On the most fundamental level, MetaMask is an open-source, non-custodial cryptocurrency wallet.
But MetaMask isn’t your everyday crypto wallet – MetaMask is packaged as a browser plugin.
The wallet must first be downloaded and then installed. Installation demands the user to record and securely store passphrases/private keys—just as demanded by practically every other cryptocurrency wallet. Once recorded, the user can access the wallet straight from the supported computer browser, all while maintaining complete control of funds.
Since September of 2020, MetaMask has also been available for mobile devices – meaning that users can access and transact on the go.
How to Set Up
As mentioned earlier, setting up MetaMask is fairly straightforward—but not as simple as using an exchange-based wallet.
As a non-custodial wallet, users have to locate the correct MetaMask wallet from their browser or App Store and install it. Afterward, the user is prompted to configure a password and secure their private keys, which are made up of a unique 12-word phrase. The Private Keys give total control of the wallet and all tokens therein, so it’s vital that the user records the Private Keys and stores them in a secure location. Whenever the wallet is uninstalled, a user can use those Private Keys to restore and recover assets. If exposed, another person can use them to steal your assets, so we recommend keeping a hard copy of your private keys to be extra safe.
Benefits of MetaMask
Once this setup is complete, a user can begin sending and receiving ETH and ERC-20 tokens in the mainnet. At the same time, through MetaMask, a user can try several of Ethereum’s test networks. Test networks are the exact copy of the mainnet. The only difference is, they operate with fake ETH. Think of a demo account in crypto trading. It is the same approach.
Using this wallet, users can access and interact with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible blockchains with MetaMask acting as a reliable bridge. That means network users looking to confirm transactions and participate in enjoyable on-chain activities like DeFi, gaming, NFTs, and even crowdfunding can do so quickly and securely.
Initially, MetaMask was predominantly an Ethereum and ERC-20 token wallet. However, this is quickly changing as the blockchain and crypto environment evolve, becoming more interoperable. These cross-chain features allowed dApps using competing ledgers like Binance Smart Chain (BSC) tap in benefits offered by the MetaMask browser wallet.
One of them is flexibility. Using MetaMask allows a user to hop from dApp to dApp, transacting without necessarily having to log off. It is not common for MetaMask users to be staking tokens and purchasing NFTs in the next minute, all done from one browser.
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