How to use MetaMask
MetaMask will allow you to connect to decentralized applications (DApps) directly from your browser (or through a mobile app). You can make transactions without intermediaries and play various games with fully transparent source code (so you’ll be sure you haven’t been scammed).
Check out the guide to get started with the extension!
The creation of Ethereum marked the promise of the distributed Internet – the long-awaited Web 3.0. It is a space characterized by the absence of single points of failure, true data ownership, and the presence of decentralized applications (DApps).The infrastructure under construction is steadily coming together with a focus on decentralized finance (DeFi) and interaction protocols that aim to connect different blockchains. It is now possible to exchange tokens and cryptocurrencies, take cryptocurrency loans and even use Bitcoin on the Ethereum network.For many Ethereum network enthusiasts, MetaMask is the ideal wallet. Unlike smartphone or desktop software, the wallet is available as a browser extension in which users interact directly with supported web pages. This article will explain how MetaMask works and how to get started with it.
What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is an open-source Ethereum wallet that supports all kinds of Ethereum-based tokens (such as ERC-20 compliant tokens and non-interchangeable tokens, also known as NFT). In addition, you can receive them from other users of the network or buy/exchange them using the built-in integration with Coinbase and ShapeShift.A distinctive feature of MetaMask is that the extension can interact with other websites. When using other wallets, you need to copy and paste the address for payment or scan the QR code on a separate device. With the MetaMask extension, the website will simply send a request to the wallet and you will be prompted to accept or reject the transaction.MetaMask can serve as an ordinary cryptocurrency wallet, but its main advantage is the seamless interaction with smart contracts and decentralized applications. Let’s find out how to create a wallet.
MetaMask Wallet can be installed in Google Chrome, Firefox and Brave browsers. It’s also available for iOS and Android, but we won’t dwell on that now. In this guide, we will use Firefox, but no matter which browser you use, the steps will be about the same.Go to theofficial download page ofmetamask.io. Select your browser, then you will be redirected to the Chrome online store or the Firefox add-ons site. Click the button to install the extension. You may need to grant it some permissions before launching it. Make sure you’re comfortable with the browser access requirements – if so, go ahead.
Creating a wallet
You should see a welcome message
Make a backup copy of the seed phrase!
This point is so important that it deserves a separate subheading. MetaMask is a non-custodial service, which means that no one else can access your funds, not even the MetaMask developers. You could say that your tokens exist in an encrypted browser vault that is password protected. This means that if your computer is lost, stolen, or destroyed, you won’t be able to recover your wallet. Your private keys will be lost forever in the void of cyberspace.That’s why it’s crucial to write down a backup phrase. This is the only way to restore your account if something happens. We recommend that you write down the words and keep them in two or three different places. You don’t have to put them in a fireproof safe and bury them in the middle of the woods, but it’s not unnecessary.
To view the phrase, click on the gray box.In case you have proceeded to the next page and have not completed the previous step, the program will ask you to confirm the phrase. If you didn’t save the phrase, click “Back” and write it down!Confirm the phrase and go to the next step. Click “All done” and you will see the wallet interface.
The boring part is over, now let’s get some money (on the test network).
Replenishing the wallet
In this tutorial we will use the Ropsten test network. This network functions much like the real Ethereum network, but its coins have no value. They come in handy when you are developing contracts and want to make sure there are no vulnerabilities in them that would allow attackers to transfer $50 million to themselves. Every step we perform on this network can be replicated on a real device (unfortunately, except for the part where we get free ether).To connect to the Ropsten Test Network, click Main Ethereum Network in the upper right corner and select Ropsten Test Network.
Ethereum has many test networks. You can learn about their differences from this comparison. To get test funds to play, we will use a faucet. To get the funds go to this page in a browser with MetaMask installed.
Yay! Free money!You can click on the little fox icon (as in the GIF image above) at any time to display a pop-up window with your MetaMask account information. Hover over Account 1 and click to copy your Ethereum address to the clipboard. Paste it into the form and click “Send me test ether.”
Usually, Ethereum transactions are confirmed pretty quickly, but it may take some time before 1 ETH hits your wallet. You can check the receipt of assets by clicking on the fox in your dashboard.Once the funds are transferred, we can start working with DApps.
Accessing the decentralized network
Since we’re on a test network, we don’t have as many choices of apps to interact with. A full list of decentralized apps on the main network can be found at State of the DApps or Dappradar. You can play games, buy unique assets or bet on prediction markets.We will use the DApp that we demonstrated earlier. Uniswap is a decentralized exchange (DEX) where you can place trades without relying on intermediaries. The mechanisms behind it are pretty neat – you can read about them in What Uniswap is and how it works.You can access Uniswap here. In the upper right corner you should see a request to “Connect to Wallet”. This prompt will appear on all MetaMask-compatible sites, as the extension does not automatically connect for security reasons. Click on it, and you will be prompted to select a wallet. If you have not been redirected to another page, that wallet will be MetaMask.
When the site first tries to connect, a MetaMask dialog box will appear asking you to confirm the action. Here you can select an account (we only have one for now, so leave it as it is), and then see what permissions you’re going to grant the site. In this case, as in many others, the site asks for your account’s wallet address information.
MetaMask and Privacy
It’s important to keep in mind what information you give sites. If a site knows your address, it can track all incoming and outgoing ether and token transactions. Moreover, an address on the Ethereum network can be matched with your IP address.Some people prefer to separate their addresses to prevent any overlap, while others don’t care about these risks (after all, blockchain is public). The level of privacy you want to achieve is ultimately up to you. A general rule of thumb: don’t give access to your data to sites you don’t trust.
Exchanging ETH for DAI
It’s time to make our first exchange. We’ll do an exchange with the stabelcoin DAI, the ERC-20 token. However, like our ether, this DAI has no real value. Click “Select Token,” add the default Uniswap list, and then click “DAI.” Alternatively, you can choose WETH(wrapped ether).Now all that’s left is to enter the amount of ETH we want to exchange. Once entered, you will see the amount of DAI you should receive. Done! Click “Swap.”
Complete the exchange with MetaMask.
Then you will be prompted again to confirm the action with MetaMask. In this case, you need to confirm the transaction before you create it. When you do this on the main network, make sure the commission is acceptable to you, as the amount may be high. The commission depends on the current state of the network.
After that we have to wait for the transaction to be confirmed.➟ Want to start using cryptocurrency? Buy ETH on Binance!
Where are my tokens stored?
So, your ether is gone, but new tokens don’t show up in your account. Don’t panic – you need to add them manually.If they are popular tokens, select “Add Token” and search by name or ticker. If you exchanged less popular (or those in the test network), you need to manually add the contract address – an identifier that tells MetaMask where to look for our balance.
- Open the wallet by clicking on the extension.
- Click on the three dots in the top bar.
- Select “Look at Etherscan. “
- Under “Overview,” click on the “Token” drop-down list and select DAI.
- Under “Profile Summary,” you should see the contract address. Copy the address by hovering over it.
- Go back to MetaMask and click “Add Token”.
- Click on the “Custom Token” tab.
- Paste the copied address into the “Token Contract Address” form.
- The remaining fields should be filled in automatically. Click “Next”, then “Add tokens”.
- Return to the home screen to view your full balance.
Congratulations! You’ve just used your first DApp, securely exchanging ether for DAI. Everything you’ve learned can now be done on the real network. When you’re ready to use the main network applications, don’t forget to switch from Ropsten to the main network.
What else do I need to know about MetaMask?
There are other useful features in MetaMask that we haven’t talked about here. You can connect a hardware wallet (both Trezor and Ledger are supported), create a contact list, and, of course, receive and send funds as you would with a regular wallet. You can customize the extension to suit your needs.In addition, the usual security principles apply: MetaMask is a hot wallet, which means it runs on a device connected to the Internet. This exposes you to more risk than using a cold wallet, which is offline in order to minimize the attack vector surface.
Finally, when using MetaMask, you should be aware of which sites you are providing access to.
The MetaMask app for Android/iPhone is a convenient solution for interacting with Web3 applications inside your smartphone. The app, which has much of the same functionality as the extension, has a built-in DApp browser, so you can access various decentralized apps with a single tap.
The app browser inside MetaMask.
Working within the app is very similar to working with the browser extension. You can directly transfer ether or tokens from your wallet or even interact with Uniswap as shown above
Asking the app for confirmation when connecting to PoolTogether.