Popular Ethereum wallet MetaMask adopts new software license as firm eyes commercial opportunities

MetaMask, the popular Ethereum wallet service, has migrated its open-source code under a new limited license, the firm announced Friday.

In a blog post, MetaMask explained that "despite open source software solving critical shared problems, fair compensation for the maintenance of these community goods remains a problem." MetaMask's code was originally published under a permissive MIT license, which enables developers to fork and reuse with very limited restrictions. Its new license, however, seeks to prevent commercial entities — those with over 10,000 monthly active users — from using its software for free.


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According to MetaMask, the license protects it from "free-riders or upstream competitors from exerting monopolistic control."

While the blog post does not specifically name these free-riders or competitors, Jacob Cantele, MetaMask's Head of Product, cited crypto-friendly browser and wallet Brave as an example. 

"We have to be able to compete with browsers that have forked MetaMask, are pushing their own forks, while also making MetaMask difficult to use (even when explicitly installed)," Cantele explained in a tweet.