donate-to-wikipedia-with-bitcoin.html

 I'm not sure I'm following all of this correctly. I thought the idea was
 that BitPay would exchange Bitcoins for USDs and then donate the USDs to
 the Wikimedia Foundation. Why would that require the Wikimedia Foundation
 being in control of whatever account is used to transfer the funds? Isn't
 the merchant account simply a means of transferring USDs? I'm lost. :-(

 I think Andrew makes a compelling argument, though it's difficult to be
 sure when the implementation details are not entirely clear.

 MZMcBride


I think the problem is that Bitpay doesn't appear to be a charity.  They
are accepting bitcoins and paying dollars; without a lot of transparency
that hasn't been described yet in this thread, there's no way to know they
aren't using the Wikimedia marks to support speculating in the value of
bitcoins. We allow and encourage commercial reuse of most Wikimedia
content, but the same isn't true of Wikimedia trademarks. I'm not against
Bitpay making a profit, I just don't think they should be able to advertise
for Wikipedia donations to pad their bottom line.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-12 Thread Chris Keating
Other forms of money we do not currently accept include gold coins, Yap
money, Tesco Clubcard Points,  cowrie shells and cattle.

We could accept any of them in theory.

Though if anyone wants to donate a herd of cattle to Wikimedia UK please
could they contact the office in advance.

Chris
On 12 Dec 2013 03:31, Tim Starling tstarl...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 On 12/12/13 02:54, Nathan wrote:
  Bitcoin isn't native currency for anyone, and anyone who wishes
  to make a Bitcoin donation could certainly do so using a more standard
  currency.

 Well, this article from a year ago argues that bitcoin is safer for
 donors than donating national currency:

 
 http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonmatonis/2012/06/29/wikipedia-accepts-enemies-of-the-internet-currencies/
 

 But just don’t try to donate safely in bitcoin — it’s not accepted.
 [...]

 Accepting anonymous bitcoin in addition to political currencies can
 be a way of declaring that freedom of speech still does matter.

 I would think that if anonymity is the main concern, a transaction
 system with a public log of all transactions would not be the best choice.

 https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Anonymity

 The obvious time-tested choice for anonymous payment is, of course,
 cash. Many charities do accept cash donations. Cash could be donated
 to the local chapter by dropping it into a donation box, then it could
 be either spent on local programs or forwarded to WMF.

 -- Tim Starling


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-12 Thread Peter Gervai
On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 4:31 AM, Tim Starling tstarl...@wikimedia.org wrote:
 On 12/12/13 02:54, Nathan wrote:
 Bitcoin isn't native currency for anyone, and anyone who wishes
 to make a Bitcoin donation could certainly do so using a more standard
 currency.

 I would think that if anonymity is the main concern, a transaction
 system with a public log of all transactions would not be the best choice.

I guess we're pretty lost in several different agendas and purposes.

Bitcoin is clearly controversial in the sense that due to its anon and
non-government-controlled nature it is used in ways traditional money
was neither planned nor accepted, and its very existence is a fight
against control, trail tracking and other various (legal and illegal)
means of invading privacy of honest people and criminals both.

I observe quite different reasons people would like to have BC accepted.

I guess for the most part it's about support freedom, fight against
governmental control and fight against invasion of privacy. People
make point to use BC instead of govt money to donate thus pulling in
organisations to support monetary freedom (of their opinion, at
least). In this aspect, and I guess that's the main aspect, Wikipedia
should support that freedom. In this aspect, however, it is clear that
supporting this is dangerous since it's an open fight against
governmental control, and governments are sensitive abvout losing
their hard-collected rights. It is also a political move in that
sense, and aven it's not for any given political force should not be
taken lightly.

Other aspect is where anonimity is the main reason, where people or
organisations risk by donating an US organisation or to Wikipedia, The
Guardian of Free Information in general. Cash drop is obviously not
the solution for a Chinese or Russian citizen, and honestly we're
quite out of alternatives here. (Please do not get into debates about
why anyone would strongly prefer to stay anonymous, that is not the
point, thank you.)

Another aspect would be technical: why not? There are steps and
resources required to process bitcoin, especially strong mphasis about
informational security since BC is quite prone to electronic theft.
However these are not impossible, not even hard steps, and WMF is
absolutely capable to create the infrastructure to accept BC safely. I
see no real problem here.
(And even if it requires work from accountants and tax-professionals
and lawyers we do have the resources to archieve that easily. We might
even set example for smaller NGOs about how to do that legally; they
may not have the resources to reach a working solution.)

Again a different aspect is volatility or unstable exchange rates,
some people argue that BC is not a stable currency. Ackowledging the
truth in that I believe it is irrelevant: if people keep their money
in BC that's their worry, if they donate $100 worth of BC which will
be exachanged to $50 next week it is still $50 donation for us. We do
not plan to keep our assets in BC, and even if we would keep BC
donations in BC (why not) there's nothing to lose; if it loses 90% of
its worth due to whatever happening then that's it, might just happen
to a real currency either. We cannot lose more than the donations in
BC anyway.

A few people start something I usually would call trolling in
different context ( :-) ) which debates on why bitcoin and why not
johndoecoin or billygold or whatever. First because this topic is
about BC, let the whatever scheme debate run elsewhere (and you may
work to have BC accepted as a basis for your esoteric semicurrency
LATER). Second because BC market penetration is not comparable,
people are using it, it is hard to deny, and there are stable
exchanges giving you real money for it, the demand is much higher than
for susiecoins or whatever.

Out of the topics above the only risk I see is the
political/anti-government/anti-control/free-speech aspects, and these
are not easy problems indeed. But I do not believe people arguing the
other aspects have much to debate on. Seems you're running in circles,
pulling up the same non-reasoning over and over.

For the record I do not plan to donate in BC, neither do I mine it. I
just tend to support more freedom in general.

g

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-12 Thread Steven Walling
On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 12:31 PM, Jake Orlowitz jorlow...@gmail.com wrote:

 * Our peers like EFF, and Internet archive accept it


To be totally honest, I think this is moot.

Support for bitcoin among these two organizations has hardly been a ringing
endorsement. In the past, EFF has rejected it for very practical reasons I
think still apply.[1] As for Internet Archive, I was literally in the room
when their fundraising staff announced they started accepting bitcoin, and
they actually said they didn't really understand what it was, other than
people requested they accept it.

In general, I would personally like it if the WMF avoided accepting
bitcoin. Today, bitcoin isn't really a functioning currency of exchange --
it's actually used more as an investment tool to create wealth that
naturally appreciates in value, like playing the stock market or buying
gold. Avoiding lots of risky investments is something our very competent
financial managers already steer clear of, and I see no reason to start
taking on more risk now.

1. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/06/eff-and-bitcoin
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-12 Thread John Vandenberg
On Dec 13, 2013 5:55 AM, Steven Walling steven.wall...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 12:31 PM, Jake Orlowitz jorlow...@gmail.com
wrote:

  * Our peers like EFF, and Internet archive accept it


 To be totally honest, I think this is moot.

 Support for bitcoin among these two organizations has hardly been a
ringing
 endorsement. In the past, EFF has rejected it for very practical reasons I
 think still apply.[1] As for Internet Archive, I was literally in the room
 when their fundraising staff announced they started accepting bitcoin, and
 they actually said they didn't really understand what it was, other than
 people requested they accept it.

 In general, I would personally like it if the WMF avoided accepting
 bitcoin. Today, bitcoin isn't really a functioning currency of exchange --
 it's actually used more as an investment tool to create wealth that
 naturally appreciates in value, like playing the stock market or buying
 gold. Avoiding lots of risky investments is something our very competent
 financial managers already steer clear of, and I see no reason to start
 taking on more risk now.

As Peter just said, there is no risk if WMF converts bitcoin donations to
USD immediately.

--
John Vandenberg
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-12 Thread Peter Gervai
On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 11:54 PM, Steven Walling
steven.wall...@gmail.com wrote:

 naturally appreciates in value, like playing the stock market or buying
 gold. Avoiding lots of risky investments is something our very competent

I do not plan to get into a perpetual debate just wanted to point out
that there is no playing and buying and risky investment
involved. Nobody asked WMF to buy BC or to convert existing assets to
BC. All the risk has been taken by the donors (whether they donate
$100 or $0), WMF *finiancially* risks exactly nothing (provided that
we assume people who want to donate in BC would not use goventment
money anyway, which seems logical to me).

Peter

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread David Gerard
On 10 December 2013 23:13, Tim Starling tstarl...@wikimedia.org wrote:
 On 11/12/13 06:58, Tomasz W. Kozlowski wrote:

 I'm sure those reading this list can Google the topic themselves, so I
 won't link to the many angry discussion that are taking place on the
 interwebs right now;

 I tried Googling, including news and blog searches, and couldn't work
 out what you are talking about. Maybe you should provide links.


tl;dr Bitcoin fans really, really want Wikimedia to accept Bitcoin
donations; Wikimedia is not so interested, but haven't sent a big
Monty Python-style trademark foot down on Bitpay as yet. Nobody else
is very aware.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread James Alexander
[completely personal opinion]
To be totally, completely, honest I don't really want us to collect it...
and at this point it's mostly for personal reasons.

First off this isn't really a huge new push to get us to accept bitcoin,
they have been doing this ever 5-6 months in an organized fashion
(frequently, but probably not always, started by some of the big bitcoin
bloggers or payment providers) since at least 2010 when I was involved in
the fundraiser generally trying to shame us and force us to accept it. The
pushes generally include asking everyone to send fundraising emails and
writing as many articles about it as possible. Every time it happens people
say that they are getting angry and it's a thing. This is actually a
relatively minor burst of activity compared to the past couple years though
the fact that it is happening is to be expected given the fundraiser push
for the end of the year and the publicity that brings.

Part of me wants to say that it just isn't worth the effort. While I'm not
in the FR team anymore so things may have changed the effort to integrate a
new payment system is not tiny because it's actually very important for us
to have automatic tracking into our donation system etc. We used to have
multiple random payment e-wallet/payment methods spread out because people
had created different accounts and they were insanely difficult to keep
track of.

That said while I don't think the effort involved here is
tiny/insubstantial the real reason I don't want to do it is because, at
this point, it's seemed more and more like people wanted us to accept
bitcoin more as a political statement then anything else. That is not our
job, that is not our role, and I do not appreciate someone attempting to
use us to make themselves look more mainstream and accepted. During the
2011 fundraiser the campaign focused on the fact that we accepted
'currencies of anti internet countries' but wouldn't accept bitcoins. We
had integrated an enormous amount of different currencies (though each
individual one was not much work it was really just the original
integration that took forever). The articles and comments at the time
seemed very clearly to me to try and imply that we should not be accepting
these currencies (making it much harder for users in those countries to
give) because they were 'anti internet' and we should accept bitcoin
because it was 'pro internet'. I'm sorry, that's just not how we should be
making decisions.

The articles since then have not seemed any different (and have, perhaps,
seemed even more angry) every time I see stories asking us, or anyone for
that matter, to accept bitcoin it's always couched in the idea that oh X
and Y accept it so why won't YOU! and it is very clear that if we start
accepting it every story will include some variation of Wikipedia accepts
it and therefore how can you say it isn't mainstream!. Very few (i'm sure
they exist, but I haven't found them) of the articles talk about how much
money the non profits or companies are making, they are all about trying to
make a point and prove that we should accept bitcoin because... 'freedom'..
That isn't our job and, again, I don't like people who seem to be out to
use our name for their gain.

Sorry for the bit of a ramble here :-/ at this point whenever I see another
one of these pushes I want to accept bitcoin less and I respect the bitcoin
community a bit less. It's a great idea (with some flaws, but a great idea
none the less) but...this is not how to make it a respectable currency...
it's how to make it look like a niche toy beloved by people trying to push
an agenda :-/

James


On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 12:20 AM, David Gerard dger...@gmail.com wrote:

 On 10 December 2013 23:13, Tim Starling tstarl...@wikimedia.org wrote:
  On 11/12/13 06:58, Tomasz W. Kozlowski wrote:

  I'm sure those reading this list can Google the topic themselves, so I
  won't link to the many angry discussion that are taking place on the
  interwebs right now;

  I tried Googling, including news and blog searches, and couldn't work
  out what you are talking about. Maybe you should provide links.


 tl;dr Bitcoin fans really, really want Wikimedia to accept Bitcoin
 donations; Wikimedia is not so interested, but haven't sent a big
 Monty Python-style trademark foot down on Bitpay as yet. Nobody else
 is very aware.


 - d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread Tom Morris
I demand that the Wikimedia Foundation start accepting the following:

Litecoin
Namecoin
PPCoin
Feathercoin
Craftcoin
Quarkcoin
Freicoin
Devcoin
Terracoin
BBQCoin
Netcoin

Actually, scrap that, I've got an even better Ponzi scheme - sorry,
cryptocurrency: TomCoin.

And, best of all, if you start taking TomCoins I'll be happy to give you
a million of them. No, wait, how about a billion?

-- 
Tom Morris
http://tommorris.org/

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread David Gerard
It's *completely* wrong to call these things Ponzi schemes.

*Technically*, they're pump-and-dumps.

- d.
 On 11 Dec 2013 10:59, Tom Morris t...@tommorris.org wrote:

 I demand that the Wikimedia Foundation start accepting the following:

 Litecoin
 Namecoin
 PPCoin
 Feathercoin
 Craftcoin
 Quarkcoin
 Freicoin
 Devcoin
 Terracoin
 BBQCoin
 Netcoin

 Actually, scrap that, I've got an even better Ponzi scheme - sorry,
 cryptocurrency: TomCoin.

 And, best of all, if you start taking TomCoins I'll be happy to give you
 a million of them. No, wait, how about a billion?

 --
 Tom Morris
 http://tommorris.org/

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread MZMcBride
James Alexander wrote:
That said while I don't think the effort involved here is
tiny/insubstantial the real reason I don't want to do it is because, at
this point, it's seemed more and more like people wanted us to accept
bitcoin more as a political statement then anything else. That is not our
job, that is not our role, and I do not appreciate someone attempting to
use us to make themselves look more mainstream and accepted.

It's funny, I just had a look at the wikimedia-l archive around January
2012... you know, that time when Wikipedia literally shut itself down as a
political statement. The following month, the Wikimedia Foundation
established a Community Advocacy department, not to be confused with
lobbying, of which you're now a member.

I can appreciate the many legitimate reasons to not accept Bitcoin and I'm
grateful for your candid thoughts on the matter, but the idea that you, of
all people, would try to claim that it might (gasp!) insert politics into
Wikipedia is simply disrespectful to history and reality.

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread Robert Rohde
On Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM, MZMcBride z...@mzmcbride.com wrote:
 Has there been any discussion about simply accepting Bitcoins but not
 exchanging them?
snip

I don't have a strong opinion on whether WMF should or should not
accept Bitcoin donations.  However, even if we were to accept them, I
don't believe we should be collecting them.  As I believe is already
the case with most foreign currency donations, Bitcoins (if accepted)
should be exchanged for dollars shortly after being received.

Whatever else Bitcoins might be, they are certainly subject to rapid
variations in market prices and considerable uncertainty regarding the
future regulatory environment.  As such, as an investment, they would
have to be classed as highly speculative.  Some people have made a lot
of money off of Bitcoins, and some others may yet make a lot more, but
there is also the potential to lose a lot of value if regulatory fiats
or undiscovered flaws in the Bitcoin system cause their value to
plummet.  I don't think holding on to high-risk investment vehicles
makes sense for a non-profit that aims to make responsible use of
people's donations.

-Robert Rohde

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread David Levy
MZMcBride z...@mzmcbride.com wrote:

 It's funny, I just had a look at the wikimedia-l archive around January
 2012... you know, that time when Wikipedia literally shut itself down as a
 political statement. The following month, the Wikimedia Foundation
 established a Community Advocacy department, not to be confused with
 lobbying, of which you're now a member.

 I can appreciate the many legitimate reasons to not accept Bitcoin and I'm
 grateful for your candid thoughts on the matter, but the idea that you, of
 all people, would try to claim that it might (gasp!) insert politics into
 Wikipedia is simply disrespectful to history and reality.

I interpreted James Alexander's statement to mean that it's not our
job and not our role to make the particular political statement
that Bitcoin's proponents seek.  This doesn't mean that it's *never*
okay for us to engage in advocacy of a political nature, particularly
in response to something potentially threatening a WMF project's very
existence.  (Whether SOPA and PIPA actually posed a significant threat
is debatable, but the action in question stemmed from the belief that
they did.)

David Levy

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread David Cuenca
On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 3:45 PM, Robert Rohde raro...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM, MZMcBride z...@mzmcbride.com wrote:
  Has there been any discussion about simply accepting Bitcoins but not
  exchanging them?
 snip

 I don't have a strong opinion on whether WMF should or should not
 accept Bitcoin donations.  However, even if we were to accept them, I
 don't believe we should be collecting them.  As I believe is already
 the case with most foreign currency donations, Bitcoins (if accepted)
 should be exchanged for dollars shortly after being received.


In my opinon this whole bitcoin debate is framed incorrectly. The question
is not if it should be accepted or not, but which parameters make any
currency or payment method acceptable.

If I had to name a few, I would say:
* less than 10% variation against WOCU (or any other currency basket) last
fiscal year
* at least 10b USD transaction volume last fiscal year

I don't have any preference for or against bitcoin either, but I think any
payment method should fulfill certain stability requirements. Once bitcoin
or any other currency fullfills those requirements (the ones I have
mentioned or others), it should be accepted.

Cheers,
Micru
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread Nathan
On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 10:10 AM, David Cuenca dacu...@gmail.com wrote:

 In my opinon this whole bitcoin debate is framed incorrectly. The question
 is not if it should be accepted or not, but which parameters make any
 currency or payment method acceptable.

 If I had to name a few, I would say:
 * less than 10% variation against WOCU (or any other currency basket) last
 fiscal year
 * at least 10b USD transaction volume last fiscal year

 I don't have any preference for or against bitcoin either, but I think any
 payment method should fulfill certain stability requirements. Once bitcoin
 or any other currency fullfills those requirements (the ones I have
 mentioned or others), it should be accepted.

 Cheers,
 Micru


It'd be simpler to state that the major factor in accepting a new payment
type is enabling donors who otherwise might not be able to donate. Adding a
currency with a small constituency might make sense, even if the currency
is unstable, if it permits donations from supporters in their native
currency. Bitcoin isn't native currency for anyone, and anyone who wishes
to make a Bitcoin donation could certainly do so using a more standard
currency.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread Jake Orlowitz
I can think of a few reasons why we should accept bitcoin:

* It's consistent with our leadership in internet technology
* Our peers like EFF, and Internet archive accept it
* It's secured using the same kinds of encryption we rely on to maintain
user privacy
* It permits donations from countries that do not have Visa/Mastercard
services
* It has a fanatically loyal and growing following that is dying to give us
money in that currency

Most imporantly, current technology would permit us to accept bitcoin
without ever *holding* bitcoin.
Companies like BitPay ( https://bitpay.com/) and CoinBase (
https://coinbase.com/) are little different than accepting Visa,
Mastercard, or Paypal.  It's now possible for funds received as bitcoins to
be *immediately* converted to USD.

I don't think we should 'make a statement' by accepting bitcoin, I think
the currency is simply at the stage where it would be to our benefit to do
so.

Jake (Ocaasi)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread James Alexander
On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 7:10 AM, David Levy lifeisunf...@gmail.com wrote:

 MZMcBride z...@mzmcbride.com wrote:

  It's funny, I just had a look at the wikimedia-l archive around January
  2012... you know, that time when Wikipedia literally shut itself down as
 a
  political statement. The following month, the Wikimedia Foundation
  established a Community Advocacy department, not to be confused with
  lobbying, of which you're now a member.
 
  I can appreciate the many legitimate reasons to not accept Bitcoin and
 I'm
  grateful for your candid thoughts on the matter, but the idea that you,
 of
  all people, would try to claim that it might (gasp!) insert politics into
  Wikipedia is simply disrespectful to history and reality.

 I interpreted James Alexander's statement to mean that it's not our
 job and not our role to make the particular political statement
 that Bitcoin's proponents seek.  This doesn't mean that it's *never*
 okay for us to engage in advocacy of a political nature, particularly
 in response to something potentially threatening a WMF project's very
 existence.  (Whether SOPA and PIPA actually posed a significant threat
 is debatable, but the action in question stemmed from the belief that
 they did.)

 David Levy


David is right,

I think the SOPA/PIPA decision was the correct one in the end but I very
highly respect those who did not/do not think it was. Even there I was
highly uncomfortable making a strong political statement, especially using
the project, and had to wrestle with myself a fair bit before I did it.
There is no doubt that we, as an organization and a community, are not
'neutral' in everything but I think we should avoid being political unless
we think it directly effects us and we have thought deeply about it. I have
no issue with the foundation and community advocating for internet
privacy/copyright laws etc for example but even those we need to be very
picky about. I do not think this arrises to that level yet.

On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 12:31 PM, Jake Orlowitz jorlow...@gmail.com wrote:

 I don't think we should 'make a statement' by accepting bitcoin, I think
 the currency is simply at the stage where it would be to our benefit to do
 so.

 Jake (Ocaasi)


Without getting into some of your other arguments at the moment because of
lack of time (through I don't agree with them all) I do think it's
impossible to avoid 'making a statement' here. Whenever we do something we
have to not only think about it from what 'we' are trying to make a
statement about but also how it will be viewed. I think it is guaranteed
that the commercial and non commercial community who has been pushing this
for 4+ years will see it as a huge win and approval for their methods and
that given their consistent strategies we will be used as a reason for many
others to sign on as well with our 'support' being paraded around.

If we're going to do it, we need to know it's going to be seen and used as
a statement  whether we want it to or not.

James
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread James Salsman
Hi Megan,

If someone wants to donate the harvestable platinum from an asteroid, would
you please make sure that an appropriately progressive excise tax is paid
to the ufohastings.com
concerns? Thanks muchly.
 On Dec 11, 2013 8:03 PM, wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org wrote:

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 Today's Topics:

1. [Reminder] Language Engineering IRC Office Hour today
   December 11, 2013 at 1700 UTC (Runa Bhattacharjee)
2. Re: Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method (Tom Morris)
3. Re: Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method (David Gerard)


 --

 Message: 1
 Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 15:41:30 +0530
 From: Runa Bhattacharjee rbhattachar...@wikimedia.org
 To: MediaWiki internationalisation
 mediawiki-i...@lists.wikimedia.org,   Wikimedia Mailing List
 wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org,  Wikimedia developers
 wikitec...@lists.wikimedia.org,
 wikitech-ambassad...@lists.wikimedia.org
 Subject: [Wikimedia-l] [Reminder] Language Engineering IRC Office Hour
 today December 11, 2013 at 1700 UTC
 Message-ID:
 
 cae7qtstwanwsmcj0m2yo_jk7vnk3nvy0gr_wjsob5j3drmh...@mail.gmail.com
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

 Hello,

 This is a reminder that the Wikimedia Language Engineering team will be
 hosting an IRC office hour from 1700 to 1800UTC later today on
 #wikimedia-office (FreeNode). Please see below for the event details.

 Thanks
 Runa

 === Event Details ===

 What: WMF Language Engineering Office hour
 When: December 11, 2013 (Wednesday). 1700-1800 UTC
 http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20131211T1700
 Where: IRC Channel #wikimedia-office on FreeNode

 -- Forwarded message --
 From: Runa Bhattacharjee rbhattachar...@wikimedia.org
 Date: Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 3:19 PM
 Subject: Language Engineering IRC Office Hour on December 11, 2013
 (Wednesday) at 1700 UTC
 To: MediaWiki internationalisation
 mediawiki-i...@lists.wikimedia.org, Wikimedia Mailing List
 wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org, Wikimedia developers
 wikitec...@lists.wikimedia.org,
 wikitech-ambassad...@lists.wikimedia.org


 [x-posted]

 Hello,

 The Wikimedia Language Engineering team will be hosting an IRC office
 hour on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 between 17:00 - 18:00 UTC on
 #wikimedia-office. (See below for timezone conversion and other
 details.) We will be talking about some of our recent and upcoming
 projects and then taking questions for the remaining time.

 Questions and any other concerns can also be sent to me directly
 before the event. See you there!

 Thanks
 Runa

 === Event Details ===

 What: WMF Language Engineering Office hour
 When: December 11, 2013 (Wednesday). 1700-1800 UTC
 http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20131211T1700
 Where: IRC Channel #wikimedia-office on FreeNode

 --
 Language Engineering - Outreach and QA Coordinator
 Wikimedia Foundation



 --
 Language Engineering - Outreach and QA Coordinator
 Wikimedia Foundation



 --

 Message: 2
 Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:58:39 +0100
 From: Tom Morris t...@tommorris.org
 To: wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method
 Message-ID:
 1386759519.20606.58239989.134fb...@webmail.messagingengine.com
 Content-Type: text/plain

 I demand that the Wikimedia Foundation start accepting the following:

 Litecoin
 Namecoin
 PPCoin
 Feathercoin
 Craftcoin
 Quarkcoin
 Freicoin
 Devcoin
 Terracoin
 BBQCoin
 Netcoin

 Actually, scrap that, I've got an even better Ponzi scheme - sorry,
 cryptocurrency: TomCoin.

 And, best of all, if you start taking TomCoins I'll be happy to give you
 a million of them. No, wait, how about a billion?

 --
 Tom Morris
 http://tommorris.org/



 --

 Message: 3
 Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:32:10 +
 From: David Gerard dger...@gmail.com
 To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
 wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
 Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method
 Message-ID:
 
 caj0tu1f8on5aa6o+98797zwyemozbvnmtewdkacrobtqs0m...@mail.gmail.com
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

 It's *completely* wrong to call these things Ponzi schemes.

 *Technically*, they're pump-and-dumps.

 - d.
  On 11 Dec 2013 10:59, Tom Morris t...@tommorris.org wrote:

  I demand that the Wikimedia Foundation start

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-11 Thread Tim Starling
On 12/12/13 02:54, Nathan wrote:
 Bitcoin isn't native currency for anyone, and anyone who wishes
 to make a Bitcoin donation could certainly do so using a more standard
 currency.

Well, this article from a year ago argues that bitcoin is safer for
donors than donating national currency:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonmatonis/2012/06/29/wikipedia-accepts-enemies-of-the-internet-currencies/

But just don’t try to donate safely in bitcoin — it’s not accepted.
[...]

Accepting anonymous bitcoin in addition to political currencies can
be a way of declaring that freedom of speech still does matter.

I would think that if anonymity is the main concern, a transaction
system with a public log of all transactions would not be the best choice.

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Anonymity

The obvious time-tested choice for anonymous payment is, of course,
cash. Many charities do accept cash donations. Cash could be donated
to the local chapter by dropping it into a donation box, then it could
be either spent on local programs or forwarded to WMF.

-- Tim Starling


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-10 Thread Nathan
I'm a little skeptical about the charitable nature of Bitpay's offer to
hold funds for the WMF. It doesn't help that they refer to Wikipedia's
bank accounts, but in the absence of other evidence I suspect that Bitpay
is taking advantage of the volatility of Bitcoin exchange rates to profit
from the delay between receiving Bitcoin transactions and forwarding dollar
donations. That assumes that they are, in fact, forwarding donations at
all.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-10 Thread Matthew Walker
That assumes that [Bitpay] are, in fact, forwarding donations at all.
We have received some funds from them.

~Matt Walker
Wikimedia Foundation
Fundraising Technology Team
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-10 Thread Nathan
On Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM, Matthew Walker mwal...@wikimedia.orgwrote:

 That assumes that [Bitpay] are, in fact, forwarding donations at all.
 We have received some funds from them.

 ~Matt Walker
 Wikimedia Foundation
 Fundraising Technology Team


Thanks Matt. I'm still concerned that they are offering the service at
least partly to profit from the currency spread. That may be true of any
potential third party Bitcoin payment processor, at least at this point in
the currency's effort to go mainstream.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-10 Thread MZMcBride
Tomasz W. Kozlowski wrote:
Can you let us know the reasons behind the decision of not accepting
Bitcoin other than those mentioned on the FAQ page I linked?

Has there been any discussion about simply accepting Bitcoins but not
exchanging them? Off-hand, I can't see any potential harm if the Wikimedia
Foundation only accepts Bitcoin donations, though I imagine it could make
tax reporting trickier. (That is, is it settled whether such a transfer
would constitute income? Are Bitcoin donations considered tax deductible?)

This issue probably has enough outside attention to warrant a blog post on
the Wikimedia blog (https://blog.wikimedia.org).

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

2013-12-10 Thread Tim Starling
On 11/12/13 06:58, Tomasz W. Kozlowski wrote:
 I'm sure those reading this list can Google the topic themselves, so I
 won't link to the many angry discussion that are taking place on the
 interwebs right now;

I tried Googling, including news and blog searches, and couldn't work
out what you are talking about. Maybe you should provide links.

-- Tim Starling



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