Ethereum Researcher Reveals Stakers’ IP Addresses Are Monitored

Ethereum has come under scrutiny from the cryptocurrency community after an Ethereum Foundation (EF) researcher revealed that the IP addresses of Ether stakers are monitored as part of a broader set of metadata, raising concerns over privacy.

Monitored IP Addresses

In an interview on the crypto podcast Bankless, Justin Drake, an EF researcher, disclosed that he learned the information “internally” at the foundation. He stated that a lot of metadata can be tracked, including deposit addresses, withdrawal addresses, fee recipients, and IP addresses.

Drake’s comments caught the attention of Bankless host Ryan Sean Adams, who asked if this dataset would be used to identify the most involved Ethereum citizens. Drake confirmed that this was the case, and the conversation then turned to the possibility of special airdrops for solo stakers.

Drake suggested that airdrops could be used to identify Kraken and Coinbase, among other industry heavyweights, and not give them an airdrop if it was meant for specific individuals running solo validators.

Backlash over IP Address Monitoring

The conversation caused a stir on Crypto Twitter, with one user referring to Ether as the “real surveillance coin,” while another mocked Drake’s comments by saying, “We can stop censorship by censoring those we don’t like.”

The revelation has raised concerns among the cryptocurrency community, with some describing the situation as “central governance to a T.” To address these concerns, some Twitter users have suggested that Ethereum users take on-chain privacy responsibilities into their own hands by installing a Linux operating system, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and storing crypto assets on a hardware wallet such as Ledger.

Crypto Community Reacts

However, this is not the first privacy-related statement to cause controversy in the crypto community. In November, ConsenSys, the team behind Ethereum wallet MetaMask, began collecting IP addresses to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies where necessary.

The disclosure of monitoring IP addresses is likely to have consequences for Ethereum’s reputation in the crypto space. In an industry that values privacy and decentralization, this revelation is not well received by many. It remains to be seen how Ethereum will respond to these concerns and whether it will take measures to address them.