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No one likes Mozilla accepting donations in cryptocurrency

Firefox
(Image credit: Mozilla)

A fairly innocuous tweet from Mozilla soliciting donations in Dogecoin, Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies has drawn huge criticism on Twitter, including from the founder of the browser company.

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At the time of writing, the tweet has 1,500 Replies and 1,400 Quote Retweets, almost all of which are negative. The most stinging criticism came from Mozilla's founder, Jamie Zawinski, who wrote: 

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Now, saying "fuck you" to someone who is simply soliciting donations to keep the Mozilla Foundation, which makes the Firefox browser, going might seem a little harsh but it comes against the backdrop of an increasingly heated conversation over Web3, the moniker applied to cryptocurrency by some Silicon Valley investors and founders. 

The most prominent proponents of Web3 are Andreessen Horowitz, or a16z, who have recently been feuding with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who recently left the company. According to them, Web3 offers a "decentralised" alternative to Web2 – think Facebook, Google, et. al. – albeit an alternative dominated by a16z portfolio companies, such as OpenSea and Coinbase. 

Mozilla debate

Whether blaming Mozilla for asking for donations in cryptocurrency is fair or not is somewhat besides the point: the overall topic is so heated that any mention is red meat for critics. 

As the founder of Dogecoin, one of the more puzzling crypto success stories, put it:

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All of the debate obscures another important detail: Mozzila has been collecting donations via cryptocurrency since at least 2015, with very few issues. 

In 2022, people are rightly worried about the ecological impact of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin (which uses huge amounts of energy to "prove" ownership), and the outrage is likely linked to these factors. 

As Zawinski put it, accepting cryptocurrency is accepting "planet-incinerating Ponzi grifters", a view that isn't entirely off the mark. 

Agreeing with Zawinski, Peter Lins – who helped build Gecko, the Mozilla-backed engine behind Firefox – argued that Mozilla is "meant to be better than this." 

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More like Web2.5? 

The future of the crypto space is hard to know: there have been too many ups and downs to make accurate predictions. Who, after all, would have thought Bitcoin would reach £50,000 a few years ago? (If you did, then you're now very rich.) 

The core technology, the blockchain, has some exciting applications but the existing problems – high transaction fees (especially for Ether), centralisation around certain companies, huge price swings, endless scams – are pretty numerous.

Separating what is true about crypto and what people have a financial interest in saying (because, for example, they own a lot of the coins) is really difficult and it's no wonder that many "normal" crypto holders end up losing money. Much crypto activity is, in its current guise, mostly an unregulated form of gambling. 

Via The Register

Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.