Metamask has always been a handy crypto wallet to interact with Ethereum and many dApps. Yet since DeFi took the crypto scene, Metamask’s usage grew furthermore but emphasized the vulnerabilities a browser plugin may have when used as a crypto wallet.
Of course, to the crypto community, it’s now common sense to make sure to keep your private key only for yourself. But since the bad actors plaguing the industry are so inventive, they always manage to find new ways to take control of these internet-based wallets, especially in the case of the less informed users.
Naturally, this situation begs the question if Metamask is safe to use by crypto investors. And if you’re looking for an answer, this article is for you.
What Is Metamask?
Metamask is a non-custodial crypto wallet available as a web browser plug-in for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and the recently developed Brave browser. Furthermore, Metamask has developed a mobile app for its users, thus making storing crypto even easier.
Metamask allows users to interact with ETH, other ERC-20 assets, and several Ethereum test networks. This makes it helpful for developers and those aiming to use specific dApps, such as games, gambling applications, or Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs).
The crypto wallet works on multiple blockchains, including the BNB Chain (formerly called the Binance Smart Chain, Avalanche, and Polygon. Users can choose from and analyze over 450,000 ERC-20 coins supported on the platform, some of the most popular being Ethereum (ETH), USD Coin (USDC), or DAI (DAI). Moreover, it allows users to store non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and connect them to NFT marketplaces such as OpenSea.
Of course, as Metamask is ultimately a crypto wallet, before anything else, it can be used to execute payments towards marketplaces, crypto advertising platforms, other Eth and Ethereum compatible wallets.
Metamask Safety Features
Metamask provides its users with various safety features, and the first and most straightforward one comes from the fact that it is a non-custodial wallet, thus not storing any user data.
Furthermore, Metamask has three security levels: the password, the private keys, and a 12-word seed phrase that crypto investors can use to recover their accounts if they forget their passwords. In order to have access to a Metamask account, a hacker would need either the password and private keys or the seed phrase.
The seed phrase is the one thing Metamask users may want to keep as safe and hidden as possible, as it is the only way they can recover their account, and if others find it, they may lose control over their account.
However, having a single way to recover a Metamask wallet across various devices makes users ask whether Metamask is safe enough for their digital assets, as it becomes susceptible to hacks and malicious actions such as attacks, crypto scams, or banker Trojans.
Fortunately, Metamask recently started a partnership with Asset Reality, the world’s first end-to-end solution to recover complex assets. The two companies developed a new safety feature for the crypto wallet, thus helping attacked users by connecting them with law enforcement, forensic services, or lawyers. This way, recovering a Metamask wallet is now easier, and there is a higher probability that a user would regain access to its keys and assets.
The Risks of Holding Crypto in Metamask
Even though Metamask is constantly working on developing its safety features, there are still some ways hackers can get to users’ crypto wallets.
One of the less common ways of having a Metamask wallet hacked is by downloading a scam version of the extension. It is vital to check the website you are on before deciding to hit the “Download” button. Metamask’s original website is https://metamask.io/, and any other variation of the main page link should be highly avoided, as many hackers have tried to develop fake Metamask websites.
Another way you can get hacked is if you expose your seed phrase. Under no circumstances should you make your 12-word seed phrase visible to users around you or online. That security feature is developed to let you regain access to your Metamask wallet if you forget your password or private keys.
And even if the seed phrase is safely kept, users should constantly be aware of phishing schemes, what apps they use the crypto wallet in and how much information they have access to. There will always be malicious apps trying to steal wallet information, and simply keeping the 12-word seed phrase safe will not be enough for the Metamask wallet to be completely protected.
Metamask, DeFi, and NFTs
Metamask is widely known to interact with DeFi projects and NFTs. And this makes the crypto wallet even more popular among crypto investors. Crypto investors use it to store NFTs, trade them on dedicated marketplaces, and interact with projects such as DeFi apps or NFT games.
And to keep its users safe from malicious attacks on their crypto wallets, Metamask has made some changes recently to improve security regarding DeFi and NFTs.
Thus, a new feature called “SetApprovalForAll” repels malicious attackers who want to steal users’ NFTs. Furthermore, users can revoke access to some digital assets in case they feel unsafe. Through its latest updates, Metamask made sure that users are using the crypto wallet transparently and completely consent with every action on the platform, thus reducing the number of attacks on users’ crypto wallets.
However, using Metamask for DeFi applications or NFTs can still make users visible to attackers, and giving access to a malicious DeFi app can result in losing digital assets. Thus, Metamask users should always be particularly cautious when working with their digital assets and check the apps they use multiple times so that any risk is reduced as much as possible.
What Alternatives Are to Metamask?
Metamask constantly proves that it is working on improving security on the platform and developing new ways of keeping digital assets safe. However, if users do not feel that Metamask is a crypto wallet solution safe enough for them, they can look for other options on the market.
Metamask vs Trust Wallet
Trust Wallet is a mobile app consisting of a non-custodial crypto wallet. It supports over 1 million cryptocurrencies and NFTs, including Bitcoin, Ethereum-based tokens, and Binance BEP-2 tokens; it is famous thanks to its user-friendliness and availability on both smartphones and Mac computers. It is the official decentralized wallet of the Binance crypto exchange and works on over 65 blockchains, including Ethereum and Polygon.
Trust Wallet is suitable for users who seek flexibility regarding the cryptocurrencies supported and aim to buy crypto with a credit card. However, Trust Wallet’s downside is that, unlike Metamask, it does not provide a desktop or browser extension.
On the other hand, Metamask is recommended for crypto investors who aim to work with Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies and dApps primarily. It is compatible with almost all web browsers, including Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, and Brave. Nonetheless, it does not support Bitcoin, a crypto that is available on Trust Wallet.
Coinbase Wallet vs Metamask
Coinbase Wallet is a non-custodial crypto wallet launched in 208 by Coinbase Inc. It allows users to buy and store over 44,000 cryptocurrencies and NFTs and gives access to multiple dApps across various blockchains. Crypto investors choose Coinbase Wallet as it is user-friendly and has low network fees.
While Metamask supports Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies only, Coinbase Wallet offers a wide range of options, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Dogecoin.
While Metamask can be linked to a hardware wallet, Coinbase Wallet users can store and secure their funds with the main Coinbase exchange platform. Both crypto wallets work on improving their safety features for crypto investors all around the world.
Metamask is an excellent option for crypto investors aiming to interact with and buy ERC-20 tokens. Thanks to its availability on various web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Brave, it is widely used.
Just like other crypto wallet solutions, Metamask cannot keep its users completely safe, as attackers always find new ways of creating online schemes for crypto investors. However, Metamask is constantly developing new ways of securing users’ digital assets, one of its latest changes being the partnership with Asset Reality. It is crucial to be extremely careful when working with crypto assets and linking your Metamask wallet to other dApps.
Users who feel Metamask is not the right choice can choose other crypto wallets, such as Trust Wallet or Coinbase Wallet. Although they offer some additional features, such as more cryptocurrencies to choose from, crypto investors should always pay attention to their wallet’s safety, regardless of the wallet they are using.
Ultimately, for safe long-term depositing, all experts agree that the best solution is a cold wallet.