This article delves into the functionalities and benefits of token approval tools, while also contrasting the features of De.Fi Shield with Revoke.cash.
With over 30 million monthly active users, MetaMask may be the most widely-trusted DeFi wallet in existence. However, while MetaMask products have a tried and true record of usability, there are also countless examples of users having their crypto assets compromised when stored with MetaMask.
Does this mean that MetaMask isn’t safe? Not at all. Like so many things in crypto, the safety of using MetaMask for storing your NFT and tokens mainly comes down to personal responsibility and ensuring that you follow best practices in your day-to-day onchain activities.
In this blog, we’ll cover all of these best practices to help you take part in the crypto revolution safely and securely. We’ll also cover MetaMask’s general wallet capabilities, built-in security features, and how a commitment to great products has allowed them to capture such a large market share of the wallet space.
How Safe is MetaMask?
MetaMask is considered to be a very safe crypto wallet. The team is well-respected and the platform is widely used. Their browser wallet has over 10 million users on the Chrome web store while the iPhone and Android mobile apps have over 40k and 260k user ratings, respectively. This is a clear sign that users around the world not only consider MetaMask to be a legit option but also one of the top choices for managing and storing digital assets overall.
As a non-custodial wallet, MetaMask ensures that users maintain full control over their funds. This means MetaMask does not have access to or control over your assets. It operates on open-source technology, with the source code being publicly accessible for review on GitHub (https://github.com/MetaMask). This bolsters the wallet’s transparency, invites thorough scrutiny, and further ensures user safety.
MetaMask lists four official security audits on their website from 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2023. Furthermore, they offer a bug bounty program to incentivize white hat hackers to find a report critical issues before they impact end users. They’re active on X and users can always stay up-to-date regarding new security features by keeping an eye out for their announcements:
Web3 is changing how we engage on the 🌐, but it’s 🔑to be mindful of risks.— MetaMask 🦊 (@MetaMask) September 21, 2023
Our new MetaMask Learn security lesson will help you brush up on web3 security best practices ahead of the upcoming gamified educational experience:MetaMask Learn x @Ledger Questhttps://t.co/RNF1J8eKq4
MetaMask is developed by ConsenSys Software, one of the most highly-respected web3 software technology companies and an investor in Ethereum software since 2015. This adds a boost to the wallet’s overall trustworthiness and reliability. Almost no company on Earth has more experience dealing with EVM technology than ConsenSys. While MetaMask does operate independently, its affiliation with such a prominent company enhances its credibility.
MetaMask Security Features
The most important factor in security for any self-custodial wallet is seed phrase protection, and MetaMask takes no shortcuts in ensuring that users have convenient access to their seed phrase while also being able to keep it safe from hackers. The seed phrase is only displayed during initial wallet creation and to display it afterward, a hacker would need to know your specific MetaMask password.
To protect your assets while browsing onchain, users can select to utilize MetaMask’s built-in phishing detection. This will display a warning if a user happens to find themselves on a domain that’s known to execute crypto phishing scams. These scams are one of the primary ways DeFi wallets are compromised, so it’s highly recommended to use this feature.
Via their MetaMask Snaps program, the wallet can also provide phishing warnings directly in the transaction confirmation UI:
With the mobile app, users can utilize security measures such as biometric authentication (Face ID or Touch ID) on their smartphones to safeguard their wallets. Moreover, MetaMask offers new users guidance on securing their wallets through a comprehensive beginner’s guide.
Overall, if you’re asking “Is MetaMask a safe wallet?”, the answer is yes. Its open-source nature, massive user base, and affiliation with ConsenSys make it a trustworthy choice for web3 users of all skill levels. But it’s crucial to note that, ultimately, the safety of users’ funds lies with them. By adhering to best security practices and staying informed, users can maximize the safety and security of their assets within MetaMask.
Next, we’ll take a closer look at the overall features MetaMask offers and explore its functionalities in depth.
MetaMask Wallet Review: Key Features
MetaMask offers an extensive range of features designed to meet the diverse needs of cryptocurrency users. Here’s a detailed look at these features:
MetaMask’s official website, MetaMask.io, acts as a central hub for all users. Here, you can find all the information you need about the wallet and keep up-to-date with the latest news and updates. There are several subdomains each serving key purposes within the MetaMask ecosystem. The most popular include:
- Support.MetaMask.io: The MetaMask support hub with answers to popular questions
- Portfolio.MetaMask.io: View your MetaMask wallet via a full-page dashboard app
- Community.MetaMask.io: MetaMask community forum
- Learn.MetaMask.io: A hub of informational articles on MetaMask and the general web3 ecosystem
Network and token variety
One of the reasons MetaMask is often reviewed positively is because of the vast array of networks and tokens it supports. Users have the flexibility to manage a wide range of digital assets, with MetaMask offering access to tens of thousands of tokens in the broader crypto ecosystem. The wallet allows you to have MetaMask automatically detect new tokens found within your wallet for display OR to add any token you like via their “Search” or “Custom token” features under the “Import tokens” setting.
MetaMask can support almost any EVM network via its custom network settings, making it one of the most popular wallets for users who like to explore the far corners of DeFi. Popular EVM networks can also be added or removed from display quickly by visiting the MetaMask portfolio subdomain network settings:
One of MetaMask’s most user-friendly features is in-app token swapping. MetaMask enables users to swap different tokens directly within the app, eliminating the need for external exchanges and simplifying the process of converting one cryptocurrency into another. Users can execute token swaps with ease, taking advantage of the liquidity provided by decentralized exchanges.
Hardware wallet support
A key feature that bolsters the security of MetaMask, and solidifies its status as a safe and secure wallet, is its support for hardware wallets, including Ledger devices. This integration allows users to further secure their assets by storing private keys offline on a hardware wallet, whilst still benefiting from the user-friendly interface and functionality of MetaMask. This balance between security and usability is one of the reasons MetaMask is often considered a top choice for a crypto wallet.
One of MetaMask’s most user-friendly features is in-app DeFi swaps. MetaMask enables users to swap different tokens directly within the app, eliminating the need for external exchanges and simplifying the process of converting one cryptocurrency into another. Users can execute token swaps with ease, taking advantage of the liquidity provided by decentralized exchanges, market makers, and DEX aggregators that MetaMask reviews to bring you the very best price:
While this service is convenient, users should be aware of a fee charged by MetaMask for in-app swaps. According to their site, “A service fee of 0.875% is automatically factored into each quote, which supports ongoing development to make MetaMask even better.”
Beyond the fees charged for swaps, MetaMask doesn’t charge any fees for using primary wallet features. This reinforces its reputation as a cost-effective wallet solution. However, it’s important for users to understand that they will encounter network gas fees when interacting with various blockchains. These fees, which cover tasks like executing transactions or interacting with decentralized applications (dapps), are set by the respective blockchain networks and can fluctuate based on network congestion and demand.
It’s critical to always have at least a small amount of whatever gas token is necessary for transactions on the network you are using within the MetaMask wallet. This is because if you do not have enough gas to pay for transactions, you’ll be stuck unable to do anything with your wallet until you add more gas from an outside wallet. A common problem is that people will, for instance, have 1 ETH in their wallet. They swap this ETH to the exact value of 1 ETH in, say, USDC. For the sake of this example, let’s say it’s 2000 USDC.
MetaMask will always display a gas fee information screen before you confirm a transaction
Now that they have their USDC, they go to explore a yield farm but then discover that by swapping all their ETH to USDC, they no longer have enough ETH to pay for interactions with a dapp. So remember, when swapping between tokens, always consider the gas you will need to pay to complete future network interactions that you are planning.
MetaMask embraces a diverse user base, offering multiple language settings for the app. Available languages include English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, German, Chinese, Japanese, French, Korean, Italian, Indonesian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Hindi, Bengali, and Arabic.
Extensive language support allows users from various regions to navigate and use the wallet comfortably in their preferred language, contributing to MetaMask’s overall positive review ratings. In total, there are over 50 languages to choose from ensuring that the app is a fantastic example of crypto making finance more accessible across the world.
For those focused on a multichain future for crypto, MetaMask’s support for token bridging demonstrates a commitment to providing secure, diverse options for users. Their portfolio feature facilitates the transfer of assets between different blockchain networks, providing users with opportunities to move tokens across chains and seamlessly participate in various DeFi ecosystems. With token bridging, MetaMask users can harness the immense potential of interconnected blockchains, further enhancing its standing as a safe and reliable wallet.
In-app crypto purchases
Within the MetaMask app, users are provided with the ability to purchase cryptocurrencies directly via various providers dependent on their geographic region. This in-app purchase process streamlines the process of acquiring cryptocurrencies for those who do not yet have funds within the onchain ecosystem. Note, however, that there will likely be steep fees for utilizing MetaMask’s in-app crypto purchasing options due to the level of convenience offered
Social media presence
Maintaining an active presence on various social media platforms such as X, YouTube, and Reddit, MetaMask ensures that users stay updated with the latest news and announcements. This active social media presence enhances transparency and encourages a sense of community among MetaMask users, answering queries with active engagement and timely updates. However, it’s important that users also stay vigilant regarding one of the most common MetaMask scams: fake MetaMask support social profiles.
On X, look for the gold badge to verify that you are viewing a legitimate MetaMask account
There is an entire section within the wallet’s documentation outlining this scam and its many variants. Ensure that you don’t fall victim to a DeFi wallet scam by following MetaMask’s tips below on what to look out for:
- Unsolicited contact. Their Support team never contacts you first.
- Location. Official Support is delivered through the chat window available on the MetaMask homepage, and, sometimes, Zendesk tickets (also accessible via email). MetaMask never discusses specific support cases on social media like X, Telegram, Discord, Instagram, or others, even in direct messages.
- Asking for your Secret Recovery Phrase. MetaMask will never do this.
MetaMask empowers users to create and manage several accounts within the app, a feature particularly beneficial for those who manage multiple portfolios or want to keep their assets organized separately. With the ease of switching between different accounts, MetaMask enables users to efficiently manage their holdings.
Accommodating the burgeoning popularity of digital collectibles and artwork in the blockchain space, MetaMask includes a dedicated tab for storing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) within the browser wallet and mobile app. This allows users to securely store their valuable NFT collections, and manage them conveniently from one location, further solidifying the status of MetaMask as a secure and comprehensive wallet.
In conclusion, MetaMask provides a host of features that empower users to store, manage, and interact with an array of tokens across various networks. With extensive token support, in-app token swapping capabilities, a focus on security, and additional user-friendly features like fiat purchases and NFT storage, MetaMask stands as a versatile and accessible wallet choice for crypto enthusiasts.
How to Safely Connect MetaMask to a Dapp
MetaMask provides users with a seamless way to connect to decentralized applications (dapps) through its in-app browser. Here’s a quick walkthrough on how to connect MetaMask to a dapp using the De.Fi DeFi portfolio tracker as an example:
1. Install MetaMask: If you haven’t already, download and install the MetaMask extension from the Chrome Web Store. Set up your wallet by following the on-screen instructions and securely store your recovery phrase.
2. Open MetaMask: Launch the MetaMask extension on your browser. You will be greeted with the wallet’s main interface, displaying your cryptocurrency balances.
3. Find a Dapp: In your browser, navigate to the dapp of your choice. In this case, we have chosen the De.Fi homepage.
4. Connect MetaMask: On the De.Fi interface, click “Enter App” then “Connect Wallet”. This process will always vary depending on the dapp you are on, but generally, you can expect to find a “Connect Wallet” or “Connect” button to trigger the MetaMask connection flow.
5. Select MetaMask as Your Wallet: On De.Fi, you will find a selection of different wallet options to choose from. Choose to connect with MetaMask. This will be the same general flow on most other dapps, as there are many different wallets for users to choose from. Other popular wallets include Coinbase Wallet and Trust Wallet.
6. Confirm Connection: MetaMask will prompt you to authorize the connection with De.Fi. Review the details and confirm the connection by tapping the appropriate button.
7. Access De.Fi Dapp: Once the connection is established, you will gain access to the full functionality of the De.Fi Web3 SuperApp and Antivirus. You can now proceed to monitor your portfolio, swap tokens, discover yield farms, or audit your current wallet token permissions.
By following these steps, you can easily connect MetaMask to a universe of different dapps and leverage the benefits of DeFi protocols and NFT projects directly from your browser.
MetaMask Security Best Practices
When using MetaMask or any web3 wallet, it is critical to prioritize the security of your digital assets. By adhering to standard security best practices, you can increase the safety of your wallet and shield yourself from potential threats. Here are some key safety measures to consider:
Seed phrase storage
Secure storage of your seed phrase is vital for your MetaMask’s security. Your seed phrase functions as a backup and can help you regain access to your wallet if necessary. To safeguard it, jot down your seed phrase on paper and keep it in a secure location, like a safe or a lockbox. Avoid digital storage methods, as they are more prone to hacking and data breaches.
Avoid taking screenshots or storing the seed phrase on your device, as these can be compromised. Your seed phrase should always remain private and never be shared with anyone. Be wary of phishing attempts that might trick you into revealing your seed phrase.
Using a secure laptop/phone
The security of your MetaMask hinges on the integrity of your device. Ensure that your laptop or phone is devoid of malware, viruses, and keyloggers that can compromise your sensitive information. Regularly updating your operating system and installing security patches can protect against known vulnerabilities.
Using reputable antivirus software to scan for and remove potential threats is recommended. Avoid public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks, as they can be vulnerable to attacks. Instead, use trusted networks or a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection, adding an extra layer of security. By keeping your device clean and secure, you minimize the risk of unauthorized access to your MetaMask.
Avoiding connecting to malicious websites
Exercise caution when engaging with websites or links related to MetaMask. Be vigilant and double-check the URL before entering your wallet information. Avoid clicking on suspicious links received through emails, messages, and social media or placed as malicious ads.
🚨 Scam Alert 🚨— De.Fi🛡️Web3 Antivirus | Web3 Security Conference (@DeDotFiSecurity) August 23, 2023
⚡️ A NEW Type of URL spoofing Scam on Google!
Scammers are purchasing ads for crypto websites with valid URLs.
When users click, they’re redirected through an ad, which then diverts them to a scam site.
Stay Vigilant, and never visit sponsored crypto… pic.twitter.com/bc0QuN94jF
MetaMask does provide some built-in warnings when there is a chance you are connecting to a malicious dapp. However, it’s still essential to verify the authenticity of the websites you visit yourself as well. Check for security indicators such as HTTPS in the URL, look for website reviews or community recommendations, and only connect your wallet to trusted platforms. If you’re ever in doubt about whether a website is truly legitimate, make sure to double-check the website address vs the address that is listed on the project’s social media.
Audit smart contracts before interacting
If you’re venturing into decentralized finance (DeFi) and smart contracts, conducting a thorough audit of the contracts involved is necessary. Invest the time to research the protocols or projects you are considering.
De.Fi makes it easy to stay safe onchain with our free smart contract scanner
Use a rug pull checker like the De.Fi Scanner to analyze the code and identify potential vulnerabilities or risks. By scrutinizing the smart contract’s functionality and security measures, you can make informed decisions and minimize the likelihood of falling victim to scams or exploits.
Track wallet permissions and revoke them when necessary
Regularly reviewing the permissions granted via MetaMask to connected dapps and crypto services is a crucial security practice. Periodically check which apps or services have access to your account and assess whether they are still necessary. If you no longer need certain permissions or are unfamiliar with an app or service, it’s recommended to revoke its access.
De.Fi Shield results page
You can also perform a full audit of all wallet permissions via the De.Fi Shield tool. In a few seconds, you can see all permissions granted by your wallet and whether or not they should be considered risky. After you review the report, you can then revoke permissions one by one or in bulk.
Use a hardware wallet
For an additional layer of security, you can use a hardware wallet in conjunction with MetaMask. Hardware wallets, such as Ledger or Trezor store your private keys offline, providing enhanced protection against online threats. Even if an attacker gains access to your MetaMask, without also having access to your physical hardware device they will be unable to take control of your funds. If you’re ready to use a hardware wallet with your MetaMask, check out our full section on pairing the two further down the article.
By incorporating these security best practices, you can significantly enhance the safety of your MetaMask and protect your digital assets from potential threats. Prioritizing the security of your seed phrase, maintaining device integrity, avoiding malicious websites, auditing contracts, managing wallet permissions, and using hardware wallets can empower you to have a secure and worry-free experience with MetaMask.
MetaMask vs Crypto Exchanges: Security Trade-Offs
In the realm of cryptocurrency management, users often find themselves choosing between two distinct options: DeFi wallets and crypto exchanges. It’s vital to comprehend the disparities between these platforms to guide your decisions on digital asset storage and transactions effectively.
In this section we’ll delineate the distinctions and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing MetaMask versus a crypto exchange, enhancing your understanding of these platforms.
MetaMask: Your Gateway to Web3 Interaction
MetaMask operates as an open-source software application that empowers users with the ability to store cryptocurrency across multiple blockchains and interact with the decentralized web, commonly known as web3. As a non-custodial wallet, MetaMask provides you with full authority over your assets and private keys.
A notable benefit of MetaMask lies in its capability to directly interface with decentralized applications (dapps). This connection unlocks access to an expansive selection of tokens and facilitates participation in diverse DeFi protocols and NFT marketplaces. Therefore, MetaMask serves as your portal into the onchain ecosystem.
Nevertheless, it’s crucial to recognize that losing your MetaMask seed phrase can result in irrevocable loss of access to your funds. In contrast to a centralized entity like a crypto exchange, MetaMask does not offer an account recovery process. This underlines the importance of secure and safe storage of your seed phrase.
Crypto Exchanges: Centralized Entities for Trading and Custody
In contrast to MetaMask, a crypto exchange is a centralized entity that facilitates the buying, selling, and trading of cryptocurrencies. Exchanges act as intermediaries, holding users’ funds on their platforms. They provide liquidity and order matching services, allowing users to trade various digital assets.
Exchanges often support a wide range of cryptocurrencies and trading pairs, enabling you to execute transactions quickly and efficiently. Additionally, some exchanges provide additional features like margin trading and futures contracts, catering to more advanced traders. And from a security perspective, exchanges can come in handy if you lose a password or can’t log in to your account. Generally, your funds should still be safe, and reaching out to the exchange’s support team will allow you to recover access to your assets.
Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange
However, using a crypto exchange also comes with certain drawbacks. First, exchanges require users to deposit their funds onto the platform, transferring custody of their assets to the exchange. This introduces counterparty risk, as the exchange controls the private keys and users must trust the exchange’s security practices. Furthermore, exchanges may have restrictions on certain tokens or limit access to emerging DeFi projects, as they typically list tokens after thorough vetting processes.
Finally, if you want to interact with the onchain world, you will need to move your funds off an exchange into a DeFi wallet like MetaMask. Exchanges are only good for interacting within their walled garden ecosystems. When it’s time to explore the broader world of crypto, you’ll need to withdraw funds to a self-custodial wallet.
MetaMask + Hardware Wallets: The Ultimate Security Solution
Hardware wallets present a widely adopted alternative for safeguarding your digital assets. These tangible, physical devices secure your private keys offline, thereby amplifying security levels.
By isolating your private keys from online environments, hardware wallets establish a sturdy barrier against cyber threats such as hacking and malware. Typically, these devices necessitate physical approval for transactions, thereby preventing unauthorized access to your digital assets.
Check out the video above for a complete guide to using a hardware wallet
It’s paramount to underscore a critical safety rule when employing a hardware wallet: refrain from inputting the seed phrase generated by the hardware wallet into MetaMask or any other web3 wallet. Hardware wallets generate and safeguard the seed phrase offline to maximize security. Inputting the seed phrase into an online software wallet like MetaMask exposes it to potential cyber threats, effectively negating the benefits of using a hardware wallet.
While you never want to enter a hardware wallet’s seed phrase into MetaMask, there is a way to use a hardware wallet with MetaMask to give you the best of both worlds: interact with all your favorite onchain apps while ensuring that your private key never leaves a physical device.
MetaMask provides a full guide to attaching hardware wallets to your wallet here. If you have the finances available to procure one of these hardware wallets, we highly recommend doing so to give your crypto assets the complete security treatment they deserve.
Connecting a hardware wallet only takes a few clicks and could end up saving your assets from devastating rug pulls
Remember, hardware wallets focus on bolstering security through offline storage of private keys, while MetaMask capitalizes on speed and accessibility. By comprehending these distinctions, you can make informed decisions that are in alignment with your individual priorities and security predilections.
Enhance Your Web3 Safety with De.Fi
For augmenting your web3 security and safeguarding your digital assets while interacting with MetaMask, De.Fi delivers a variety of indispensable tools and resources. De.Fi presents comprehensive solutions that empower users to securely traverse the decentralized finance terrain, including the De.Fi Scanner, an automated smart contract auditing tool accessible free of charge, and De.Fi Shield, a robust wallet permissions checker.
By harnessing our tools and keeping up-to-date through our YouTube channel and De.Fi Security X Profile, onchain enthusiasts can make knowledge-driven decisions and circumvent potential hazards. De.Fi endows users with the essential knowledge and insights required to protect their assets, comprehend smart contracts, and stay abreast of the most recent security protocols. Get started today and explore crypto with confidence!