What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is an Ethereum wallet that allows you to store Ether (ETH
), as well as any token running on the Ethereum blockchain, such as the Binance Coin (BNB
) or the Basic Attention Token (BAT
). However, it's not just a wallet: it's also an Ethereum browser that allows you to interact with decentralized Ethereum applications (dApps) right from your web browser. It lets websites retrieve data from the blockchain
and allows users to securely manage their various wallets. We'll tell you more about what MetaMask is and how you can use it in this article.
What is MetaMask?
So MetaMask is a wallet, but it also allows users to communicate with Ethereum's blockchain via dApps. It is a wallet where users can store not only crypto tokens but also data related to Ethereum (public addresses, private keys) like any other wallet.
Moreover, MetaMask allows you to interact with websites running Ethereum-based applications and smart contracts, turning your web browser into an Ethereum browser.
Using MetaMask reduces the risk of theft through phishing or rogue websites because the private keys remain in MetaMask. MetaMask also has an anti-phishing tool with an updated list of rogue websites. Currently, the MetaMask extension is available on 4 browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Brave. So, it is not yet possible to use MetaMask in Safari.
What do you use MetaMask for?
MetaMask does not cost any money and is a browser extension or plug-in that you can install like any other add-on. To use it, you need a Chromium-based browser, such as Google Chrome, Brave or Firefox.
But what would you use MetaMask for? With MetaMask you can receive, store and send Ether or other ERC-20 tokens. In fact, there are plenty of crypto tokens that you can't store at major exchanges like Coinmerce. This occurs with tokens that are still new, for example. Before Coinmerce adds a new coin or token, it goes through a rigorous selection process. This is how we want to guarantee the security of our users.
MetaMask is an open-source wallet, and therefore it is possible to add any token that is an ERC-20 token. To add tokens, you can send them from a major crypto exchange, or through a decentralized crypto exchange (DEX
). You will need to store Ether in your MetaMask wallet first before you can make a purchase. After all, these are Ethereum tokens, and they must be paid for with a Gas fee.
Next, you'll need to use a DEX like Uniswap, Sushiswap or Pancakeswap. Here you can then swap a cryptocurrency
for a token that you would like to buy. After this, you still need to add the address of the token in your MetaMask wallet, after which the purchased tokens will be visible.
The advantages of MetaMask
You have probably already seen the advantages of MetaMask. Nevertheless, we would like to highlight the advantages once again:
- It is open-source and therefore maintained by a large community that contributes to the development of MetaMask, which improves its security and features;
- It has a simple user interface, which can be understood by almost anyone;
- You can access your own crypto, instead of leaving your crypto on a central exchange;
- MetaMask's customer service is incredibly good. So, if you have any problems, you always have somewhere to ask for advice.
Disadvantages of MetaMask
Like any technology, MetaMask also has a few drawbacks. Before you start using MetaMask, it is important that you are also aware of the disadvantages:
- Instead of being a full node, MetaMask relies on remote nodes that sometimes have downtime that causes the application to stop working.
- Although MetaMask does not have access to your information, the browser you use does, which can compromise privacy.
- MetaMask is only limited to interacting with MetaMask's named smart contracts and dApps. So, it can't do much more, like write and use a new smart contract.
How can I install MetaMask on Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Brave?
When you want to install MetaMask, the first thing you need to do is go to the official MetaMask website. Then choose the browser of your choice from the list: Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. If you use Brave, it is important to know that it has not supported MetaMask for some time. Instead, you need to download the Chrome extension, which is fully compatible with Brave.
Next, the idea is to add the extension to the browser. How you do this varies from browser to browser but is often done within a few clicks. After you have confirmed that you want to install the extension, you have successfully installed MetaMask. This is usually done within a few minutes, as the steps are self-explanatory.
How do I create a MetaMask account?
After installation, MetaMask should open like a page in your browser. If this is not the case, click on the MetaMask icon in the upper right corner to start MetaMask. Then you will be asked if you want to import a wallet or create a new one.
If you want to transfer a wallet from another device, you can choose to import a wallet. To do this, you will then need the seed. If you do not have a MetaMask wallet yet, you can choose to create a new one.
You will then have to create a password to secure the wallet. MetaMask stores your private keys locally in the browser, and with the password, you can encrypt them so no one else can access the crypto coins stored in the wallet. After you accept the terms, you can continue.
Finally, MetaMask will ask you to save a 12-word recovery sentence, which is the seed of the wallet. With this sentence, you can get your money back if the device is broken, lost or stolen. You can then reinstall MetaMask and import this sentence to restore the wallet. Make always sure this sentence is stored safely, and not just on the same device. After all, if the device is broken, you should be able to access the seed. You don‘t want to lose all your coins and tokens, right?
Is it possible to connect a hardware wallet to MetaMask?
Do you have a lot of tokens in your possession? Then it might be wise to store them in a hardware wallet. This is much safer than storing them in the browser. A hardware wallet is a USB stick that you can disconnect from your laptop or computer, for example. The moment the wallet is not connected to a device, it is also impossible for hackers to steal crypto coins and tokens from the wallet.
Fortunately, it is possible to connect a cold wallet to MetaMask. For example, you can connect a Ledger Nano S or Trezor to MetaMask. These are the most popular and widely used hardware wallets. In the future, it will also be possible to connect other hardware wallets to MetaMask, although we will have to wait for that. On the MetaMask website, there is a list of hardware wallets supported by MetaMask. So, to see if your hardware wallet is compatible with MetaMask, take a look at the website of MetaMask.