MetaMask doubles as an Ethereum browser and Ether wallet. It interacts with Ethereum dApps and Smart contracts without having to run a full Ethereum node – remember, these are what largely contribute to the price of Ethereum per time. MetaMask can be installed on a couple of browsers, including Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and the new Brave browser.
If you have been hearing about MetaMask and wondering why so much buzz about it among the Ethereum community, here is a post to help you out. Here, we will be talking about what MetaMask is and how it functions as an excellent Ethereum browser and wallet. You will also learn how to set it up and add cryptocurrencies to it.
What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is an Ethereum wallet designed in 2016 by Consensys. The wallet tries to simplify access to decentralized applications (dApps), including decentralized exchanges (DEXs), decentralized finance (DeFi), and various gaming platforms. MetaMask also works as a browser extension. That means it works as a user-friendly bridge between your browser and the Ethereum blockchain. However, it presently works on a chromium-based browser such as Chrome, Opera, Firefox, or Brave.
Although the wallet was initially available as a browser extension, the company has now released a smartphone app version for both iPhone and Android users. One thing that makes MetaMask unique among several digital wallets in the market is its encryption capabilities. You can securely store your passwords and private keys on MetaMask, where you will only need to manage your own independent seed phrase.
MetaMask is specifically designed for Ethereum, allowing users to directly connect with the Ethereum dApps without needing to run an Ethereum node. Before now, this used to be a pretty difficult thing to do – connecting with a dApp requires you to provide the private keys to your wallet, which is considered a high-risk move. But with MetaMask, you don’t need your private keys to be sent to the dApp, making the process much more secure.
What Are Some Key Benefits of MetaMask?
- Open-source: MetaMask is open-source software, which means its code is online and free, and available to access. Since such software can also be reviewed and updated by the community, there is an endless privilege of it getting improved.
- Account backup: MetaMask uses Hierarchical deterministic settings (HD settings) to back up users’ accounts. The seed phrase provided to every user upon registration can be used to reset lost account information at any time.
- Simple interface: MetaMask is very easy to use – even for beginners. All of its features are laid out clearly so sending and receiving currency is easy to manage.
- Built-in coin purchasing: the wallet has two exchanges that come with it, where you can easily buy cryptocurrencies. Whether you are buying Ether or other ERC-20 tokens, you can do that through Coinbase or ShapeShift – the two exchanges provided on the wallet. But if you don’t want to use either of it, you are free to add any exchange of your choice. Don’t know which to use, AnycoinDirect.eu is a great one.
- Local key storage: MetaMask allows users to store their keys on their own browsers and not on any remote servers as some wallet providers do. This gives users more control over their public and private keys.
- A huge community following: MetaMask is arguably an important part of the Ethereum community. It has more than a million active users and about 70,000 followers on Twitter. So, with MetaMask, you are not alone – you’ve got a shoulder to lean on if you ever need any help.
Exploring Ethereum with MetaMask
Looking for what MetaMask is beat at? Then, it will definitely be the fact that it allows users to explore the dApps of the Ethereum blockchain. That means, for crypto newbies, MetaMask is a perfect tool to understand how the Ethereum network works while using a browser they are comfortable with.
Here are some dApps you can explore with MetaMask:
- Digital art: this is pretty much becoming popular. It features digital auctions where users can buy and sell collectibles. And since it runs on blockchain technology, it makes it much more secure – no one can copy the work of any artists there.
- CryptoKitties: this is a dApp that allows you to design and trade cartoon kittens. It is also a pretty popular dApp on the Ethereum network. With MetaMask, creating and selling adorable CryptoKitties is super easy – you can make good a profit doing that.
- Blockchain arcades: this is another dApp on the Ethereum network where games can use Ether and tokens to enter video game tournaments. Some sites like Etherplay won’t allow you to join the fun without a MetaMask login.
How Secured Is Metamask?
Well, this is a very important question to ask – the beauty of any digital wallet is determined by how secured it is. Since its creation in 2016, MetaMask hasn’t suffered any major hacks. Its open-source code is being updated from time to time, and the HD backup settings implemented by the wallet make it even more secured and reliable for users.
However, MetaMask is online, and so it presents more risk than hardware wallets and other forms of cold storage. The most common risk facing the MetaMask wallet is phishing attacks, where scam hackers steal users’ personal information like their usernames and passwords to access their wallets. But with extra care, every user can overcome this. So, we can say that MetaMask is safe!
Now that we know what MetaMask is and that it is a secure wallet to try, let’s see how to set it up and enjoy its numerous benefits.
How to Set Up MetaMask
MetaMask does not only come with a user-friendly interface but it is also super easy to set up. in just a few steps, you can set up your MetaMask wallet and get it running. Below are the steps to follow to set up a MetaMask wallet account.
#1: Choose your preferred browser
Choose any of those browsers we earlier mentioned. Remember that MetaMask will only work on Chrome-based browsers, so you should be choosing between Chrome, Opera, Firefox, or Brave browser.
#2: Add the extension
Go to the MetaMask homepage and add the extension for whichever browser you have chosen to use.
#4: Create an account and wallet
A MetaMask icon will appear in your browser after adding the extension. Then, click on “Get started”. Click on “Create a wallet”. You will be prompted to create a password for your digital wallet and agree to the terms and conditions.
#5: Copy your seed phrase
Next, you will be shown your 12-words seed phrase. It is important you copy the words and write them down somewhere – you will need them to recover your digital wallet in case you forget your password or other account information someday. After writing down the seed phrase somewhere, click on “I’ve copied it somewhere safe”.
#6: Verify the seed
You will be required to verify your seed phrase on the next page by selecting the words in the correct order. Once verification is complete, your MetaMask digital wallet will be ready to go!
How Do You Add Cryptocurrency to MetaMask?
This is also pretty simple. Once you have your MetaMask running on your web browser, you can get cryptos from either an exchange or your hardware digital wallet. To add crypto to your MetaMask wallet, here are the steps to follow:
- Open the MetaMask application by clicking on the extension at the top right corner of your browser.
- You will see your public address located at the top center of the MetaMask screen. Hover on “Account 1” and “Copy to clipboard”. That will allow you to have the public address to receive funds from different sources.
- Now, paste the public address you have copied into the platform from which you want to receive the cryptocurrencies. Agree to the conditions and click “Send” to send the crypto to your MetaMask wallet. Once the transaction is processed, you will have your Ether or ERC-20 tokens in your MetaMask digital wallet.
What Are MetaMask Fees?
For transactions to happen using MetaMask, there is a required amount of fee to make it happen. However, the fee usually depends on the current activity of the Ethereum network. If the activity is high, the default gas fee will also be high. Nevertheless, before any transaction is approved, you will see the applicable gas fee. However, a higher gas fee on the Ethereum blockchain is related to a quicker transaction time and vice versa.