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MetaMask tutorial: how to set it up successfully

MetaMask is a browser wallet that allows buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Whether it’s DeFi, blockchain games, or NFTs, the Ethereum-based dApp is useful. Browser or web wallets connect on their own. We’ll tell you how to set up MetaMask and what to look out for in this guide.

If you have ever dealt with ERC-20 tokens or Ethereum as a trader or investor in America or England, you have probably heard of MetaMask. Along with MyEtherWallet, the plugin is one of the most popular web wallets for Ethereum and Ethereum-based tokens. You integrate MetaMask as a plugin into your browser and can thus use blockchain apps like Axie Infinity or OpenSea.

MetaMask guide for beginners

Before that, however, it is important to set up the wallet properly. We have written a guide exclusively for our readers. So, if you are new to the crypto market or trading NFTs, it is best to read the following guide for MetaMask on desktop.

Step 1: Add MetaMask plugin

At the beginning of the tutorial, you need to decide on which browser you want to add MetaMask. Not all popular browsers are currently represented. The plugin was primarily developed for Chrome. This is the open source browser from Google, which serves as a template for other web applications. The available browsers for MetaMask include:

  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Brave
  • Mozilla Firefox

For our instructions, it doesn’t really matter which application of these you use. Download the plugin in the browser on desktop or it is best to go to MetaMask‘s website right away. Never install the plugin from an untrusted website. Otherwise, you might fall for a fake. Click “Download now” and then integrate it with the browser you are currently using.

Step 2: Set password

Once the installation is complete, the fox icon should appear in the browser. Click on it and start the setup process. The next step in the guide is to set a password. The password must consist of at least 8 letters or numbers. Also, confirm the terms of use and then continue.

A username is not necessary. The password is stored in the browser alone and not on a central server. By the way, in MetaMask the password is called “DEN” as a reference to the foxhole.

Step 3: Write down Recovery Seed

After that, you have the choice of creating a new seed phrase or recovering an old wallet. In this guide, we assume that you don’t have an Ethereum wallet yet. Otherwise, enter your Seed Phrase from the old wallet here. Immediately, the balance of Ethereum tokens should be in the MetaMask wallet.

So click on “Create a Wallet”. Immediately, the plugin will create a “Seed Phase” for you. This consists of twelve random words. Write these words down, preferably on a piece of paper. Your own PC or smartphone are not safe places! Hackers could gain access to the Seed Phase here and thus steal the entire balance. The storage location of each Seed Phrase should be analog and offline.

You will need the Seed Phrase if you want to recover the wallet. For example, in case the computer breaks or you have a new one. Then integrate the plugin into the browser as described and click on “Import Wallet”. Here, enter the twelve words in the correct order and the balance is restored.

Step 3: Top up your Ethereum balance

This completes the setup process as per our instructions. Whenever you access MetaMask, simply enter the password now. However, you will need some Ether to use dApps. Therefore, we will now deal with a few deposit options. Keep in mind that this wallet can only store Ethereum tokens. This includes Ether (ETH) as well as other tokens based on Ethereum’s token standard (such as ERC-20 or ERC-721). You can find a list of possible tokens in the wallet.

  • Sending tokens to the wallet: If you already have Ether or other tokens, you can easily send them to the MetaMask wallet. For this, you will need the public key. Basically, this is the address of the wallet. You can find it by clicking on your account in the main view. This will automatically copy the address, which you in turn enter into the account with Ethereum funds. Confirm the transaction and that will complete this process.
  • Buy with payment service provider: Furthermore, MetaMask has the function to buy Ethereum directly with two integrated payment service providers. You currently have the choice between Wyre and Transak. Wyre accepts credit card. With Transak, you can deposit via credit card and bank transfer, although the latter is only available in certain countries. Swiss users are currently unable to deposit francs via bank transfer. However, it is feasible with euros. Click on one of the payment service providers and you will be automatically redirected.

Step 4: Connect with dApps

We cannot give an exact tutorial for every single blockchain game like Axie Infinity or other decentralized apps here. However, in most cases, connecting is made very easy for you. All you have to do is call up the app’s website. Then, the app often reports itself with a prompt to connect the wallet to the service. Confirm the prompt and then click on MetaMask. Here you select your account and then click on “Next”.

This completes the MetaMask setup. Note that you should specify the cryptocurrencies deposited in Metamask in the taxes.

Cryptocurrencies as tokens
Metamask has Ethereum as its base.

Sending Ether and other tokens

Now, our tutorial is about a few basic functions. This includes the transfer of tokens. Sending cryptocurrencies is quite simple with MetaMask. To do so, click on “Send” in the main interface. A bar will open where you enter the public address of the destination wallet. You can also search for the address if you have already made transactions.

Gas fees play an important role in transactions. This is the fee you have to pay for each transaction on the Ethereum blockchain. The faster the transaction, the higher the fees. This can be crucial especially when trading. The fees will be displayed to you when you send. Furthermore, with the Gas Limit, you have the option to set an upper limit. Then click on “Send” and the transaction is completed.

Convert tokens using the token swap

MetaMask allows you to convert Ethereum-based tokens to other tokens directly from the wallet. To do this, click on “Swap.” A view opens where you first select which and how many Ethereum-based cryptocurrency you want to convert. Then, select the target currency. Click on the convert button and the swap is complete.

The “Slippage Tolerance” is used to keep the swap fees in check. There are also gas fees associated with this transaction. While the transaction is in progress, the rates of the exchanged cryptocurrencies might change, leading to higher fees. Slippage Tolerance stops the transaction if the price rises above the specified percentage.

What are web wallets?

Also called browser wallets, these are wallets that are integrated into a browser. Thus, they allow interaction with blockchain-based applications. They are generally considered to be more insecure compared to desktop and hardware wallets. Their advantages lie more in their bridging function and ease of use. More info on web wallets

FAQ – Frequently asked questions

Is MetaMask also available for Opera?

There used to be a MetaMask extension for the Opera browser as well. However, since 2019, the browser is no longer supported. Even if you find an older version of the plugin, it is absolutely not advisable to install and use it. Whether there will be a MetaMask wallet for Opera again in the future is uncertain so far.

How does the MetaMask setup work on the smartphone?

It works virtually the same as on the desktop. You download the app (currently only for iPhones) instead of integrating a plugin into a browser. Apart from that, you can use the MetaMask instructions for desktop to set it up on mobile as well, since the rest of the steps are similar. In terms of features, the app is in no way inferior to the plugin.

Alexander Naumann

Freelance Author | Master in Indology and Pre-Islamic Archaeology Areas of focus: Tokenization | NFTs | Cryptocurrencies | Blockchain Technology

Alexander Naumann

Freier Autor | Master in Indologie und vorislamischer Archäologie
Schwerpunkte: Tokenisierung | NFTs | Kryptowährungen | Blockchain-Technologie