Update 03/03/2022: This article was edited after its publication to add the potential solutions to the blockade and its possible relationship with the economic blocs in Russia.
Metamask, one of the most popular and widely used Ethereum wallets, has restricted the features available to users in Venezuela. As shared by several people on social networks, it was due to legal compliance issues related to Infura, the server that the wallet uses to send and receive data from the blockchain.
One of the first to report this situation was the Venezuelan bitcoiner José Rafael Peña. In its publication, accused that “just because he was in Venezuela” he could not have access to his wallet. He accompanied his message with a screenshot of the Metamask site on which It tries to justify why the platform cannot provide its service in certain countries.
In that Metamask post it is explained – very succinctly – that “Metamask and Infura are not available in certain jurisdictions due to legal compliance issues”. Further down, the release ends with a link for those users who wish to export their recovery passphrase.
“This is a sign that the decentralization that they preach so much is false,” Peña added. In this regard, it should be noted that Infura is a service for exchanging data with the Ethereum blockchain They use platforms like Metamask, CryptoKitties, PUERTO and TruFa.
While Infura makes platforms work better and makes it easier for developers to build apps, it works against decentralization. This is because an intermediary is placed between the application and the network, which can lead to problems like the one that is now occurring with users in Venezuela.
Among the users who commented on the fact on Twitter, several highlighted that the use of a VPN could be a solution. VPNs, an acronym for “virtual private network” are services that encrypt data and modify the IP of an internet connection. In this way, they can hide the location of a user and show a false one.
Another alternative is to use other wallets to store cryptocurrencies, such as Trust Wallet, MyEtherWallet or MyCrypto. So far, none of them have expressed any inconvenience in operating in Venezuela.
Although there is still no confirmation on the reason that led Metamask to stop providing services in Venezuela, many speculate that it could be an economic blockade as a result of the Ukraine-Russia war that affects several countries.
As CriptoNoticias has reported, both from Ukraine and from other countries, including world powers, seek to sanction Russia with economic measures for its invasion of the neighboring country. With Venezuela having publicly supported the Russian actions —although also asking for dialogue to reach peaceful solutions—, it is possible that a US company such as Consensys, owner of Metamask, will hinder its operation in the South American country.