One of the popular cryptocurrency wallets designed for interacting with the Ethereum network is the well-known MetaMask. The project was founded in 2016 and is user-friendly for both beginners and advanced cryptocurrency users.
For Ethereum and other asset holders, security remains a significant concern. Is it safe to use? How to make payments in cryptocurrency or receive them with Metamask? About these and other relevant points you can read in our article.
What MetaMask is?
MetaMask is an anonymous decentralized cryptowallet that operates as a browser extension or smartphone app. It was designed to prioritize user anonymity and eliminate the need for verification. The wallet is also considered one of the most suitable tools for swaps, which we will discuss further.
Initially created in 2016, the project focused on working with Ethereum and other similar tokens (such as ERC-20), especially since one of the wallet's co-founders, Joseph Lubin, was involved in Ethereum's development. Now you can add different types of assets to the wallet. Its advanced features facilitate interactions with other decentralized tools, enhancing their accessibility.
Until 2019, the wallet existed exclusively as a browser extension. This often resulted in users being deceived by intruders, passing off malicious programs as the allegedly released MetaMask smartphone app. The official MetaMask mobile app was launched in 2020.
Key Features of the Wallet
Similar to any other comparable tool, MetaMask users can transfer funds, make cryptocurrency payments, and easily store and receive cryptocurrency. It also has a few more useful features.
Users who utilize different cryptocurrencies will appreciate this feature. Swapping one token for another allows you to perform transactions in the currency you need. Keep in mind that MetaMask works with tokens issued on the Ethereum Request for Comments (ERC).
Thanks to the principle introduced by the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1559, transactions are now carried out at a fixed cost. Users also have the option to select the transaction speed in advance. For example, when conducting swaps, a high speed is preferred to minimize the risk of fund loss.
Average and low speeds are preferable for operations where time is not crucial. As a result, network fees are reduced, but it becomes more challenging to predict when the transaction will be completed.
How to Use MetaMask?
A standard procedure is implied for anyone who is just starting to use a cryptocurrency wallet.
Creating a Wallet and Signing Up
To create a hot wallet, you need to install the extension for the browser, such as "Chrome", "Firefox", or "Brave", or use a smartphone application for Android or iOS. The guide for the "Chrome" extension implementation is as follows:
- Go to MetaMask's website and download the cryptocurrency wallet.
- Choose the installation for "Chrome".
- On the appeared page, confirm the installation of the extension.
- After the installation is complete, confirm the creation of the wallet.
- Enter and confirm a password.
- Write down and confirm the seed phrase.
It is crucial to never lose the seed phrase, as it would make wallet recovery impossible.
How to Add Funds to MetaMask
To add funds to your wallet, follow these steps:
- Initiate the purchase process on the main page.
- Choose the payment method.
- Specify the amount of assets and payment details.
- Confirm the transaction.
- The transaction fee is calculated when entering the amount of funds.
How to Send Cryptocurrency
- On the main page, select "Send".
- Enter the recipient's address.
- Specify the cryptocurrency and the sum of assets.
- Choose the speed and confirm the transaction.
The faster the transaction, the higher the transaction fee.
Directly receiving funds in cryptocurrency is possible if the sender knows the address of the wallet which he/she intends to send the asset to. Your address is displayed at the top of the main page. Additionally, in the "Buy" section, you can choose to view your account and obtain a QR code.
Which Networks Does MetaMask Work With?
MetaMask works with Ethereum and ERC-20 standard cryptocurrencies. Users have access to multiple networks, including standalone and auxiliary networks that are compatible with Ethereum:
- Arbitrum — a second level network;
- Avalanche — a decentralized blockchain platform;
- Binance Smart Chain — a blockchain that works with smart contracts;
- Harmony — a platform for asset management and identification;
- Moonriver — an Ethereum-compatible parachain;
- Optimism — a second level network;
- Polygon — a network for Ethereum scalability;
- TomoChain — a blockchain for creating decentralized applications.
To add a new blockchain to the existing wallet, you can use the special button in the top right corner of the main page. Simply initiate the network addition, provide the necessary information about it, and save the details.
MetaMask Commission Fees
A certain fee is charged for each transaction in the MetaMask cryptocurrency wallet. The faster the operation is executed, the higher the fee. The exact fee amount can be determined right before conducting the transaction.
A significant part of user expenses consists of the so-called gas fee. This is the commission charged for the energy costs involved, as processing each transaction requires resources, and their compensation is borne by the users.
Is MetaMask Safe?
Since MetaMask does not have a central storage for user data, personal wallet information cannot be accessed by third parties. There is also no verification required.
However, a secure cryptocurrency wallet in this case has a drawback: the user can only recover lost access to the wallet with the help of the seed phrase. If this secret key is lost, the user may lose all the assets stored in the wallet.
Most users write down the seed phrase in a file. However, no matter how securely it is stored, it is still digital data that can be stolen. Therefore, some people write down the secret phrase on paper and do not keep it in electronic form. Nevertheless, paper-based media is less durable.
If necessary, the seed phrase can be viewed in the "Security and Privacy" section. The section also provides a list of incoming transactions and a phishing detection service.
Advantages and Disadvantages of MetaMask
For those who are looking for a cryptocurrency wallet will discover several advantages of the MetaMask project:
- Developed by a well-known company.
- Users have access to a large number of cryptocurrencies.
- Fast technical support.
- Advanced features like swapping.
- User-friendly interface.
- User data is not accessible to the creators.
- The source code is partially open for viewing.
However, despite being a non-custodial wallet and users not having to worry about their personal data being used by the developers, MetaMask does have certain drawbacks:
- Its key weakness is the need to connect to the Internet, which makes the wallet vulnerable. To address this issue, in 2018, the creators added the feature of connecting the Ledger hardware cryptocurrency wallet.
- The possibility of mass phishing attacks, as seen in 2021, posed a significant risk to MetaMask users. Back then, many cryptocurrency owners suffered because of a website that pretended to be the official page of the MetaMask project.
- There have also been instances of service disruptions. For example, in the spring of 2022, developers reported that the wallet's functionalities could be affected due to infrastructure issues with the Ethereum network provider. Additionally, users were advised to refrain from backing up their data on cloud services like iCloud.
While the overall performance of the wallet may appear stable, it is subject to occasional failures. Another disadvantage is that MetaMask does not support storing Bitcoin and several other popular cryptocurrencies.
MetaMask Mobile App
Since it became possible to install this wallet as a browser extension (2016), users have been eagerly waiting for the ability to manage cryptocurrency from their phones too.
While waiting, they had to deal with fake applications, so that when the official beta version had been released, it was even mistakenly removed from the Android app store.
Since 2020, mobile users have had access to the MetaMask mobile wallet, which is regularly updated. Just like the browser extension, the mobile app allows users to perform financial transactions and interact with other apps connected to the wallet.
We also recommend reading the article "Review of the Trust Wallet Cryptocurrency Wallet".
Is It Worth Accepting Payments With MetaMask on Your Website?
MetaMask is one of the trusted Ethereum wallets, featuring a minimalist design and the ability to access decentralized networks. As a non-custodial project, it allows asset owners to manage their cryptocurrency without worrying about the creators stealing their data.
However, vulnerability arises when business owners consider how to accept cryptocurrency payments on their websites. To avoid risks, it is recommended to use a specialized service like CryptoCloud instead of using the wallet data directly on the website. CryptoCloud is a reliable and fast cryptocurrency processing service that enables low fees from 0,4% and a quick withdrawal of received funds.