MetaMask apologizes for the extended application of sanctions
The MetaMask team released an apology message today after hundreds of users in certain territories were no longer able to access their cryptocurrency wallets.
The mess happened when the world’s first ERC-20 wallet applied newly issued economic sanctions to too broad a customer base.
More blocked than necessary
MetaMask, together with its infrastructure provider Infura, disabled its crypto wallet service for multiple jurisdictions this week due to legal compliance with official economic sanctions programs.
The restrictions were put in place after the United States, EU members and their allies renewed economic sanctions against Russia after its large-scale military invasion of democratic Ukraine on February 24.
However, MetaMask has become inaccessible for several users in Venezuela due to the same legal compliance.
According to Infura, an error occurred where their team configured the location block settings for a larger area than needed.
“This was our oversight, and we are grateful that it was brought to our attention. Once we determined what happened, we were able to resolve the issue and service was restored. We sincerely apologize for interrupting those in inadvertently affected regions,” Infure explained.
MetaMask has therefore issued an apology to its affected customers in Venezuela and other “affected regions”:
MetaMask relies on Infura as the default endpoint, but this setting can be changed by users if desired or in the event of a service disruption. We sincerely apologize for the interruption to those in the inadvertently affected areas. https://t.co/kUxOr7zBe3
— MetaMask (@MetaMask) March 3, 2022
The Crypto Space Respects Sanctions
Days after Russia launched the biggest military campaign in Europe since World War II, world leaders around the world imposed economic sanctions on the Kremlin regime in a bid to isolate it from the global financial system. As the value of the ruble has fallen to record lows, the value of transfers made in crypto has increased significantly.
Concerns have arisen that Russia could use digital currencies to circumvent sanctions, and so several officials around the world have urged major crypto exchanges to apply access restrictions to their Russian customers.
Binance, Coinbase (NASDAQ:), FTX, Kraken agreed to limit their services to sanctioned individuals and organizations, but committed to leaving their services open to Russian individuals.
OpenSea, the largest NFT market in the world, has also reportedly updated its list of sanctioned countries.
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