Mozilla founder blasts browser maker for accepting 'planet incinerating' cryptocurrency donations

You're spitting fire, fox


Updated A few days ago, Mozilla Foundation invited netizens on Twitter to send in cryptocurrency donations via a new payment service provider.

This move by the Firefox browser maker rapidly drew criticism, including that from Jamie Zawinski – who named the Mozilla project and was one of the original Netscape developers.

You can read the blistering thread here yourself; it gives short shrift to the concept of using cryptocurrencies. Zawinski described the payment processor and digital coins as "planet incinerating."

"Hi, I'm sure that whoever runs [Mozilla's Twitter] account has no idea who I am, but I founded @mozilla and I'm here to say fuck you and fuck this," Zawinski wrote, adding that "everyone involved in the project should be witheringly ashamed of this decision."

Billy Markus, who co-created Dogecoin, one of the crypto-coins accepted by Mozilla, observed in response to the general condemnation: "Reading the comments in this thread, as much as I rag on crypto-bros being counterproductive at marketing, the vitriolic, hateful, hyperbolic, hypocritical, sanctimonious whining coming from the anti-crypto people is 1,000x more insufferable than the pro-crypto people."

As recently as September, Moz's web-standards lead Tantek Çelik slammed cryptocurrencies as being unsustainable, stating:

Proof-of-work methods (eg, blockchains) are harmful for sustainability… the more such methods are adopted, the more their energy requirements grow, without any discernible upper bound, which is grossly irresponsible given the global environmental crisis.

The Bitcoin-loving laser-eye brigade were predictably unhappy with Çelik's observations.

Zawinski, aka JWZ, who named the CADT model of software development and has a Dunning-Krugerrands tag on his blog for crypto-cash-related posts, is a reliable source of insight and pithy quotes, such as: "Some people, when confronted with a problem, think 'I know, I'll use regular expressions.' Now they have two problems."

Another gem? "[Perl] combines all the worst aspects of C and Lisp: a billion different sublanguages in one monolithic executable. It combines the power of C with the readability of PostScript."

Mozilla has accepted crypto-coin donations for years, perhaps as part of its long-ongoing efforts to alienate its own users: it's only the payment provider that changed lately, it seems.

When we approached Zawinski for comment, he said he was "actually far more depressed at the fact that the Long Now Foundation and Internet Archive have bought into this scam [cryptocurrencies – ed.] than that Mozilla has. Because while at this point Mozilla is a largely rudderless privacy-focused advocacy organization instead of a software project, the Long Now Foundation is putatively all about long-term thinking."

He added that there was "literally nothing in the modern tech ecosystem more short-sighted than the gambling instrument and ecological disaster that we know as cryptocurrencies."

We've asked Mozilla for comment. ®

Updated to add

Following this article, Mozilla tweeted it's pondering a U-turn on its cryptocurrency donations: "We are reviewing if and how our current policy on crypto donations fits with our climate goals. And as we conduct our review, we will pause the ability to donate cryptocurrency."


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