UPDATED 12:42 EDT / JANUARY 02 2020

BLOCKCHAIN

Google restores MetaMask cryptocurrency wallet to Android store after one-week ban

Google LLC has restored MetaMask, an Ethereum cryptoasset wallet, to the Android Google Play Store after a one-week ban that began Dec. 26.

The company behind MetaMask tweeted on New Year’s Day that Google had reviewed its position on the Ethereum wallet app and restored its access on the app store.

“Happy New Year!” the MetaMask team wrote in the Jan. 1 tweet. “Upon careful consideration, Google has permitted The MetaMask mobile app back on the Google Play (Android) store! Thanks to all the believers in an open web for speaking out in our support!”

MetaMask is an Ethereum wallet and decentralized app browser that provides ease of use for distributed ledger blockchain-based applications and games such as “CryptoKitties” and “Gods Unchained.” With the wallet, users can store and access cryptocurrency as well as cryptoassets such as virtual items represented on Ethereum as tokens, such as virtual kitties and playing cards.

When the ban came down on Dec. 26, Google cited its policy against cryptocurrency apps mining on mobile devices, an activity in which MetaMask does not participate. MetaMask immediately asked Google to review the decision, citing that the app does not violate that policy, but the appeal was immediately rejected.

“I very much hope that this was an honest mistake on the part of Google’s reviewers,” MetaMask co-lead developer Dan Findlay told Cointelegraph at the time. “But in combination with all the crypto YouTube bans, it definitely puts me at disease about how Google is engaging with decentralizing technologies. If people accept this behavior from a mobile monopoly like Google, we may not deserve something better.”

The ban followed Google-owned YouTube suddenly purging thousands of cryptocurrency-related videos, which the company claimed was in error. At the same time, the company had begun to reverse some of the suspensions and content removal caused by that error.

This was not the first time that Google had removed MetaMask from its app store without warning. In July last year, Google delisted MetaMask from the Chrome Web Store.

That came as a complete surprise to the MetaMask team, which noted in a tweet that only Chrome had been affected. It was still possible to install the plugin manually. The extension has since been restored.

The end of 2019 wasn’t a good time for many blockchain-related and cryptocurrency apps, including Coinbase Inc., which may remove its own distributed app browser from the Apple App Store because of a policy that restricts its use.

Image: MetaMask

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