4 months ago 2 min read

ConsenSys Gathering MetaMask Users' IP and Ethereum Addresses


ConsenSys informed MetaMask's more than 20 million users yesterday, November 23, of a new update to its privacy policy, stating:

When you use Infura as your default RPC provider in MetaMask, Infura will collect your IP address and your Ethereum wallet address when you send a transaction.”

ConsenSys, the New York-based blockchain software company behind the leading Ethereum wallet, MetaMask, has surprised decentralization advocates with these new privacy policy changes. ConsenSys also stated:

However, if you’re using your own Ethereum node or a third-party RPC provider with MetaMask, then neither Infura nor MetaMask will collect your IP address or Ethereum wallet address.”

ConsenSys' updated privacy policy includes additional information collected in connection with the Codefi site and services. These data included identity and contact information, financial and transaction information, and, where applicable, KYC information.

It also logs data such as IP addresses, devices, browsers, and operating system types automatically.

Infura, which was acquired by Consensys in October 2019, is a tooling suite for developing applications that connect to the Ethereum network. ConsenSys is the company behind Infura and MetaMask, the most popular Ethereum wallet in the world.

Uniswap, the decentralized crypto network protocol, made a similar announcement earlier this month. According to its updated privacy policy, the DEX collects blockchain data as well as information about user devices, browsers, and operating systems.

Uniswap, on the other hand, does not intend to collect personal information such as names, IP addresses, and email addresses, unlike ConsenSys.

Outrage Over the ConsenSys Move

When the Chinese industry publication Wu Blockchain tweeted the ConsenSys policy, several prominent crypto experts expressed their outrage.

While Web3 and decentralization activist Chris Blec suspected a sinister motive behind the change, he tweeted:

Other Twitter users believe that this may not be as bad as it appears. They believe those criticizing ConsenSys are to blame for the failure of their infrastructure. Delphi Labs' general counsel, Gabriel Shapiro, stated:

I don’t think it’s reasonable for people to get pissed at centralized infra providers collecting more data and potentially censoring. This tech was always geared toward running your own infra and we’re gonna see that put to the test. More education/tooling needed.”

Others suggested that using a VPN to obfuscate their location when using MetaMask was a simple solution, despite the fact that a VPN only disrupts the collection of location data and not wallet addresses.

People are rightly concerned that they can't trust big firms, such as ConsenSys, to put users' data at risk as the crypto winter gets colder, combined with the growing distress and insecurity fears from the infamous FTX collapse.

Even though users are now partially responsible for their privacy, ConsenSys' timing and approach do not place them in a position of trust with their users given the current crypto climate.

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