- MetaMask is an Ethereum wallet and browser extension that can be used for Chrome, Brave, Edge and Firefox.
- It allows users to store Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens.
- MetaMask also allows users to interact with decentralized applications (dapps).
To store the cryptocurrency, you will need a wallet. There are many options, but one of the most popular is the browser-based Ethereum wallet MetaMask, which allows users to interact with decentralized apps (dapps) as well.
In our review, we’re going to explore how to set up a MetaMask wallet and go through its standout features. Is MetaMask Worth Using? Is it Beginner Friendly? Is it trustworthy? We spent some time finding out …
What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is an Ethereum wallet and browser extension that can be used in the Chrome, Brave, Edge and Firefox browsers.
Essentially, these browsers are connected to the Ethereum blockchain so that you can store keys for Ether and ERC-20 tokens in the supported browsers. Additionally, it is connected to two exchanges – Coinbase and ShapeShift – which allow you to buy Ether directly from both in addition to ERC-20 tokens from both.
MetaMask is open source, which means that its code is naked and visible and accessible to the whole world. It has proven to be a solid member of the Ethereum community, surpassing a million active users per month with just under 90,000 followers Twitter.
Design and UX
The MetaMask wallet is beautifully minimalist and low-key, and extremely sterile compared to the complex interfaces of the crypto exchange. The main screen shows your list of assets (including your balance for each asset) as well as buttons you can use to send, receive, or exchange assets.
An activity tab shows your most recent transactions. When you click on your account above, your asset address will be copied to the clipboard. When you open the three-dot menu at the top right, you will also see your wallet address and a QR code for receiving cryptocurrency. The above menu provides access to Settings, the ability to import and create accounts, and connect to any compatible hardware wallet you may own.
Finally, you have the Networks menu, a drop-down list of different networks, e.g. B. the Ropsten and Rinkeby test networks. Most users can ignore these as Ethereum’s main network is token sending and receiving, as well as interacting with Dapps. The other networks on the list are public test networks, mainly used by developers to test smart contracts without having to pay for gas – the cost of running a transaction on the Ethereum network that is made up of small pieces of Ether called Gwei exists.
MetaMask’s design is simple and that’s fine. It has everything you need to get started while very friendly and not intimidating for beginners.
Getting started with MetaMask
If you’re using a compatible browser, the best place to start is to install the MetaMask extension from your browser’s webstore (Brave uses Chrome). You will then have the option to import an existing wallet with a 12-word starting phrase or create a new one.
Creating a new password is as easy as choosing a password and writing down the newly generated startup phrase to make sure you can always recover your wallet if something happens to your device. This process takes less than a minute and you’ll have access to your wallet before you know it.
Once you’re in, there are a few things you can do. If you’d like to work with more than the default (Ethereum) asset, just hit “Add Token”, find the supported token of your choice, add it and off you go. Sending and receiving is as simple as selecting the token you want to deal with and pressing the appropriate action by pasting the send or receive address as needed.
Of course, all of this assumes that you already have tokens in another wallet or exchange that you wish to receive. When you’re starting from scratch, it’s incredibly easy to top up your wallet with ETH. Make sure ETH is your chosen good, hit the “Buy” button and you can buy ETH with your card through a service called Wyre without ever having to leave MetaMask and log into another exchange. The fees may be high for experienced traders, but it’s an insanely quick, easy, and accessible way for beginners to get a portion of ETH that they can then easily exchange for other tokens.
Another great yet easy to use MetaMask feature is the swap functionality. Before this was introduced, users had to search a number of different exchanges to compare prices and exchange tokens. The downside, aside from the time reduction, is that you may not always get the best prices on every trade and users have to approve every token on every exchange, which will consume the gasoline cost.
MetaMask’s swap feature removes all of that hassle by requesting prices from all available aggregators. In other words, it ensures that MetaMask users always have access to the greatest liquidity and selection of tokens at the best prices. A 0.875% service charge is automatic, but it’s worth it. The end result is a simple process that only requires you to approve each token once, reducing time and gas fees. If that’s not enough, you also get more protection from wild price fluctuations on large swaps on a single exchange, since MetaMask Swap orders are spread across multiple exchanges.
Despite this powerful functionality, the process is just as easy to use as the rest of the wallet. Nicely done.
Is MetaMask Safe?
MetaMask is wonderfully easy to use, but it has some negatives that are worth considering. For starters, while MetaMask itself does not have access to your information, your browser will. While browsers can’t access your private keys, crypto enthusiasts who focus on privacy feel downright filthy with a wallet in browsers from Google and Mozilla – two companies that don’t exactly have the best reputation for users and users have their data.
Another key factor to consider is the fact that MetaMask is inherently an online wallet. The fact that it is connected to the internet means that it is susceptible to hacks and attacks. Compared to a well-hidden hardware wallet that is invulnerable to online attacks, this could pose a risk to the very security conscious.
Also note that malicious browser extensions are known to forge MetaMask to mislead unwary users into phishing attacks. Be very careful when downloading extensions and check that the URL you are using to download them is authentic.
Finally, MetaMask communicates with the Ethereum ledger through a service called Infura, so it is not directly responsible for keeping up to date with the Ethereum network itself. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker in and of itself, but it’s another potential point not to consider.
MetaMask mobile app
The MetaMask mobile app is available for iOS and Android Devices and is as sleek and easy to navigate as its browser and extension. In some ways, it’s even more pleasant to work on the narrower, more compact surface of a smartphone display, which has less white space than the browser version.
The same features are there and considered: buying, sending and receiving assets, in addition to browsing decentralized apps (dapps) like DEXs, DeFi (Decentralized Finance) apps, developer tools and more.
Syncing the mobile app with your browser wallet is also a breeze. Simply go to “Settings” and “Advanced” in your browser version, select “Sync with phone” and scan the resulting QR code with your handset to link your accounts.
DeFi and Hardware Wallet Smarts
Another benefit of MetaMask is its support for DeFi apps, which no doubt helped the company to have more than a million active users per month in October 2020.
For example, you can link your composite account directly to MetaMask so that you can use your assets quickly and easily. As Dapps’ popularity continues to grow, this smooth integration becomes more and more important (not to mention their appreciation) for MetaMask users.
Users with Trezor or Ledger hardware wallets also have the option to connect their devices to their MetaMask wallet. As you’d expect, it’s as easy to use as the rest of the MetaMask features. Just open the menu, click “Connect Hardware Wallet,” click “Connect,” plug it in via USB and approve MetaMask on the device.
If there is one main theme in this review, it is simplicity. MetaMask is an excellent wallet for beginners because of its ease of use without sacrificing features for brevity.
In fact, it builds on the simple features you would expect by offering a beneficial exchange service along with easy integration with dapps, hardware wallets, and its mobile app.
Yes, privacy and security diehards will find problems with the nature of a wallet stored in your browser. For beginners and traders who can look beyond this, this is an excellent option well worth considering.