Beginner’s Guide to the Web3 World
Let's Learn How to Use Metamask – Part 1
Developed by Consensys, Metamask is considered to be one of the most popular crypto wallet applications in the world. Whenever you see a new web3 dapp with Connect Wallet feature, most likely, that same dapp supports Metamask connection. After all, web3.js implementation for web3 frontend works with Metamask right out of the box.
Most people who trade on DEX-es or stake their stablecoins on DeFi apps use Metamask as their primary wallet application. That’s why it’s important for you to understand how Metamask works.
If you are not familiar enough with its features, this article will guide you to understand all the important things about Metamask (browser extension version).
Before we continue, I need to ask you one question. Have you installed Metamask browser extension on your browser? You can go to https://metamask.io to install it.
For your information, Metamask browser extension works with Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Brave, and any browser that is built using Chromium engine.
If you already have Metamask on your browser, we can continue with this guide. Let’s start right away!
*Disclaimer: you can skip this particular section if you already know how to create a wallet.
You will see Welcome to Metamask page after you finish your installation.
When you see the above page, click on Get Started.
Next, you need to click on Create a Wallet button like the below screenshot.
On the next page, Help us improve Metamask, you can choose I Agree or No Thanks – depends on your privacy preference.
After that, you will be asked to create a password. You can choose any password you can easily remember. Keep in mind that this password is NOT your private key or recovery phrase; it’s just the password that you will use to unlock your Metamask browser extension.
You will be redirected to a tutorial video after you successfully create your password. This tutorial video is important to watch. I highly suggest you watch it since security is the most important factor when dealing with crypto applications.
In the following step, Metamask will reveal your secret recovery phrase. This is literally the most important part of your wallet creation. Click on CLICK HERE TO REVEAL SECRET WORDS.
Make sure you write down that 12-words recovery phrase somewhere safe (i.e., inside a physical notebook or in an encrypted file on your PC) and never reveal them to anybody.
Anyone (I repeat, anyone) with access to these 12 words will be able to access your crypto wallet and send the funds to wherever they want. You must keep them safe. Treat them like you treat the key to your house or safety box.
Metamask will ask you to confirm those 12 words. After you put all the words correctly in the right order, you will be able to use the app.
In case you lose access to your previous wallet address, you can always restore it back to Metamask, assuming you have access to your 12 words recovery phrase or your wallet’s private key.
In the wallet creation tutorial above, you already know how to back up your 12 words recovery phrase. Now you just need to restore them on the same New to Metamask page after you finish your metamask installation.
When you see the above screenshot, click on Import Wallet button and type in your 12 words recovery phrase. If you put all the words in the right order, you will be able to access the same wallet address.
Alternatively, you can also use your wallet’s private key to restore the same wallet address. To find your wallet address private key, you can click on the three dots on the top-right section of your Metamask, and choose Account Details.
Inside Account Details pop-up, you will see two options below your wallet address and its QR code, View on Etherscan and Export Private Key. Choose Export Private Key. You will be asked for your Metamask password that you previously created.
After you type your password correctly, you will see your private key under This is your private key text. It begins with 0x… (not the same alphanumeric as your wallet address). This private key must never be shared with anyone.
Just like what I wrote above about 12 words backup phrase, anybody who knows your private key will also be able to access your wallet and send your tokens elsewhere.
To restore your wallet address using the same private key, you can click on the top-right icon next to Ethereum Mainnet dropdown.
Click on Import Account.
Here you can type in your private key and your same wallet address will be restored.
The most basic use case of Metamask is to send and receive crypto tokens. Let’s start with receive. You can share your wallet address with the sender every time you want to receive ETH or any ERC-20 token.
For those who don’t know, you can receive any crypto token inside Ethereum blockchain to this same Metamask wallet address. Those tokens are called ERC-20 tokens. To share your wallet address with the sender, just click on the copy-paste button like the screenshot below. Your Ethereum wallet address always starts with 0x…
Once the sender confirms they have sent a crypto token to your wallet address, you will be able to see them directly inside your Metamask. If you suppose to receive ETH (Ether), you will see your ETH balance gets updated as soon as the blockchain confirms the transaction.
If you suppose to receive ERC-20 tokens, you will need to click import tokens button below Don’t see your token? sentence.
The Import Tokens page has two tabs, Search and Custom Token. If the ERC-20 token is popular such as Tether or USDC, you can just type the token name there under the Search tab. However, if the ERC-20 token is less mainstream, you might need to switch to Custom Token tab and type in the Token Contract Address by yourself.
To find the token contract address, you can go to CoinMarketCap.com or CoinGecko.com and type the token name into the search bar.
Let’s use AAVE for the sake of our tutorial.
When you type AAVE into the search bar at CoinMarketCap, you will be redirected to this page https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/aave/
There, you will be able to see the token contract address under Contracts.
Copy-paste this token contract address back into your Metamask under Custom Token tab inside Import Tokens page. The app will automatically detect the token name and decimals.
Click on Add Custom Token. That’s it. You will be able to see your token balance once you complete these steps.
To send crypto from your Metamask to someone else’s wallet address, the process is fairly straightforward. Just click on the blue Send button. If you plan to send ERC-20 tokens and not ETH itself, you just need to click on the token name under Assets and click Send from there.
In the following page, you need to paste the recipient’s wallet address. For example, if you attempt to send 0.1 ETH to your friend, your friend needs to tell you his wallet address. Let’s say his wallet address is 0x…AB. In this case, you need to paste 0x…AB below the text Send to.
Next, you will need to type the amount of the token you are about to send. After that, click Next.
The next page is the most interesting part. Here you can actually customize your gas fee if you like. When you see a page like the below screenshot, you can just scroll down and click Confirm. However, you can also customize your gas fee if you like.
If you want to customize your gas fee, click on the small blue text EDIT. You will be redirected to this page where you can select Low or Medium or High. If you select High gas fee, your transaction will be confirmed faster by the blockchain (because the miners or validators will automatically prioritize transactions with higher gas fees).
To customize the gas fee even further, you can click on Advanced Options and manually input the gas fee numbers, like in the below screenshot.
If this is your first time customizing the gas fee with advanced options, you might be confused about the numbers. The numbers here are displayed in gwei, which is a smaller unit in ETH ecosystem. To know the conversion rate of gwei to ETH, you can check it directly on https://etherscan.io/unitconverter.
You can also go to https://etherscan.io/gastracker to check the current low/average/high gas fee. For example, if you see 72 gwei as “high” number, you can put “72” as Max fee (GWEI) inside the advanced options page. Meanwhile, Max priority fee (GWEI) is basically a tip for the miners. That fee goes directly to miners and incentivizes them to prioritize your transaction.
After you are done with gas customization, just click Save and you will be back on the token send page. Here you can click Confirm button to send your ETH or ERC-20 token. Once the blockchain confirms your transaction, you will see a desktop notification on the bottom right.
It’s important to note that you can also Speed Up your transaction if it gets stuck due to low gas fee. Let’s say you have been waiting for 15 minutes and the blockchain still has not confirmed your transaction.
In this case, you might want to click on speed up transaction and choose higher gas fee. Remember that miners will prioritize higher gas fees even if the other transactions were created a bit later after yours.
One of the most important features of Metamask is its ability to add any EVM chain out there. Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Polygon, Avalanche C-Chain, Fantom, Harmony, Cronos, Arbitrum, and so many others are all built based on EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) which allows Metamask to fully interact with them.
To start, click on the dropdown Ethereum Mainnet. You will see the option to Add Network:
Next, you will have to fill in the form with Network Name, New RPC URL, and other fields.
Let’s use BSC as our example. Here are the details for BSC:
* Network Name: Smart Chain
* New RPC URL: https://bsc-dataseed.binance.org/
* ChainID: 56
* Currency Symbol: BNB
* Block Explorer URL: https://bscscan.com
After you Save the details, you will be able to switch between Ethereum and BSC by clicking the same dropdown on the top.
If you want to add chains automatically, you can simply go to https://chainlist.org/ and click Connect Wallet and then Add To Metamask for every new chain you want to add to your list.
That’s it. If you plan to add tokens under the new chains, you can repeat the same process as how you would normally add ERC-20 token contract address. Everything else is the same!
Next, we will discuss how to use Metamask with DEX-es, DeFi applications, and how to customize your nonce. Check our how to use Metamask part 2 here.