MetaMask is a popular web3 browser plugin and mobile application that serves as a wallet for multiple cryptocurrency chains. MetaMask allows users to store ERC-20 tokens/coins and conduct transactions to any same-chain address making it an essential first step for those interacting with web3.
To engage with an on-chain address and the primary token of the chain. For example, a user with a FTM address resides within the Fantom Opera network and uses FTM as its primary token for staking, governance, and most commonly \’gas\’ fees. Through MetaMask, users can purchase coins and native tokens globally and trade across heavily utilized chains such as Ethereum, Polygon, Avalanche, and Fantom.
This guide will teach you how to create a MetaMask, and your first steps before transacting on a network.
Creating a MetaMask
To use MetaMask, you will need to use Google Chrome or any other Chrome-based browser such as Brave, or Firefox. Download the browser application from the Chrome Web Store or from the Firefox Browser Add-Ons site.
Once the plugin is installed and you have approved permissions for MetaMask, you’ll be brought to a splash screen with a ‘Get Started’ button, as seen below.
Take some time at this stage to consider that this wallet will contain your personal funds and should have an appropriately strong password.
Try to include a mixture of uppercase, lowercase, symbols, and numbers to increase the security of your password. One method of creating more secure passwords is to use sentences or phrases (passphrases) to make longer and therefore more complex passwords.
For example ‘T4e9U1ck8r0wN$oX’ is ‘The quick brown fox’ with added characters for increased security.
Avoid single words, previously used passwords, or any personal information. Remember to use a phrase or sentence that you will be able to remember or alternatively use a Password Manager such as Bitwarden to create and manage your passwords.
Secret Recovery Phrases
After confirming your password you will be provided with a Secret Recovery Phrase (SRP). This collection of words is a 12-word phrase that will act as the ‘master key’ to your wallet and funds. Entering the SRP is the only way to create a new password so if you lose or misplace it, your funds will be locked forever!
It is advised that you should record your secret phrase in a safe real-world location, off of any unprotected digital device. Safe storage examples include a trusted password manager, a safe deposit vault, or a personal lockbox. Memorizing the passphrase is possible and advised but not the only means of storage. Please ensure you have at least two instances stored in separate locations to further decrease your risk.
Do not trust any party that asks for your recovery phrase and never give it out. MetaMask will never ask you for your Secret Recovery Phrase so be vigilant.
Once you have watched the video and continued the wallet creation process by clicking next, you will be provided with your own Secret Recovery Phrase.
Reveal your secret words and record the phrase on your medium of choice. Please remember that the sequence is important so ensure you’re writing is legible and ordered. I can not stress the headache that can occur from something as simple as messy handwriting. Looking at you past me.
Note: This is not the last time you will be able to see the original SRP. You can find it again in Setting -> Security once your set up.
After you have recorded the SRP, you will have to order the words presented in the original sequence. Confirm the correct sequence and your wallet will be created.
You’ll be able to access your MetaMask through your extensions manager, usually displayed in the top right corner of your browser (look for the little fox).
Exploring your MetaMask
Click on the MetaMask plugin to confirm that your MetaMask wallet is logged in.
In the top right corner, you’ll see that the default network is the Ethereum Mainnet. MetaMask is compatible with all EVM networks. Check this list for the networks supported by MetaMask.
Click on that menu and you will find an option to add a network.
For the purpose of this guide, we will be adding the Fantom Opera network but the steps will be identical for other chains.
You will be required to enter Fantom’s network information in the fields provided. Most networks will have guides on their websites for adding their network to Metamask.
- Network Name: Fantom Opera
- RPC Url: https://rpc.ftm.tools/
- ChainID: 250
- Symbol: FTM
- Block Explorer URL: https://ftmscan.com/
Click Save once you have checked and entered the correct information.
You should now see Fantom Opera in the Networks menu. The tick will signal which network you are currently connected to. You can also add support for other networks on your MetaMask by visiting and connecting your wallet to https://chainlist.wtf/.
Finding your address
Your new unique FTM address is ready to go. This address will take the form of a string of characters that represents a wallet/address that you can use to send and receive cryptocurrency.
To find your FTM address, click on the MetaMask extension button that appears at the top right corner of your browser window. A pop-up window will display your MetaMask information and your address will be directly underneath your MetaMask account name (the default will be Account 1).
The button directly to the right of the address will copy your full address which you can use to share with others.
Assets and Activity
You will have two tabs underneath. They are
- Assets – This is where your token/coin balances will be displayed. Note: You will need to import each token you hold to MetaMask before they are displayed here.
- Activity – This is where you can monitor previous transactional history.
Initially, your wallet and transaction history will be empty (as they should be). As you begin to interact with web3 this will fill up and provide you with a history of your transactions and act as a balance sheet for your tokens/coins.
To see other tokens/coins under the Assets tab you will need to import them
Head to CoinMarketCap or CoinGecko. Search for your token of choice and you’ll find a MetaMask button attached to the smart contracts associated with the token. Clicking this will automatically import the token to MetaMask.
To the left of your account name is a display that will notify you if your MetaMask is connected to a web3 site. Most web3 websites will either prompt you to connect your wallet when you visit the site or have a button to connect. You will need to approve the permissions for the website to interact with the protocol so make sure you trust the website.
Transacting with your wallet
To successfully conduct transactions on the network, your wallet will require ‘gas’ in the form of that blockchain\’s primary token. For our example, our wallet on the Fantom Opera Network will require FTM.
Users can buy FTM through MetaMask via the Buy button available underneath the FTM balance. This will take you to a window where you can directly purchase FTM using a Visa or Mastercard via Transak. MetaMask also supports Apple and Google Pay.
This method will credit your wallet with the purchased FTM after a processing time, usually taking between 5-10 minutes so don’t worry if your balance does not immediately change.
Now that you have funds in your wallet, you can now begin transacting on the network. Underneath your token balance, you will see a ‘Send’ button where you can transfer funds to another wallet address. Simply paste in your target wallet address and MetaMask will ask you to confirm the address, the asset to be sent (in our case FTM), and the amount you wish to transfer. Check that the address you are sending to is on the same network, otherwise, you will need a network bridge, such as Multichain.
After you have confirmed all the details, you will be notified of estimated gas fees to complete the transaction, an estimation of the speed that the transaction will take, and an updated total cost of the transaction (Amount sent + Gas Fee).
Once you have checked the details, click confirm and your transaction will be processed. You can check the status and details of your transactions under the Activity tab.
And that\’s it! You now know how to create a web3 wallet capable of engaging with the exciting world of cryptocurrency on your blockchain of choice.
For more information, please check out the MetaMask support page.