MakerDAO’s decentralized DAI liquidity market Spark Protocol has taken every effort to restrict U.S.-based users from accessing the platform, which includes blocking those using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
“Accessing this website via VPN is not allowed,” reads a message to users who make use of the service to access the Spark Protocol website.
Unfortunately, the measure cuts off anyone using a VPN regardless of whether or not they are situated within the U.S. Some proponents of privacy and decentralization, like Chris Blec, argued that the move was equivalent to “an actual war on privacy,” which goes against the ethos of decentralization.
I rarely get as disgusted as I am right now with MakerDAO's Spark Protocol.
It's one thing to block US residents.
It's a whole other thing to block anyone in the entire world who is using a VPN for privacy.
This isn't just govt cuckery.
This is an actual war on privacy. pic.twitter.com/dUbsMeVzbZ
— Chris Blec (@ChrisBlec) August 6, 2023
“The root of the problem here is that these developers are putting profit over principle. They’re putting their bank account balance ahead of your privacy and your rights,” Blec said on Twitter.
Spark Protocol appears to use TRM Labs’ blockchain intelligence services to screen and block addresses. Despite being able to view users’ addresses, TRM claims not to track or share any metadata associated with them.
Although Spark Protocol was launched in May, it is unclear when the measures to restrict U.S. users were implemented with this effect. However, the protocol’s terms of service page makes it explicitly clear that using a VPN to conceal a user’s U.S. residence is strictly prohibited and may even result in the permanent blocking of any use of the website from that particular blockchain address.
The discovery of this somewhat controversial measure also coincides with the implementation of Enhanced Dai Savings Rate (EDSR) – a system to temporarily increase the DAI Savings Rate (DSR) for users when the utilization is low. According to Maker founder Rune Christensen, the DSR now temporarily stands at 8% due to lower utilization.
The rate is so high is because there are currently not that many people using the Dai Savings Rate – only about 8% of Dai holders use DSR currently
This causes the Enhanced DSR system to increase the rate to attract more users. Once more users arrive, the rate will go back down
— Rune (@RuneKek) August 6, 2023