The Bankless Guide to MetaMask
MetaMask is a popular Ethereum-based software wallet and browser extension that allows users to interact with decentralized applications (dapps) from the devices of their choice.
It offers a user-friendly interface for managing ETH and Ethereum tokens, as well as tokens on any other blockchains or layer-two (L2) scaling solutions that are compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) like Arbitrum, BNB Chain and beyond.
History of MetaMask
Launched in 2016 by Consensys as a browser extension for the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, MetaMask quickly gained traction among Ethereum developers and users.
Since then, MetaMask has expanded its offerings with support for new additional browsers like Brave and by launching a native mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
In more recent years, MetaMask has added new services to its ecosystem like a native decentralized exchange (DEX), a bridge aggregator, an on-ramp for crypto purchases, and an ETH staking hub, all of which has further solidified the app's position as a go-to Ethereum wallet.
The pulse of MetaMask
In July 2020, MetaMask fielded just over 540,000 monthly active users (MAUs). One year later, circa August 2021, that number had risen to 10 million MAUs, and by March 2022, the figure had surged again to 30 million MAUs.
It's not clear what MetaMask's current stats are here, but it's safe to assume the wallet is the most used app in all of crypto, considering its popularity.
How to use a MetaMask wallet
To set up and use a MetaMask wallet, follow these steps:
- Install the MetaMask browser extension from the official website or download the mobile app on your device of choice.
- Follow the in-app instructions to create a new wallet, including setting a password and securely storing your recovery phrase.
- Once the wallet is set up, you can add ETH and other supported tokens to your wallet and start interacting with dapps. If you'd like to add chains beyond Ethereum to your wallet, tools like Chainlist make the process easy.
In September 2022, MetaMask introduced the beta of its new Portfolio Dapps dashboard system.
Accessible at portfolio.metamask.io upon connecting your wallet, this streamlined user interface (UI) aggregates assets across multiple accounts and networks, allowing users to view their balances, DeFi activity, and NFTs all in one place.
Supported in both the browser extension and mobile app versions of MetaMask, the Portfolio Dapp system simplifies the process of managing accounts and assets across all the top EVM blockchains and L2s like Ethereum, Optimism, Polygon, and beyond. This UI also makes it simple to access all of MetaMask's native services, like Buys, Bridging, Staking, Swaps, and more.
MetaMask Snaps explained
Introduced by Consensys in September 2023, MetaMask Snaps is a new plugins system that’s designed to extend MetaMask’s capabilities beyond just being a simple wallet.
These plugins, or Snaps, allow developers to create custom integrations and enhance user experiences within the MetaMask environment. From adding new token standards to integrating with non-Ethereum chains, this system offers a modular approach to expanding MetaMask’s functionalities.
Staying safe with your MetaMask
While a MetaMask provides a way to manage your digital assets simply, it's essential to follow best practices to ensure the safety of your funds and NFTs:
- 🔒 Store your recovery phrase securely in a safe offline location.
- 🚫 Never share your private keys or recovery phrase with anyone.
- 🔐 Create a strong and unique password for your MetaMask wallet.
- 🔏 Consider using a hardware wallet in tandem with MetaMask for heightened security.
- 🛡️ Enable "phishing detection" in your MetaMask settings.
- 🔥 Download wallet warning services like Fire to understand your transactions better.
Additional MetaMask resources
For more information and resources on and by MetaMask, explore:
MetaMask plays a crucial role in the Ethereum ecosystem, offering a user-friendly way for millions of users to access and interact with decentralized applications. As the world of decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFTs continues to expand, MetaMask will undoubtedly remain a vital tool for managing digital assets and exploring the cryptoeconomy's many frontier possibilities.