MetaMask is a popular cryptocurrency wallet that supports a broad range of Ethereum-based tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on supported blockchains. While experienced crypto investors may appreciate the speed and simplicity of the wallet, new investors may find it difficult to navigate. In addition, the wallet does not support Bitcoin, making it a turn-off for investors whose primary investment is Bitcoin.
While all leading cryptocurrency wallets provide a high level of security for safekeeping your crypto assets, improper security practices on behalf of the user can lead to a complete loss of funds. Crypto enthusiasts should take care to store the bulk of their assets meant for trading on exchanges using cold storage methods, and never share your wallet’s login details, recovery phrase, or private keys with anyone.
Type of Wallet Software; available as a mobile app for Android and iOS and a web browser extension Price Free Fees Network fees to send and swap assets; no fee to receive assets Number of Cryptocurrencies Supported Supports a wide range of Ethereum-based tokens such as Ether (ETH), USD Coin (USDC), Tether (USDT), etc. Bitcoin and Ethereum Support Only Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens are supported Earn (Staking/Rewards) Yes, users can receive rewards on staking, as well as other incentives like airdrops Customer Service No 24/7 live customer support; users can get help via the help page, email, ticket system, and community board In-App Features Users can buy, stake, swap, and convert assets within the wallet Hardware Compatible Yes (examples include Trezo and Ledger) SPV or Full Node Simplified Payment Version (SVP) Mobile App Yes (Android and iOS)
Security, anonymity, and decentralization are some of the most attractive features in the crypto industry and MetaMask does not fail to exhibit these traits. Users can download the wallet software or add it as a browser extension and install it without disclosing identifying data such as name, email, social security number, and address.2 Decentralization is a valuable feature that ensures transactions on the blockchain are visible to connected nodes. It also prevents a single entity from having access to the entire wallet system. This is another feature that is quite different from that of the bankrupt FTX protocol, where a particular entity gained unauthorized access to the central system, stealing around $600 million in crypto from the protocol.3
Besides supporting cryptocurrencies, MetaMask is a versatile product in the marketplace, supporting tokens on the ERC-20 protocol, and storing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which can be connected with marketplaces such as OpenSea.2 The wallet also supports multiple blockchains including the Build and Build (BNB) chain, Polygon, Avalanche, and more.
Despite having over 30 million active monthly users, there are some downsides.4 The wallet does not support Bitcoin, the largest digital asset based on market capitalization. Being technical, with no live customer support, the wallet may not be suitable for new crypto investors.
MetaMask’s approach to security is through anonymity and entrusting private keys to users. Since the wallet does not keep users’ personal information, accounts are protected by a user-generated password during installation and setup, or biometric data on mobile devices. The wallet can be recovered via a 12-word mnemonic phrase as the wallet doesn’t keep custody of private keys. It is, therefore, necessary to keep this seed phrase safe as it will be essential if the device gets damaged or stolen.2
MetaMask has just one way of recovering a single wallet across multiple devices. This makes the wallet susceptible to hacks and malware. Notable among these are Banker Trojan, social engineering attacks, and other crypto scams. MetaMask wallet users can be attacked with phishing scams that prompt them to reveal their seed phrases on suspicious websites, or by downloading and installing a fake version of the wallet extension which hackers can leverage to steal users’ assets after gaining control of the wallet.
One of MetaMask’s priorities is anonymity. Unlike centralized crypto exchanges that require users to meet Know Your Client (KYC) requirements, this wallet doesn’t require users to submit personal information. However, the wallet warns that transactions are not solely anonymous, but classifies exchanges as pseudonymous. Since transactions are recorded on the public blockchain, the wallet ID acts as a pseudonym for the user.
Given that MetaMask does not support Bitcoin, CoinJoin transactions are not enabled. A CoinJoin is a process in which different users mix their coins together before sending them to recipients, ensuring that the senders and recipients remain anonymous.
Users can then proceed to set up their eight-character password and their 12-word seed phrase will be presented. Users must keep these safe because should they go missing, access to the wallet will be lost permanently. Once the seed phrase is confirmed, users can carry out transactions such as send, buy, swap, and stake seamlessly.
MetaMask functions as an in-browser application for desktop or laptop computers, as well as a smartphone app available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The wallet can be seamlessly integrated with various crypto websites such as OpenSea, Uniswap, and QuickSwap.