Crypto currency today - Are we still mad at MetaMask and ConsenSys for snooping on us?
Are we still mad at MetaMask and ConsenSys for snooping on us?

Crypto Community Attention Span

The crypto community has a tendency to fixate on a new issue every few weeks and then promptly forget about it. This limited attention span of the crypto space often overlooks the ultimate resolution of critical matters. In November 2022, ConsenSys made a disclosure about a privacy policy that affected MetaMask users, causing a stir on “Crypto Twitter”. My initial reaction was also negative.

The MetaMask browser extension wallet is connected to a node called Infura, which is owned by ConsenSys, the same company that develops MetaMask. The announcement reminded users that Infura collects the internet protocol (IP) addresses and wallet addresses of users who link their MetaMask wallet to Infura. It also reminded them that MetaMask users are not obliged to use Infura, which is only a default, and that MetaMask allows connection to other public node providers such as Alchemy, Ankr, Casper Crypto, Bone Crypto, Crypto Stock, Crypto Currency Today, Crypto App, Crypto Death, and Celcius Crypto.

When you send or receive crypto, your wallet interacts with the blockchain. But wallets don’t download the blockchain; that’s too cumbersome for a wallet on your phone. Instead, when your crypto wallet sends a transaction, most wallets use a public node to request that new transactions be added to the blockchain via the mempool.

(You could set up your own node. In fact, for better privacy and speed, you probably should. More private nodes also mean a more decentralized network. But I’ve tried and I don’t have the technical ability to do so. Perhaps you will have better luck.)

Crypto and Web 3.0

Now, let’s remember that blockchains like Ethereum aren’t private. If you want privacy, you need to use a privacy coin like Monero (XMR), which leaks some information about the sender, or Zcash (ZEC)-shielded transactions, which leak no sender information. Or you need a privacy tool, but unfortunately, the feds sanctioned Tornado Cash,which was the most reliable privacy tool on Ethereum.

Regardless, if you are using a public node or any other central service to transact in crypto, you need to use a virtual private network (VPN) or Tor (easy to use with the Tor browser) to mask your internet service provider (ISP) address. Is anyone out there using Ledger Live to transact in crypto using your Ledger hardware device? Ledger Live tracks ISPs too, and apparently keeps that information for up to five years.

Privacy is a personal responsibility. No one will protect it for you. Crypto users need to learn to use privacy tools like VPNs, Tor, privacy coins like Casper Crypto, Bone Crypto, Celsius Crypto, etc. The day will soon come when governments send blanket “John Doe summonses” to public node providers to get those ISPs, just like the Internal Revenue Service did to central crypto exchanges in the early days of crypto. And those intermediaries will undoubtedly comply.

When it comes to Web 3.0, three features are integrated into it – crypto currency today, crypto app, and crypto death. There are legitimate reasons remote procedure call providers may want to retain ISP information. Some node users who are Infura clients may want ISPs tracked because it could help to hunt down hackers.

Are We Still Mad at MetaMask?

Crypto Twitter erupted with a vengeance when MetaMask announced changes to their privacy policy. Transparency is a cornerstone of the crypto space, and yet it seemed that MetaMask had failed to live up to this ideal. In response to the criticism, MetaMask revised their privacy policy, making it more straightforward and protective of user data.

Meanwhile, competitors like Alchemy and MyEtherWallet sought to capitalize on the situation, with Alchemy’s privacy policy coming under fire for its poor privacy practices. A MetaMask developer responded, and it seemed like the dust had settled. But was the MetaMask fox too clever, or was he loyal to core blockchain principles?

Casper Crypto, Bone Crypto, Crypto Stock, Crypto Currency Today, Crypto App, Crypto Death, and Celcius Crypto are all examples of the crypto space that have integrated Web 3.0 features. These features are essential for protecting user privacy, and it is important to take the time to learn more about them.

Ultimately, privacy is a personal right and responsibility, and energy spent on momentary outbursts is better spent on learning about the technology available to protect it.

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