5 min read
MetaMask is an Ethereum based web browser extension compatible with Google Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Opera and Vivaldi, whose purpose is to facilitate access to decentralized applications (Ðapp), being quite tedious and difficult to use for users.
In other words, MetaMask acts as a wallet that allows web applications to easily communicate with the Ethereum blockchain.
How does Metamask work?
As we have advanced in the previous paragraph, MetaMask allows Dapps to communicate with the Ethereum blockchain in an easy way.
How does it achieve this? Well, by acting as a wallet where users can store not only cryptographic tokens but also Ethereum-related data (public addresses, private keys) like any other wallet. In addition MetaMask allows you to interact with websites running Ethereum based applications and smart contracts, turning your web browser into an Ethereum browser.
In other words, MetaMask allows users to do anything Ethereum related by simply running a browser extension and without users having to run all the Ethereum software, as MetaMask runs it for them on their servers.
So how does MetaMask work?
MetaMask is a browser extension or plugin that works as an Ethereum wallet and installs like any normal add-on.
To use it, you will need a Chromium based browser such as Google Chrome, Brave or Firefox.
Once you have downloaded and installed the Metamask extension compatible with your browser, you will need to create a new vault, set up a password and save the security seed (or 12-word security phrase) that allows you to restore the wallet on another device or recover your wallet if you lose its password.
Once you have set up your MetaMask wallet, you can start using it to:
- Receive and send Ether or other ERC-20 tokens. To send tokens simply click “Send” and enter the recipient’s public address, making sure you have enough tokens to send and the transaction fee.
- Connect to Ethereum based Dapps and spend your tokens in games, gamble and exchange them on decentralized exchanges.
- Buy tokens. The purchase process is very simple. You just need to click “Buy” in the MetaMask interface and select one of the integrated exchanges (ShapeShift or Coinbase).
- Explore DApps on Ethereum platforms without running a full Ethereum node.
ADVANTAGES OF METAMASK
If after having discovered the main features of MetaMask, you are still wondering what are its advantages, below you will find a list of the main benefits of this interesting tool.
- It is an open source software and, therefore, has the support of a large community that contributes to its development.
- The MetaMask wallet uses hierarchical deterministic configurations that help users back up their accounts.
- It has an intuitive user interface.
- It allows you to save space as users do not have to download run a full Ethereum node.
- It has excellent customer support.
Disadvantages of METAMASK
Like any technology, MetaMask also has some small disadvantages that you will find below.
- Instead of being a complete node, MetaMask relies on external nodes that sometimes have downtime that can cause the application to stop working.
- While MetaMask does not have access to your information, the browser you are using has access, which could compromise privacy.
- MetaMask is limited only to interact with the indicated smart contracts and Dapps. It cannot do much more, such as redoing or writing a new smart contract.
As you have seen, MetaMask has provided an easy access point to the decentralized Dapps space and, given the growing number of users using these apps, it is a great tool for the public interested in decentralized finance (DeFi).
Along with the development of new services in the Dapps ecosystem, the number of users is increasing exponentially, so much so that, last February 2020, it was announced with a tweet that MetaMask had already reached 1,000,000 users who had installed the extension on Google Chrome.
This major milestone has seen MetaMask become one of the most in demand cryptocurrency extensions for ERC-20 token holders and has been a sign that Ethereum adoption is increasingly accelerating.
In terms of new developments, last September 2020, MetaMask launched MetaMask Mobile, its first smartphone app, available for Android and iPhone.
This App allows access to MetaMask, providing the same functionalities as the desktop version, so that users can manage digital assets and access Dapps such as Uniswap and Compound from their own cell phone.
With the expansion into the mobile market, the number of MetaMask users interested in using DeFi products could skyrocket even further in the coming months.