What is Metamask?
MetaMask is a crypto wallet that is probably the most prevalent, used and trusted among crypto users, with its icon being the face of a fox. It has an app that can be installed on both iPhone and Android devices and an add-on that you can install on Chrome, Firefox and Brave internet browsers.
MetaMask is a non-custodial cross wallet that allows you to store crypto assets based on Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum, Polygon, and other notable blockchains. Unlike a bank or a wallet in a crypto exchange, MetaMask has no interest in controlling your funds or transactions. All that is required is to secure your wallet properly with passcodes that are only known to you and have your private keys, and only you will be in control of your money.
It is also classified as a “hot/active wallet,” which means that the wallet is connected to the Internet to activate certain functions on the web. This greatly improves ease of use when accessing blockchain applications (dApps – inbuilt blockchain browsers) but comes at a cost.
Rewards Associated with the Risk
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have more use cases than you might think. Most are found in decentralized financial protocols (DeFi) and decentralized applications (dApps).
MetaMask was created to work with these financial protocols and applications to reduce barriers to entry for cryptocurrency users. You can use MetaMask credentials to connect to these services with one click (by just connecting your wallet).
Anytime you open a DeFi or dApp protocol, you can click the “Connect” button and use the MetaMask credentials to log into the platform. Here are some things you can do with MetaMask:
- Borrow or withdraw your assets at attractive interest rates
- Buy, sell and trade NFTs on the markets
- Play blockchain-based games
- Start yield farming
- Subscribe to NFT Airdrops and cryptocurrencies
Risks Associated with Hot Wallets
Not everything connected to the Internet is completely secure, not even government systems with high levels of security. Having that in mind, it is safe to have the same mindset about MetaMask. Since MetaMask needs the Internet to function, it leaves some room for cyberpunks to attack and steal user funds. Hence, the need to be careful at all times and be sure of the applications you connect it with.
To gain access to your hard-earned funds, a cyberpunk can remotely install suspicious malware to access your browser and make changes to leak funds into the wallet.
For instance, a Reddit user once explained how a hacker broke into his system to transfer 1.98ETH, which was worth around $5,000 at the time to another wallet. The Redditor also added that the potential malware installed on his system modifies any crypto wallet address copied to another upon pasting it. This type of scam uses a blind subscription to access your funds; This is something all Hot Wallet users should know.
And these attacks are common because hackers don’t need to have direct access to your wallet. Instead, they can manipulate your computer or browser to get the information they need to steal your funds.
For these reasons, MetaMask also recommends its user get a hardware wallet if it has strong encryption.
Use Metamask With Your Hardware Wallet
Now that you know the risks, you might be wondering if there is a way to use MetaMask without compromising your security. Of course, there is: enjoying the security of a cold wallet with the accessibility and ease of a hot wallet.
In general, using a cold wallet like Ledger Nano is the smartest and safest way to store private keys, which serve as proof of your crypto assets. Ledger Nano helps you store your private keys offline and ensures that no one on the Internet can change them. Therefore, a combination of Ledger and MetaMask is considered the safest and easiest alternative.
This combination provides a physical U2F. This means that you will need to physically connect your Nano wallet to your computer to sign and confirm each transaction requested through MetaMask. As you can imagine, this makes the hacker’s job quite difficult. This is what makes using MetaMask and Ledger so safe.
First, you need to get a Ledger hardware wallet to protect your private keys. Ledger devices come with Ledger Live software (available for desktop and mobile), virtually the equivalent of the iPhone app store, giving you a secure gateway to all encryption and download services, free of charge, via this link.
When you are in Ledger Live, create your Ethereum (ETH) account by clicking on “account” on the left, then “add an Ethereum account.”
Then you can convert your Fiat ($, £, €, etc.) to Ethereum (ETH cryptocurrency). The easiest way to do this is to use Wyre / Coinify on Ledger Live.
You can then use the Ethereum account created in Ledger Live on MetaMask with the security of your Ledger device.
Now, let’s walk you through how to connect your Ledger wallet to Metamask.
How to Connect Ledger Hardware Wallet to MetaMask
Step 1: Connect the Ledger Nano to your computer using a USB cable. Also, open the MetaMask wallet full screen in your browser.
Step 2: Click on the menu at the top right of the MetaMask wallet and locate and click on “Connect hardware wallet” from the drop-down menu.
Step 3: Click “Continue,” and MetaMask will search for a Ledger device connected to your computer. So to make sure they find your wallet, unlock your ledger.
Step 4: Once your wallet is found, it will ask you to choose a ledger account that you want to connect to MetaMask. Pick the one you like and complete the process (or create one from Ledger Live if you don’t have one).
Step 5: A few final steps to make sure everything is working fine.
- Click “Ethereum Application” on the hardware wallet screen, click “Settings,” and activate “Invisible subscription” (make sure you know the risks associated with an invisible subscription).
- Open the MetaMask window on your browser, click on the account logo in the upper right corner, scroll to “settings,” and click on it. Next, click on “Advanced settings” under settings, scroll down, and click to activate “use with Ledger Live.”
This will enable you to see the balance in your Ledger wallet in the MetaMask extension. You will also be able to transact with any blockchain applications that support MetaMask. Connect your Ledger wallet to your device, open Ledger Live, verify, and you are good to go.
Step 6: You can now interact with your favourite security wallet dApps by selecting MetaMask while logging in.
Take the security of your assets to the next level
Every few days, there is news about cryptocurrency theft. In some circumstances, it is the fault of centralized platform violations, while in others, it is the fault of end-users. But you need not worry about it. You can just connect your MetaMask and Ledger device and make sure the hackers suffer a lot!
Nnamdi Adibe is a native English writer and can write about many things. With his writing skills, he can provide well-researched content.
Nnamdi Adibe is a prolific writer at gblogo.com. He is interested in bringing you perspectives on financial liberation, fun, and investment from the rare vantage point of experience.
He provides insights on fintech, crypto and digital assets, and sustainable finance and investments and promotes a transparent, secure, and quality digital financial future for everyone.
Determination, honesty, and responsibility are important values of Nnamdi that he tries to maintain at all times.