When you go shopping in the mall, you bring a wallet, right? The same goes for DeFi — you need a wallet to be able to shop. Buying crypto, minting NFTs, or trading — all require a wallet where all your tokens could be stored.
Many different companies are offering DeFi wallets, but by far the best and most popular of them is MetaMask. What is MetaMask and why is it better?
|What is a Crypto Wallet?|
The main purpose of a DeFi wallet is to hold all your tokens in one place. Some DeFi wallets are crypto wallets — only store cryptocurrency, while others can also store your NFTs. Those wallets are sometimes referred to as NFT wallets.
DeFi wallets don't contain your NFTs or crypto. They don't work like physical wallets. Instead, they provide you with a private key to an address on the blockchain where your assets are stored. The key also allows you to authorize transactions.
What is MetaMask?
If you're not new to the crypto scene, you probably have already heard about MetaMask since it's the most popular crypto wallet out there. If you haven't — no worries, that's what this article is for.
First things first, what is MetaMask?
MetaMask is a browser extension crypto wallet, making it easy to access DeFi platforms. All it takes is just a couple of clicks. It's an easy-to-use, secure, and popular crypto wallet, meaning it is perfect for newbies.
The Advantages of Using MetaMask
The popularity of MetaMask doesn't come from nothing — some traits make MetaMask superior to others.
The wallet is highly uncomplicated to use — you just need to install one plug-in to access every decentralized application there is. The registration process is very simple too, you don't even need an email address. All it takes is setting up a password and securing the secret recovery phrase.
What makes it even better — since MetaMask is so popular, most "how-to" guides use it as an example.
The wallet's interface is super convenient — built-in in your browser, making it easy to access in just seconds.
This wallet is a browser plugin, meaning that you won't need to use computer space to install additional wallet software.
The private keys to access the wallet will always be in your possession, no third party has access to them. All the information is encrypted too, meaning that nobody can get their hands on it.
Built-in Crypto Store
What makes MetaMask so unique is the built-in store to buy Ethereum-based crypto tokens.
MetaMask stores all your information internally. So, in case you switch computers or get locked out, you can restore your wallet with a secret recovery phrase.
How Does MetaMask Compare to its Competitors?
Now, let’s compare MetaMask with two of the other top DeFi wallets — Coinbase and Trust Wallet. For easier understanding, let’s refer to the following table.
TrustWallet vs MetaMask vs Coinbase Wallet
|Versions||Browser and mobile||Desktop, browser, and mobile||Mobile-only|
|Supported blockchains||Ethereum blockchain and any Ethereum-compatible network like Polygon, Arbitrum, and Optimism||Ethereum, Polygon, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Stellar Lumens, and Ripple network||Ethereum, Bitcoin, Binance, Polygon, and Ripple|
|Supported currencies||All Ethereum-based tokens||500+ different currencies||Bitcoin, BNB, and Ethereum|
|Integration||300+ platforms||92 platforms||61 platforms|
|Built-in dApp browser||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Built-in swap feature||Yes||Yes||Yes|
While at the first glance MetaMask doesn’t seem to particularly stand out, some traits make MetaMask superior to other wallets.
One of the most important things for a DeFi wallet is how compatible the wallet is with DeFi platforms. As you can see, MetaMask comes first in this category — it is supported on more than 300 platforms while the other two don’t even reach a hundred.
Another trait that makes MetaMask a standout option — it is an open-source wallet while the other two are closed-source. This means that all MetaMask codes can be checked by the community for any vulnerabilities. Closed-source wallets only allow users to contact customer support in case of any concerns.
And lastly, MetaMask uses a hard drive for user private key protection, while other wallets, including Coinbase, only use 2-factor authentication and one-time passwords.
How to Set Up MetaMask?
Although it might seem scary at first, MetaMask is very newbie-friendly and makes the setting up process fairly simple. It will only take a couple of minutes.
Let's take this step-by-step:
Step 1. First, open up your browser of choice — Chrome, Firefox, and even Opera will do. If you don't want your wallet on a computer, you can do this on the phone — MetaMask supports both iOS and Android.
Step 2. To set up MetaMask, you first need to install the wallet extension. This is not too complicated — you can either go to https://metamask.io/, or you can use a browser store and search for MetaMask Extension there.
The installation process doesn't vary that much between browsers — you install it and add it to the browser.
Step 3. After you have MetaMask installed, it's time to create your account. To do so, go to MetaMask (click on the MetaMask icon on your browser) and create a password.
Keep in mind, the password should be strong and complicated enough — you will store your precious tokens there. So no ABCDEs, 1234s, or puppy names on your password, deal? And, DON'T EVER SHARE YOUR PASSWORD. (Duh.)
Step 5. Now that you did all the boring stuff — it's time to play! Don't get confused, actually, this is an extremely important step — storing and confirming your seed phrase. However, in a way it's fun — the process kinda reminds Duolingo.
In this step, you first have to reveal your seed phrase — a jumble of 12 words that will act as an access key to make transactions with your wallet. To reveal the phrase, click on the "Click here to reveal secret words".
Now you should store the phrase somewhere — you will be needing it every time you want to do something with your wallet. Besides, it is the only way to recover your funds if you lost your device. So, make sure to write the phrase down on a piece of paper or someplace else where it is safe and only you have access.
Be careful — make sure you write the phrase down in the same order it was shown to you.
After you have your seed phrase stored, go to the next step and confirm it. This is the fun part I talked about — you will be shown a jumble of words that also include the words from your seed phrase. Click on each word in the order of your seed phrase.
After you've entered the seed phrase in the correct order, click on "Confirm".
Step 6. Congrats! You are the owner of a MetaMask wallet. Now can store your funds there, make transactions, or buy coins.
How to Use MetaMask?
Using MetaMask is also fairly simple. You can always access your wallet by clicking on the icon in the top right corner of your browser.
To start using MetaMask, one key element is always important — knowing your public address. Your wallet's public address is necessary to receive funds. You can think of it as a bank account number, or home address — to get something, you should first let people know where to send it.
To get your public wallet address: Click on the MetaMask icon (top right corner of the browser) and then copy the address by clicking on the "Account 1" button.
To fund the wallet: Simply click on the "Buy" button. You will be taken to a window where you can choose how you want to buy your crypto — using a debit card or exchanging it for other cryptocurrencies you have in your wallet.
To send crypto: Click on "Send", input the public wallet address of a person you want to send the crypto to, and specify the amount you want to send. Please note — you should also include the amount of the transaction gas fee.
To swap currencies: Click on "Swap" — this way you can trade Ether for any other Ethereum-based token.
To buy on the NFT marketplace: With most platforms, there will be a "Connect Wallet" button — simply click on it and sign in to your wallet.
How to Protect Your Crypto Wallet?
If you’re thinking of dipping your toes into crypto, you should be aware of additional steps to protect your crypto wallet. Imagine: you are now the owner of the most expensive NFT there is, the Merge, which is worth $91.8m. You would take every precautionary step so your NFT wouldn't get stolen, wouldn't you?
To keep your DeFi wallet as safe as possible, keep in mind the following tips:
# Make sure you only use official websites and app stores to download NFT apps and wallets. And, do your research so that you don't download any scammy NFT apps.
# Backup your private key in a secure offline location.
# Don't enter your seed phrase on any website after the setup.
# Save the NFT apps on your browser so you don't accidentally go into phishing websites.
# If you use a wallet browser extension, always sign out before shutting down your computer.
# Don't use public computers or internet access to engage with NFTs. If you must use a public computer, make sure you erase all data and sign out.
# If you're using MetaMask, always use it as the only tab in your browser.
# It’s best to keep a separate browser for your wallet.
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