Google Play, the official app store for the Android operating system which is used by billions of mobile devices around the world and operated by Google, has banned the crypto app Metamask.
Does Metamask Mine Cryptocurrencies?
The company pointed its restricted content policy on apps that expose users to deceptive or harmful financial products and services as a reason for the ban. The policy details that “we don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices,” despite the fact that mining is something Metamask is not designed to do.
“If left banned, we will be working on other ways of bringing our services to users still stranded on the Android platform while they migrate to something more free,” the Metamask team stated on Twitter. “The story will not stop here, and it certainly won’t stop with the Goliath winning.”
Metamask is a decentralized apps browser for desktop and mobile built upon the Ethereum network. It also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Brave that add an in-browser wallet for ETH and ERC20 tokens to be sent and received.
If you are using Android, using an extension with one the supported browsers is a way to access the Metamask service until another solution in found.
The problem of censorship has been a persistent one in the crypto industry. But with most of it coming from governments and financial regulators, few could have thought that some of the biggest tech companies in the world could also be cracking down on the industry.
The Rising Need for Decentralized Platforms
The move to ban Metamask from the Play Store comes at an especially tense time between Google and the crypto community. This is because, only recently the google-owned video sharing website Youtube removed content and banned channels that promote or otherwise analyze the digital asset markets.
The MetaMask team said that they appealed to Google’s decision, but that it was also rejected. The company is still unsure whether Google didn’t understand the policy it was enforcing or was enforcing “an unwritten policy.”
The company has since claimed this was done by mistake and reinstated some channels but the risk it poses to the ability to spread news ideas have already become clear.
The Youtube affair drove many in the crypto community to look for ways to back up their content or even migrate to alternative platforms, with some influencers suggesting there is a need to develop new decentralized and censorship-resistant platforms for video sharing.
If more crypto apps will be blocked perhaps there will be a similar move to diversify away from Android with a new crypto friendly and open operating system for mobile devices. Depending on a tech giant like Google that monopolizes search, email, video sharing and other fields could be a major problem for any technology that aims to change the world.