The Metamask browser extension acts as a wallet for Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. Additionally, it allows you to connect with different dApps and also allows access to other selected and compatible blockchains.
What is MetaMask
It is a browser and smartphone application add-on that acts as a wallet . Metamask allows us to create a wallet for Ethereum and tokens based on the ERC-20 standard . It offers us to exchange quickly and efficiently between Ether and the different tokens.
It allows you to connect to dApps based on the Ethereum blockchain. It allows users to access decentralized exchanges, buy NFT and other functions . It is widely used to access DeFi decentralized finance.
Metamaks was born in 2016 and is created by ConsenSys . This company is specialized in building solutions on Ethereum.
Until 2019, Metamask is only available as a browser extension. Due to the increase in popularity, an application for smartphon e. Initially they were launched in a closed beta phase, being released for Android and iOS. It is still available as an extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Brave.
It should be noted that Metamask has a large network of developers and designers around the world. The idea behind the project is to democratize access to decentralized exchanges .
It seeks to transform the internet and the world economy. They seek to empower people through interactions based on consent, privacy, and free association.
How Metamask works
This browser wallet makes use of the web3.js library , which is part of the official Ethereum development solutions. This library was developed in order to create web applications with the ability to interact with the Ethereum blockchain . Through this library, web pages and extensions have the ability to take advantage of Ethereum technologies and their characteristics.
Metamask is designed to be a wallet for Ethereum and also as a tool to interact with different dApps. A communication channel is generated between the browser extension and the dApp. Any dApp can detect Metamask and the user can access it without the need for access credentials.
One of the main uses of Metamask is to be used to access decentralized exchanges. There are also different games and applications that use it, such as CryptoKitties or NFT creation services.
It should be noted that currently Metamask, in addition to connecting to the Ethereum blockchain and different testnets of this blockchain, can also be connected to other blockchains. For example, it offers the possibility of connecting to the Binance Smart Chain . This allows you to have decentralized access to different blockchains in the same service.
How to install Metamask
The interesting thing about Metamask is that it is a very simple browser extension to install. It can be found without major problems within the Chrome browser extensions store . We will find this extension through this link .
Note that in addition to being available for the Google Chrome browser , it is available for any Chromium-based browser. To explain it in a simple and summarized way, Chromium is the source code of the Google browser. This is used in Microsoft Edge, Opera or Brave browsers. We recommend always using Opera or Brave, due to 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 this link .
For any type of compatibility question, we recommend you go to the official Metamask website .
Note that you never download this extension from an unofficial site. The Metamask extension is free, we will never be asked to pay anything to access it.
We must also be wary of messages that pose as the creators of this application, since they do not send messages. Also, we should never reveal our private keys or seed words.
Is Metamask safe
A big question that we must always ask ourselves is the security of any application or service. This also takes on special importance when we talk about cryptocurrencies.
The safety of Metamask is quite high . All data is generated on the user’s computer (either computer or smartphone). Once the access credentials are created, if we do not store them, they are deleted. This means that we will not be able to regain access in case of losing the initial phrase.
We must always make a backup copy of the initial phrase and store it in a safe place. If we lose it, we will not be able to regain access to our funds.
To add an additional layer of security, we can connect Metamask with Ledger and Trezos hardware wallets. The hardware wallets, for those who do not know them, are not connected to the network. This allows for extra security against computer attacks.
HD type seed
Metamask makes use of a seed phrase generation system called “HD” (hierarchical determinists). The local keys in this case are encrypted, preventing the dApps and any third party from accessing them.
This mechanism generates a set of 10 seed words (seeds). These words have a certain order, necessary to recover the account in case of theft or loss.
One of the strengths of Metamask is that it has a large community of developers . This allows the code to be always well up-to-date and any errors in the code to be 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 to their liking.
Despite strong security measures, Metamask cannot combat 100% of phishing-type attacks. These phishing attacks are carried out by malicious agents that have nothing to do with the extension.
A phishing attack consists of trying to steal the user’s access credentials. They are usually done through fraudulent emails. Indicate that Metamask or any other service and / or exchange will never ask us for the password or the seed phrase.
These types of attacks are carried out directly on the user, making the Metamask developers unable to do anything to prevent them. This is why we must be suspicious and not give our access codes to anyone.
What can we do with Metamask
We have commented above that the main function is the wallet. We have also commented that we can access different dApps in a simple way. Let’s see in a few strokes the functions of Metamask:
- Send and receive:The wallet allows you to store and send both Ether (currency of the Ethereum blockchain) and ERC-20 token (standard for fungible tokens of the Ethereum blockchain).
- Connection to dApps:We can connect to any decentralized application that works on the Ethereum blockchain. Many decentralized exchanges or tokenized games allow access through Metamask.
- Atomic Swap:Allows you to exchange Ether for an ERC-20 token, or vice versa . We can also make exchanges between different ERC-20 tokens.
- Beyond Ethereum:One of the most interesting features of Metamask is accessing other blockchains . It allows to connect it with the Binance Smart Chain blockchain due to the great similarities with that of Ethereum. This is a fairly straightforward process.
How to install Metamask in my browser
The installation process for this extension is the same as in the rest of the cases. The steps to install the Metamask extension on Google Chrome, Brave, and other Chromium-based browsers is:
- Go to this link to add the Metamask extension
- Click on Add to Chrome
- We acceptinstallation
- Once the installation is finished, the process of creating an account will begin
Create an account in Metamask, STEP BY STEP
Once we have the extension installed, it is time to create an account. The process is really simple, it is designed so that everything is ‘next’. We just have to be careful with the seed phrase (seeds) that we must store correctly. The rest is all really simple.
- Once the screen to create an account opens, we give it to Start
- We give Create wallet(we assume that you still do not have one)
- A message of good security practices will appear. We read it and we accept
- Now we must create a password. By means of this password we can enter each time without having to put the seeds. We recommend a password of 10-12 alphanumeric characters and with symbols, since we store our money
- The next screen gives us safety tipsto store the seeds (seeds)
- The seed phrase (seeds)that is hidden now appears. We must press to show them to us. We must copy them and store them in a safe place, the best is a Ledger hardware wallet
- The next step is to confirm the seed phrase (seeds). We appear the words of our jumbled phrase. We must click on them in the proper order to validate the account creation process
- Once we save this point, everything is ready and our account created. This way we will have a public key to which to send our Ether and ERC-20 tokens
- We the browser window our own, appearwhich can close. We can always access the account from the extensions area of our browser, in the upper right corner. If it doesn’t appear there, click on the puzzle piece and fix it.
- Now we can send, receive and exchange in a fast, comfortable and simple way
Add other networks to Metamask
The extension is developed and designed to be used on the Ethereum network. It natively offers access to several official testnets where you can test future updates. But also, we can add access to other networks, such as the Binance Smart Chain. The process is the following:
- We open Metamask
- Click on Main Network and a drop-down appears with the available networks
- The last option is Custom RPC. We must click at this point to add a new network
- Here we must fill in the fields for Network Name, New RPC URL and String Identifier. The Currency Symbol and Block Explorer URL parameters are options. These parameters must be offered by the network in question to the chain that we want to connect to.
- Once the data has been added, this new network will appear and we can switch between the Ethereum mainnet and this new network as many times as we want
This is the manual process, but there is a simpler process. Chainlist has a large list of networks that we can connect to . Here it is as simple as searching for the network we want and clicking on Connect Wallet. Metamask will open for us and we just have to say next and connect, and that would be it. This process is much simpler and faster.
Final words on Metamask
This browser extension is very easy to use and offers the ability to connect to dApps. In addition, the process of creating the wallet in Metamask is really simple and intuitive. Due to all this and that it offers good security, it is highly used. There are many who bet on this extension, especially those interested in DeFi.
We recommend this article where we explain what Ethereum is and how it works
One of the strengths of Metamask is that it is focused on Web 3.0 and a private and universal web access system. This means that we can access multiple decentralized (or centralized) services without the need for records. We would simply give it to log in, we would indicate that we want to do it with Metamask and that’s it. This eliminates time-consuming registration processes, which are often very tedious.
There are many strengths of the Metamask extension that to date has not shown security gaps. It has a strong team of developers and its code is auditable as it is on GitHub. An innate philosophy of cryptocurrencies and the applications that are developed around them.
What do you think of Metamask and tell us about your experience using this browser extension?