MetaMask is a popular cryptocurrency wallet used by over 30 million people. As a non-custodial wallet, MetaMask gives users full control of their private keys. But is MetaMask the best crypto wallet when it comes to storing your altcoins?
In this MetaMask wallet review, we cover everything from security and supported networks to user-friendliness, fees, and core features.
Free to use and maintain. User-friendly interface is ideal for beginners
Type of Wallet
Fee for Buying Crypto
Browser extension and mobile app
All tokens on the following networks: Ethereum, Arbitrum, Optimism, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and Avalanche
Fees are determined by third-party providers. Displayed at the time of purchase
Supports selected dApps, including Uniswap and Compound.
Free to use and maintain.
User-friendly interface is ideal for beginners
What is MetaMask?
MetaMask is a cryptocurrency wallet that was launched in 2016. Initially, MetaMask was built exclusively as an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and other web browsers. But MetaMask has since launched a mobile app for iOS and Android. This enables users to send, receive, and store their crypto holdings across multiple device types.
MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet. This means that MetaMask does not have access to user-owned private keys. Instead, private keys – which are represented as a 12-word backup passphrase, are the responsibility of the wallet user. As such, should the user lose their private keys – MetaMask cannot assist.
Nonetheless, MetaMask is completely free to use. Like most wallets, the only fees payable are when transferring crypto to another wallet. This covers the cost of the blockchain network fee. By default, MetaMask only supports the Ethereum network. This makes MetaMask ideal for storing the best ERC20 tokens, such as Shiba Inu, Tether, and Decentraland.
That said, MetaMask also supports some of the best Arbitrum network coins. MetaMask also supports coins on the Optimism, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and Avalanche networks. But do note that users need to manually add these networks to their MetaMask wallet. The obvious network missing here is Bitcoin. Therefore, those looking to store Bitcoin will need to consider another option.
In addition to storing cryptocurrencies, MetaMask also supports NFTs. Moreover, MetaMask can connect to third-party dApps. This includes everything from Uniswap and PancakeSwap to Compound and OpenSea. This enables users to swap tokens, earn interest, and trade NFTs with ease.
While MetaMask enables users to buy cryptocurrencies with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank wire – this is processed by centralized third parties. In turn, users will pay an average commission of 3-5%. In comparison, some of the best crypto exchanges – including eToro and Binance, offer much lower fees.
Supported Coins – What Cryptos Can You Store on MetaMask?
In this part of our MetaMask wallet review, we explore what coins and networks are supported.
By default, MetaMask only comes with support for Ethereum. After setting the wallet up, users will be given a unique ERC20 wallet address.
This means that users can instantly fund their MetaMask wallet with Ethereum and thousands of ERC20 tokens.
In addition to Ethereum, MetaMask supports the following network standards:
- Binance Smart Chain
However, a major drawback here is that users need to manually add the above networks.
For example, those wishing to add the Binance Smart Chain to MetaMask would need to add the following details.
- Network Name: Smart Chain
- New RPC URL: https://bsc-dataseed.binance.org/
- ChainID: 56
- Symbol: BNB
- Block Explorer URL: https://bscscan.com
The above information is provided by Binance. For other networks, ensure the information is taken directly from their official website.
Nonetheless, the key point here is that beginners might find the process daunting. Should the user make a mistake, this could have disastrous effects.
Moreover, while it’s notable that MetaMask supports multiple networks, this doesn’t include Bitcoin. Considering Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency globally, this is a major drawback.
In fact, MetaMask also fails to support other top-10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. This includes XRP, Cardano, and Solana.
As such, those exploring MetaMask Bitcoin wallets will need to consider another option.
Is MetaMask Wallet Centralized or Decentralized?
MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet, which makes it one of the best decentralized crypto wallets on the market.
This means that:
- Users are presented with their private keys when setting MetaMask up
- The private keys are displayed as a 12-word passphrase
- Users must write their private keys down and never share them
As a decentralized, non-custodial wallet – MetaMask comes with its pros and cons.
For instance, those happy to take full responsibility for safeguarding the wallet are catered for. This ensures that only the user has control over their crypto investments.
In other words, MetaMask – or any entity for that matter, cannot access the wallet without the private keys – which only the user holds.
However, responsibility also invites risk. After all, if the user forgets their password and no longer has their backup passphrase, they won’t be able to access their MetaMask wallet.
This means also means the user won’t be able to access the crypto stored within their wallet. Ultimately, users that do not feel comfortable being their own custodian might be better suited for a non-custodial wallet – such as eToro, Coinbase, or Binance.
Centralized Fiat Payments
Another point to mention is that while MetaMask is decentralized, it uses centralized companies to process fiat payments. This includes the likes of MoonPay, Mercuryo, Transak, and Sardine.
As we explain in more detail later, using MetaMask to indirectly buy crypto with fiat money will require KYC documents.
MetaMask Wallet Fees
In a nutshell, our MetaMask wallet review found that its primary features are completely free of charge.
This includes downloading the wallet, depositing cryptocurrencies, and storing the tokens. However, any features that require an outgoing transaction will attract fees.
For example, transferring cryptocurrencies to another wallet address will require GAS fees. MetaMask doesn’t add a markup on GAS fees, as they are determined by the blockchain. Put simply, when the blockchain experiences busy periods, GAS fees will increase.
That said, MetaMask enables users to choose their own GAS fees when transferring funds. However, paying a lower fee than MetaMask suggests can result in the transaction being declined by the network. As such, it’s best to go with the suggested fee.
In addition to the above, our MetaMask wallet app review found that other fees can apply.
For example, using MetaMask for a ‘bridged’ transaction will cost 0.875%. This refers to transactions that require two different blockchain standards. For example, swapping Tether (Ethereum) for BNB (Binance Smart Chain).
Additional fees also need to be considered when buying cryptocurrencies with fiat money. As noted earlier, these fees are determined by the third-party processor. But on average, expect to pay between 3-5%.
Standard network GAS fees
Buying Crypto With Fiat Money
Determined by third-party processors, but averages 3-5%
MetaMask Wallet Security – Is it Safe?
The primary purpose of a cryptocurrency wallet is to keep digital assets safe. Therefore, in this section of our MetaMask wallet review – we explore what security features are provided.
First and foremost, users will need to create a strong password when setting MetaMask up. This needs to be entered every time the user wishes to access their wallet.
Crucially, a password needs to be created for each device type being used. For instance, suppose a user has the MetaMask app for Android and the Chrome browser extension.
In this instance, both the app and extension require their own password. That said, the user can opt for the same password across multiple devices should they wish.
After creating a password, MetaMask will display the user’s private keys on-screen. As noted earlier, the private keys are displayed as a 12-word passphrase. This makes it more convenient for users and reduces the risk of making a mistake. After all, conventional private keys are long and complex.
Before having access to the wallet, MetaMask requires users to re-enter their 12-word passphrase. This ensures that the user has written the passphrase down correctly and in the right order – which is crucial. Any mistakes at this stage can be costly.
This is because the user needs their backup paraphrase if they forget their password. The passphrase is also required if the user loses the device that MetaMask is stored on.
Importantly, MetaMask does not have access to the backup passphrase. This is because the passphrase is encrypted before it is shown on the user’s screen. Hence, MetaMask cannot help users recover their wallets if both the password and backup passphrase are no longer available.
Ultimately, users should ensure they write the passphrase down correctly and store the sheet of paper somewhere safe.
Tip: When using the MetaMask browser extension, it makes sense to deactivate it when not in use. This increases the security of the wallet, as it’s not actively connected to servers.
As a self-custodial wallet, MetaMask does not offer any additional security features. Once again, this should remind users of the risks of safeguarding their own private keys.
In contrast, custodial wallets often come with two-factor authentication, IP/device whitelisting, insurance, and cold storage. But equally, those opting for a custodial wallet do not control their private keys.
MetaMask Wallet Features
In this section of our MetaMask crypto wallet review, we explore what features are offered.
MetaMask Token Swaps
MetaMask enables users to swap tokens without leaving the wallet interface. However, do note that MetaMask does not directly facilitate token swaps.
Instead, MetaMask uses third-party liquidity pools. This comes with both its pros and cons. For example, MetaMask claims to find the best prices in the market. It does this by using a liquidity pool that offers the best exchange rate for the two tokens being swapped.
However, MetaMask does not display which liquidity pools it has access to. This means there is no knowing whether the quoted rates are actually industry-leading. Moreover, MetaMask charges a variable fee that is built into the exchange rate.
In the example above, we are quoted 0.743% to swap ETH for DAI. However, this can and will change based on market conditions and the networks being used.
MetaMask Wallet Staking
The MetaMask crypto wallet also offers an in-built staking feature. This means that users can earn interest on their idle tokens without leaving the wallet interface.
However, like most services offered by MetaMask – staking is facilitated by third parties. Moreover, only two staking providers are supported; Lido and Rocketpool. Furthermore, only Ethereum is currently supported.
That said, there is a simple workaround to this. In a nutshell, users can stake their cryptocurrencies with a dApp. Users simply need to visit the website of their chosen dApp and connect their MetaMask wallets.
This allows users to stake their cryptocurrencies with a dApp provider that offers the best APYs.
MetaMask NFT Storage
MetaMask also supports NFT storage. However, this is only available for ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards.
Moreover, MetaMask notes that users can only transfer ERC-721 NFTs from their wallets.
MetaMask Fiat Currency Support
As noted earlier, MetaMask also allows users to buy cryptocurrencies from within their wallet interface.
But once again, fiat payments are processed by third parties. Expect to pay between 3-5% of the transaction amount. While this is a convenient way to buy and store cryptocurrencies in one place, much cheaper options are available elsewhere.
For example, regulated broker eToro charges just 0.5% on debit/credit card and e-wallet payments. What’s more, if the payment is made in US dollars, the 0.5% fee is waivered.
Another consideration to make is that fiat money payments on MetaMask require KYC. This likely won’t appeal to wallet users that want to remain anonymous.
MetaMask Education Tools
MetaMask offers a wealth of free education to beginners. This covers explainers on Web 3.0, self-custody, NFTs, and other blockchain-related topics.
MetaMask also offers comprehensive guides on how to use its wallet. This includes everything from sending and receiving cryptocurrencies to swapping tokens and staking.
MetaMask Wallet User Experience
Although MetaMask is a non-custodial wallet that requires users to safeguard their private keys – most of its features are user-friendly. After downloading MetaMask onto the chosen device type, the setup process is broken down step-by-step.
For example, users are initially asked to create a strong password. After that, users are shown their 12-word backup passphrase. MetaMask clearly asks the user to write down the passphrase in the correct order. Then, MetaMask will verify this by asking the user to enter the passphrase on-screen.
Once this step is completed, the MetaMask wallet is activated. This presents users with their unique Ethereum wallet address. At this stage, users can send ERC20 tokens to their MetaMask wallet. However, those wishing to receive another network standard (e.g. Polygon or Binance Smart Chain) will need to add it to MetaMask manually.
This is a drawback for complete beginners. That said, MetaMask offers user-friendly instructions for adding each supported network. Sending and receiving funds is also user-friendly. For example, there is a ‘copy’ button at the top of the wallet interface. By clicking it, the wallet address will be added to the user’s clipboard in full.
Moreover, when sending cryptocurrencies from the MetaMask app, a QR scanner is included. This enables users to scan the recipient’s wallet address – ensuring that mistakes are avoided. As per the image above, token swaps are also very simple.
Users can select which token they want to swap, and which one they wish to receive. After entering the number of tokens to swap, MetaMask will display the exchange rate and its fees. Confirming the swap will enable MetaMask to exchange the two tokens, which will then be reflected in the user’s wallet.
Finally, MetaMask wallet reviews in the public domain are very positive. For example, the MetaMask app has a rating of 4.5 on Google Play across over 10 million downloads. While on the App Store, MetaMask is rated 4.7.
Having said that, some users claim that Trust Wallet is a more user-friendly wallet in comparison to MetaMask. Comparing Trust Wallet vs MetaMask can be time consuming which is why we’ve explored the ins and outs of each crypto wallet to save you the time and effort.
How to Transfer Funds & Buy Crypto in MetaMask Wallet
In this section, we explain how to transfer and buy funds via the MetaMask wallet.
Transfer Funds to Another Wallet
First, open the MetaMask wallet and click on the token to transfer. Then, click on the ‘Send’ button.
MetaMask will then ask the user to paste in the wallet address of the recipient. Next, MetaMask will display the current GAS fee and the estimated transaction time.
For example, in the image above, we are being quoted the ETH equivalent of $2.25 and are told the transaction will take under 30 seconds.
Click on the ‘Next’ button and review the information, before confirming the transaction.
Note: If the transaction fails, it’s likely because there isn’t enough GAS in the MetaMask wallet. GAS must always be paid in ETH, even if an ERC20 token like USDT is being transferred.
Buying Crypto via the MetaMask Wallet
Don’t have any cryptocurrencies and want to add some to MetaMask?
The fastest (although more costly) way to do this is to use one of MetaMask’s partnered providers. This includes MoonPay, Mercuryo, Transak, Sardine, and others. These providers accept a variety of payment methods, such as debit/credit cards and e-wallets. However, a KYC process will first need to be undertaken.
Nonetheless, click on the ‘Buy’ button via the MetaMask interface. Then, click on ‘Get Started’ and choose the country of residence. MetaMask will then display which payment options are available. Choose a suitable payment method and the cryptocurrency to buy. Then enter the amount.
Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the KYC process, which will require a government-issued ID. After finalizing the purchase, the cryptocurrency tokens will directly be added to the MetaMask software wallet.
Withdrawing From MetaMask Wallet
Looking to withdraw cryptocurrencies from MetaMask to another wallet location?
Simply follow the steps we gave above in the ‘Transfer Funds to Another Wallet’ section.
MetaMask Contact and Customer Service
Unlike many non-custodial wallets, MetaMask offers a solid customer service team. By clicking on the ‘Support’ button from within the wallet interface, the user will be redirected to the MetaMask website.
Initially, this shows the user the MetaMask help center, which comes with hundreds of ‘how to’ guides. If this doesn’t suffice, users can connect with a MetaMask support agent via live chat. It is important to remember that users should never give the support agent any sensitive information – such as their private keys.
Moreover, there are increasing reports of bad actors impersonating MetaMask support via other channels, such as Telegram. Therefore, users should ensure they seek support via the official website.
How to Use MetaMask Wallet
In this section, we explain how to set MetaMask up for the first time.
Step 1: MetaMask Wallet Download
First, go to the MetaMask website and click on the ‘Download’ button.
Then, choose the preferred device type and complete the download.
- iOS app
- Android app
- Chrome extension
- Firefox extension
- Edge extension
- Brave extension
Step 2: Create a Password
After downloading MetaMask, open it and click on ‘Create Wallet’.
MetaMask will then ask the user to create a password. Make sure it’s a strong password – but simple enough that it won’t be forgotten.
The password will be required to access the MetaMask wallet.
Step 3: Write Down the Backup Passphrase
MetaMask will now show the user’s backup passphrase – which is 12 words.
Write down each word on a sheet of paper in the correct order. Next, MetaMask will ask the user to re-enter the backup passphrase.
This is to ensure the passphrase has been written down correctly and in the right order.
Important: Never store the backup passphrase in a place that connects to the internet. For example, on a Google Doc file or email draft. This increases the risk of the wallet being hacked remotely. Instead, keep the passphrase offline at all times.
Step 4: Add Crypto
Now that the MetaMask wallet has been set up, it’s time to add some funds.
- Those looking to receive cryptocurrencies from another wallet can find their MetaMask address underneath ‘Account 1’. Copy the address and paste it in from the external wallet.
- Those looking to buy cryptocurrencies with a debit/credit card or e-wallet can click on ‘Buy’. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the KYC and payment processes.
Once the MetaMask wallet is funded, be sure to follow appropriate security practices. This means keeping the private keys safe and never giving sensitive information to the support team.
In summary, MetaMask is one of the best crypto wallets available. It will appeal to those seeking full control of their private keys – as MetaMask is non-custodial. The wallet is largely user-friendly, although manually adding new networks can be cumbersome.
Moreover, a major drawback is that MetaMask is not compatible with Bitcoin. On the flip side, we like that MetaMask supports token swaps and staking directly from the wallet interface. It also connects to third-party dApps, such as Uniswap and PancakeSwap.
Still not sure if MetaMask is the right crypto wallet for you? Check out our guide to the best crypto wallets of 2023.