What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is a free non-custodial wallet that allows us to store cryptocurrencies and interact with Decentralized applications (dApps) . The most common version is a browser extension, but it also has a mobile app. MetaMask is the most widely used wallet in DeFi and is integrated into the vast majority of protocols.
The main function of this wallet is to serve as a bridge between the average user and decentralized finance. MetaMask offers us an intuitive interface so that interacting with decentralized protocols is easier.
How does MetaMask work?
The operation of MetaMask is similar to that of any other wallet . Being non-custodial , it will give us access to our private key. We as users are solely responsible for the security of our assets. Once installed, we will be able to connect it with decentralized applications.
This process is simple, when entering a dApp we will find a button that says “Connect wallet” or “ Connect wallet ”. After clicking there, a MetaMask window will open asking us to give permission to connect. This action has no commissions.
Once connected, we will be able to interact freely with this application. Whenever we want to do something with our coins, we are going to have to give the dApp permission to access them by signing a transaction. This process is dangerous as we could be signing a malicious transaction that steals our funds. For this reason, at least initially, it is better to limit ourselves to the use of the most well-known protocols and always make sure that we are on the official website.
How can I use MetaMask?
The first thing we have to do is download the MetaMask extension and make a safe backup . Let’s see how we can do that, step by step.
What are we going to need?
Web Browser (Google Chrome/Brave/Firefox/Edge)
A sheet of paper and a pen.
15 minutes and desire to learn. Come on, put it in
We enter the official Metamask website ( metamask.io ) and click the download button. It is preferable to write the URL directly than to do a search on google to avoid fake pages.
In the download part, we choose the browser that we are using and download the extension or the app in the event that we do it from the cell phone.
We open the extension and click on “Start”. Then we choose “Create a portfolio”.
Now we have to create a password that will serve to encrypt our private key and as a requirement to enter our account. It is important to use long passwords with numbers and special characters, and not to repeat passwords across platforms.
At this point, MetaMask should show us our private key or recovery phrase, which is a code that will allow us to recover the wallet if something happens to our computer. Let’s remember that if someone has access to our recovery phrase, they can steal our funds. At the same time, if we lose this code, we may lose our coins. That’s why we have to make a proper backup .
How to save the recovery phrase safely?
It is not convenient to save it online or on the computer. That’s why we rule out Google Drive, notes or Word documents. It is also not a good idea to come up with a fancy scheme like splitting the recovery phrase and saving it in different places. We have more chances of losing it than someone else finding it.
It is advisable to write it on paper and keep it in a safe place where no one has access. It could be a locked drawer or a safe deposit box. For added peace of mind, we can create two copies.
To confirm that we typed the recovery phrase correctly, Metamask will show us the words on the screen and ask us to put them in their correct order.
That is all! To access our wallet , all that remains is to read the security advice recommended by Metamask and click on “All done”.
Advantages of MetaMask
Popularity: As we mentioned before, MetaMask is the most used wallet in decentralized finance. This implies that there is an infinity of documentation, videos and tutorials to learn how to use it. Also, if a problem arises with the application, it is usually communicated quickly through social networks so that all users are aware.
Ease of use: Within the complexities of decentralized finance, MetaMask does a good job of simplifying some concepts. Beyond that, they have extensive integrated documentation that they show us to clarify doubts. For example, they recently added a new feature that explicitly shows you what permissions you’re giving up when signing a transaction. This allows suspicious transactions to be recognized in advance.
Versatile: In its early days, MetaMask was exclusively integrated with the Ethereum network. However, today this wallet can be used in the vast majority of Blockchains compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine ( EVM ). Some popular examples are BNB Chain, Avalanche, Polygon, and Fantom.
Disadvantages of MetaMask
Security: Although MetaMask’s own security is not bad, it is still a hot wallet , that is, the private key is stored on a device connected to the Internet. If our computer gets infected with a virus, it could put our funds at risk.
This is a disadvantage compared to hardware wallets , which store private keys offline .
Scams : The flip side of being the most popular wallet is being targeted by all scammers. Since MetaMask is very common for novice users, it is full of scammers trying to take advantage of your lack of knowledge to steal money from you. This can be seen on Twitter when the word “MetaMask” is mentioned and “support” bots automatically appear offering help.