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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Robert

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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amammad

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

:Pog:
Next step: open collective token airdrop 🚀🚀🚀 
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Robert

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 unless we can restrict it to Proof-of-Stake coins at a minimum.
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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):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hzzxMbytOZ1mYl9kLh_SvM6kne6JI_mdCfHIoNapr5M/edit#gid=0
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.
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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.
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Stellar Morris

Posted on October 25, 2021

How do someone become an admin in this lean resource platform?? Because am really interested in becoming one

Fra

Posted on October 27, 2021

It seems some people don't understand how technological evolution works: you cannot switch from the current "centralised and corrupted financial system" to a "democratic decentralised low impact cooperative green financial system" overnight! This is just pure fantasy.

Terms like "blockchain", "DeFi" or "Proof-of-Stake" have meaning because somebody invented them and the tech behind them. Not only that, tech alone is useless, it needs people to adopt and spread it around: it's a cooperative effort. Moreover these technologies are built on top or from the experience on other technologies, like Bitcoin blockchain comes after projects like "ecash, hashcash, bit gold..." and is the "base" of Ethereum and its smart contracts. To me the real problem seems that people don't want to be part of "building a solution" (which is a dirty and painful job most of the times, made by anonymous engineers/creatives) but just want to wait the moment in which the perfect solution comes out to use it (which is a "consumer" way of thinking and not an "DIY/hacker/activist" approach). That's very convenient and "consciousness washing". This attitude doesn't help solving problems and break away from monopolies, especially if in the meanwhile these people "complain about the current system and also to the attempts to create alternatives".

You can say "I never used Bitcoin or Ethereum", I waited for "CleanLovelyCoin" because I didn't want to be part of the mining dirty business. Well, sorry to tell you, but you're part of the problem even more because time is running out and we need to act now. The current financial system fights to stay in charge and that's the very reason why our ecosystem is still being exploited today, even after 25 COP and 10+ years since Bitcoin was invented: finance plays its game with its own rules and tools, changing them at their own convenience. We need the tools to build a different game, with different rules and especially a way to avoid somebody to bend them: blockchain + smart contracts seem to be a possible "toolkit" to achieve that, not a complete magical solution of course.

Our current financial system impact cannot be quantified in the same way Bitcoin does, just because blockchain is "by design" a more transparent system: the very fact that you cannot estimate with the same precision the energy of our current financial system should make you think. A straight comparison is just not possible because finance is everywhere and affects everybody and so the planet, so my suggestion is "start digging into this topic because is very complex" instead just saying "Bitcoin consumes too much power, shame on people who support it".
https://www.forbes.com/sites/lawrencewintermeyer/2021/03/10/bitcoins-energy-consumption-is-a-highly-charged-debate--whos-right/

We need activists to "study these open source technologies" and use/evolve them to support their causes before it's too late. Cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum (with PoW "mining") will sooner or later be less energy consuming because that's convenient to everyone, otherwise the market itself will kill them when a better solution comes up. Instead banks won't change in any way without a strong push (which is what cryptocurrencies are doing): they will keep their monopoly and their impact on all of us. Make a deeper research about this topic if you don't believe me and before complain to OpenCollective decision: this is a form of digital activism and should be respected.

Activism is not just going into the streets to complain against something, building new tools is a fundamental part of the fight:
- https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerhuang/2019/04/26/how-bitcoin-and-wikileaks-saved-each-other/
- https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/16/22388548/edward-snowden-nft-freedom-of-the-press-stay-free
- https://hongkongfp.com/2021/05/03/hong-kong-broadcaster-rthk-to-delete-shows-over-a-year-old-from-internet-as-viewers-scramble-to-save-backups/
- https://www.carbondrop.art/

Technology is made by people, if we don't take part on the building process another pyramid is going to be built and we will be "slaves of technology" like I often hear, waiting for somebody to free us. Instead we need to free ourselves choosing to study these topics and choose to support a technology instead of another, even if it's not perfect and then use the advantages it gives us to build/push a better version of it. Improving at every stage the political vision inside its core.
This same speech can be applied to other technologies: solar panels, electric vehicles, decentralised social networks...name it. Either we are part of the process or we are subjected to it.

I say "thank you" to the OpenCollective team to work on this new and important feature. 💚
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Alex McLean

Posted on October 27, 2021

I don't think your vague tech-utopian aspirations buy you anything when it comes to supporting massively, shockingly wasteful tech like bitcoin and ethereum. When there are already more ecological alternatives, the only reason to support such tech is greed. This stuff is awful.
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ugrnm

Posted on February 11, 2022

This a terrible move for all the collectives and organizations who have adopted OC because it was trying to do something radically different in relation to more ethical/caring alternatives modes of investment, production and organization.

What this optional adoption will show if you push further, is that you actually do not care, are in fact an opportunistic business, and leave the responsibility to the individual for their action. It will show that you have little interest in articulating a radical vision about collectives by fear of loosing the vocal few who have interests, literally, in seeing the further normalization of cryptocurrencies and its culture.

It is perfectly understandable that you are pressured to expand payment options, but in this particular situation you are also at risk of loosing everything you've tried to build so far.
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