MetaMask Wallet Explained: What It Is and How to Use It

We like MetaMask for its simplicity, privacy, and wide compatibility. Users may not like the wallet if they prefer Bitcoin or custodial wallets.

  • September 27, 2022
  • 11 Min Read

Our take on MetaMask

4.8
DeFi Rate Rating

The bottom line:

MetaMask is a simple-to-use hot wallet that allows users to trade on the Ethereum blockchain. Its simplicity will appeal to newer crypto users who want to connect to various decentralized finance apps (dApps) through the MetaMask browser extension. MetaMask doesn’t collect any personal data, allowing users to participate in crypto trading with privacy and anonymity. On the other hand, MetaMask doesn’t work with Bitcoin and has no two-factor authentication (2FA) security feature.

MetaMask

MetaMask
Learn More

On MetaMask's website

Browser Plugin

Chrome, Firefox

Mobile App

Android, iOS

Nft Support

Yes

Supported Blockchains

ETH

MetaMask has over 30 million users who enjoy its digital wallet service. Its popularity can be credited to the wallet’s simplicity and privacy; users don’t even need to enter an email address to get started. You can also create multiple wallet addresses in one app with MetaMask and integrate with several popular hardware wallets.

Users will need to remember their password and a 12-word secret recovery phrase to access their account. Because MetaMask is non-custodial, there is no 2FA or account recovery assistance from MetaMask.

Key takeaways

  • MetaMask is a free, simple-to-use browser extension hot wallet for the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Users can integrate MetaMask with hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger, and also connect to various dApps in the Ethereum ecosystem.
  • MetaMask is primarily an Ethereum wallet and doesn’t support Bitcoin.

What is MetaMask?

Supported NetworksNFT Support?Ability to Swap Cryptos?Ability to Purchase Crypto with Fiat?Browsers Supported?Mobile App Available?
MetaMaskEthereum, Binance, Fantom, PolygonYesYesYesChrome, FirefoxAndroid, iOS

MetaMask is an Ethereum hot wallet that you can access as a browser extension or mobile app. You can store and transact Ethereum and other ERC-20 tokens like USD Coin and Dai. MetaMask also supports the Binance BNB blockchain, Avalanche, Polygon, and a variety of other test networks.

The wallet allows users to interact with a variety of dApps and NFT marketplaces, allowing you to buy and store tokens and NFTs with MetaMask. For long-term “cold” storage, you can connect your MetaMask to a hardware wallet.

The wallet is super quick to set up, and you won’t be asked to provide any personal information. MetaMask is ideal for newer crypto users and those who wish for a simple, anonymous storage solution for their assets.

How does MetaMask work?

MetaMask is a crypto wallet built for the Ethereum blockchain that stores ERC-20, ERC-721, NFTs, and other ETH-based tokens. It operates as a browser plug-in and mobile app compatible with Android and iOS devices. You can store assets in the wallet on the Ethereum blockchain and connect to a large number of dApps, marketplaces, and exchanges. You can also conduct a variety of crypto swaps within the MetaMask platform.

Here’s what you should know about MetaMask’s core features:

Security

MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet, so users have full custody of their tokens and funds, and the wallet doesn’t store or collect any user data. MetaMask has had no notable security hacks, but it is possible to have your funds stolen if you don’t practice safe wallet habits like protecting your recovery keys or disconnecting the wallet from protocols when you’re done trading.

If you slip up and expose your wallet to phishing or scams, MetaMask will send you to Asset Reality, an asset recovery firm, to attempt to track and recover funds. Keep in mind that your data is encrypted on whatever device you use MetaMask on, so your security also depends on browsers, phones, and other devices.

Compatibility and dApps

MetaMask is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Brave browsers, as well as iOS and Android phones. It also connects with hardware wallets like Trezor and Ledger, so you can use cold storage to keep your funds safe.

Using MetaMask also gives access to dApps like Axie Infinity, Compound, OpenSea, Rarible, and more, so you can interact with the DeFi ecosystem. When you’re at the protocol or platform of your choice, find the “Connect Wallet” button, and you can select MetaMask, or simply click the MetaMask browser extension to get started. If you try to connect to a non-web3 site, you won’t get very far:

MetaMask can only connect to web3 sites. Otherwise, users receive this error.

Manually adjustable gas fees

Users can choose the ETH gas price they’d like to pay on a given transaction. That price will impact the speed at which the transaction is processed. MetaMask announced its new gas fee user interface for its Extension v10.10.0 update in August 2021, and it allows users to set default and standard gas preferences, as well as toggle this option on and off in advanced settings:

Toggle option for showing gas price and limit controls on MetaMask

Low-fee swaps

You can swap crypto within the MetaMask wallet as well as store, purchase, and send digital assets. To send ETH to your MetaMask wallet, simply copy the wallet address from the MetaMask extension or app and paste it into the receiving address field in your sending wallet. You may incur a gas fee for sending ETH to your MetaMask wallet, so if you plan to store ETH long-term, it may be better to buy it directly through MetaMask.

MetaMask Wallet

MetaMask pros and cons

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Can set up multiple accounts
  • Integrates with hardware wallets

Cons

  • Doesn’t support Bitcoin
  • No 2FA
  • Limited user support

MetaMask pros

There are a lot of perks to using MetaMask and plenty of reasons it has amassed so many users. MetaMask’s ease of use and integration options, for example, are worth highlighting.

Simple to use

MetaMask is extremely simple to use. This will appeal to experienced crypto users looking to add another wallet to their portfolio and crypto newbies who want a simple introduction.

Setting up MetaMask will take just a few minutes, and you don’t need to disclose any personal information (not even an email address.) The wallet’s browser extension also allows for easy integration with a wide variety of DeFi apps and marketplaces. You can also download the mobile app to manage your crypto on the go.

Can set up multiple accounts

Rather than having a variety of wallets for different purposes, MetaMask allows you to set up multiple accounts in your wallet. This can come in handy if, for example, you want to keep your NFT trading account separate from a business account.

Each account has a separate private key and public key, but you’ll use the same password and secret recovery phrase to log in. You can name each account and easily switch between them in MetaMask.

Integrates with hardware wallets

MetaMask is compatible with five hardware wallets: Trezor, Ledger, Lattice, Keystone, and AirGap Vault.

Hardware wallets are physical storage devices (like a hard drive) that allow you to store your digital currencies and assets offline. This is the most secure way to store crypto because hackers cannot access something that’s not connected to the internet.

MetaMask’s compatibility with hardware wallets means you can use the service while safely storing your long-term assets. Each wallet has its own steps for integrating with MetaMask.

MetaMask cons

MetaMask isn’t a perfect service and may not work for every user. There are a few drawbacks you should consider before signing up.

Doesn’t support Bitcoin

MetaMask is mainly an Ethereum wallet and therefore is not compatible with any assets or dApps on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Bitcoin is one of the most popular blockchains that many crypto users will interact with. If you sign up for MetaMask but wish to engage with the Bitcoin blockchain, you’ll need to sign up for another wallet service. The Coinbase mobile app, for example, is a crypto wallet that allows you to trade on both the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains. 

No 2FA

One common criticism of MetaMask’s service is its lack of two-factor authentication. The security and access to your wallet relies solely on your ability to remember your password (and backup phrase) and keep it secure. Don’t use a password you’ve used for anything else.

MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet service, meaning it doesn’t hold any user data. Without inputting an email address or phone number, 2FA simply isn’t possible. For some, the limited personal data needed to sign up may be worth the trade-off. However, many users prefer the security and account recovery options that 2FA can offer. 

Limited user support

MetaMask has limited options when it comes to user and customer support. Its website features a help center, an FAQ section, and a bot chat. But getting a hold of an actual representative is quite difficult.While most users may not need that customer support when setting up or using their account, more dire circumstances would warrant an actual conversation. If your account was compromised in any way or something uncommon goes wrong, you’d want the reassurance that you could call or email a MetaMask representative.

How to set up your MetaMask wallet

Setting up your MetaMask wallet is a simple process that involves very little personal information. Your wallet can be set up and ready to trade within just a few minutes.

Step 1: Download MetaMask

You’ll first need to download the MetaMask software from its website. Then you’ll be prompted to install the MetaMask extension on your browser. You can also download the mobile app on your phone to get started.

Download screen for MetaMask

Step 2: Create a wallet

To create your wallet, you’re asked to create a password and secret recovery phrase. And that’s it. You don’t need an email address, username, or any other personal information.

MetaMask Secret Recovery Phrase screen

Step 3: Start using MetaMask

Once you’ve secured your secret recovery phrase, you can begin using the wallet. You can fiddle with the settings, connect your hardware wallet, connect to other dApps, and start trading your crypto.

MetaMask wallet with ETH

Final thoughts on MetaMask

There are a few reasons MetaMask is one of the most popular wallets for Ethereum assets. You can set up a wallet and begin interacting with dApps in just minutes. Users also don’t have to disclose personal data and can trade with a high level of anonymity. The wallet allows users to swap their coins within the service and trade with other MetaMask users.

Unfortunately, MetaMask is not compatible with the Bitcoin blockchain. Additionally, some users dislike that MetaMask doesn’t have 2FA and will not be able to assist you with account recovery if you forget your password and secret recovery phrase. While lack of customer support is common for decentralized finance products, it’s still important to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does MetaMask have fees?

  • Is MetaMask safe?

  • Which blockchains does MetaMask support?

  • Does MetaMask support NFTs?

  • Can I buy crypto through MetaMask?


Contributors

  • Avatar of Danika Miller

    Danika Miller is a writer who specializes in personal finance, crypto, education, and technology. Her work can be found on The Simple Dollar, CreditCards.com, BestColleges, and elsewhere.

  • Avatar of Courtney Mikulski

    Courtney Mikulski specializes in cryptocurrency, personal finance, and credit cards. Her work has appeared in publications like Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and CreditCards.com.