Getting started with MetaMask
MetaMask is a wallet and account manager for Web3 applications living on the Ethereum blockchain. In this post, we will guide you through the process of getting started with MetaMask by installing and configuring it. We will also have a look at some of the functionality that MetaMask provides.
To install MetaMask you will first need to head to their official website located at metamask.io
There you will be greeted with some text and a “Download now” button.
Click the “Download now” button and you will be taken to the next page. Here you will be greeted with an “Install MetaMask for X” where X varies depending on what web browser you are using.
Click the install button. When you’ve clicked the button you will be taken to a new page where you will be presented with a choice to add or install the extension to your web browser. For Firefox it looks like this:
Start the installation process by clicking “Add to firefox”. If you are using a chrome based browser you should be at the chrome web store at this step. Just follow the instructions and install the extension. If the installation succeeded you will be redirected to the MetaMask welcome view.
2. Initial setup
Press the “Get Started” button to get started with the setup and configuration process.
Since you are reading this tutorial we are going to assume that you don’t have any wallet yet. To proceed let’s click “Create a Wallet”. If you already have a wallet and want to import it you should obviously click the other button instead and follow those instructions as you proceed further.
On the next view, it’s completely up to you what you want to do. By clicking “I Agree” you will be sending usage data over to MetaMask to help them improve the product. I’m going to be clicking “No Thanks” at this step.
On this view you will be presented with a greyed-out box. By clicking on the box your secret backup phrase will be revealed. This phrase consists of 12 words placed in a specific order. It’s very important to back up this phrase as it is your private key. Anyone with access to this key will be able to access the future funds that you might have in your account. Never share it with anyone and do not lose it or your funds will be gone forever.
You might be wondering if the account that corresponds to the secret backup phrase in the image above contains any funds. Sorry to disappoint you but no, this account will never contain any funds as it’s compromised as soon as I publish this post.
When you are done, proceed to the next step by clicking the “Next” button.
On this view, you will have to confirm that you really have backed up your 12-word secret backup phrase by clicking the words in the correct order. When done, click “Confirm”.
Alright! You have now successfully installed MetaMask. Click the “All Done” button to proceed to the next part of this tutorial where we will go through the application and its features.
3. Feature overview
When installation and the initial setup are done, you will be greeted with the expanded MetaMask view.
In this view you can buy, send and swap tokens. You can also change settings such as what network you want to interact with and also manage your accounts. Let’s first take a look at the buy view.
Buying / receiving
Your first option here is to buy Ethereum through a service called Wyre. As you can see they accept debit cards.
The second option is for funding your account by sending Ethereum directly to it from some other wallet that contains funds.
Now let’s take a look at sending.
If you click on the send button a modal view will open up with one input at the top.
Here you will have to input a recipient address to where you will be sending your funds.
Once you’ve done that a few more inputs will become visible.
- Asset – Here you input what asset you want to send. For example, Ethereum or some ERC20 token like Chainlink.
- Amount – In this next input, you need to fill in what amount of the asset above that you want to send.
- Transaction fee – Next is to decide what transaction fee you are willing to pay. You basically have three choices here. Slow, average, or fast. The more you pay in transaction fees the faster your transaction will be included in a block on the blockchain. If you’re in a hurry you should choose the “Fast” option. If you are willing to wait choose “Average” or “Slow”.
- Advanced Options – By clicking the “Advanced options” link you will open up yet another modal. The view will look like below:
- New Transaction Fee – This box will show you want the current expected transaction fee will be.
- Gas Price – Here you can manually set what gas price you are willing to pay for this transaction.
- Gas limit – Because of how Ethereum works and depending on what your transaction does it might not be certain how much gas the transaction will take. Therefore you can set an absolute ceiling for how much gas you are willing to pay for this transaction.
- Save – When you are done, click “Save” and your transaction settings will save. The modal view will close and you will return back to the main “send” transaction interface.
When you are back click the “Next” button to proceed. Don’t worry, you won’t be sending anything yet. The next view will pop up asking you to make some last-minute adjustments and/or to confirm.
- This shows how much of the asset that will be sent to the recipient address.
- Here you can make some last minute adjustments to the gas price and/or gas limit that you are willing to pay for the transaction.
- This part shows the amount + the fee that will be spent.
- Finally, click “Confirm” to send the transaction off.
You might have noticed that on many of the screenshots provided in this post it says “Ethereum Mainnet” or “Localhost 8545”. Well, MetaMask can not only connect to the main Ethereum network, but it can also connect to test networks, etc. To change the network you are interacting with simply click on the button where it says “Ethereum Mainnet” and select a different network. I won’t go into detail about the different networks, just keep in mind that the possibility to change networks exists there.
Clicking on the little “avatar” image in the top right corner will open a similar menu as when changing networks.
Here you can create new accounts, import existing accounts from other wallets. You can also connect to MetaMask with a hardware wallet (something we do recommend!). You can also access more Info & help and change settings.
You can also access MetaMask to the right of your browser’s address bar. On chrome you might have to pin it there for it to show but on firefox it automatically gets added. It should look something like this:
Clicking the icon will open a smaller view of MetaMask where you can do most of the things that the expanded view allows you to do.
That’s all folks! At least this was a little introduction to MetaMask. There are more settings and functionality to explore, however since this is a getting started guide we won’t be diving any deeper in this post.