Mozilla pauses crypto donations following criticism over climate impact

"Everyone involved in the project should be witheringly ashamed of this decision."

Sundry Photography via Getty Images

After announcing that it would accept cryptocurrency donations last week, the Mozilla Foundation has put them on hold following critical comments from a Mozilla founder and numerous others, TechCrunch reported. "Starting today we are reviewing if and how our current policy on crypto donations fits with our climate goals," the company tweeted." And as we conduct our review, we will pause the ability to donate cryptocurrency."

Mozilla announced the new policy with a jokey tweet, saying folks who "dabble in @dogecoin" or are "HODLing some #Bitcoin & Ethereum" can donate their crypto directly to the foundation. That was met by a caustic reply from Mozilla co-founder Jamie Zawinski. "F*** you and f*** this," he tweeted. "Everyone involved in the project should be witheringly ashamed of this decision to partner with planet-incinerating Ponzi grifters." Peter Linss, the designer of the Gecko engine that powers Firefox, chimed in as well, telling Mozilla that "you were meant to be better than this."

Yesterday, Mozilla backpedaled on the idea, saying in a tweet that the comments "led to an important discussion about cryptocurrency's environmental impact." It added that "decentralized web technology continues to be an important area for us to explore, but a lot has changed since we started accepting crypto donations."

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are created by solving complex math problems and by design, become harder to "mine" over time. They also have to be stored in a public ledger, something that also consumes energy. As a result, Bitcoin uses more energy than many countries, and much of that comes from dirty sources like coal.

Last year Tesla announced that it would accept Bitcoin payment for its EVs, and even bought up $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin to smooth the process. However, many folks pointed out that the environmental benefits of an EV could heavily reduced by the staggering amount of electricity required to mine a single Bitcoin.

Mozilla said it will continue to explore the cryptocurrency donation idea but keep folks in the loop this time. "In the spirit of open-source, this will be a transparent process and we'll share regular updates," the Foundation tweeted. "We look forward to having this conversation and appreciate our community for bringing this to our attention."