The viability of cryptocurrency hinges on the idea of decentralization and transparency — every transaction involving Bitcoin or Ethereum is publicly viewable and stamped on the blockchain. But what happens when there is some sort of technical issue, or worse, a concerted attack targeting the massive amounts of data needed to keep these systems operational? In the case of MetaMask, a cryptocurrency wallet and blockchain gateway, bots are trying to redirect users to external sites, presumably to scam the unsuspecting.
As reported by Vice, OpenSea suffered a “database outage” on Thursday, which had a trickle-down effect on all of the services that rely on the platform’s APIs, including MetaMask. Users were having difficulty accessing their NFTs, prompting some to take to Twitter:
“We’re caching that data so their outage doesn't wipe the wallet,” MetaMask co-founder Dan Finlay told Vice in an email. “OpenSea's outage means we are currently not auto-detecting new NFTs that are sent to the user's wallet ... We use OpenSea to detect new NFTs, this outage would only affect new NFTs minted during the outage.”
The first domino to fall — If you had recently purchased an NFT during the OpenSea outage, you might have trouble trying to see your shiny, new digital collectible. Although there are a number of platforms that exist to facilitate transactions on the blockchain, if most of them are reliant on one platform, any kind of hiccup will be magnified.
MetaMask has been dealing with scamming problems for a while now and has warned users via its official Twitter account about the dangers of phishing campaigns and fake NFT-minting websites.
This week’s OpenSea outage has highlighted the presence of these scam artists. Just take a look at some replies to James Stout’s tweet posted above:
These responses were generated almost immediately, making it likely that someone is monitoring the mention of keywords like “MetaMask,” or really any other crypto wallet, in order to send off a number of bot replies. They’re the kind of generic responses that could easily trick a crypto newcomer into sending vital wallet information to a malicious party.
While Twitter has hidden most of these responses, most likely detecting them for spam, they’re still popping up across the social media site with disturbing frequency. That’s not going to change until Twitter makes some serious changes to deal with the overwhelming number of bots plaguing the site.