MetaMask is a popular cryptocurrency wallet that relies on browser integration and sound design to be one of the primary entry points into the worlds of Web3, decentralized finance (DeFi), and NFTs.
Web3, the decentralized internet, is built on cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications (apps). However, to use them, a user interface is required. Therefore, an elegant, intuitive, and simple interface is ideal.
Here’s how it works and how you can get started.
MetaMask is a browser plugin that acts primarily as an Ethereum wallet and is installed in the same way that any other browser plugin is. It allows users to store Ether, and other ERC-20 tokens once installed, allowing them to transact with any Ethereum address.
Users can spend their coins in games, stake tokens in gambling apps, and trade them on decentralized exchanges by connecting MetaMask to Ethereum-based dapps (DEXs). It also gives users access to DeFi apps like Compound and PoolTogether and an entry point into the emerging world of decentralized finance, or DeFi.
How to Begin Using MetaMask
Though it may appear complicated to beginners, MetaMask is one of the most straightforward Ethereum wallets and dapp browsers to use and can be set up in most cases in a couple of minutes.
You’ll need Chrome, a Chromium-based browser like Brave, or Firefox to use MetaMask (The wallet also works on different browsers like Opera, but we recommend to go for Chrome).
To begin, download and install the official Metamask extension (also known as a plugin or addon) for your browser of choice. Most people are familiar with the Google Chrome extension or the Firefox addon. We’ll use Chrome for this guide, but the steps are nearly identical for other browsers.
Once installed, you should see the splash screen shown below. To create your Ethereum wallet with MetaMask, click the ‘Get Started button.
You’ll then be asked if you want to help MetaMask improve. If this does not interest you, click ‘No Thanks,’ otherwise click ‘I agree.’
On the next step, click the ‘Create a Wallet’ button.
In the following step, select a password. This must be at least eight characters long. We recommend using a unique password that has never been used before, with a mix of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers.
You will be redirected to a video browser like this:
Once your password has been set, read and accept the Terms of Service, and click ‘Create.’
MetaMask will then display your 12-word backup phrase to you. This phrase must be carefully written down, with the words recorded in the same order as they appear on your screen. This phrase will be required to recover your wallet if you ever lose access to your computer, so keep it somewhere safe. Anyone who knows your 12-word backup phrase will be able to access the funds in your MetaMask wallet, so keep it private. Once you’ve written this down, click ‘Next.’
On the next screen, confirm your backup phrase by entering the words in the same order as previously saved. Once finished, click ‘Confirm.’
You are almost finished with the MetaMask setup. Click ‘All Done’ on the final page to be automatically logged into MetaMask.
If you ever log out, you can re-enter by clicking the MetaMask icon, which will have been added to your web browser (usually found next to the URL bar).
You can now view your transaction history in the ‘Activity’ tab and access your list of assets in the ‘Assets’ account.
It is as simple as clicking the ‘Send’ button, entering the recipient address and amount to send, and selecting a transaction fee to send cryptocurrency. You can manually adjust the transaction fee using the ‘Advanced Options button, selecting a more acceptable gas price from ETH Gas Station or similar platforms.
After clicking ‘Next,’ you can confirm or reject the transaction on the following page.
To interact with a dapp or smart contract using MetaMask, look for a ‘Connect to Wallet’ button or similar element on the platform you’re trying to use. After you click this, you should see a prompt asking if you want to allow the dapp to connect to your wallet.
The example below shows how to connect MetaMask to the decentralized exchange pancakeswap, but the process should be similar for other dapps. Simply connecting with a dapp allows it to view your addresses but not your funds.
You’ll be able to interact with the dapp and use its features once you’ve connected.
The future of Metamask
Since its inception, MetaMask has served as an easy entry point into the rapidly expanding dapp space. User numbers have increased as new dapp products and services have been released, to reach 30 million users by March 2022.
MetaMask’s first smartphone app, MetaMask Mobile for Android and iPhone, was released in September 2020.
Users can use the smartphone app to create new accounts or log in with their existing MetaMask accounts, offering much of the same functionality as the browser-based version. In addition, users receive a token wallet, key vault, and log in to manage digital assets and access dapps like the Uniswap DEX and NFT marketplace OpenSea.