Metamask is one of the most recent tools that are successfully laying the ground for mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies through providing a simplified way of accessing blockchain technology to the average internet user.
The Metamask wallet allows you to carry out transactions involving Ethereum’s cryptocurrency (Ether) as well as going the extra mile to let you explore Ethereum’s blockchain on a standard internet browser.
This guide and review purposes to provide you with all the information you need to get started with the application.
We will commence the Metamask review by defining what the application is all about, then proceed to the installation process, use and features in light of security and safety.
What is Metamask?
Metamask can be thought of as an application that empowers you to conduct transactions involving Ether and ERC20 tokens, as well as exploring various applications of the Ethereum blockchain through three preselected browsers which include Google Chrome, Firefox and Brave.
In other words, it is a browser extension that allows users to carry out Ethereum’s cryptocurrency and utilize its decentralized applications (Dapps) on standard web browsers.
Installation of Metamask
Upon considering what the application is all about, let us now look at how you can go about installing it in the selected browsers as indicated in the above definition. In general terms, the installation process lives up to the required user-friendliness that is consistent with the main goal of the application itself. With a basic average internet connection, you will only need a few minutes of a few simple steps to get the extension up and running.
Metamask Chrome extension installation
- Open Metamask’s homepage by going to metmask.io
- Choose the “Get chrome extension” to proceed to chrome’s webstore.
- Upon landing on Chrome’s webstore, Click on add to chrome, after which you will be required to consent to the extension’s ability to access and read websites on your browser.
- After completing the download, a “how it works” page opens up with a Metamask fox icon located close to the right side close to chrome’s URL address bar.
- A click on the icon leads you to terms and conditions of service where your consent is required.
- After consenting to the terms, you need to create a strong password that provides the first level of security for your Metamask account (or DEN/ vault).
- After setting up the password, the extension generates a unique set of seed words that you need to securely store somewhere as they are the only way you can restore your Metamask account. Save the seed words and click on “I’ve copied it somewhere safe”.
- Upon setting up the password and the seed phrase, your account is ready to hit the ground running.
Metamask Firefox extension installation
Installing Metamask on Firefox is a lot more like installing on Chrome as the browsers have a lot in common. Follow the simple steps below to get started.
- Land on the homepage by going to metamask.io
- Choose the Firefox option for extension installation.
- Click on “add to Firefox” in the Firefox web store.
- Consent to the conditions as displayed before the download process begins
- Like in Chrome installation’s case, the Icon is displayed on the right close to the URL bar.
- Click through the Metamask icon to commence the installation process which involves consenting to conditions of service, creating a unique password and saving the set of seed words as explained above for installation in the chrome browser.
Metamask Brave extension installation
- Go to preferences
- Select the extensions tab.
- Select Metamask to start the download process
- After the download process winds up, the “how it works page will open up”
- Click on the Metamask icon to start the setup process which takes you through password creation, seed words’ generation and storage.
The Metamask wallet
Upon installation, the Metamask wallet is easily accessible through the Metamask icon just adjacent to the URL bar of the browser. The page is presents a rather simple and intuitive user interface displaying three main types of data and functions.
The top right corner features a drop down menu which lets you choose the type of network, which in the normal case is “Main Ethereum network”.
On the top left corner is also a drop down menu that gives you access to settings, a log-out option, and general information.
The page also provides access to buying and sending features through the “buy” and “send” buttons. A simple display of the current balance, and transaction history is also available on the same page.
The “buy” and “sell” buttons within the application allow you to buy and add funds to and from the application. Hitting the buy button takes you to the purchasing transactions page where you can buy Ether from Coinbase or Shapeshift. Upon filling in the appropriate fields with the right details, you are able to connect with your Coinbase account or Shapeshift to add Ether to your Metamask account.
If you already have some Ether, you can add the crypto into your account through the direct deposit option which is available as one of the options in the transactions menu.
To send Ether or ERC20 tokens through Metamask, simply click on “send” to access the transactions page where you fill in the necessary details such as the recipient’s address and amount before activating the transaction.
Apart from the exciting features to do with transactions and Dapps, it’s also worth it to be clear on the associated features to do with safety and security. Let’s spend a few minutes of consideration on a few things in this aspect.
Key security features
Seed phrase: As we’ve already noticed in the installation process, Metamask comes with a seed phrase that is encrypted with a unique password to make sure the account is secured to one user.
Website blocking mechanism: The application incorporates a blocking feature that allows for identification of malicious websites to help with minimizing the overall risk for phishing attacks.
Open source: Being an open source application implies that the website can be reviewed and evaluated by developers. This has the advantage that potential vulnerabilities within the code can be quickly identified thus leading to appropriate measures.
On a general note, being an online based application implies a security which can easily be controlled if the necessary measures are taken by the user.
This means that as long as you keep your seed phrase and password unshared well-guarded, you are free from potential attacks. To avoid phishing attacks, it is necessary to make sure you ignore any pop-ups asking for information relating to your seed phrase when browsing the internet as this is the most popular way in which hackers obtain confidential information from unsuspecting users.
To date, there hasn’t been any reports of hacks relating to the application, which is in itself a testimony of the commendable level of security on the wallet.
In a nutshell, Metamask provides a commendable solution towards making blockchain applications accessible to mainstream internet users.
The extension allows for easy and efficient transactions for Ether while empowering users to explore Ethereum’s blockchain with the comfort that comes with a standard browser.
Though users still need a good level of caution when browsing the internet with a Metamask enabled browser, the Metamask wallet still provides a high level of security to complement the intuitively built platform.
A few steps as highlighted in this Metamask guide should provide you with enough tools to start exploring the endless possibilities of blockchain technology.