Contribute To Collectives Using Cryptocurencies (Beta)
Published on September 29, 2021 by Benjamin Nickolls

Today, we are adding limited support for cryptocurrencies on the Open Collective platform. We're testing this feature with one of our own Hosts. If you're interested in adding crypto' to your hosted Collectives email [email protected] otherwise contact your host (linked in your Collective's profile page). 

Collectives hosted by Open Source Collective can now add custom ‘crypto’ tiers to allow contributors to give cryptocurrency to their communities. This feature is currently opt-in. Enable it in your Collectives tier settings:

Open Collective exists to provide communities with a way to access the financial system and we believe that cryptocurrencies are a part of that financial system. That said, we are concerned about both the impact of some cryptocurrencies on the climate and the risk of using cryptocurrencies as a store of value. For now, we will not add support for holding a balance in cryptocurrencies, nor will we add support for paying expenses and invoices using cryptocurrencies. Instead, we will immediately settle contributions made to Collectives in the fiat currency of the Collective.

Read more about contributing cryptocurrency
Read more about enabling crypto’ contributions for your Collective(s)

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Posted on September 29, 2021

A lot of climate activist groups use OpenCollective. Please consider the massive energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions from bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies. It's a nice gimmick but rolling this out wider will give social licence to proof-of-work cryptocurrencies that are doing great harm. 
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Posted on September 29, 2021

Dear  Robert
I think some cryptocurrencies that don't using miners for token generation haven't any harm as they use very low energy just for transactions so they can appropriate for crypto payments.
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Alex McLean

Posted on September 29, 2021

I agree with @robert, this seems like a really poor move for the reason which you even acknowledge in your announcement. Is it not possible to only accept less damaging PoS crypto?
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Alanna Irving

Posted on September 29, 2021

While I 100% agree about the climate considerations, think about the climate impact of fiat currency and the global financial system it props up. It dwarfs crypto massively.

If a Collective does not wish to accept crypto, they can just not switch it on.

Open Collective doesn't feel which sources of money are ethical and acceptable should be up to the platform (beyond illegal ones) - it's up to the Collectives. We also give options to refuse contributions from gambling, porno, etc. It's up to Collectives to define their own moral choices in these areas, just as with crypto.

Payers also can choose which cryptocurrency to pay in. We previously had a solution for bitcoin only, and have built this new system specifically to enable more choices of coins. Payers can use more climate-friendly options, but again, it's up to them.
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Pia Mancini

Posted on September 30, 2021

Hi Robert, we agree and understand the the implications of proof or work. That said, the integration supports over 40 different coins not all of which have POW. Moreover, we are looking forward to seeing ehtereum's move from POW to POS and dramatically diminishing its impact on the climate crisis. 

We don't see this as a gimmick either, several collectives would like to receive funding in crypto and the strength of the web3's investment in open source via gitcoin grants is undeniable. This is not a PR stunt but a first step to bridge web2 and web3 OSS funding in the future. 
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Nikola Buric

Posted on October 3, 2021

Hi everyone, and yes - thank you @opencollective for taking this option in the consideration.
I am looking forward to exploring its possibilities. 

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naoufal chetbi

Posted on October 4, 2021

Next step: open collective token airdrop 🚀🚀🚀 
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Posted on October 11, 2021

You acknowledge the harm of proof-of-work cryptocurrencies in both the original post and in the subsequent comments, but you do not address the fact that OpenCollective will be giving social licence to proof-of-work cryptocurrencies by enabling them on the platform.

It's immaterial that you give Collectives a choice to opt-out. It's about the social licence. By facilitating the use of POW you are telling people "it's okay to use these" when it's not. Would OpenCollective accept funding from Shell, Exxon, BP, etc.? I hope not. There's fundamentally no difference here.

You say you are looking forward to Etherium moving to proof-of-stake. Why are you looking forward to that? Because of the disastrous impact of proof-of-work. So ditch proof-of-work from the platform. Use P.O.S., fine, but be consistent.

You should be taking and showing leadership. Offering "options" of terrible choices doesn't show leadership, it's a cop out. 

If you continue to roll this out you will push climate activist groups off the platform. You need to hear and understand this. Your decisions actively curate who uses the platform. Don't boast about supporting climate movements if you continue with this. 
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Diner Ismail

Posted on October 11, 2021

Absolutely agree with Robert on this one. I'm hugely disappointed in this decision, and I'm baffled you even do this while acknowledging the issues. I manage 2 collectives on here, and I'm already considering moving away because of this, even though I absolutely love the platform otherwise.
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Ben Torell

Posted on October 13, 2021

We probably won't be enabling this feature until we can restrict it to Proof-of-Stake coins.
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Tierney Cyren

Posted on October 13, 2021

Extremely disappointed in y'all for shipping support to pay in cryptocurrency.
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Alex McLean

Posted on October 18, 2021

It's clear that POW crypto transactions are wasteful in a way that simply is not comparable with traditional financial transactions. This waste does real, irreversible harm. I think the 'but what about capitalism' argument simply confuses the issue. Etherium has been moving to POS for a very long time, so referencing that is no help either until it actually happens.
To accept such crypto coins would surely be against the principles/articles of association of many organisations, including not only collectives but fiscal hosts. Personally I'd find it very difficult to be associated with such a platform.
Please do not do this.
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Alex McLean

Posted on October 18, 2021

Here's a useful, well-referenced spreadsheet showing the amount of energy involved in crypto (with some focus on NFTs):
The 'comparisons' tab shows that accepting a single bitcoin donation would use more energy than flying from London to Berlin and back. This should really be alarming, as more and more people and organisations are rightly developing environmental policies including no-fly policies.
Refunding such a donation on ethical grounds as seems to be being suggested above would surely only use another transaction and make things twice as bad.

Alex McLean

Posted on October 18, 2021

I can't see banking transactions compared there, but understand that a single bitcoin transaction uses more energy than one million visa transations.