MetaMask is one of the most well-known and popular crypto wallets — and for a good reason. In addition to being incredibly easy and intuitive to use, it also has a great wealth of features and is the crypto wallet of choice for many crypto investors.
Today, let’s take a look at what makes it so special and see how you can use it to your advantage.
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What Is MetaMask?
MetaMask is a non-custodial hot crypto wallet. So… what does this mean, exactly?
To put it simply, MetaMask does not require you to own an actual physical device to store your cryptocurrencies — this wallet can be accessed via a browser or a mobile app, which makes it easy to use MetaMask on the go. Additionally, its non-custodial nature means that you will always be the only one in full control of your keys.
Unlike crypto exchange wallets — the ones that store your funds when you trade on Binance or Coinbase — MetaMask is completely decentralized, open source, and much more private. It does, however, have some drawbacks.
For one, although this wallet can store 450K cryptocurrencies, those are all tokens on the Ethereum network or the BNB Chain. That’s a lot of tokens — but still, that does limit your choices somehow, especially when it comes to getting popular cryptocurrencies like BTC or Dogecoin.
However, this drawback also gives way to one of MetaMask’s biggest advantages: its ability to seamlessly interact with smart contract-based projects that are live on the Ethereum network or its layer 2 solutions.
How Does MetaMask Work?
MetaMask doesn’t just store your funds: it allows you to actually use them. The wallet is integrated with many different dApps, DEXs, and traditional marketplaces. Here are some of the other advantages it boasts:
- Top-notch security: MetaMask uses hierarchical deterministic settings, thus enabling users to back up their accounts.
- All-in-one: this wallet lets you store, buy, and use your crypto without having to tread through a complicated, busy interface.
- DApp access: the wallet provides users with a single sign-in option for Ethereum dApps — you won’t have to get separate logins and passwords.
- Beginner-friendly: MetaMask has a simple, user-friendly interface and plenty of in-app tips.
- Low fees: in addition to any network fees, MetaMask will also charge users a low fee of 0.3%–0.875% for any swaps.
- Hardware wallet integrations: you won’t need to choose between a cold and a hot wallet if you’re using MetaMask.
MetaMask has some downsides too. As a hot wallet, it is naturally less secure than a cold one. The browser version is especially vulnerable to hackers and other criminals. However, these concerns plague pretty much all hot wallets — it is the price one has to pay for increased usability and functionality.
MetaMask and dApps (Decentralized Applications)
MetaMask plays a big role in making dApps a lot more accessible. Most decentralized applications, including DEXs, require you to connect a wallet to them, and that’s where MetaMask comes in.
But that’s not all! There are two other ways in which MetaMask enhances the dApp industry. Here they are:
- MetaMask uses Infura, so it is pre-loaded with a fast connection to the Ethereum network. That allows developers to build a new dApp without having to set up and run a full network node.
- MetaMask has full compatibility with Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Brave browsers. This makes it a lot easier for developers to create dApps that will work well within those browsers too.
As you can see, MetaMask is not just amazing for users: it is great for developers and even the industry as a whole. It is definitely one of the key pieces of the DeFi world.
How to Install and Use MetaMask
Now that we’ve taken a look at what makes this wallet special, let’s get our hands on it!
MetaMask is completely free and can be installed in under a minute (depending on your Internet connection). The installation process will differ slightly according to the platform you choose to go for.
Go to the metamask.io website and click on the “Download for [your browser]” button. The browser version of MetaMask is an extension available for Chrome, Firefox, Brave, and Edge. It will open in a separate tab.
MetaMask is available for free on both iOS and Android. You can follow the links here or look it up in your app marketplace of choice.
How to Set Up a MetaMask Account
No matter what platform you’re using, creating a MetaMask account is incredibly easy. When you first open it, you will also have an option to import your existing MetaMask wallet — that is useful if you ever decide to use your wallet on another OS.
Simply click “Create New Account” to start setting up your wallet. The first screen you will see is MetaMask asking to get access to some of your usage data. Although it’s the kind of data that is safe to share, you can safely click “No Thanks.” It won’t change anything about your experience of using the wallet, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Next, MetaMask will remind you of the importance of the Security Recovery Phrase. It is indeed incredibly vital for you to not only remember it but also to keep it in a safe place. Do not put it in your Notes app, and do not simply screenshot it: that can compromise the safety of your funds.
Reveal your security phrase and write it down somewhere safe. If you don’t have any paper on you or don’t have anywhere to store it right at that moment, don’t fret — you will be able to access it later using your password. However, please note that you will need to enter it during the next step, so you can temporarily copy it or simply memorize it.
You will then have to complete the puzzle by entering your security phrase in the correct order. Once you’re done, click “Confirm” and then “All Done,” and be greeted by the interface of your new wallet. You have your own MetaMask account now!
Transferring Funds to Your MetaMask Account
There are multiple ways to add funds to your MetaMask account. Let’s explore three main ones: transferring them from another wallet, using your wallet to buy crypto on another exchange, or buying funds within the app itself.
Using Another Wallet
To transfer funds from another wallet to your MetaMask account, simply copy your wallet address, which can be found at the top of your account overview page (0x9… in the screenshot). Just click on it to copy it to clipboard.
Please make sure that the tokens or coins you’re sending are supported by MetaMask and that you’re sending them via the correct chain.
Using an External Exchange
Although MetaMask has a built-in crypto purchasing feature, you can still top up your wallet using an external exchange like Changelly. Go to the crypto marketplace of your choice and then simply enter your MetaMask wallet address in the “Recipient” bar.
Using The Built-In Exchange Feature
To buy crypto inside the MetaMask app, click the “Buy” button on the main screen.
- You will see a list of available fiat providers. Choose the one that suits you best and proceed. You will then be redirected to the provider’s platform.
- On the provider’s platform, enter the amount of fiat you want to spend and check if you’re okay with the fees and the available rate.
- Follow the instructions provided by the fiat provider to complete the transaction.
Exchanging Crypto Using MetaMask
Click the “Swap” button on MetaMask’s main screen to initiate an exchange.
First, select the crypto pair you’d like to swap. Then, enter the amount you want to spend and click “Get quotes.”
Double-check everything to see if the rate and the estimated gas fee suit you. Please note that to ensure your transaction goes through as planned, your wallet should have enough funds to cover the “Max fee” amount.
If you’re fine with the quote and the estimated gas fee, follow the onscreen instructions and swipe the slider at the bottom of the page to get your crypto.
Now that your crypto is safely stored inside your MetaMask wallet, you can think about what to do next. Firstly, if you have a lot of funds and intend to hodl them, then it could be a good idea to transfer at least some part to a hardware wallet.
Alternatively, you can use your MetaMask account to trade, buy stuff — like VPN, airline tickets, or maybe a new NFT — or simply send some money to your friends and family. The sky’s the limit!
What is MetaMask used for exactly?
MetaMask is used to store, buy, and exchange cryptocurrencies. It can also be used to make payments in dApps and some online marketplaces.
Is MetaMask a wallet or an exchange?
MetaMask is a cryptocurrency wallet, but it is equipped with a simple built-in crypto exchange feature.
What’s the difference between MetaMask and Coinbase?
MetaMask is first and foremost a wallet, while Coinbase is an exchange. While they have quite a few overlapping features, the two also have many differences. For example, unlike Coinbase, MetaMask only supports ETH and tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this article are not financial or investing advice. The information provided in this article is the author’s opinion only and should not be considered as offering trading or investing recommendations. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. The cryptocurrency market suffers from high volatility and occasional arbitrary movements. Any investor, trader, or regular crypto users should research multiple viewpoints and be familiar with all local regulations before committing to an investment.