MetaMask blocks Ethereum transactions in several jurisdictions citing compliance issues
The wallet standing at the frontier of Web3 is not as decentralized as it wants you to believe.
MetaMask has blocked users from certain jurisdictions from accessing its services and interacting with Ethereum.
Users from Venezuela and Iran have begun reporting problems with accessing their digital wallets earlier today, with hundreds of users saying none of their transactions sent through MetaMask were realized.
First instances of bans were noticed on OpenSea, which reportedly locked and deactivated users of several Iranian users. Users from Venezuela began reporting problems with accessing their own MetaMask wallets soon after, with thousands of messages about the issue popping up on social media.
Not only @opensea
But MetaMask itself is also BANNING every wallet associated with an Iranian IP address.
🚨 THIS IS NOT A DRILL 🚨
Iranian People are losing access to their NON CUSTODIAL Wallets with this update.
This is UNACCEPTABLE! pic.twitter.com/qDEBcezJba
— Bornosor.eth (@Bornosor) March 3, 2022
MetaMask briefly addressed the issue on its support page, saying that MetaMask and Infura will be unavailable in certain jurisdictions due to legal compliance. When attempting to use MetaMask in one of those regions, users will receive a message stating that MetaMask is unable to connect to the blockchain host.
— L.A.R.V. (@goluis1_) March 3, 2022
While users are able to see their MetaMask balances and transaction histories, any attempt to interact with the Ethereum network is blocked. This means that the ban stems from Infura, the Ethereum API infrastructure developed by ConsenSys.
MetaMask’s ban has caused outrage in the crypto community, leaving many disappointed in its lack of decentralization and liberal use of censorship.
If Metamask/Infura is open and willing to block countries like Venezuela by IP addresses, it's only a matter of time until they are forced by regulators to censor individual people's IP addresses. We need alternatives immediately, hoping that Alchemy and others don't do this
— Larry Cermak (@lawmaster) March 3, 2022
The ongoing incident has also sparked an industry-wide debate about the importance of using secure VPNs when interacting with cryptocurrencies and the need for viable alternatives to MetaMask.
Neither MetaMask nor ConsenSys has officially commented on the issue.