On March 14, MetaMask, one of the most popular cryptocurrency wallets, announced a major update to its browser extension and mobile app. The main goal of the changes is to improve user privacy.
One of them is the modified process of connecting and disconnecting accounts, which now makes it possible to keep several accounts belonging to the same user separate from each other. According to MetaMask's developers, it helps "reduce unnecessary exposure to DApps and external services."
Another significant change now allows MetaMask users to select a custom Remote Procedure Call (RPC) and disable "certain features that send requests to third-party APIs under the 'Advanced configuration' settings."
The MetaMask team specifically emphasized that it believes that "part of the value MetaMask offers is the freedom to exit the product anytime," which is possible due to full control over private keys the users of the wallet have.
In essence, custom RPCs were already available to MetaMask users, although the official announcement cited this feature as one of the most recent updates.
BrainStarter.io, a launchpad for innovative technology projects, shared steps to improve protection from MetaMask's IP collection with Twitter users on March 12. The recommendations, posted before MetaMask's official announcement, also included the use of a custom RPC.
"The most common method is changing the RPC provider to one that does not collect user data. In order to do it, open the networks tab in MetaMask and then click ‘Add network’," BrainStarter.io recommended Twitter users, adding that "some big companies such as Alchemy provide users with guides on how to add their RPC to the wallet. Apart from not collecting user data, Alchemy provides tools and solutions that are not available in MetaMask."
BrainStarter.io also mentioned using a separate Ethereum node to secure private transactions from third parties, as well as using VPN to encrypt data and location, noting that running an Ethereum node is "a solution requiring a higher level of technical knowledge and appropriate hardware."
While loyal users of MetaMask wallet have embraced the system update with enthusiasm, some people, who have already checked the update, have noticed that adding a custom RPC does not automatically disable Infura. In other words, data will continue to be transferred unless a user manually disables Infura.