Popular Ethereum wallet, MetaMask, is migrating its open-source under a new license — “Copyright ConsenSys Software Inc. 2020. All rights reserved,” announced the firm.
According to MetaMask, open-source software solves critical share problems, but “fair compensation for the maintenance of these community goods remains a problem.”
Since its release, 4 million individuals have used its browser extension, but now to “compete” with products in the web3 tech stack such as web browsers, MetaMask has taken the path that is “fairly compensated.”
Originally published under an MIT license, MetaMask’s code can be used by any developer to fork it and reuse it without any limitation. But under the new license, it seeks to prevent the commercial use, those with more than 10,000 monthly active users, of its code, which is now owned by ConsenSys.
The license protects the wallet from “free-riders or upstream competitors from exerting monopolistic control.”
“Going from MIT to non-commercial freeware, commercial-use-inquire-within is a huge FOSS bait and switch. I can't think of any other project that's done this in the space,” said Preston Byrne, an attorney who was an early entrepreneur in the sector, on this development.
He argues that now ConsenSys “claims the right to demand” those using the code to pay them. Even license fee on non-commercial use is ultimately “determined by ConsenSys in its sole discretion.”