Enterprise Metamask users must now enter into a proprietary licensing agreement with publisher

The web3 wallet claims that going this route will protect MetaMask from free-riders or upstream competitors

By · Aug 21, 2020 . 6min read

Metamask licensing agreement

Web3 wallet Metamask, in a recent update, announces a change in its open-source licensing policy. Wallet publisher now mandates any enterprise wallet user who has copied Metamask codebase and serving up to 10,000 monthly active users to enter into a proprietary licensing with it to continue operating.

In the update, Metamask spells out reasons for taking its decision. It hinges it on the fact that the status quo for compensating open-source maintenance is not tenable. The web3 wallet claims that going this route will protect MetaMask from free-riders or upstream competitors.

However, Metamask present move of migrating from an MIT open source license to a tiered proprietary license still comes with the flexibility most open-sourced software gives mainly developers.

Clearly, Metamask is one of the first generations of web3 wallet developed by Consensys. Since 2016 when it was founded, Metamask now boasts of 4 million users interacting with it daily.

Even with the new enterprise Metamask proprietary licensing, the following does not change

Although this new policy is already in effect, Metamask in the spirit of open-source software community will continue to

  • publish all code in a public repository like its Github account. This gives anyone access to review and audit its codebase
  • allows developers to copy, modify, and distribute versions of MetaMask, albeit for non-commercial purpose. However, if the company intends to commercially reproduce it, they must enter into a formal commercial agreement with it. Especially upon attaining 10,000 recurring monthly active users.
  • Publish many of its internal modules as permissive open-source licensed modules. This will include key management, the provider API, our permissions system, etc.

Consensys developed and incubated Metamask.

The Brooklyn-based Consensys owns Metamask as explicitly stated in the new licencing policy update. ConsenSys focuses on building and promoting the Ethereum ecosystem. Joseph Lubin, a co-founding member of Ethereum alongside Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood founded Consensys.

Metamask used by private and commercial users as well as other products by Consensys
Source: Consensys website

His company boasts of a slew of Ethereum-focussed products. Among its product portfolio includes PegaSys, an enterprise Ethereum platform with advanced privacy. Others include Infura, Codefi and Diligence.
With Consensys modus operandi, it was only a matter of time before it started running Metamask commercially. This update should, therefore, not come with so much surprise to concerned stakeholders.