The MetaMask team issued an apology message today after hundreds of users in certain territories became unable to access their cryptocurrency wallets.
The mess happened as the world’s leading 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 several jurisdictions this week due to legal compliance with official economic sanction programs.
The restrictions were put in place after the United States, members of the EU and allies renewed the economic sanctions against Russia after its full-scale military invasion into democratic Ukraine on February 24th.
However, MetaMask unexpectedly became inaccessible for multiple users in Venezuela due to the same legal compliance.
According to Infura, a mistake occurred in which its team configured location block settings for a broader area than necessary.
“This was our oversight, and we are grateful that it was pointed out to us. Once we determined what happened, we were able to fix the problem, and service has been restored. We sincerely apologize for the interruption to those in inadvertently impacted regions,” Infure explained.
MetaMask accordingly published an apology to their affected clients in Venezuela and other “impacted regions”:
The Crypto Space Complies With Sanctions
A few days after Russia began the largest military campaign in Europe since WWII, global leaders worldwide imposed economic sanctions on the Kremlin regime in an attempt to isolate it from the global financial system. As the ruble’s value dropped to record lows, the value of transfers made in crypto spiked massively.
Concerns arose that Russia might be using digital currencies to bypass the sanctions, and thus multiple officials worldwide have urged prominent crypto exchanges to apply access restrictions to their Russian clients.
Binance, Coinbase, FTX, Kraken agreed to limit their services from sanctioned individuals and organizations, but vowed to leave their services open to Russian individuals.
OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace, has also reportedly updated its list of sanctioned countries.