MetaMask stores IP addresses and Ethereum wallets of its users

Key facts:
  • ConsenSys may share the stored data with third parties under certain criteria.

  • It is possible to change the RPC provider in MetaMask to avoid the measures announced by ConsenSys.

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ConsenSys, developer of the MetaMask wallet, announced changes to its privacy policy according to which, from now on, they will be able to store the IP addresses and Ethereum addresses of their users.

The new measures of ConsenSys They entered into force yesterday, November 23, 2022. On its website, the company clarifies that the collection of the specified data is done when the user performs transfers using MetaMask and its default RPC provider, Infura, which is also a ConsenSys product.

An RPC provider is a kind of intermediary between the application and the blockchain with which it interacts. These types of platforms provide a service that allows each transaction made by the user of a wallet such as MetaMask to reach the corresponding network blockchain.

A user’s IP address and their Ethereum wallet address are data that, together, could be used to reveal your identity and your activity on this network; since in blockchains such as Ethereum, each of the transactions carried out between its users are permanently recorded.

The fact that ConsenSys stores this type of information about its users puts your privacy at risk in two ways. On the one hand, there is the possibility that the company transfers this data to third parties, something that is contemplated in its privacy policies. On the other hand, if the company’s database is hacked, this private information could be leaked. In both scenarios, MetaMask users can be seriously hurt.

“We may share personal information if we enter into a business deal, or negotiate a business deal, that involves the sale or transfer of part or all of our business or assets.”

ConsenSys Privacy Policy.

The above quote, taken from ConsenSys’ privacy policy, is one of the many clauses under which This company could share personal data of its users with third parties. These range from commercial agreements, such as the case of the appointment, to compliance with “know your customer” (KYC) policies.

MetaMask users who want to continue using this wallet, but are concerned about their privacy, have an alternative to protect themselves that consists of change the RPC provider in your MetaMask configuration. As stated in ConsenSys’ privacy policy: “If you are using your own Ethereum node or a third party node serving as an RPC provider with MetaMask, then neither Infura nor MetaMask will store your IP address or the address of your Ethereum wallet.

It is important to note that MetaMask users who want to use an RPC provider other than Infura will have to do some research to make sure that this other one does not incur the same practices of storing their IP address and their Ethereum wallet. In any case, the safest option would be for the user to manage their own Ethereum node that can do this function and thus not depend on a third party.

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Infura has raised centralization alarms in the community ethereal during years. In 2018, Ethereum developers warned about the risks that the vast majority of Dapps (decentralized applications) depended on Infura. CriptoNoticias also reported, in a more recent context, that Infura and Alchemy, another RPC provider, censored transactions from the Tornado Cash platform in obedience to orders issued by US authorities.

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