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What is MetaMask?
MetaMask (also known as Meta Mask) is a wallet browser extension, most widely used on Chrome. It requires no login, so it does not store your private keys on a server, instead, they are kept in Chrome, with password protection. Their centralized validation system enables usage without prior download of a blockchain, but getting the full feature list of a wallet. It enables the user to interact with Ethereum websites, and running Ethereum dApps right in the browser, without utilization of a full Ethereum node.
The creators of the MetaMask Wallet say that their mission is to make Ethereum as easy to use for as many people as possible!
- The team behind MetaMask is created by 7 people and started with Kumavis, Dan Finlay, Thomas Huang, Frankie Pangilinan, Kevin Serrano, James Moreau, and Christian Jeria.
- The project initially started back in July 2016 by Aaron Davis and Dan Finlay.
- The extension is available worldwide in Chrome and Firefox.
MetaMask’s Key Features
There are three key benefits of using MetaMask Wallet:
- Due to the fact that your key remains stored in MetaMask, you are not sustainable to phishing sites, and they will not be able to steal it.
- It is by far the easiest way to set up a wallet. Also, setting it up is free with a click of a button.
- They have a blacklist of malicious sites and MetaMask will block you from entering such website.
How Does MetaMask work?
After the successful installation, you will create your online vault, which basically is your wallet. You will be prompted to save a few seed words, which will be used to regenerate your wallet if needed. As per the instructions, STORE the seed words somewhere safe! Pretty standard security prompts for other security features on other wallets. MetaMask is a pretty safe wallet, but as the developers recommend, do NOT store large amounts of Ethereum in the wallet, due to the fact that MetaMask is still being in development.
Is MetaMask Easy to use?
After the initial set up, you will be taken to your wallet. The wallet looks clean, with a user-friendly, colorful user-Interface. There are a few options so there like: viewing the public key, copying your wallet address to the clipboard, export your private keys, nickname change, switching accounts and picking your current network, whether it be the Main Ethereum Network or the Modern Test Network.
The default homepage will be your transactions, where you will track everything that goes through your Meta Mask wallet. MetaMask’s main advantage is the ease of sending Ethereum to other addresses. Another security prompt here is the protection against illegitimate transactions. Before executing a transaction the system will notify you of the transaction and confirmation of the relevant details. This will keep you safe from mistakes and unwanted transactions.
The fees to use MetaMask Wallet will vary depending on your gas price. The default price will hover around 21 GWEI, but you can lower the GWEI – the Gas price to 2 instead of 21 and pay 10x less for the transaction to go through. The idea is not to play around with the Gas volume, but with the Gas Price. If you go too low Gas volume it will consume your gas, but the transaction will fail. Instead, lower the Gas price to ~2 GWEI, which will 10x lower your transaction fee.
Is MetaMask safe?
MetaMask is indeed a “hot” wallet, due to the fact that is used online, which is considered the less secure way to store coins. However, MetaMask will encrypt your password and seed phrase, so an attacker that has taken over your computer will need to have your MetaMask unlocked in order to exploit it. The Developers said that they are looking to implement hardware or so-called “cold” wallet which will increase the security of the wallet itself.
- Their source-code is published on GitHub, so it is pretty safe to say that the software has no known bugs, as those would come up from the community on GitHub.
- Their website uses HTTPS safety, so it is safe to say it is a reliable website.
- A couple of concerns are that they have neither Two Factor Authentication nor Multi-Signature.
Their support seems to be responsive and attentive. As far as issues reported, they have had 17 mysterious reports of wrong seed phrases, for backing up the wallet, and they recommend trying out the code as soon as the user gets it. Also, their e-mail response time is above the industry’s average.
How to use METAMASK?
Using MetaMask’s Wallet is as simple as it gets. There are a few steps that can be easily followed along and you will be good to go!
- Finding the right extension on Google Chrome’s store. Make sure that you are installing the correct extension, as there appear to be fake ones. The correct Extension is called MetaMask, and it is offered by metamask.io
- Install the extension by clicking – Add to Chrome.
- Read Terms of Service and if you agree with them Accept the terms of service.
- You are prompted to write a password which will protect your key via encryption. This is an added layer of security. Your password should be strong and stored safely. Don’t use Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, Google Drive to store your password, write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet as it is pretty much cash!
- The next step is taking note of the 12 words that are shown on the interface. This is your PRIVATE KEY, store it safely and have at least two physical copies. It CANNOT be recovered by anyone, and you need this to access your Ethereum. Store it physically as you will be lost if your computer dies, your OS crashes, you uninstall Chrome or the MetaMask extension.
- Next step is to transfer your funds. Get your MetaMask address, insert it in the “To Address” field, and test this out with a small amount.
These are all the steps that are needed to start your MetaMask wallet and load it!
MetaMask is one “hot” online wallet, with decent security, easy to use and accessible. It is a browser extension which will allow you to access Ethereum decentralized apps, without the utilization of a full Ethereum node. It is easy to setup and to use the wallet for smaller amounts of Ethereum. It is not wise to store a lot of coins in an online wallet. The software (the source-code) used by MetaMask Wallet is publicly viewable on GitHub, so the bugs are found and sorted out fast due to the huge community.
The feedback from the users is fairly positive, so it is safe to say that this is a reliable wallet even for beginners. Learning how Gas and GWEI works is essential to lower your fees and making sure your transactions go through.
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