On October 14, 2023, MetaMask, a popular Ethereum wallet and gateway to decentralized applications (DApps), was temporarily removed from Apple’s App Store. This sudden disappearance raised concerns among users and highlighted the ongoing challenges crypto-related apps face in the Big Tech world. In this blog, we will delve into the reasons behind MetaMask’s removal and its implications.
Why was MetaMask Removed?
MetaMask’s absence from the App Store was not due to a security breach or malicious activity. Instead, it was related to Apple’s service policies. The tech giant’s guidelines prohibit apps from running “unrelated background processes,” including cryptocurrency mining. These policies are designed to maintain the security and integrity of its platform.
As a result, MetaMask, which enables users to access DApps and manage their Ethereum-based assets, briefly vanished from the App Store. This removal sparked concerns about its future availability, given its importance in the crypto and Web3 space.
Reassurance from MetaMask
In response to the removal, MetaMask issued a statement to ease concerns. They assured users that this incident was not a security threat and that there was no compromise to users’ assets or functionality. MetaMask’s dedicated team was actively working to address the issue and restore the app to the App Store as soon as possible.
The spokesperson emphasized that users need not take any action in response to this temporary removal. It was a technical matter related to Apple’s policies, not a breach or a threat to user accounts. This reassurance was vital in maintaining trust among the app’s 30 million users worldwide.
Challenges from Big Tech
The removal of MetaMask from the App Store highlighted the ongoing challenges faced by crypto-related apps in Big Tech marketplaces. It was not the first time MetaMask had encountered such issues. Back in December 2019, Google Play suspended MetaMask from its app store, alleging a violation of financial services guidelines and citing a policy against cryptocurrency mining on mobile devices. Despite MetaMask’s appeal, Google upheld the suspension.
Apple’s guidelines also present hurdles for crypto firms. One significant obstacle is the requirement for app developers to share 30% of transaction revenues with Apple. For crypto-related businesses, especially those offering non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that wish to cater to iOS users, this “Apple tax” has been a contentious issue.
While the temporary removal of MetaMask from the App Store might have caused some anxiety among its users, it was not the result of a security threat. Instead, it stemmed from Apple‘s strict policies concerning background processes, including cryptocurrency-related activities. The incident highlights the ongoing challenges faced by crypto-related apps when dealing with Big Tech.
MetaMask has reassured its user base and is actively working to resolve the issue and return to the App Store. It also urged users to report any fake MetaMask apps on the platform. In the broader context, this incident draws attention to the need for better understanding and cooperation between crypto companies and tech giants regarding policy compliance and revenue sharing.
Is MetaMask safe to use?
Yes, MetaMask is generally considered safe to use. Its temporary removal from the App Store was unrelated to security issues but rather a result of Apple’s strict policies regarding background processes.
Will MetaMask be available on the App Store again?
MetaMask has assured users that they are actively working to restore the app to the App Store. Users need not take any action, as it was a technical issue related to Apple’s policies, not a security concern.
Why do Big Tech companies like Apple and Google pose challenges to crypto-related apps?
Big Tech companies have stringent guidelines to maintain the security and integrity of their platforms. These guidelines can clash with the functionalities of crypto-related apps, leading to suspensions or removals, as seen in the cases of MetaMask. Additionally, revenue-sharing policies, such as the 30% transaction fee required by Apple, can create barriers for crypto businesses.