- Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, criticized Bitcoin on Twitter, saying he’s never lost money by forgetting a bank password unlike Bitcoin users who’ve lost passwords to wallets.
- Wales’ comments prompted backlash from the Bitcoin community, who argued that banks don’t work for everyone globally unlike Bitcoin. Supporters like Alex Gladstein and Lyn Alden highlighted how banks fail people in some countries.
- Bitcoin supporters responded that banks and Bitcoin carry different risks – forgetting a banking password can be reset but lost Bitcoin keys mean lost funds forever. They argued banks are more centralized versus Bitcoin.
Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, took to X on Dec 11 to criticize Bitcoin. He bragged that while many users have lost their Bitcoin because they forgot their wallet passwords, he’s never lost any money due to losing his bank password.
Wales’ Comments Prompt Backlash
Wales’ comments didn’t resonate well with the wider Bitcoin and crypto community, who snapped back at the Wikipedia co-founder. They reminded Wales that while banks might work for some, they’re not accessible to everyone globally.
Bitcoin Supporters Fire Back
Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at the Human Rights Foundation, told Wales that banks work decently in countries with strong rule of law and currencies. However, only about a billion out of 8 billion people worldwide have access to banking.
Lyn Alden, founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy, said even bank account holders aren’t always secure, citing a Lebanese doctor who lost 95% of their savings due to hyperinflation.
Bitcoin supporters like Samson Mow highlighted Wikipedia’s reliance on donations, suggesting it buy Bitcoin to avoid perpetually begging for funds.
Different Risks for Banks vs. Bitcoin
Some responded by pointing out the centralization of banking, noting it doesn’t work for everyone.
Danny Scott, CEO of Coin Corner exchange, said Wales was comparing two different things. Forgetting a Bitcoin wallet password is like forgetting a password to an exchange, which can be reset. But with self-custody, lost keys mean lost funds, like cash.
While banks may work well for some, Bitcoin supporters argued they’re not available to everyone and not immune to problems. Storing Bitcoin personally and storing fiat via banks carry different risks. Wales’ comments prompted backlash from the Bitcoin community.