In order to participate in the metaverse economy, it is essential to start by setting up a crypto wallet. A crypto wallet is like a secure key to all of your web3 assets.
It creates a secure way for you and only you to access your cryptocurrencies and NFTs and facilitates transactions between you and others over the blockchain – that is, as long as you protect the password and seed phrase associated with your wallet.
What Is MetaMask?
MetaMask was created by ConsenSys and is the most popular Ethereum-compatible wallet used today. You can access it via a secure browser extension that’s compatible with the Chrome, Firefox, Brave, and Edge browsers. ConsenSys recently announced a banking integration that allows eligible users to directly transfer funds from their bank to their wallet.
While MetaMask is most commonly used for transactions on the Ethereum network, it is fully compatible with several other blockchains including Avalanche, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, Fantom, Harmony, and others. For example, if you want to hold NFT wearables and other items for your avatar in Decentraland, that will all be accessible via your MetaMask wallet. However, you’ll need to have your wallet connected in the app in order to use them.
Setup is fairly simple. Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough for setting up your MetaMask wallet on the Chrome browser in five minutes. Although things may look slightly different for other browsers, this should give you a good idea of what you’ll need to do.
Installing The Extension
First, head over to MetaMask. Once there, you’ll see a blue button that allows you to download the extension for whatever browser you use. On Chrome, you’ll see this.
Go ahead and hit that button, and it’ll take you to the Chrome Web Store. You can learn more about the application and read reviews on this page. Once ready to go, click the Add To Chrome button, which will then install your MetaMask wallet for free.
Once you’ve installed MetaMask, you’ll see the small fox icon at the top right of your screen, and a notification will appear, letting you know that the install was successful.
Quick Tip: To make this extension visible and accessible on the browser bar, click on the grey puzzle icon to show your extensions. Then, next to the MetaMask extension, click the pin icon to pin it to your browser.
Setting Up Your MetaMask Wallet
Next, you’ll be given the option to “Get Started.” Once you’ve clicked that button, you’ll see a screen like this:
Assuming you are a new user, click the “Create a Wallet” button on the right to get started with a new wallet. Then, the system will ask you whether or not you want to share analytics with MetaMask. This decision is entirely up to you. After that, you’ll be prompted to create a password.
This is your password for access to your wallet on your local device. As with all online accounts, you should ensure that you are using a strong password. On the next page, you’ll be given a set of 12 words that act as your private key.
You can think of these words as your master key to all your digital assets. If you have lost or forgotten your password, you can use this set of 12 words to restore your wallet on any device. However, if anyone were to gain access to these 12 words, they could do the same. Anyone with these passphrases can restore your wallet on their digital device and gain access to all your assets, including your cryptocurrency and NFTs.
Bottom Line: Write these 12 words down and keep them somewhere safe offline. Do not store these words on your computer. Remember – no one will ever need to know your 12 words other than you. If you ever do get asked for these phrases, it’s likely a scam.
This passphrase is very important, so be sure to keep it safe. Once you have written them down, you can click the “Next” button. Then, just to make sure that you have written them down, MetaMask asks you to confirm your secret recovery phrase by selecting the words in the order they were originally given. You must write down your 12 words in the correct order.
Once you’ve entered those words, you can click “Continue.” Then, you’re done! It’s that easy.
With full ownership comes great responsibility. Here is a Twitter thread explaining a recent hack that gives some excellent pointers for how to avoid getting scammed and having your assets stolen:
Exploring Your New Crypto Wallet
You can access your new wallet either by a full-fledged page or by simply clicking on the fox icon in the upper right corner of your browser. Here’s what it should look like:
MetaMask features a simple and easy-to-use interface. You can see two primary tabs showing your “Assets” and “Activity.” The Assets tab will show your cryptocurrencies and NFTs, while the Activity tab will list your transactions (much like a bank account statement). You are also given three options to “Buy,” “Send,” and “Swap.”
Finally, at the top of the application, you’ll see your public wallet address. Clicking on that will copy it to your clipboard for convenient use in other applications. You can think of this address as your email address rather than your bank account number. It’s perfectly okay to share this address publicly, and you can use it to receive funds and NFTs.
How to Transfer ETH to Your MetaMask Wallet
Please note: we’re assuming you’ve done your own research, and made an informed decision to participate in the crypto economy on your terms. We do not make any recommendations on whether you should buy or sell any cryptocurrency or digital assets.
That being said, if you want to transfer ETH (Ether) to your wallet for use on the blockchain, it is as simple as heading to an exchange like Coinbase, Gemini, or Binance, purchasing the tokens via credit card or ACH deposit, and then withdrawing the tokens from your exchange account to your MetaMask wallet.
Sounds like a lot of steps? It’s really quite simple in practice and most exchanges will have clear instructions on how to withdraw your tokens to your MetaMask wallet.
NOTE: When transferring tokens between wallet addresses, it is crucial that you are entering the exact wallet address that you wish to send to. Unlike traditional finance and banking, crypto assets are not insured, and will result in an irreversible loss of funds if you accidentally transfer to the wrong address. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to test the transaction with a small amount of Ether first. Then, check that it’s arrived in your wallet. Once you’re confident, you can send the total amount.
With your funds in your wallet, you are free to head to a marketplace like OpenSea and start buying and selling any NFTs you want. Or, you can jump into a metaverse platform like Decentraland, The Sandbox, or Portals and begin making purchases of your first digital wearables.
There is a lot more to learn when it comes to buying, selling, and holding cryptocurrencies and NFTs. This guide is meant to help walk you through the very first step of creating your first crypto wallet, and by means is it a comprehensive guide transacting with the cryptocurrencies themselves.
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