On Friday, Feb. 7, CryptoSlate reported that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said Bitcoin SV offered “nothing for Wikipedia and that there is zero chance we would ever use it.” Yesterday, he amplified the debate to include blockchain technology in general, arguing:
“We already store data. In a database. It works well.”
Wikipedia founder highlights why blockchain isn’t for him
It all began after Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales agreed to act as a keynote speaker at the CoinGeek London conference. That was his first mistake it seems since the pro-Bitcoin SV outlet took his acceptance as an endorsement for BSV.
Conference organizers missed no opportunity to insinuate that the BSV and Wikipedia may be teaming up. They stated that no other blockchain had the scalability to handle the “staggering amount of data Wikipedia carries.”
Wales was quick to take to Twitter shutting its misleading messages down. In fact, he stated that he was not coming as a BSV supporter, but instead, to speak his mind. He added that there was “zero chance” Wikipedia would be using BSV.
Your marketing materials need to be updated immediately – as people seem to be reading this as some kind of endorsement from me. I'm coming to speak my mind, which includes that BSV offers nothing for Wikipedia and that there is zero chance we would ever use it. https://t.co/Smm5RfXBJc
— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) February 7, 2020
While Bitcoin supporters may have gotten a laugh out of another BSV camp public faux pas, it turns out that Wales is against the idea of blockchain period. He pointed out that Wikipedia had no use of a blockchain to do what its database already does.
Moreover, the argument that Bitcoin transactions leave records and blockchain technology could help Wikipedia fight against illegal content wasn’t swaying him either. He stated:
“That suggestion – to force people to strongly identify and pay for the privilege of editing Wikipedia – is a bad idea independently. And [it] would be easy and cheap to implement without blockchain.”
He also highlighted the fact that an immutable ledger would go against the core principles of Wikipedia:
“It is really important that records can be changed. Removing that feature would be bad.”
The real use cases for blockchain
The Wikipedia founder has a valid point (several, in fact) and they opened up a wider debate. After all, there are plenty of ways in which blockchain technology can be used. From reducing costs and transaction times in the financial field to eradicating voter fraud, and removing inefficiencies in the supply chain.
However, let’s be honest, there are also plenty of other technologies that work just fine as they are. Wales’ no-nonsense comments evoked plenty of support, with one follower stating:
“I love the common sense in a tech world full of buzzwords and substanceless hype.”
While another pointed out:
“Specifically, a blockchain is useful when:
- You need distributed consensus
- On items that are pure data
- With lax time guarantees
- Between parties that don’t trust each other
- With a known minimum cost for cheating
If you don’t check all five, don’t use a blockchain.”
Still, they say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Wales may have served to boost the attendance numbers for the Feb. 20 conference whether he’s in support of blockchain technology or not.