The Most Comprehensive MetaMask Wallet Review
If you have an interest in cryptocurrencies, your must-have item is a cryptocurrency wallet. For those targeting Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens, one of the top options is MetaMask.
MataMask is an online crypto wallet that operates as an extension on Firefox, Chrome, and Brave browsers. The wallet has become a favorite for crypto enthusiasts because it does not simply store the digital coins, but further allows users to interact with smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps).
This review explores the mechanics of MetaMask wallet review to answer the main question: “Is it the best crypto wallet out there?”
A Closer Look at Cryptocurrency Wallets
The basic definition of a cryptocurrency wallet is that it is a storage facility for digital coins. The definition follows the operational design of a standard pocket wallet. However, it is untrue when it comes to cryptocurrency wallets.
Because cryptocurrencies only exist as databases called ledgers, they can neither move out of their native networks nor be stored elsewhere. What cryptocurrency wallets store are sets of codes that link to the respective coins one owns in a blockchain network.
The wallets store public keys that serve as your address and are visible to all in a blockchain network. They also store the private keys that provide access to your coins in the wallet. The private keys must never be shared with third parties.
The following are the four main types of cryptocurrency wallets.
- Hardware Wallets: These are hardware devices that resemble standard flash drives and are used to store digital coins offline. Some good examples include Ledger Nano S and KeepKey wallets.
- Desktop Wallets: These are digital wallets that are downloaded from respective blockchain websites and installed in personal computers. You can only use the wallet on the computer it is installed on. Though they are considered safer than web-based wallets, they are not as safe as hardware wallets themselves.
- Paper Wallets: They are a piece of paper with the private keys and public keys printed on it. Paper wallets are considered very secure because the keys are stored offline.
- Web-based Wallets: These are cryptocurrency wallets that are always connected online. One example of a web-based wallet is MetaMask.
What is the MetaMask Wallet?
The good thing with MetaMask is that it allows users to fully interact with Ethereum without downloading the entire blockchain. Indeed, you can even run an Ethereum DApp without using a full Ethereum node.
The wallet was created in 2016 by Aaron Davis and Dan Finlay. However, the development team grew to include other cryptographic experts, including James Moreau, Christian Jerian, and Frankie Pangilinan.
How Does MetaMask Work?
How to Set Up MetaMask on Your Computer
To set up and start using MetaMask, ensure that your computer has either a Brave, Firefox or Chrome browser. The good thing is that these are free browsers you can download with ease. Here is the process of setting up the wallet.
- Visit the MetaMask homepage to add the extension on the browser you will be using.
- Immediately, a MetaMask icon will appear on the browser. Click on the icon to open the app.
- Then, create a new vault (wallet) and set a strong password.
- After setting the password, MetaMask will show a 12-word seed phrase. This is very crucial because it will be needed in the event that you lose your password. You can copy the seed or save it as a file.
There you are! The wallet is set, and you can now start using it to receive and send supported digital tokens.
The following video demonstrates how to set up MetaMask:
How to Use MetaMask Wallet
One of the primary goals of creating MetaMask was to ensure that users can easily buy and send ETH and ERC-tokens.
How to Buy and Send Tokens Using MetaMask
To purchase tokens on the wallet, you only need to click “Buy” on the MetaMask interface and select one of the integrated exchanges, ShapeShift or Coinbase, to fund the account. This means that though you are on MetaMask, the tokens you want to buy will come from sellers on the ShapeShift or Coinbase exchange.
To send tokens from MetaMask, simply click “Send” and enter the public address of the recipient. Make sure that you also have enough tokens in your wallet to send and meet the transaction fee. Confirm the transaction details and accept.
Exploring Ethereum DApps with MetaMask
MyEtherWallet is another commonly used Ethereum wallet. So, why use MyEtherWallet when you already have MetaMask? Though MyEtherWallet is a wallet that functions like MetaMask, it also serves as a full node.
When you combine MetaMask with MyEtherWallet, it makes a very impressive combination. Therefore, consider the wallets as a perfect package as opposed to competitors.
The following are other DApps that you can explore and use with MetaMask:
- CryptoKitties: This DApp allows you to create and sell cartoon kittens. With MetaMask, the process of selling the kitties is simple and fun.
- Blockchain arcades: These are DApps created to allow gamers to use ETH and ERC-20 tokens for video game tournaments. For example, one of the requirements for the Etherplay site is to have MetaMask.
- The Digital Art: This is another app that is becoming very popular in crypto communities. The app allows users to hold auctions where they sell collectibles. With MetaMask, for example, you can bid on a WWII collectible from Japan.
Is MetaMask Secure?
Hot wallets (web-based wallets) are considered the most insecure of all the cryptocurrency wallets. Therefore, you may wonder if MetaMask is secure.
Since its creation in 2016, MetaMask has not suffered major hacks. The wallet utilizes HD backup settings and relies on a committed community of developers that regularly update its open source code.
The main risk facing MetaMask is phishing attacks. These are scams used by hackers to steal user info such as passwords and usernames.
Phishing has become common with online wallets such as MyEtherWallet, which has suffered related attacks. To prevent Phishing attacks, it is important to avoid responding to pop-up ads or opening suspicious emails. Instead, only log in to your wallet from the official site.
Despite these features, this MetaMask wallet review is of the opinion that the wallet’s security features are not enough. Therefore, it is advisable to only store small quantities of your tokens on the wallet itself. If you need to store large quantities, consider hardware wallets such as Trezor.
Summary of the Pros and Cons of MetaMask
MetaMask came out as a unique light wallet that allows users to interact with the Ethereum blockchain without acting as a full node. It is a great option for newbies targeting to make their first moves into the blockchain niche. Here is a summary of MetaMask pros and cons:
- It is open source software. This implies it has a large development community that contributes to its development
- The wallet uses hierarchical deterministic settings that assist users to back up their accounts
- It has integrated ShapeShift and Coinbase exchanges to make it easy to exchange ETH and other ERC-20 tokens
- The wallet has an intuitive user interface
- MetaMask has a reliable customer support
- As an online wallet, there is a greater risk of being hacked than with other type of wallets, such as hardware wallets
- While MetaMask does not have access to your info, the browser you are using will. Most browsers such as Chrome collect user info, which could compromise one’s privacy
When the MetaMask development team set off designing the wallet in 2016, their goal was to make accessing Ethereum blockchain easy, reliable, and secure. They have managed to achieve these objectives with a great margin.
The biggest shortcoming of the wallet is that it is a web-based wallet. To stay safe, it is advisable to only use the wallet to store a small amount of your crypto coins. You could consider it the store for tokens to buy products such as DApps on the Ethereum blockchain.
If you are new to Ethereum, do not hesitate to use MetaMask. However, only use it with great caution. Remember to always keep the computer, browser, and MetaMask up-to-date for enhanced security.