What is MetaMask?
MetaMask (metamask.io) is a crypto wallet and way for users to access the Ethereum blockchain. MetaMask is one of the most actively used crypto wallets in existence, with over 30 million monthly users, according to metamask.io as of 2022. It is a free web wallet for your crypto that now has a mobile app and is one of the most widely adopted platforms to trade and swap tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and use DApps.
MetaMask was founded and developed by Consensys, the leading Ethereum software company with many other popular products that provide various blockchain-based solutions to businesses and individuals. Consensys is one of the most trusted companies in the crypto space and is leading the charge in delivering blockchain services for users on the Ethereum blockchain.
How does MetaMask work?
MetaMask is primarily accessible via a web browser or the MetaMask mobile app. It is a “hot wallet” cryptocurrency wallet that provides each owner with an address with which they can receive Ethereum-based tokens and digital assets or purchase them.
What are the risks of using MetaMask?
MetaMask does store the private key inside the user’s browser, so potential theft in this direct way is possible but very difficult to accomplish. Usually, such hacks are employed using social engineering, involving the user willingly providing the information that a malicious party seeks.
While MetaMask does not have access to your personal information, your web browser might. The browser would not store your passphrase, seed phrase or wallet info, but it will collect information on how and when you use an integrated app, plugin or extension.
MetaMask wallets are “hot wallets,” meaning they are perpetually connected to the blockchain and can efficiently perform transactions with other addresses. A “Cold Storage” wallet is still more secure than any software-based crypto wallet but is also subject to physical theft, loss or damage.
##What can I do with MetaMask?
The three main things that MetaMask can do is store crypto, allow users to execute peer-to-peer swaps, and provide access to DApps.
Storage: Tokens built with Eteherum’s ERC-721 and ERC-20 token standards can be stored and exchanged between MetaMask wallet addresses, easily created via supported web browsers. Encryption allows users to keep their private keys and wallet passwords securely.
Token Swaps: MetaMask performs token swaps differently by taking data from multiple decentralised exchanges and automated market makers. In this way, MetaMask swaps allow users to directly exchange crypto tokens without going through third-party custodial platforms or intermediaries. This allows token swaps at reduced costs and with fewer barriers.
DApps: Ethereum-based DApps are some of the most popular and widely adopted. NFTs, DeFi platforms, products and even blockchain games are accessible through MetaMask. For some of these tools and platforms, MetaMask is a downright requirement. For this reason, MetaMask is an excellent entry-level wallet.
Why MetaMask is here to stay
One of the main reasons for MetaMask's long-term success is trust. Consensys, the company that developed MetaMask, is a giant in the global crypto space. They are leading the charge in providing consumers with accessible solutions on the Ethereum blockchain.
Author: Damir Khamzin
Having begun his career as a copy editor at Stockwatch, Damir was uniquely equipped to enter the crypto world by writing content for blockchain games. After learning about Bitcoin, he dove right in and has written for several cryptocurrency and finance blogs. He lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys writing science fiction/fantasy in his spare time.