Although Metamask is by far the most popular Web3 wallet, it’s not without its faults. Privacy is one of the biggest if you use only Metamask’s default settings. We mentioned this months ago when we recommended you look at your privacy settings more carefully with Metamask. Thanks to Pokt (the Pocket Network), you can use Arbitrum on Metamask with more privacy.
But first, how did we get here and why do we need projects like Pokt to help us with Arbitrum and other protocols?
Metamask Isn’t Private?
Metamask IS private in the most important way. It’s private in that it’s a self-custody wallet so you decide what you do with your coins. Plus, you really own them unlike when you keep them on an exchange.
So who cares? What else is there?
Well, it turns out a lot of people care not about Metamask but about Infura. Infura is an infrastructure company too. Infura and Metamask have the same owner, Consensys. On its own, that’s no big deal. The problem is that Infura is invasive when it comes to privacy. We talked about this problem almost a year ago with restricted transactions thanks to Infura.
Every Web3 wallet needs to be able to see your balance to see that you have money to pay for what you want to buy, lend, or invest. Every wallet also needs to be able to connect to an app like OpenSea or Uniswap and ask you if you want to confirm and sign a transaction.
When a wallet ONLY does these 3 things, that’s good for privacy. But Infura captures A LOT more data including your IP address. That’s how it knew it could restrict transactions for Venezuelans as we talked about last March. But even more important, all the extra information like IP addresses that Infura captures, it shares with Consensys who is also seeing all your MM activity. Remember they own both projects.
Thankfully, with just a little research you can avoid this.
What is RPC?
RPC stands for remote procedure call. Remember how I just mentioned the wallet needs to be able to see your balances and connect to the app of your choice from the network of your choice? Well, the method of connecting through Ethereum, Polygon, BSC, or Optimism to the network and then to your favorite app is done through RPCs.
There’s a lot more that goes into it and it’s pretty cool tech but this is the part you need to know.
On Metamask, the default RPC settings are with their sister company Infura. This is why they can see everything you are doing. But thankfully, they are not the only ones you can use to call and access the networks.
Pokt (the Pocket Network), which I use personally, along with others like Alchemy or Ankr all provide RPC services called endpoints for MM users. Think of it this way, even if Ankr or Pokt collected all the same info Infura does, at least it’s not all in one centralized place where they will share it so easily. But we are fortunate that this is not the case. All 3 of these providers, and others too, collect MUCH LESS information than Infura. So your MM experience is inherently more private just by picking them.
Making this change is really easy too. Pokt shows you how to make this change in only 30 seconds. Here is their video on how to decentralize your MM in 30 seconds.
And yes, it really is that easy.
So now you see why we need a different solution than Metamask’s default settings. Due to its newness or some other reason, some of these other infrastructure companies did not support RPC for Arbitrum. Now Pocket Network does and they made a tweet thread about it.
Attention @arbitrum devs 👀
Pocket is now integrated with Arbitrum One, bringing the power of decentralized RPC infrastructure to the chain 🔥
Read on to learn how to get started with a decentralized endpoint of your own 🧵 pic.twitter.com/TFUvNo2kie
— Pocket Network (@POKTnetwork) February 6, 2023
This thread is for developers but you see that more privacy is coming to Arbitrum with Pocket. Even as a non-developer if you wanted to set up an account with Pocket, you could access that infrastructure now. But I would not do that. I would wait.
If you are already active on Arbitrum because you use GMX, Gains, or other protocols, then instead of waiting, you can look at what Chainlist offers.
Arbitrum One, as the network is formally called, has a few options. I use 1RPC.
First, you look for Infura so you can avoid that RPC server. But on this list you can see:
- And Alchemy
So this is a nice list of options if you don’t want to wait for Pocket. The process is easy with Ankr and all of these we’ve seen here at Altcoin Buzz. Ankr outlines its process here. Just open that link, copy the URL, and create a new network in Metamask specifically for Arbitrum.
And when you do, you’ll get back a lot of your privacy.
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