What is MetaMask Crypto Wallet
Have you invested in Ether or perhaps interested in an exciting new project being built on the Ethereum blockchain? The chances are that you have, given Ethereum is the largest and most active blockchain right now.
As a result, it is important to know the best options out there for managing your tokens, buying them, swapping them and receiving payments. A fantastic option is MetaMask, a browser extension that also acts as a hot wallet for the Ethereum blockchain. We go into detail below about this fantastic option, helping you understand what it is, how to use it and why you should download it.
What is Metamask and how to sign up and install the browser extension
So let’s start with a simple explanation of what MetaMask is!
It is a browser plugin, that can also be downloaded on iOS and Android as an app and acts as a wallet for the Ethereum blockchain. It is a type of hot wallet and this means it is a way to store crypto that is connected to the internet.
Once you have installed MetaMask, it will allow you to store Ether and pretty much all other ERC-20 tokens. You can connect it to dApps that are based on Ethereum, spending tokens in applications or games and trading them in exchanges. Fundamentally, it allows you to explore the exciting world of the Ethereum blockchain, one of the biggest and most diverse blockchains out there.
How to get started
There are some fantastic guides out there on how to get started with MetaMask and the first place to look is here, where you can download MetaMask and also search for guidance.
A few key points to note:
- – One of the most important stages of the set-up process is choosing your security settings including a secret backup phrase. This is pretty much your last resort to getting access to your Ethereum tokens should you lose your private key or other passwords. If you lose this then you have the potential to lose everything in your wallet so take your time and follow the instructions.
- – Make a note of your public and private keys. The public key is the address you can give to others so that they can transfer funds and tokens to you. The private key is how to access your wallet so never share this!
- – You can add multiple accounts to the wallet which is a great feature. Make sure to get all of your accounts set up properly so you can manage everything in one place.
What can I do with MetaMask?
We’ve already highlighted just how useful MetaMask is for anyone involved with the Ethereum blockchain. Now we get into the detail about just what you can do with MetaMask. Take a moment to read the features below and you may wish to do more research on the particular features if they are relatively new to you, such as using dApps.
The main features: Buy, Send and Swap
At the heart of these main features, one piece of advice is incredibly important to remember – always make sure you have your public and private keys! If you lose these then firstly you won’t be able to get others to transfer to you but also you won’t be able to access your wallet at all.
Put simply, you can buy Ether or other ERC-20 tokens and deposit them into your MetaMask wallet. There are normally a couple of different payment gateways you can use, so you will be able to select the most suitable for your transaction and location.
Make sure to note the relevant transaction fee and the network fee. These two fees work in slightly different ways so make sure you understand the total fees involved before buying any Ethereum tokens.
As you would expect, you can send Ether with MetaMask too. By typing in the public key for the wallet of the person you wish to send to, you can then type in the amount you wish to send.
The wallet also allows you to amend the gas fee for sending the transaction but this is a more advanced feature, so if you’re relatively new to the process then we would recommend leaving it as the default setting.
Aside from buying and sending, you can also search through various exchanges to find tokens to swap, such as Ether and other ERC-20 tokens.
Once more there are certain calculations and fees involved in this, including a network fee and slippage tolerance. To briefly explain, slippage is how much the final price can vary compared to the initial quotation. When you get a quote it will often include the MetaMask fee anyway so you can easily judge the potential value of each swap.
Other useful things you can do with Metamask
You can see how the traditional features of a wallet like MetaMask is similar to many others out there. However, there are some extra features that make it an even better solution for those wanting to trade and invest in Ethereum based projects.
Add multiple accounts
MetaMask allows you to add multiple accounts to your wallet, which is a feature we really love. By being able to monitor your accounts in one place, it makes life so much easier and reduces the risk of losing passwords or failing to spot potential changes to markets or projects.
Ethereum is one of the biggest blockchains for dApps, decentralized applications built on this particular platform technology. Many of them require you to connect a wallet in order to use them and this is where MetaMask comes into play. It will allow you to use the apps, process transactions and act as a login check.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using MetaMask?
Just with any piece of software or hardware, there are both advantages and disadvantages that everyone should be aware of.
By understanding both the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right option for you. There are alternatives to MetaMask out there and it may be that the disadvantages listed below may mean you’d prefer to look at other options like MyEtherWallet or Parity.
Here are just some of the advantages of using MetaMask:
- Popularity: One of the most popular options for users who work with Dapps based on the Ethereum blockchain, or trade NFTs, ERC-20 tokens etc. Ultimately it helps you utilise the most diverse blockchain out there right now.
- Easy to use: It really is simple to get started and then use. By following a few simple steps which we have summarised above, you can begin buying, swapping and interacting with everything Ethereum-related in moments. As it connects to the blockchain remotely, you don’t need to install a lot of stuff onto your PC either which saves space.
- Integration: It has been designed to work with dApps, has an app that works on both iOS and Android as well as an extension for multiple browsers including Chrome.
In order to get a balanced view of MetaMask, we’ve listed a few of the potential challenges you may face when using this tool.
- Hot wallet: This type of wallet does pose a greater risk of being hacked and losing the contents of your wallet. However, the greater flexibility and ease of use often outweigh this risk, as cold wallets can be frustrating to use.
- Reliance: As you are relying on the MetaMask browser extension or application, then should they make any changes or suffer from any downtime then this can be a frustration and added risk.
- Ethereum: As highlighted, MetaMask has been designed for the Ethereum blockchain, so if you trade other blockchain currencies such as Bitcoin then it may not be useful.
Top tips for staying secure while using MetaMask
It is always important to remember that staying safe online should be your number one priority. This is even more true when dealing with cryptocurrency! Remember that MetaMask is a hot wallet and this means that it is connected to the internet and at risk of being accessed if you don’t follow certain security protocols.
To help stay safe, here are the basic security steps you should remember:
- When using MetaMask, make sure that you stay by your computer and if you need to walk away then lock your computer.
- Just like any cryptocurrency account or wallet, never share your private key, password or recovery phrase with anyone
- If you’re serious about investing in cryptocurrency and other crypto assets then we recommend looking into a cold wallet (often known as a hardware wallet)
- Try to not have any other tabs or browsers open at the same time and make sure you have up-to-date internet security running
We do need to stress this doesn’t guarantee you’re protected from hackers, so always stay vigilant and be sensible when sharing information.
Now that you’ve learnt about MetaMask, you may want to get started straight away or do some further research. Don’t forget, you may wish to find that perfect crypto domain to add to your wallet so that you can share your cryptocurrency address much easier! Head on over to this article to find out more about this topic and how to add it to your existing address, whether with Metamask or any other platform.
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