MetaMask is a crypto wallet & gateway to connect to Blockchain Dapps. In this guide, I explain how to install, set up & use MetaMask wallet, plus how to connect MetaMask to supported Blockchains such as Ethereum Layer 2, BSC and Avalanche.
The wallet allows you to manage your crypto assets, as well as assisting you in connecting to decentralized apps (or DApps) which are rapidly increasing in popularity and include the likes UniSwap, PancakeSwap, Maker, and Compound.Finance to name a few.
What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is a cryptocurrency wallet and gateway to blockchain Dapps. Created by ConsenSys in 2016, MetaMask is now trusted by over 21 million users worldwide to keep their data and crypto secure.
Predominately created as an Ethereum based wallet and more recently become popular with Ethereum Layer-2s like Arbitrum/Optimism and alternative networks such as Binance Smart Chain.
The wallet is most commonly used as a browser extension, with over 4 million downloads and provides users with a gateway to using blockchain apps. However, MetaMask mobile is also available for Android or iPhone where users can sync the app with the account on your desktop in a matter of seconds.
MetaMask equips you with everything you need to manage your digital assets including a key vault, secure login, token wallet, and token exchange.
With the ability to connect to both Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain based DApps, users can use their tokens to trade on decentralized exchanges, play games, and spend in gambling applications. Its also a great entry point for DEFI, providing users with a way to interact with decentralized finance applications such as the likes of UniSwap, PancakeSwap, Compound, or Zapper.Fi.
MetaMask Private Keys
MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet, therefore if you lose your private key/seed phrase, MetaMask cannot help you to recover your wallet or funds. When creating your MetaMask account, you will be provided with your 12-word phrase. You will need to write down and store your seed pharse offline, as this will be the only way to recover your funds should your device crash or your browser reset
Also never share your seed phrase or your private key to anyone, as you will lose complete control over your wallet.
What is a Web3 Wallet?
You’ll often hear MetaMask described as a Web3 wallet. This is because MetaMask enables users to interact with decentralized apps (dApps). In fact, MetaMask is also the most widely supported wallet across the larger DeFi ecosystem.
Web3 Wallets are the software that allows you to interact with Web 3.0, a third generation of the internet. Web 3.0 applications are mostly referred to as decentralized applications or dApps and these are often powered by the blockchain. DApps that exist on the blockchain will often need the user’s tokens to use its features, such as game tokens, trade, stake, earn interest, etc. By using MetaMask you are able to use these dApps while keeping control of your tokens.
Is MetaMask Safe?
MetaMask is only as safe as your ability to keep your seed phrase or private keys secure. The wallet is also deemed as a “hot wallet” as it connects to the internet, therefore there are also risks.
It is recommended that you only keep small amounts of assets within the wallet (longer-term) or one of the safest ways to use MetaMask is by connecting it to a hardware device, such as a Ledger or a Trezor. In this way, MetaMask is working as a middle man and your funds are not exposed.
Can MetaMask Hold Bitcoin BTC?
MetaMask is predominately for ERC20 tokens, although also supports BEP20 tokens when connected to the Binance Smart Chain. If you send non-supported tokens to MetaMask you will lose your crypto. However, you can wrap your BTC with each wBTC backed 1:1 with Bitcoin.
MetaMask users can not only store but also compare and swap tokens directly within their wallets. The token swaps feature fetches quotes across multiple decentralized liquidity sources to ensure users the best available prices, with the lowest network fees.
The feature is initially available to users of the MetaMask extension on the Firefox browser, with plans to be rolled out to other browsers and mobile app.
Up to now, MetaMask users would need to go to the website of a specific decentralized exchange or exchange aggregator, sign in, approve each token on each dex, costing money in gas, and then run the swap.
However, now MetaMask has collaborated with ConsenSys to build Swaps: a feature that enables any Web3 or DeFi user to easily access the tokens they need for the sites they use.