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Venezuelan users of ConsenSys’ two major products, the MetaMask crypto wallet and the Infura software suite, are facing restricted access to the Ethereum network. Many have also announced that their crypto wallets have been blocked. However, in fact, the blockade was intended not for them, but for the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk. Let’s talk about the situation in more detail.
Infura is a platform that allows decentralized platforms to connect to the Ethereum blockchain without having to run their own node. Accordingly, she is engaged in nodes and ensuring their performance, while other projects do not spend time and effort on this. As noted on the Infura website, the company allows you to connect to the ETH blockchain with a single line of code.
In this regard, the platform has the ability to block users by IP address. This is exactly what happened the day before with the inhabitants of certain territories.
What happened to MetaMask?
The leadership of the Infura platform, which hosts nodes on the Ethereum network and manages the blockchain infrastructure on behalf of companies, claims that the problem was unintentional and has already been resolved. According to representatives of Infura, it arose due to an accidental change in the settings for blocking IP addresses as part of the current sanctions against Russia.
Infura is closely monitoring changes to US sanctions programs announced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and is fine-tuning its internal processes to comply with legal requirements. Currently, restrictions apply to Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, as well as the Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. Infura’s compliance with legal requirements is mandatory and does not represent the platform’s views on any public policy issue.
Russia was not mentioned in the list of banned countries, but ConsenSys confirmed that Infura blocks access to all IP addresses in three problematic regions. In the official MetaMask Twitter account, information appeared that the Infura reconfiguration caused problems with the Ethereum wallet itself, but the problem has already been resolved. The experts continue.
MetaMask is a client-side crypto wallet that aims to make the blockchain as accessible as possible for everyone. Infura had reconfiguration issues this morning, but they have now been fixed.
The MetaMask support page, titled “Why MetaMask and Infura Can’t Serve Certain Areas”, says that “MetaMask and Infura are not available in certain jurisdictions for the sake of law enforcement”. The post was updated on Thursday and no longer contains MetaMask in either the title or the explanation. Now it reads as follows.
By default, MetaMask accesses the blockchain through Infura, which is not available in some jurisdictions due to legal compliance.
Recall that the United States, the European Union and other jurisdictions have imposed tough sanctions against Russia. In addition to freezing hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign reserves and severing links between individual Russian banks and the SWIFT communications network, Western countries have also imposed restrictions on state-owned companies, government officials and oligarchs.
При этом руководители крупных криптовалютных платформ пока не планируют запрещать доступ россиянам к платформе без соответствующего указания.
Error in MetaMask seen by users from territories under sanctions
US sanctions apply to companies doing business in the US, including ConsenSys and its products. This allows you to make sure that no assets will be used to circumvent sanctions. However, cryptocurrency transactions between most individuals will not be directly affected. Therefore, Infura’s blocking of “certain jurisdictions” does not mean that residents of Russia or disputed territories will not be able to use the crypt at all.
Мы считаем, что данная ситуация оказалась неприятной, поскольку намекает на централизацию ниши цифровых активов. Впрочем, пользоваться MetaMask можно без каких-либо ограничений, однако для этого придётся настроить и запустить собственную ноду. Ну а это требует дополнительных знаний, расходов на оборудование и времени.
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