In an interview with Business Insider, Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, overtly said that Wikipedia is not interested in adopting the blockchain technology asserting it as a bubble.
Earlier this summer Jimmy Wales spoke at BlockShow Europe, in Berlin, which is primarily a blockchain-based event and it focuses on the most pressing questions of today’s blockchain community. Jimmy Wales, a noteworthy critic of the blockchain technology, speaking at a blockchian related event? It does seem unusual. Thus, when asked about his unprecedented show at the event, Jimmy replied:
I have reservations about blockchain. It’s a super-interesting technology, but it’s clearly a bubble with a lot of mania and hype around it. People pay me to give speeches, so I flew to Berlin. I really do like the city, I think it’s great,
Jimmy was asked whether Wikipedia had any aims towards cryptocurrency or ICOs, to which Jimmy clearly answered:
We are absolutely never going to do that,
The founder of Wikipedia had skepticism about the success of blockchain, and has long called it a bubble. He has also expressed:
“I’m old now, and I was in the internet world during the dot-com bubble, so when I say something is a bubble, it doesn’t mean that I think there’s nothing of value there. It means there’s a lot of noise and there’s a lot of investment money flowing in, and a lot of things are being invested into what does not actually make sense. A lot of projects are going to fail, but we additionally have a lot of scams, a lot of theft, a lot of crazy things happening. So, I just ask people to be careful.“
The dot-com bubble lasted from 1990-2001, an era particularly known for the growing internet popularity. Given the buzz around the newly formed vast infrastructure, the internet, a lot of people invested in internet companies. The bubble burst in the beginning of this millennium as the investors sold their shares leaving the internet companies to crumble. According to Jimmy, the recent hype and fiasco around blockchain feels similar. People are blindly investing in something they do not fully comprehend which certainly does not seem wise. This is in addition to the increased scams and theft.
Moreover, given Wikipedia’s highly strict rules and regulations about content editing, Jimmy is an advocate of regulation done by law or policy. He has concerns about the regulation of crypto markets saying that there is too little watch-over and regulation in the crypto world which is why people easily become a prey of frauds and scams. There are too many risks and uncertainties for money investments which he thinks should not be encouraged in transactions. He has said:
“I feel like a lot of the cryptocurrency thefts have gone [unsolved]. The police are like, “We don’t know what to do,” so they do very little. That’s not to criticize them, that’s just the fact that we don’t see the right kind of law enforcement response. People don’t think about it as regulation, but of course it’s against the law to steal things. I also think that for the consumers and for the brand image of the whole cryptocurrency space there is a feeling that ‘G, it’s very speculative, I might invest $100 to make $1000, or I might just get my money stolen. That’s not a good start for a revolution and the way that we transact. I think that we should welcome the rule of law. I would even say, the rule of law is the first step, never mind regulation. And of course, we run a risk, as we always do in technology, that legislators who have almost no understanding of what’s going on will pass regulations that don’t make any sense. We’ve had that in the internet space forever. We have it, in my opinion, now with GDPR which I think is just bonkers. It’s an attempt to solve our problem, but it’s not going to solve the problem. It’s just burdensome.”
Hence, Wikipedia will continue to operate with its traditional methods. As for now, Wikipedia allows anyone to edit its pages on a voluntary basis meaning any one around the world, whether having an expertise in a given subject or not, has the freedom to add into or eliminate the information stored in the huge encyclopedia. One may, therefore, question about the authenticity of the material they read on the website. Therefore, Wikipedia has very strict rules that are meant to minimize any addition of false information or participation by ill-willed editors. Wikipedia has another incentive; given its giant pool of editors, for any one wrong edition, there are a hundred other editors to correct it.
With the emergence of blockchain, the technology essentially offers a company like Wikipedia, a much more secure and a promising way to maintain its data. Realizing the potential of the technology and contrary to the procedures of Wikipedia, Everipedia, an online encyclopedia is establishing itself on the blockchain technology. Using its own crypto coins called IQ, which it rewards to the editors, the encyclopedia is working to provide users with authenticated and accountable information and is rising as a rival to the well established, Wikipedia.