We saw an absurd amount of unwanted features creeping into Microsoft Edge recently. Now, it’s time to talk about Mozilla’s decision regarding crypto donations.
Towards the end of 2021, the Mozilla Foundation posted on Twitter, that it is accepting cryptocurrency donations to fund the development of the browser.
No, not this! Not you! This was my reaction. As a Firefox fanboy, I was annoyed by the decision. Look at Microsoft Edge and its recent controversies, or Chrome and its anti-adblock stance, or Brave and its wallet/cryptocurrency stuff. This is the time for Mozilla to capitalize and win over users for Firefox. Instead, you go and do this, to annoy uers.
Many users raised their voice against Mozilla’s statement, saying that this was not a good idea. This included the likes of Jamie Zawinski, a founder of Mozilla, and Peter Linss, the founder of Gecko.
Mozilla stops accepting Crypto donations after criticism from users
A few days after the initial announcement, Mozilla backed out of the fiasco shamefacedly, and confirmed that it was reviewing how crypto donations fit its climate goals. The option to donate cryptocurrency was stopped, well technically paused. The new statement mentions that the company intends to explore the idea of decentralized web technology, and that in the spirit of open-source, the process will be transparent and users will be updated regularly about the process.
For those unaware of how cryptocurrencies work, these digital coins are powered by blockchains. Blockchains consist of users, more precisely, their computers. It’s like a P2P file sharing network, except cryptos rely on heavy algorithms, which means the CPU alone is not enough for the task. A graphics card is required to compute and validate the transactions that take place within the blockchain. When a computer runs at maximum capacity, i.e. 100% usage, the fans will start whirring trying to maintain optimal operating temperature.
Imagine if the system is running non-stop to mine the crypto, the system fans are not going to be enough to deal with this problem. You will need an A/C to cool the computer, and since cryptomining is a 24/7 process, both the computer and the air conditioner will have to be running continuously. This ends up using a lot of electricity, which is not good for the environment.
Global warming is no joke, TechCrunch‘s report mentions that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin use more energy than some Countries. Here is an article from a year ago, that outlines Mozilla’s Climate Commitments, someone needs to read those before making these decisions, right?
Some of you may think, what’s the big deal with Mozilla accepting crypto donations. There are other issues with Cryptocurrencies, like the rise of malware, ransomware, tax evasions, inflation, etc. NFTs are also part of this volatile ecosystem, which as you may be aware saw a ridiculous amount of growth in 2021. How many cryptocurrencies are truly decentralized? Most of these sound like a sham, while someone pockets the profits.
As if these are reasons are not enough to hate cryptos, there is also the fact that they cause massive shortages in graphics cards because people who mine cryptocurrencies hoard the GPUs. As a result, sellers/Resellers mark up the price of GPUs to get their cut from the money fever. The sad part is that, people who actually need the graphics cards, i.e. gamers and graphic designers, they can’t get the product because it’s either out of stock, or they simply can’t afford the high asking price. There are people out there who invested in these currencies, and eventually lost their money.
All things considered, it comes to no surprise that when Mozilla announced it is accepting Crypto donations, users lashed out at them. It’s interesting that the company says the climate-centric concerns raised by users influenced their decision, but many users were actually worried about the nature of cryptocurrencies.
This whole thing feels bizarre, and not really well-thought-out. If anything, this is a PR disaster. It almost looks like someone at Mozilla was observing the rise of cryptocurrency and NFTs, and decided it was time to cash in, without thinking about how it could impact users. Was this a social experiment? If the majority of users agree with our decision, then we’ll go ahead, but if they don’t, we’ll pretend nothing happened?
The backlash to this was well deserved. Kudos to the community for making the Mozilla Corporation reverse its decision. There are other ways for the organization to make money, through its VPN, its deal with Google (as the default search provider).