Mozilla pauses accepting crypto donations following backlash

Mozilla, the nonprofit that makes the Firefox web browser, announced Thursday that it would halt the ability to accept cryptocurrency donations following a major backlash fueled in part by a Mozilla founder, Jamie Zawinski (via Business Insider).

Zawinski, who stopped working for mozilla.org in 1999, tweeted harsh criticism of a December 31 Mozilla tweet promoting that it accepted donations in cryptocurrencies. Mozilla began accepting bitcoins for donations in 2014.

“Everyone involved in the project should be tremendously ashamed of this decision to partner with Ponzi scammers who incinerate planets.” Zawinski said January 3. (Cryptocurrencies have come under significant scrutiny for their impact on the environment and the fact that most of the supposed crypto wealth appears to be currently available to a select few.)

Peter Linss, who made the Gecko engine that underpins Firefox, tweeted his disapproval Mozilla too. “What. The. Real. Fuck,” he said. “You were meant to be better than this.” And it’s not just them: lots of quote-tweets from Mozilla’s Dec. 31 post. they are brutal.

On Thursday, Mozilla addressed the situation in a Twitter thread. “Last week, we tweeted a reminder that Mozilla accepts cryptocurrency donations.” Mozilla said. “This led to a major discussion on the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies.” Mozilla says it will be “reviewing whether our current policy on crypto donations is in line with our climate goals” and, while that review takes place, will stop crypto donations. Too promised that the review will be “a transparent process” and it will “share regular updates.”

However, Mozilla is not completely distancing itself from decentralized technologies like cryptocurrencies, Saying that “Decentralized web technology remains an important area for us to explore.”

“I’m glad Mozilla has changed course,” Linss said in a Twitter direct message to The edge after we first published this article. “They play a crucial role in keeping the web open and free. I am also grateful for the support of all Mozilla fans in helping them hold themselves accountable to the ideals upon which they were founded. “

Zawinski responded to Mozilla’s decision in a blog posted Thursday night, where he maintained his strong criticism. Here’s an excerpt (links included are his):

I am happy everywhere I played to get them rescinded that terrible decision.

Cryptocurrencies are not only an apocalyptic ecological disaster and sillier pyramid scheme, but they are also incredibly toxic to the open web – another ideal Mozilla used to endorse.

So I hope that after “conducting your review,” the conclusion they come to is the obvious one: “Bury him in the desert. Wear gloves.”

Mozilla is just the latest company to receive criticism for its involvement with cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. Tesla was criticized for its decision to accept bitcoin as payment last year, and soon after reversed the policy. And game companies have come under fire recently for their efforts at NFT, with the developer of the next game. STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl going so far as to completely cancel their NFT plans in response to the protests.

Updated January 6 at 7:06 pm ET: Added comment from Jamie Zawinski.

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