How to use MetaMask wallet
MetaMask is one of the most popular Ethereum wallets, numbering more than 5 million active users monthly. MetaMask’s functionality goes far beyond the limits of a standard wallet that holders got used to and allows connecting to decentralized apps (DApps) and DeFi platforms, such as Aave, Maker, Uniswap, Compound, 1inch, and others. This guide will get you through to start working with the MetaMask plugin, even if you are new to cryptocurrencies!
The first blockchains, such as Bitcoin, have limited functionality: they support only storage and transfer of cryptocurrency. The appearance of Ethereum inaugurated the new era in the crypto industry that was characterized as Web 3.0 – the decentralized Internet not having a Single Point of Failure, unlike traditional servers do.
The Web 3.0 infrastructure includes an ecosystem of decentralized apps and DeFi protocols which expanded the capabilities of blockchains and merged them. Due to the distributed Internet, users can borrow and provide crypto loans, add assets to liquidity pools, buy items for cryptocurrencies and exchange them at autonomous decentralized exchanges (DEX).
MetaMask is a widely used browser extension that supports the storage and exchange of Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens created on the basis of its blockchain, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Initially, the wallet was available as a plugin only, but in 2021, MetaMask developers released apps for iOS and Android devices.
The plugin is universal: you may simply store your cryptocurrency or interact with smart contracts of DeFi protocols, for example, Uniswap or Aave. In contrast to most other crypto wallets, MetaMask allows you to connect to internal websites easily. To do that, it is only required to accept the request in the extension.
In this guide, we will describe the process of creating an Ethereum wallet in the form of a browser plugin. Currently, MetaMask supports four browsers:
If you use another browser, you can still install and launch the wallet. But to avoid possible mistakes and experience the correct work of the wallet, it is highly suggested that you use recommended browsers.
To install MetaMask, go to the official website of the crypto wallet, click the download button, or you may install it from the Google Chrome or Firefox extension store right away. Once you have installed the extension, you can proceed to wallet creation.
Warning: crypto wallets may be subject to phishing attacks. In order to protect your assets, do not follow ads links that may contain a malicious website, and always make sure to check the domain. The genuine domain of the wallet is Metamask.io.
Once the installation has finished, the extension will launch automatically. On the home page of the wallet, you will see a welcome message. Click the button Start working to continue.
If you created and used an Ethereum wallet before and you have a seed phrase, you can import it. Simply enter a mnemonic phrase and set a password. Within this guide, we will describe the process of creating a wallet from scratch.
To create a new wallet, click the button Create the wallet. MetaMask will offer you to improve the user experience by anonymously collecting information about how you use the wallet. Depending on your choice, you may either agree or disagree. If you already agreed but changed your mind afterward, you can ban access to data collection in the settings later.
Recommendations on the creation of a reliable password:
If you struggle to think of a complex password, make use of online generators, such as Online Password Generator. Most up-to-date browsers support password managers that can generate and store them safely.
MetaMask is a non-custodial crypto wallet. It means that developers do not store private keys and other confidential information of users, and the responsibility for the storage and use of cryptocurrency is fully on you. If a password, seed, or private key is lost, nobody will be able to help you restore access to funds; thus, you will lose them forever.
A seed phrase or simply seed is a sequence of pseudo-random words to access the wallet. The sequences having 12 and 24 symbols are really common. Seed is also called a mnemonic password, recovery phrase, mnemonic phrase, or reserve phrase, and since June 2021, it has been called a secret recovery phrase in MetaMask wallet. The seed phrase is required if your device, at which you store the wallet, is stolen or lost or if you forget the password.
Important: do not ever pass or tell your seed phrase to anybody; otherwise, you will lose funds. Only attackers request this information. The safest way to store a mnemonic phrase on paper or a device created specifically to store seed. Do not use the wallet until you save a secret recovery phrase. If you accidentally skipped this step, return to write down the seed phrase.
When you are ready to write down the seed phrase, click Next.
MetaMask supports a 12-symbol seed phrase. It is hidden by default for security purposes. Do not take screenshots while writing down the mnemonic password as it may be compromised. Click the hidden area so that the seed is displayed, write it down observing the sequence, and then click Next.
Confirm the seed to make sure you have written down the phrase correctly.
Add words by clicking them in the same sequence as you did on the paper, then click Confirm.
If a message like this pops up, your wallet has been successfully created. Click Done to close the window and start using the wallet.
There are several methods to replenish the MetaMask wallet. If you are not sure how to use a crypto wallet yet, you may use a testnet, for instance, Ropsten, which allows working with fictitious coins. Many developers use this feature when creating and testing smart contracts.
Note: regardless of whether you are going to use Ethereum cryptocurrency or ERC-20 tokens, you will still need ETH to pay gas fees, without which it is impossible to make transactions.
The Ethereum mainnet is used by default. MetaMask supports several networks, but we are not going to dwell on that in detail. If you are an advanced Ethereum user, there is no sense to study all of that comprehensively – that will only get you confused.
If you want to get to know more about various Ethereum testnets available in MetaMask, check out these materials.
To choose another network, click the field highlighted red on the screenshot.
In the list that opened, pick the Ropsten testnet.
Important: we use Ropsten testnet only to introduce the basics and show how to replenish and use MetaMask wallet. To transfer real ETH coins, use only the mainnet. If you send some funds to the address of another network, you will lose the coins!
Let us now consider the methods to add funds to the MetaMask wallet.
Hover the cursor over the account name (Account 1 by default) and simply click it. The address will automatically be copied to the clipboard. Tell this address to receive coins or tokens.
Click three points located under the account icon in the top right corner of the screen and click Account details.
Scan QR code to get the address and send funds to it. In this section, you may also:
You may use special faucets to receive free coins in the Ropsten network in order to try out the wallet risk-free. Make use of any of these faucets:
Let us (as a test) receive free ETH on the example of faucet Faucet.dimensions.network. Go to the website, insert your wallet address, and click Send Ropsten ETH.
Note: sending may take some time – that is why test coins will appear in the wallet in a while. You can track the transaction status in the blockchain explorer Etherscan. Find the necessary address via search or simply follow the link from the wallet.
The funds have been added to the wallet. Try sending coins independently and get used to the interface. In the following section, we will tell you how to connect the wallet to decentralized apps and use them.
We will show how to use decentralized apps on the example of the most famous crypto exchange Uniswap. Let us try to exchange cryptocurrency and add crypto assets to the liquidity pool. Pay attention: not all apps support work with testnet Ropsten. If DApp supports Ropsten, we advise you to use this network first to find out how it works before using real assets. The full list of DApps can be found on the DappRadar website.
Go to the Uniswap main page, and in the top right corner, click Connect the wallet.
Choose the MetaMask wallet from the list and click it.
Choose the account to which you need to connect and click Next.
Note: in the MetaMask wallet, one can create an unlimited number of Ethereum addresses. It will be useful if you use cryptocurrency for various goals and several decentralized apps.
Click Connect to allow the wallet to interact with the Uniswap exchange.
The crypto wallet is connected to the interface of Uniswap. Let us try to execute an exchange.
To provide an example, let us exchange ETH to USDT. Choose a token you want to exchange ETH for and insert the sum in any field. The value in the second field will appear automatically. After that, click Exchange.
Confirm the exchange. To do it, you need to pay the fee (gas fee) and sign the transaction.
You may set the price and gas limit manually, but it is better to use recommended values so that miners can confirm the transaction with the optimal speed. If you reduce the value greatly, the confirmation may take up to several hours. Click Confirm to continue.
The transaction has been sent.
After miners have added the transaction to the blockchain, a notification like this will appear:
The exchange is successful. The ETH sum in the wallet has decreased, but purchased tokens are not displayed yet. The thing is that the MetaMask wallet shows only Ethereum balance by default. To display the token, you need to add it manually. To do it, click Add a token on the main page of MetaMask.
Popular tokens, such as Tether (USDT), Uniswap (UNI), 1inch (1INCH), and others, can be easily added by simply picking them from the list. But in some cases, it is required to add the token manually. Enter the contract address on which the token is released. The other data will be added automatically. After that, click Next.
Note: you can find the contract address on the token page. To do that, go to Etherscan, find the Tokens tab, choose the necessary token, and click it.
Next, copy the contract’s address and insert it in the appropriate field in the MetaMask wallet when adding the required token.
To complete the procedure, click Add tokens.
USDT tokens are displayed in the wallet. Now let us add ETH and USDT to the liquidity pool.
Pools provide an opportunity to get income serving as a liquidity supplier for exchanges at the exchange. Users only provide liquidity, while the protocol of automated market maker – in this case, Uniswap – regulates the quotation.
In order to add assets to the pool of liquidity, go to the Pools tab firstly, then click + New position.
Choose the pair for ETH cryptocurrency (in our case, USDT).
Set the necessary parameters for the ETH-USDT pair:
Note: if you specify the wrong range, Uniswap will show you the following message:
If you are adding assets to the pool for the first time, you will need to approve the token. Once you have set all the parameters, click Approve USDT.
Confirm the transaction. Wait until it is transmitted to the network.
USDT is approved. Now add the pair to the liquidity pool. Click Preview and Add button.
And confirm the transaction.
As soon as the transaction is confirmed, your active pool of liquidity will be displayed in the Pools tab. Always make sure that some ETH coins are left in your wallet balance to pay the transactions!
New accounts (addresses) may be required in the future to use coins and tokens for various purposes. For example, you may create a personal account and the account for business. To create a new account, click the wallet icon in the top right corner of the screen and choose Create the account in the opened list.
Come up with the name for your new account and click Create.
Done. Now you can easily switch between the accounts and choose the one that you need.
The mobile version of the app is virtually identical to the browser plugin except for one thing: the app has a built-in DApps explorer (Web 3.0 Browser). In other words, the iOS and Android app allows you to interact with DeFi apps right in the wallet, which eliminates the risks of phishing that websites are exposed to. Besides, all the necessary DApps are in one place and are always handy for quick access.
Despite a big number of advantages, the crypto wallet has one significant drawback: all online wallets are vulnerable to phishing and are less secure than mobile and cold wallets, the attack vector surface of which is smaller. That is why it is safer to use MetaMask combined with hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger.
There are many cases of thefts from the MetaMask wallet related to users’ negligence. One victim stated that the attacker managed to steal the funds as he had received the wallet’s private key from the encrypted cookies file, but this information has not been confirmed yet.
You have been acquainted with the MetaMask interface and now can store the coins on your own as well as make transactions: send and receive coins, exchange them at the exchange, and add to liquidity pools. The mechanics may differ at various platforms – that is why you will require some experience before you get how to work with DeFi. If you think you may make a mistake, use a testnet (Ropsten or any other one) for making transactions, and when you are confident in your abilities, use real assets.
Despite a simple interface that newbies can master easily, the MetaMask wallet has powerful functionality and can interact with any Ethereum apps.