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Metamask is collecting user data

MetaMask is a cryptocurrency wallet and portal for blockchain applications. It is available as a mobile app and a browser extension and provides its users with a key vault, token wallet, secure login and token exchange. It connects to more than 3,700 apps and there are more than 21 million monthly active MetaMask users, making it one of the most widely used cryptocurrency wallets on the market. It is owned by ConsenSys AG, which is valued at $3.2 billion. Yesterday ConsenSys updated its privacy policy and there is one update that has been much discussed. In this article we want to talk about the ConsenSys privacy policy update and why everyone is talking about it.

A much-discussed update

One of the main reasons why MetaMask is so popular with existing and new cryptocurrency users is that it is easy to integrate with almost any Ethereum-based platform. It is also free and can be used either through a web browser extension or through your smartphone on an app. In short, it is easy to install, easy to use and mandatory for almost all dApps on Ethereum.

Yesterday ConsenSys released its updated privacy policy and since then one paragraph has been much discussed.

"When you use Infura as the default RPC provider in MetaMask, Infura collects your IP address and your Ethereum wallet address when you send a transaction."

Before discussing this change in the ConsenSys privacy policy, we need to take a brief look at RPC and what it is.

To complete user requests, such as sending transactions, retrieving block data or evaluating blockchain state, a decentralized application (dApp) always needs data from the blockchain. Through remote procedure calls (RPCs), nodes connect dApps to the blockchain.

Using RPC nodes, web3 applications can interact with the blockchain and more easily access user data.

Why is this update so controversial?

One big problem is that Infura is always automatically used as the default RPC provider, and one must actively choose another provider.

Another problem, and basically the focus of web3, was concerns about decentralization and the fact that a true web3 application should not collect user data. Because of this, the reaction from the Twitter community has been vibrant, and people are still looking for alternatives.

Other options available

There are several options to avoid the collection of your private data, which we want to discuss now.

  • VPN; A quick and easy solution is to use a VPN to hide your location when using MetaMask, but be aware that a VPN only stops the collection of location data and not the wallet address.

  • MetaMask; you can simply stay with MetaMask and change your RPC provider. A list of other providers is available here. Almost all providers have a detailed tutorial on how to install and use their service.

  • Other wallets; you can also use other wallets such as Trust Wallet or Rainbow wallet.

  • The best and most decentralized option is to run your own full node as an RPC, but that is a topic for another article.


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