The Metamask browser extension functions as a wallet for Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. In addition, it allows you to connect with different dApps and also access other selected and compatible blockchains.
What is MetaMask?
It is a browser plugin and smartphone app that acts as a wallet. Metamask allows us to create a wallet for Ethereum and tokens based on the ERC-20 standard. It allows us to exchange between Ether and different tokens quickly and efficiently.
Allows connecting to dApps based on the Ethereum blockchain. It allows users to access decentralized exchanges, buy NFT and other features. DeFi is widely used to access decentralized finance.
Metamaks was born in 2016 and was created by ConsenSys. This company specializes in building solutions on Ethereum.
Until late 2019, Metamask is only available as a browser extension. Due to its increasing popularity, a smartphone app has been released. They were originally released in a closed beta phase, they were released for Android and iOS. It is still available as an extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Brave.
Remember that Metamask has a large worldwide network of developers and designers. The idea behind the project is to democratize access to decentralized exchanges.
It aims to transform the internet and the world economy. They seek to empower people through interactions based on consent, privacy, and free association.
How does Metamask work?
This browser wallet uses the web3.js library, which is part of the official Ethereum development solutions. This library was developed with the aim of creating web applications with the ability to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. Through this library, web pages and extensions have the ability to leverage Ethereum technologies and features.
Metamask is designed as a wallet for Ethereum as well as a tool to be able to interact with different dApps. A communication channel is created between the browser extension and the dApp. Any dApp can detect Metamask and access it without needing user access credentials.
One of the main uses of Metamask is to access decentralized exchanges. There are also different games and applications that use it, such as CryptoKitties or NFT creation services.
Note that currently, Metamask can connect to other blockchains, in addition to connecting to the Ethereum blockchain and different testnets of that blockchain. For example, Binance offers the possibility to connect to the Smart Chain. What this provides is being able to have decentralized access to different blockchains on the same service.
How to install Metamask?
The interesting thing about Metamask is that it’s a very simple browser extension to install. Easily available in the Chrome browser extensions store. We will find this extension via this link.
Note that in addition to being available for the Google Chrome browser, it is available for any Chromium-based browser. To put it simply and briefly, Chromium is the source code of Google’s browser. This is used in Microsoft Edge, Opera or Brave browsers. We always recommend using Opera or Brave because of the high degree of privacy they offer.
If you are a Firefox user, the extension for this browser is also available. You can download it from link.
We recommend going to the official Metamask website for any compatibility doubts. Never download this extension from an unofficial site. The Metamask extension is free, you will never be asked to pay to access it.
Also, we must be wary of messages that appear to be the creator of this app as they do not send messages. Also, we should never disclose our private keys or seed words.
Is Metamask safe?
A big question we should always ask ourselves is the security of any app or service. This is especially important when we talk about cryptocurrencies.
Metamask is highly secure. All data is generated on the user’s equipment (computer or smartphone). Once access credentials are created, they are deleted if we do not store them. This means that if we lose the first expression, we will not be able to regain access.
We can connect Metamask to Ledger and Trezos hardware wallets to add an extra layer of security. For those who don’t know, hardware wallets are not networked. This gives you extra security against computer attacks.
One of Metamask’s strengths is that it has a large developer community. This ensures that the code is always up to date and bugs in the code are easily detected.
Another important aspect is that the source code is accessible to everyone. It is stored on GitHub which allows anyone to view, read and modify it as they wish.
Despite great security measures, Metamask cannot combat 100% of phishing attacks. These phishing attacks are carried out by malicious hackers who have nothing to do with the extension.
Such attacks are made directly to the user and Metamask developers cannot do anything to prevent them. This is why we must be insecure and not give our access codes to anyone.
What can we do with Metamask?
We commented above that the main function is the wallet. We also commented that we can access different dApps in a simple way. Let’s see the functions of Metamask in a few strokes:
- Send and receive: The wallet allows you to store and send both Ether (the currency of the Ethereum blockchain) and ERC-20 token (the standard for exchangeable tokens of the Ethereum blockchain).
- Connection to DApps: We can connect to any decentralized application running on the Ethereum blockchain. Many decentralized exchanges or tokenized games allow access via Metamask.
- Atomic Swap: Allows you to exchange Ether for an ERC-20 token and vice versa. We can also exchange between different ERC-20 tokens.
- Beyond Ethereum: One of the most interesting features of Metamask is access to other blockchains. Due to its great similarities with Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain allows it to be connected to the blockchain. This is a fairly simple process.
How to install Metamask?
The installation process of this extension is the same as in other cases. Steps to install Metamask extension on Google Chrome, Brave and other Chromium based browsers:
- Go to this link to add a metamask extension. Click Add to Chrome
- We accept the installation.
- After the installation is complete, the account creation process will begin.
After installing the extension, it’s time to create an account. The process is really simple, everything is designed to ‘follow’. We just have to pay attention to the password phrase that we need to store correctly. The rest is really simple.