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What Is Metamask? A Beginner’s Guide to the Crypto Wallet & Web3 Gateway

Date: May 11, 2022 Category: Scaleswap Metamask Graphic

MetaMask is a cryptocurrency wallet that operates as a gateway to blockchain apps. Globally, the site has more than 21 million users, this platform is quite renowned and used by many crypto traders because it eases connection with decentralized apps and tokens found in the blockchain. 

Established in 2016, MetaMask was introduced as a browser extension and operates mainly on the Ethereum blockchain. Once you start using MetaMask, you can use Ethereum’s dApp ecosystem, tools such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and Ether-related tokens like ERC-20. The platform is accessed as a browser plugin and is added as an extension or app on a smartphone. 

Here’s a guide on how MetaMask works, why you need it for your trades, how to use it, and the pros and cons of the platform. 

Why Do You Need MetaMask?

Whether you are a newcomer or a veteran, you need MetaMask because it’s one of the best ways to link with the blockchain. A lot of people find it hard to understand dApps; however, MetaMask simplifies the procedure by reducing the barrier to entry and introducing new people to this trade.

Unlike other tools, MetaMask only works with Ether, which made up more than half of the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) market in 2021. Because of this, this blockchain is more trustworthy to many crypto enthusiasts. Additionally, the blockchain is now famous thanks to the introduction of NFTs.

You also need MetaMask because it is a DeFi and NFT gateway, allowing you to connect with dApps like Scaleswap, making it easier for users to invest in innovative crypto startups. By using Scaleswap, users can get early access to these investment opportunities and exclusive tokens before other users. 

How To Get Started Using MetaMask

Setting up MetaMask on your smartphone or browser is a straightforward process although it appears complicated. To use tools such as MetaMask, it’s advisable to know all the procedures for using it and how to get it.

Here are the steps to get you started on MetaTask. 

Install MetaMask

Because of the nature of security in cryptocurrency, you need to install the right wallets and avoid installing illegal copies of the wallet. A fake copy exposes you to scammers and hackers. Therefore, to get started, ensure that you get the link from the website. You can install the plugin from here

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For the installation, you must have Google Chrome or other supported browsers such as Firefox, Brave, and Edge or your smartphone for the app. The website provides three alternatives: Android, iOS, and Windows. Get the extension that aligns with your device.

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The download procedure for MetaMask is almost similar for all the browsers; therefore, it will take you a few minutes to set up, no matter the browser. Therefore, if you are installing the crypto wallet to Chrome, select the “Install MetaMask for Chrome” link on the website and get the extension button.

If you are downloading a crypto wallet to use on your phone, you can get it from the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android. 

Create A Wallet

Once the installation process is complete on the browser of your choice, the next step is creating a wallet. Click on the “Get Started” button on the welcome page to start the onboarding process. If you already have an existing wallet, you can import it or create a new one if it’s your first time. 

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After you select “Create a Wallet,” the site has a prompt for users on whether they want to help improve the platform. You can choose “I Agree” or “No Thanks,” depending on your preferences. No matter the choice, it won’t limit your user experience with MetaMask.

Next, the site will need you to come up with a password to use for all the transactions. It would be best to have a solid password with a minimum of 8 characters. It should be unique to you and hard for others to figure out for security purposes. To create the best password for MetaMask, it’s advisable to include a mixture of symbols, numbers, and lower- and upper-case letters.

Confirm the password after filling it in twice, and confirm that you have read the terms and conditions to continue. It’s recommended to read the “Terms of Use” to get all the information about how the crypto wallet works. Once you are done, proceed to set the password.

Confirming The Backup Phrase

MetaMask will send you a 12-word phrase known as the Secret Recovery Phrase to protect your crypto wallet. Before getting it, ensure that you watch the security video provided on the website that provides additional details on how this security feature works.

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Once they send you this secret recovery phrase, you can note it on a piece of paper in the same order as it appears on the screen. This phrase is essential because it helps recover your account should you have no access to your computer if it crashes or the browser resets. Therefore, it should be kept safe and not shared with anyone.

Keep in mind that when you lose the Secret Recovery Phrase, MetaMask will not be able to help you recover the account. If you share this with anyone or another site, you could lose control over your funds.

Once you’ve written the phrase down on paper, click on the “Next” button. MetaMask will prompt you to confirm the phrase on the next screen. To do this, you’ll need to type the backup phrase in the same order as it appeared on the previous screen. After adding the phrase, you can select “Confirm” to complete the process.

The last step is clicking “All Done” to complete the setup process. You will be automatically logged into MetaMask, and you can access the dashboard and start making deposits.

Make A Deposit

If you are logged into the account, you can view the account and start making deposits. You can click “Add funds” and deposit cash either via Apple Pay or your debit card on your dashboard. 

Additionally, you can also transfer tokens and Ether from another wallet to your new one. Just copy your account’s public address, open your existing wallet, and send funds to your new one. 

Using MetaMask

Now that you’ve downloaded MetaMask on your computer or smartphone, you need to know how to use it. The dashboard is quite easy to use with basic functionalities like the “Assets” tab that enables users to find the list of their assets, while the “Activity” tab shows the transaction history.

Here are some of the common ways to use MetaMask.

Adding A Token

MetaMask equips users with tools to access a token wallet and token exchange. Before buying, sending, and swapping any tokens, you’ll first need to add them to your account. For instance, if you want to add the Scaleswap token, MetaMask has a swap feature that combines data from different market makers and decentralized exchange aggregators to ensure you get the best price.

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Sending Transactions

To send with MetaMask, you’ll need the recipient’s public key. Click the “Send” button on your dashboard and then enter the public key. Once you’ve added the address, you can click “Next.”

When sending coins to another person, you can manually adjust the transaction fee by leveraging information in the ETH gas station. Each transaction requires a specific amount of gas fees for it to be completed. If your transaction has low gas, it may get delayed or fail. You can adjust this if you are a pro. However, if you are a newbie, it’s better to leave this part untouched and confirm the transaction.

Switching Networks

Although MetaMask works on the Ethereum network, you can switch to another one such as Harmony, Avalanche, Polygon, or Binance Smart Chain. To change networks, follow these steps.

  1. Open your MetaMask wallet installed on your phone or desktop. Your current network will show at the top of the display. 
  2. Click on the drop-down menu next to your current network to see the list of available networks. 
  3. Select your preferred network out of the options, and the network will change immediately.

If you want to add a new network that’s not on the list, here are the easy steps to follow.

  1. Open your browser and go to the MetaMask wallet.
  2. Click on your profile picture, navigate to the “Settings” tab, and select the “Networks” option.
  3. At the bottom of the menu, there’s a button to “Add Network.” Click on it and proceed to add the new network.

To add this new network, you’ll need to provide some information such as the network name, chain ID, new RPC URL, currency symbol, and the block explorer URL. Once the network is added successfully, you can make the switch.

Connecting With dApps

Decentralized applications, better known as dApps, are digital applications that are present on a blockchain network of computers. Commonly built on the Ethereum platform, dApps are developed for multiple purposes like gaming and finance. 

MetaMask is a suitable tool to link with dApps directly from your dashboard. For instance, if you want to link with a platform like Scaleswap, you can select the “Connect to Wallet” button on their site. This will direct you to MetaMask if you already have it installed on your browser or mobile phone.

The prompt will ask for confirmation to link this dApp to the crypto wallet. Once you accept, the dApps can see your addresses, but they can’t get to your money. If you already have MetaMask installed, Scaleswap will connect directly to your wallet in a straightforward process.

MetaMask Swaps

You can swap tokens within your wallet by comparing data from several decentralized exchange sites. This can be done either via the computer or mobile phone. One of the biggest advantages of this feature is that it ensures that users get the best prices and the lowest network fees.

To swap tokens, just click “Swap,” choose an amount of any token in the wallet and a token that you want to exchange it with, and get your quote. Once you get the best quote, click swap to complete your transaction. On MetaTask, you can swap your tokens with Ethereum, Smooth Love Potion, Shiba, USDC, Ripple, etc.

If you are having issues finding a specific token, likely, it doesn’t have enough liquidity. This happens because MetaMask checks and consolidates liquidity from top DEXs and Professional Market Makers. This can be helpful if you are a newcomer because you can swap your tokens easily.

Users can access the largest selection of tokens at competitive prices. However, this service comes at a small cost; MetaMask charges a service fee of 0.0875% on every quote. The money is used to pay for the operations of their platform.

Additionally, during the swap process, MetaMask pays attention to the privacy of its users. Therefore, users don’t have to worry about the dApps or other platforms accessing their personal data. This swap feature also comes with reduced gas prices. Every route requires certain gas fees to finish the transaction. MetaMask’s swaps go for the liquidity source that’s more gas efficient for each trade.

They also have slippage protection. When users have large swaps, they become subject to price swings if there is insufficient liquidity. To counter this, MetaMask has orders that are spread across all DEXs, which reduces the impact of spillage on the final price. Therefore, if the rate changes from the period the order was made to the confirmation, your swap will definitely cancel if the rate is over your maximum spillage setting.

How To Move Existing Tokens to MetaMask?

If you have Ethereum or other tokens, you can switch them to another wallet on your MetaMask account. You just need to get the public address from the newly created wallet, go to the current wallet, and move the tokens to the new address. Keep in mind that you might have to manually check some of the tokens for them to appear within the platform. 

If you are unsure about where to find this, you can get your MetaMask address under the account name.

What Advantages Does MetaMask Have?

If you are thinking about using MetaMask, here are some major advantages of this platform.

  • Simple To Use

This wallet has a simple and minimalistic interface making it easy for even beginners to use. The sign-up process is also direct and takes a few minutes to complete. Additionally, instead of managing several private keys, users just need to remember a list of transactions as well as your backup phrase to continue with the transactions. 

  • Free To Use

MetaMask is a popular wallet because it’s a non-custodial wallet that anybody can use. It’s also open-source; therefore, it has a reasonable development community contributing to its growth.

  • Integration

Trades on this platform are much simpler and easier because it has integrated exchanges. dApps are also designed to work with the platform, so it’s easier to send and buy Ethereum.

  • It’s Popular

According to the website, the platform has more than 21 million users globally. It has a sizeable user base; therefore, its commonly used in the crypto world because it only needs one plugin to access various dApps.

  • Single Sign-In Option

To access Ethereum dApps, users just need to sign in once. They don’t need to have a separate login like other sites. 

  • Technological Abilities

MetaMask has a built-in token purchase ability for users; therefore, they can buy them with a few clicks. This makes transactions easy and faster. On the other hand, users don’t need to download the blockchain because this will send nodes to other platforms apart from the user’s computer.

  • Mobile Availability

Apart from the desktop extension, this platform is available for download on Google Play and the App Store, so users can access it anytime and from anywhere.

What Disadvantages Does MetaMask Have?

While the crypto wallet has some pros, it also has some cons. Here are some of them.

  • Safety Concerns

A key disadvantage of this platform is the safety concerns. Since it’s an online wallet, it’s more vulnerable to hacking compared to other physical wallets. We always recommend storing larger amounts of crypto on a hardware wallet.

  • No Hardware Wallet Support

MetaMask does not have hardware or paper wallet support yet, making it less safe than a “cold” wallet.

  • Third-Party Access

The platform holds private keys in your browser, which compromises the safety of the data. Although MetaMask does not have access to the user’s personal information, most browsers like Chrome can get to this data.

  • Reliance On External Nodes

MetaMask is not a full node, but rather it relies on external nodes. Theoretically, this could cause downtime.

MetaMask Alternatives

If the MetaMask cons are an issue for you, there are other alternatives that you can consider when accessing the blockchain.

MyEtherWallet

Just like MetaMask, this popular wallet, MyEtherWallet, specializes in Ethereum tokens and coins. Individuals can also make transactions on MyEtherWallet without downloading the blockchain; therefore, saving space. However, it does not integrate with the dApps in the same way as MetaMask.

Coinbase Wallet

Coinbase is one of the most popular wallets that people go for when buying and selling Ethereum and Bitcoin. It stores all your NFTs and cryptos in a single space and supports multiple tokens and dApps. It’s highly secure and can be used on your desktop browser or phone.

Trust Wallet

The other alternative is the Trust Wallet. This is also specifically for Ethereum and it allows investors to buy, store, and sell ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens. You can also access decentralized apps without leaving your wallet safely and securely.

Portis

Portis is a non-custodial platform that’s easy to use. It can be linked with dApps, and a single account enables users to interact with multiple blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin. Users can sign in with an email and a password; therefore, it’s quite friendly for newbies.

The Future of MetaMask

Since its launch, MetaMask has become quite popular and become an entry point for the most users into the growing dApp space. As a gateway to the decentralized web, it has simple functionalities that even most newbies can understand. Because of these, the number of users is also growing.

If you compare it with other wallets, this platform has better scope and integration with the emerging dApps, making it more appealing to users. Therefore, as more dApp products come into the market, MetaMask remains compatible.

MetaMask introduced its smartphone app in September 2020, which allows users to create new accounts, log in and use their Ethereum addresses to access similar features to the browser version. This is an advantage as more users can sign up using their phones. However, users have to deal with security and privacy issues since the platform stores the private keys on the browser.

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