A MetaMask Crypto Wallet For Beginners
Here is a comprehensive guide to understanding digital wallets and using the popular crypto wallet, MetaMask, as a beginner.
Do You Need A Crypto Wallet?
Everyone has had to use a wallet at some point. Added to quarters and paper notes, we keep and carry coupon slips, plastic IDs, precious photos, and even useless purchase receipts in our wallets.
Smartphones, nowadays, have made wallets less necessary to carry. You can have more powerful digital wallets on your smartphone that carry digital copies of everything your physical wallet would hold in it. There were close to 70 million cryptocurrency wallet users in 2021.
Both mobile and cryptocurrency or crypto wallets are some types of digital wallets you can access with electronic devices like a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. But a mobile wallet differs from a crypto-wallet as it stores, exchanges and keeps a record of fiat currencies. Crypto wallets perform similar functions but for cryptocurrencies and other forms of digital assets.
Crypto wallets, unlike mobile wallets, are built on a distributed database called a blockchain. These blockchains could be public (or permissionless) like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cardano, meaning anyone can access it, private (permissioned) like HyperLedger and XRP, with access to permitted persons, or somewhere in-between.
As the world of decentralized finance becomes mainstream, we may all need a crypto wallet to become part of it. The focus of this article is MetaMask.
Metamask Wallet For Beginners
Anyone just getting started with cryptocurrencies can use MetaMask. Its core function is to help people like us who use the current internet (web 2.0) access a new and futuristic type of internet (web 3.0).
In 2021, the ConsenSys-owned MetaMask joined Coinbase and Robinhood to become one of the most-used wallets, after adding 9.5 million new users. Most of these users were looking to access web3 services like Decentralized applications (DApps), Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs), Decentralized Finance (DeFis), and the metaverse.
It is easy to see why so many people choose MetaMask. Close to 80% of all web3 projects (NFTs Metaverse, DeFi etc.) are developed on — or compatible with — Ethereum and Ethereum is MetaMask’s default blockchain.
Most web3 projects develop crypto tokens to interact with their ecosystem. You could fit these tokens in your MetaMask wallet like you would with different fiat currencies in your physical wallet, provided they are Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible.
What Type of Crypto Wallet is MetaMask?
MetaMask is a non-custodial software wallet. There are no custodian intermediaries, and you have total control of your login details, private key, and the 12-word secret recovery phrases it generates for you. But you can neither feel nor hold your MetaMask wallet because it is software. You can only trust that your MetaMask wallet will be there when you open your phone or computer.
Your MetaMask wallet is also a hot wallet, meaning it is always connected to the internet even when you are not. Hot wallets are suitable for fast crypto transactions, but they are less protected from online attacks. If you need a hardware wallet (or cold wallet) to carry around like a USB, you can get the Ledger, Trezor, and the likes.
Where Can I Get MetaMask?
Download the MetaMask wallet as an extension on Firefox, Edge, Google Chrome, and Chromium-based browsers. Visit the web store of your selected browser. MetaMask is also available as a mobile application on iOS and Android. There could be a MetaMask desktop application in the future.
Four Ways You Can Use MetaMask
Metamask is an Ethereum-only wallet, meaning all transactions are with ERC 20, ERC 721, and ETH tokens. MetaMask also accepts tokens from ERC-compliant blockchains like Cardano, Polygon, and Solana. You can buy any of these tokens with your debit card or Apple pay. You can also receive them by sending your MetaMask wallet ID as a QR code to the creditor.
You can also use MetaMask to store your tokens. MetaMask helps you use DeFi launchpads like Vent, interact with play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity, and become part of exciting experiences in your favorite NFT marketplace and the metaverse. It can serve as a convenient wallet to store in-app tokens, make in-game payments and keep your earnings safe.
You can swap one token for another, as you do for fiat currencies, using MetaMask. MetaMask permits you to swap over 500,000 ERC tokens, but many are less popular than others, so you may have to add them manually by importing their details.
When swapping, the price of a token could vary slightly from platform to platform, causing you shortfalls or windfalls. MetaMask protects against such a situation by obtaining the nearest-perfect price from an aggregate of all major platforms.
You can also use MetaMask to transfer tokens, as you would with your fiat banking application. Type in the recipient address (which could also be another crypto wallet of yours), select the token, and input the amount to be sent.
Setting up MetaMask
Getting started on MetaMask is easy. Simply:
- Download the MetaMask browser extension
- Click on ‘Get Started’ and complete the steps
- Create a wallet and add a password
- Select and confirm your 12-word seed phrase
- Click “All done.”
Your account becomes live with a unique Ethereum wallet public address. You can log back into MetaMask by clicking the little fox extension icon at the top right of your URL bar.
Adding a Network to MetaMask
MetaMask comes loaded with the Ethereum network by default. You, however, can add other ERC 20 compatible networks like Polygon, to help you interact with tokens built on other networks.
- Click on “Ethereum Network” at the top right corner.
- Select ‘Add Network” from the dropdown
- In the new tab opened, fill in:
- Network name
- New RPC URL
- Chain ID
- Currency symbol
- Block explorer URL and Save
You can search for any blockchain network ID details on their official website.
Adding a Token to MetaMask
Seeing how MetaMask helps you interact with new DeFis and dApp tokens, you may have to manually add new tokens to your wallet to use them. To add, say $VENT tokens to MetaMask:
- Click on the MetaMask extension icon
- Select the right or preferred network for your token
- Scroll to the bottom of your wallet page and click on ‘import tokens’
- Copy and paste corresponding token wallet address
- Your token symbol and decimal auto-fills itself if the wallet address is correct.
You can find the token wallet address, decimal and symbol on the official token page. Learn more about purchasing MATIC on Metamask here.
MetaMask to MetaMask Mobile App
Follow the steps below if you already have the MetaMask on your browser and wish to sync it to your MetaMask mobile app.
- Download the MetaMask mobile app
- Open on your mobile device and click “sync.”
- Open MetaMask extension on the web
- Click “Sync” to see your QR code from the Settings→Advanced option.
- Scan QR code with the mobile app.
Multiple MetaMask Wallets
MetaMask supports the use of multiple wallets. This is good for people who like to distinguish between, say, their NFT, metaverse, and DeFi activities. You can always add a new wallet after you:
- Click on the metaverse icon.
- Click on your metaverse profile icon.
- Select the ‘create account’ option.
- Rename your new account.
- You are all set.
Every MetaMask account you create remains permanent and you can only choose to stop using them whenever you feel like. All of your MetaMask accounts will have distinct public and private keys but tied to the same seed phrase.
Is it All Safe With MetaMask?
MetaMask strives to offer the best security, but everyone knows nothing is really secure on the internet. MetaMask is a hot wallet, mostly browser-based, and depends on external nodes. That’s a good number of flashpoints to note.
Hackers may seldom attempt to attack MetaMask, but they’ll always try some luck with MetaMask users. So, here are some tips to stay safe while using MetaMask.
Private, not public computers
You wouldn’t leave your cherished belongings in public places, so don’t do that for your MetaMask wallet. Use only your personal computer or mobile phone to access your account.
Secure your seed phrase, protect your password
You can put your password and seed phrase in a trusted password manager app, but it is equally important that you write them down on paper and store them in a secret place. And please, don’t share them with anyone.
Keep Malware, Viruses Away.
Hackers find it easier to get into your account using Malwares or Viruses. Learn to update your computer antivirus or malware protection and double-check wallet IDs when copying to clipboards.
Clear up cookies
Cookies are digital footprints of your activity on the internet. Be sure to clear them often before and after using MetaMask on your browser
Turn off extensions
MetaMask is a browser extension like many others and requires a set of permissions to function. Some extensions can spy on others in the background, so turn them off when not in use.
Log out often
You could keep your tokens safe by logging off your MetaMask when not in use.
MetaMask on VENT
VENT Launchpad is a decentralized application compatible with MetaMask, where you can find and take part in unique, high-quality blockchain projects.
You can learn how MetaMask helps the growing community of Vent users, including crypto-newbies like you and me, and see how you can become one with your new MetaMask wallet.