Permissionless Reckoning

Apr 23, 2022

Uniswap Labs, the creator of one of the most-used applications on top of Ethereum, is starting to block specific wallet addresses from its frontend. Other decentralized applications, like Tornado Cash, have done the same. Fully centralized solutions like Infura/Metamask have also done the same.

The sanctions come mostly from governments – like the U.S. government, which is cracking down on illegal activity.

The question: will users care?

If the underlying layer (Ethereum) is genuinely decentralized, users can find alternatives. But distribution and ease of use matter. Not to mention if these sanctions make it safer for users to transact on the platform.

Many of these crypto-native companies seize more centralization points. They look just like the software companies that came before them and captured the centralization points (search, browsing, payments) of the last wave of decentralization (the Internet).