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Why should I read this article? If you are interested in the Ethereum ecosystem, you need an app like MetaMask. Much more than a simple wallet, it allows you to interact with sites that integrate Ethereum. With MetaMask, you connect to decentralized apps from within your browser (or mobile app). You can trade without intermediaries and use codes that are completely transparent (knowing you are not being scammed). To get started, check out the guide below! Introduction Ethereum brought the promise of a distributed Internet – the long-awaited Web 3.0. Let’s say it’s a level playing field characterized by the absence of central points of failure, true ownership of data and decentralized applications (or DApps). This infrastructure is converging with the industry-wide focus on Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and on interoperability protocols that aim to unite the various blockchains. It is now possible to exchange tokens and cryptocurrencies without the need for trust, make loans with crypto collateral and even use Bitcoin on the Ethereum network. For many Ethereum enthusiasts, MetaMask is the ideal wallet. Unlike your regular smartphone or desktop software, it comes as a browser extension allowing users to directly interact with compatible pages. In this article, we’ll explain how MetaMask works and guide you through your first steps. What is MetaMask? MetaMask is an open-source Ethereum wallet with support for all types of Ethereum-based tokens (such as those following the ERC-20 standard or non-fungible tokens). Also, you can receive or buy/exchange them using Coinbase and ShapeShift. What makes MetaMask so interesting is that it can interact with websites. With other wallets, you need to copy and paste payment addresses or scan a QR code on a device separately. With the MetaMask extension, the website connects with your wallet and you just need to accept the transaction. MetaMask can serve as a regular cryptocurrency wallet, but its big differentiator is its seamless interaction with smart contracts and decentralized applications. Let’s see how to configure it. Installing MetaMask MetaMask Wallet can be installed in Google Chrome, Firefox or Brave Browser. It is also available for iOS and Android, but we won’t go into detail for those platforms. In this article, we’ll use Firefox as an example, but its steps are pretty much the same no matter what platform you’re using. Access the official download page. Select your browser, which will redirect you to Chrome or Firefox extensions page. Click the button to add the extension to your platform. You may need to grant some permissions before using it. Make sure you agree with the level of access the app has to your browser – if so, we’re good to go. initializing the wallet You will see a welcome message.
When you get tired of having fun with the fox on the welcome page, click Get Started. You will be asked to import a seed phrase or create a new one. Click Create a Wallet (create a wallet). The next page will ask if you want to send anonymous data to help developers improve the app. Choose the option you prefer. Now we need to create a password. If you’re one of those legendary creatures who actually read the software’s user agreement, you can view it by clicking Terms of Use. Otherwise, choose a secure password, check the box and click Create. Back up your Seed Words! The following point is sufficient to justify the subtitle. MetaMask is a non-custodial service, meaning no one else can access your funds – not even MetaMask developers. Your tokens exist in a kind of encrypted vault, inside your browser, protected by your password. This means that if your computer is lost, stolen or destroyed, no one will be able to help you recover your wallet. Your private keys will be lost forever in the void of cyberspace. Therefore, it is essential that you write down your backup phrase. It’s the only way to restore your account should something happen. As suggested, we recommend that you write the words and store them in two or three different places. You don’t need to bury them in a fireproof vault in the woods, but understand that it’s important to keep them safe.
On the next page, the program anticipates that you might have been lazy with the previous step, as it asks you to confirm the sentence. If you didn’t do it the first time, click Back to go back and write it down! Confirm the sentence and proceed to the next step. Click on All Done (all done) and you will see the wallet interface. The boring part is over. Now it’s time to get rich with Ether (on testnet). Deposit funds in the wallet In this tutorial, we are going to use the Ropsten testnet. It’s a network that works almost exactly like the real Ethereum network, but its units have no value. This type of network is useful when you’re developing contracts and want to make sure they don’t have vulnerabilities that allow attackers to drain $50 million of their value. It is possible to replicate every step performed on this network in reality (except the part where we get free Ether unfortunately). To enter the Ropsten testnet, click on Main Ethereum Network at the top right and select Ropsten Test Network.
There are many different testnets on Ethereum. If you’re wondering about the differences, check out this comparison. Let’s use a Faucet to get some fake money to play with. Access this page in your browser that has MetaMask installed.
At any time, you can click on the fox icon to open a window (pop-up) with your MetaMask account information (as we did in the GIF above). Hover over Account 1 and click to copy your Ethereum address to your clipboard. Paste it into the form and click Send me test Ether. Ethereum transactions are usually confirmed quickly, but it can take a while for 1 ETH to arrive in your wallet. Check that you received it by clicking on the fox in the toolbar. As soon as your balance arrives, we can start interacting with DApps. Unblock the decentralized web Since we’re on a testnet, we don’t have such a wide variety of apps to play with. For a more comprehensive list of mainnet decentralized applications, check out the State of the DApps or Dappradar. You can play games, buy unique assets or place bets on predictive markets. Let’s use the DApp we demonstrated earlier. Uniswap is a decentralized exchange, or DEX, that allows us to trade without relying on intermediaries. The mechanisms that support it are very simple – if you are interested in knowing how it works, check out the article What is Uniswap and How Does it Work?. Login here. In the upper right corner, you will see a message to Connect to a wallet . This message should appear on all websites that support MetaMask, as for security reasons it does not connect automatically. Click on the message and you will have to select the wallet you are using. As you might guess, this wallet will be MetaMask. When a site tries to connect for the first time, a MetaMask dialog box appears, asking you to confirm the action. You will be able to select an account (we only have one for now) and then check which permissions you will grant. In this case, as in many others, the website is requesting information about the address of the wallet your account controls. MetaMask and privacy It’s important to be aware of the permissions terms you accept. If a website knows your address, you can see all incoming and outgoing Ether and token transactions. Furthermore, the website may correlate you with your IP address. Some prefer to separate their addresses to avoid this kind of problem. However, many users are not concerned about these risks (after all, the blockchain is public). The level of privacy you have is up to you. As a general rule, don’t grant access to sites you don’t trust. Trading Ether for DAI It’s time to make our first trade. We will do this with DAI, an ERC-20 token that serves as a stablecoin. However, just like our Ether, this DAI has no value in the real world. Click Select a token , add the default list Uniswap Default List and click DAI. Alternatively, you can also select WETH (wrapped ether). Now we just need to enter the amount of ETH we want to exchange. By doing this, we get an estimate of the amount of DAI we will receive. Ready! Now click Swap. Once again, you will be asked to act on MetaMask. In that case, you need to approve the transaction before creating it. When doing this on the mainnet, make sure you are happy with the fees as they can be significant. After that, we just need to wait for the transaction to be confirmed!
Where are my tokens? Your Ether is gone but the tokens are not in your account? No need to panic – you have to add them manually.
  1. For other popular tokens, select Add Token from your wallet and search by name or ticker. For less popular tokens (or those on the testnet), we need to add the contract address – an identifier that tells MetaMask where to look for our balance.
  2. Open your wallet by clicking on the extension icon.
  3. Click on the three dots on the top bar.
  4. Select View on Etherscan .
  5. In Overview (overview), click on the Token menu and select DAI.
  6. In Profile Summary , you must find the contract address. Hover over it and copy the address using the icon on the right.
  7. Return to MetaMask and click on Add Token (add token).
  8. Click on the Custom Token tab.
  9. Paste the address you copied into the Token Contract Address field.
  10. The rest should be filled in automatically. Click Next (next) and then Add Tokens (add tokens).
  11. Return to the main screen and check your total balance.
Congratulations! You’ve just interacted with your first DApp exchanging Ether for DAI, no trust needed. Everything you’ve learned can now be done in the real world. When you’re ready to play with mainnet applications, remember to switch back from the Ropsten network to the mainnet. What else should I know? MetaMask has some other cool features that we haven’t covered today. You can also connect a hardware wallet (Trezor and Ledger are both compatible), create a contact list and of course, receive and send funds as you would with a normal wallet. Check the settings to customize the extension as per your needs. Apart from that, it is worth remembering that the usual security principles apply here as well: MetaMask is a hot wallet type wallet, which works on a device connected to the Internet. This exposes you to more risks than a cold wallet, which is kept offline to reduce the possibility of attacks. Finally, when using MetaMask, it is logical that you should know well which websites you use and which you can grant access information and permissions. The MetaMask app The MetaMask app for Android/iPhone offers an interesting solution for interacting with Web3 applications from anywhere. It offers many of the same functionality as the extension, integrating a DApp browser so you can access multiple decentralized apps with just one tap.  
The app’s workflow is very similar to that of the browser extension. You can make direct transfers of Ether or tokens from your wallet, or even interact with Uniswap as we saw above.     Final considerations MetaMask is a powerful tool for browsing the decentralized web. If you’ve followed the steps in this guide, you’ve already identified the wallet’s potential. Evidently, others have too: MetaMask has now surpassed over a million users. As the Ethereum stack develops, applications like MetaMask will undoubtedly become key components in the bridge between existing technologies and the emerging cryptocurrency infrastructure. Want to know more about MetaMask, Ethereum or something else? Access the Ask Academy and check out discussions, questions and answers from the community. Source:

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