MetaMask: What Is It and What Does It Do? (+ VIDEO)
What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is a browser extension that works like an Ethereum wallet. MetaMask makes it possible for users to sign smart contracts and run Ethereum dApps (distributed applications) in their browsers, without running an Ethereum node to full capacity.
MetaMask lets users store Ethereum data such as public addresses and private keys just like any other wallet. Additionally, it enables websites that run on Ethereum-based apps and smart contracts to communicate with the Ethereum blockchain. It basically transforms your browser into an Ethereum-enabled one.
The extension allows users to perform Ethereum-related tasks such as engaging with smart contracts or Ethereum-based web apps, and even send, receive or store Ether. The advantage is that users do not have to run all the Ethereum software themselves as the browser extension runs it for them.
How to install and use MetaMask
- Go to metamask.io and click “GET CHROME EXTENSION” (or the one specific for your particular type of browser – Firefox and Opera also supported). Follow the instructions.
- A default account with an associated public Ethereum address will be generated on the Main Network. You can add accounts by clicking the button on the top right corner of MetaMask’s UI. Each account has its own
- Send Ether to MetaMask. Now, go to your service wallet account and send it to the MetaMask account address initially created. To add your public address to your MetaMask vault, click the “…” button and select the “copy address to clipboard” option. This will copy your address to your computer’s clipboard so that you can later paste it.
- Go to the site you wish to use. Each site intended to work with Ethereum will perform a different function.
- After you sign in, a popup screen will appear, and your sign in procedure will be approved (basically, each step after this one will be confirmed via MetaMask).
- Click the “sign in” button, and, subsequent to logging in, you should be able to purchase items online by using your Ether. This will work just like any other purchase made on most websites: you just click the product, click the “buy now” button, and confirm the transaction. The only difference will be that you will receive your final confirmation via MetaMask.
- Wait a few minutes as your transaction is being recorded on the blockchain.
- Once the transaction is confirmed, the token you just bought will be associated with your address. For example, if you purchased a cryptocurrency unit, your address will be associated with a balance of a certain ERC20 token. If you purchased some other type of non-standardized Ethereum-based crypto item, your address will reflect this accordingly. Basically, after your transaction gets recorded on the blockchain, you will own the item you have just purchased.
Notes: You will be required to pay “gas” (an execution fee associated with every operation made on the Ethereum blockchain) to purchase items with Ether. As a result, you will need more Ether in your wallet than the sum you wish to spend.
The first time you create your MetaMask password, it will generate a “vault” or “account vault.” This vault has the role of keeping your accounts securely stored. Each account has both an associated public address and a private key. These represent typical Ethereum addresses that help you transfer currency to other wallets.
We hope that this guide helped you learn more about MetaMask and what it does, and offered some valuable insight on how to get started with this browser extension.