One of ethereum’s best-known wallets released new updates today, though one drew outsized attention due to the perceived preferential treatment it gave to an industry startup.
Perhaps the most notable Mist update was the integration of a widget created by startup Coinbase that allows users to purchase up to $5 worth of ether, ethereum’s cryptocurrency. As the feature allows for the instant buying of ether through the wallet, many in the community view it as an upgrade that could appeal to newer ethereum users.
But because the Mist wallet is sponsored by the non-profit Ethereum Foundation, the update stirred up concerns that the project’s senior members were giving Coinbase an unfair advantage.
The crux of the debate can be summed up by this tweet by Anthony Di Iorio, in which the project co-creator suggested the foundation was “picking winners”. The discussion continued on social media, where Di Iorio, who founded his own ethereum wallet Jaxx, expanded on his case.
“[The Ethereum Foundation] should be remaining neutral and focus on education, protocol, security, performance and things like scaleability [sic],” he wrote.
Currently in beta, Mist is meant to serve as a wallet for smart contracts that functions like a browser and that allows users to manage custom tokens.
Other ethereum users don’t see the integration as favoritism, but as a way to advance the project by offering an easier way to buy ether, which is meant to power decentralized applications on the platform.
Reddit user cryptopascal argued that it’s “unfair” to call the move favoritism because Coinbase is one of the only services to allow users to exchange traditional currencies for ether.
Di Iorio’s comments also prompted a discussion about how best to add features without suggesting preference of a certain company.
Another user added: “I have nothing against the foundation collaborating with commercial parties, but they should do it is in such a way that they remain neutral and offer the same opportunities and visibility to everyone.”
Fingers crossed image via Shutterstock