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MetaMask is a cryptocurrency wallet that enables users to access the Web 3 ecosystem of decentralized applications (dapps).
What is MetaMask?
Most cryptocurrency users only have wallets linked to the exchanges on which they trade. It resembles a typical email/password log which gives people the erroneous notion of how blockchain addresses function.
MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet that can be accessed from your browser or mobile and it provides you with complete control over your assets. It has significant advantages and disadvantages, which we shall discuss below.
In short, MetaMask is a cryptocurrency wallet that allows you to store, transfer and trade ERC-20 tokens.
What distinguishes MetaMask from other wallet applications is its ability to interface with smart contract-based platforms that are live on Ethereum or Layer2s on Ethereum.
For example, if you go to Alchemix and decide to stake your tokens for profit or go to OpenSea to look at new NFTs, you need to link your MetaMask wallet to complete the transactions.
Of course, many alternative wallets function, but MetaMask is the most popular because it is completely open-source.
How to get started using MetaMask
Though it might seem complicated to beginners, MetaMask is one of the simpler Ethereum wallets and dapp browsers to use, and can be set up in a couple of minutes in most cases.
Step 1: Install MetaMask
First, you’ll need to download and install the official Metamask extension (also known as a plugin or add-on) for your chosen browser. For most people, this is the Google Chrome extension or the Firefox addon. For our guide, we’ll be using the Firefox version, but the steps are nearly identical for other browsers.
Once installed, you should see the below splash screen. Click the “Get Started” button to begin creating your Ethereum wallet using MetaMask.
Step 2: Create a Wallet
You’ll then be asked if you want to help improve MetaMask. Click ‘No Thanks’ if this doesn’t interest you, otherwise click ‘I agree’.
On the next step, click the ‘Create a Wallet’ button.
Pick a password on the next step. This needs to be at least 8 characters long. We recommend using a completely unique password that hasn’t been used anywhere else, and one that contains a mixture of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers.
MetaMask will then present you with your 12-word backup phrase. You’ll need to write this phrase down carefully, with the words recorded in the same order displayed on your screen. This phrase will be needed to recover your wallet should you ever lose access to your computer, and should be kept stored somewhere safe. Anybody who has access to your 12-word backup phrase will have access to the funds in your MetaMask wallet, so keep it private.
Click ‘Next’ once you’ve written this down.
Confirm your backup phrase on the next screen by entering the words in the same order saved previously. Click ‘Confirm’ once done.
You have now almost completed the MetaMask setup process. Just click ‘All Done‘ on the final page, and you will be automatically logged in to MetaMask.
📣 If you ever get logged out, you’ll be able to log back in again by clicking the MetaMask icon, which will have been added to your web browser (usually found next to the URL bar).
Step 3: Make a deposit
- Select view account.
- You may now view and share your public address with others. MetaMask provides certain options for purchasing coins, but you may also do it differently; all you need is your wallet address.
💡 The MetaMask extension will always be there on your browser’s extension bar.