All Web3 projects are not decentralized.
The Ukraine-Russia war gripped has constantly gripped the world’s attention. Experts have been debating whether decentralized cryptocurrencies can offer Russia a way out from the mounting pile of sanctions.
But, a couple of other developments may force you to ponder, if Web3 is as decentralized as it is touted to be.
MetaMask Accidentally Suspended Venezuelan Wallets
MetaMask, the popular Ethereum based non-custodial wallet, accidentally barred users from Venezuelan users from accessing their wallets.
The matter is that MetaMask is powered by Infura. Both these products are owned by Consensys, which has imposed blocks due to legal compliance.
“Infura closely monitors changes to U.S. sanctions programs announced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and narrowly tailors its internal controls to comply with the law. Currently, those regions are Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, and the Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions of Ukraine,” a ConsenSys spokesperson told CoinDesk.
The issue was rectified by Infura which apologized “for the interruption to those in inadvertently impacted regions.” It did not name any impacted regions.
Crypto Twitter began questioning, if the wallet is truly decentralized or permissionless or immutable or trustless.
Well, there is a way out. MetaMask accesses the Ethereum blockchain through Infura by design. Unless altered by users, MetaMask’s default endpoints make it subject to Infura’s geographic no-go zones.
OpenSea Shuts Services in Iran
This week many users complained that they could not access their accounts on the United States-based Non-Fungible Token NFT) marketplace OpenSea.
Amir Soleymani, a digital art collector from Iran, complained that Iranians could no longer access OpenSea.
He said that this is a “prime example of injustice towards creators and collectors who have nothing to do with politics.”
An OpenSea spokesperson told Cointelegraph that it reserves the right to block users based on Government imposed sanctions.
“Our Terms of Service explicitly prohibit sanctioned users or users in sanctioned territories from using our services. We have a zero-tolerance policy for the use of our services by sanctioned individuals or entities and people located in sanctioned countries. If we find individuals to be in violation of our sanctions policy, we take swift action to ban the associated accounts.”OpenSea
This ban means Iranian creators have lost their minted work and stuff they’ve collected.
Users Questioning the ‘Decentralized’ Projects
A crypto account called Autism Capital asserted that experts had warned of these situations years ago.
One can question that anyone can run nodes, but it is not easy for a layman to set up a node.
Most people take the easiest route of centralized services.
Well, truly decentralized services can achieve the decentralized, permissionless, and trustless ethos of Web3.
Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) already exist. Other products and services also need to become truly decentralized by hosting themselves.
Slowly and steadily, it is expected that users will move to truly decentralized applications. Currently, the learning curve is high for an average user. But, as the industry matures, more people could be seen using DApps.
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