Lawsuit Suggests Crypto Wallet MetaMask Idea was Stolen from Initial Developer

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MetaMask – one of the biggest and most popular digital wallets built atop the Ethereum network – is having its origin story challenged in court.

MetaMask: Who REALLY Built It?

A lawsuit has been filed in San Francisco, California by entrepreneur Joel Dietz, who says he played a significant role in the wallet’s development. He claimed via court documents that Ethereum is working hard to erase him from its history and trying to get away with not paying him his fair share.

MetaMask, according to present records, was created by two Consensys developers named Dan Finlay and Aaron Davis. It is among the most used crypto wallets in the world and has a valuation of about $7 billion per data recorded in 2022. A spokesperson for Consensys said in a statement:

Joel Dietz is an individual we understand to have been falsely marketing himself as the founder of MetaMask to sell tokens or gain investment from unsuspecting investors globally. Joel Dietz is not a founder of MetaMask, has no relation to MetaMask or any of its technology, and we look forward to the court promptly disposing of these frivolous claims. MetaMask was founded by Aaron Davis and Dan Finlay in 2016.

Dietz tells a different story, however. He claims to have been working on the intellectual property that ultimately turned into MetaMask since the year 2014, and he says Consensys has put everything into erasing all the time and effort he’s put in over the last nine years.

Initially, his attempts to create MetaMask occurred under the name “Vapor.” He hired Davis in 2015 to help him code the project, and says his counterpart instead conspired with Consensys to steal the project. Discussing his situation, Dietz said:

These were things that Vitalik specifically asked me to do, and then they just never compensated me at all for anything, so it feels kind of like a rigged insider game. I’m confident that the case will show the substantial evidence that proves my role as a founding partner of MetaMask, and I know several colleagues in our community will verify that.

The Strange and Winding Story Behind ETH’s Biggest Wallet

Dietz says he was always a fan of Ethereum given its potential to host a wide array of different blockchain networks and crypto projects. That’s what ultimately made him turn into a wallet developer, and he felt that Ethereum needed a wallet of its own that could allow people to navigate the Ethereum universe easily and directly through their browsers instead of through a separate app.

He says he pitched Vapor to both Vitalik Buterin (the co-founder of Ethereum) and Gavin Wood in late 2014, not long before ETH went live. He was told to get started on it, but initial funding efforts failed, causing him to walk away.

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