MetaMask Cryptocurrency Wallet Review

A non-custodial Ethereum-based wallet not suitable for new crypto investors

We recommend the best products through an independent review process, and advertisers do not influence our picks. We may receive compensation if you visit partners we recommend. Read our advertiser disclosure for more info.

MetaMask

MetaMask

Investopedia’s Rating
3.5

Our Take

MetaMask is a popular cryptocurrency wallet that supports a broad range of Ethereum-based tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on supported blockchains. While experienced crypto investors may appreciate the speed and simplicity of the wallet, new investors may find it difficult to navigate. In addition, the wallet does not support Bitcoin, making it a turn-off for investors whose primary investment is Bitcoin.

While all leading cryptocurrency wallets provide a high level of security for safekeeping your crypto assets, improper security practices on behalf of the user can lead to a complete loss of funds. Crypto enthusiasts should take care to store the bulk of their assets meant for trading on exchanges using cold storage methods, and never share your wallet’s login details, recovery phrase, or private keys with anyone.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Easy setup process

  • Earn rewards via staking and holding

  • Supports a broad range of Ethereum-based tokens

  • Central hub for dApp

Cons
  • No coin-to-fiat conversion

  • Absence of 24/7 live customer support

Company Overview

Launched by Aaron Davis in 2016 and headquartered in San Francisco, MetaMask is a decentralized, non-custodial Ethereum-based wallet that allows users to store, buy, send, convert, and swap crypto tokens. The wallet is available as a mobile app and browser extension on Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Brave.

MetaMask allows users to connect to blockchain applications and explore the decentralized web securely. The wallet is non-custodial, giving users sole custody of their private keys. Because it is a decentralized wallet, transactions can only be completed using the liquidity provided by liquidity providers, without relying on third-party partners. This feature differentiates it from platforms such as the bankrupt FTX that solely relied on Alameda Research for liquidity, and subsequently used customers' funds indiscriminately.

In March 2021, MetaMask introduced a swap feature, allowing users to exchange their tokens for others from different decentralized exchanges at competitive rates. The wallet, which has over 10 million active users, plans to start collecting users' Ethereum and IP addresses following its privacy policy update.

MetaMask supports a broad range of ERC-20 tokens, giving users familiar with crypto assets the best experience. The wallet software is free to download and offers multiple layers of protection, including multi-factor authentication and whitelists for sending and receiving tokens. Being quite technical, MetaMask is not suitable for newcomers to the crypto industry.

MetaMask

MetaMask

overall rating
3.5
Type of Wallet Software; available as a mobile app for Android and iOS and a web browser extension
Price  Free 
Fees  Network fees to send and swap assets; no fee to receive assets
Number of Cryptocurrencies Supported  Supports a wide range of Ethereum-based tokens such as Ether (ETH), USD Coin (USDC), Tether (USDT), etc.
Bitcoin and Ethereum Support  Only Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens are supported
Earn (Staking/Rewards)  Yes, users can receive rewards on staking, as well as other incentives like airdrops
Customer Service  No 24/7 live customer support; users can get help via the help page, email, ticket system, and community board
In-App Features  Users can buy, stake, swap, and convert assets within the wallet
Hardware Compatible  Yes (examples include Trezo and Ledger)
SPV or Full Node  Simplified Payment Version (SVP)
Mobile App  Yes (Android and iOS)

Pros Explained

  • Easy setup process: Downloading and setting up MetaMask across several platforms is relatively easy. Users can start by creating one wallet and importing it across platforms using the 12-word seed phrase.
  • Earn rewards via staking and holding: MetaMask users can earn additional tokens through airdrops and staking. Staking is the process of locking up tokens in a vault for a certain period to make a profit represented in APY.
  • Supports a broad range of Ethereum-based tokens: MetaMask supports diverse crypto assets built on the Ethereum network. Examples include Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), USD Coin (UADC), and several others.
  • Central hub for dApps: MetaMask supports a broad range of decentralized applications (dApps), which are essential for builders, NFT, and Web 3 enthusiasts.

Cons Explained

  • No coin-to-fiat conversion: As a decentralized wallet, MetaMask does not support third-party remittance companies, hence users do not have the luxury of directly converting coins to fiat currency.
  • Absence of 24/7 live customer support: While MetaMask may be good for the majority of its services, customer support is not one of its strengths. Given that the wallet is quite technical for beginners, there is a need for a 24/7 support system. Unfortunately, it does not have one that operates around the clock.

Features

Security, anonymity, and decentralization are some of the most attractive features in the crypto industry and MetaMask does not fail to exhibit these traits. Users can download the wallet software or add it as a browser extension and install it without disclosing identifying data such as name, email, social security number, and address. Decentralization is a valuable feature that ensures transactions on the blockchain are visible to connected nodes. It also prevents a single entity from having access to the entire wallet system. This is another feature that is quite different from that of the bankrupt FTX protocol, where a particular entity gained unauthorized access to the central system, stealing around $600 million in crypto from the protocol.

Besides supporting cryptocurrencies, MetaMask is a versatile product in the marketplace, supporting tokens on the ERC-20 protocol, and storing non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which can be connected with marketplaces such as OpenSea. The wallet also supports multiple blockchains including the Build and Build (BNB) chain, Polygon, Avalanche, and more.

Despite having over 30 million active monthly users, there are some downsides. The wallet does not support Bitcoin, the largest digital asset based on market capitalization. Being technical, with no live customer support, the wallet may not be suitable for new crypto investors.

Security

MetaMask's approach to security is through anonymity and entrusting private keys to users. Since the wallet does not keep users' personal information, accounts are protected by a user-generated password during installation and setup, or biometric data on mobile devices. The wallet can be recovered via a 12-word mnemonic phrase as the wallet doesn't keep custody of private keys. It is, therefore, necessary to keep this seed phrase safe as it will be essential if the device gets damaged or stolen.

MetaMask has just one way of recovering a single wallet across multiple devices. This makes the wallet susceptible to hacks and malware. Notable among these are Banker Trojan, social engineering attacks, and other crypto scams. MetaMask wallet users can be attacked with phishing scams that prompt them to reveal their seed phrases on suspicious websites, or by downloading and installing a fake version of the wallet extension which hackers can leverage to steal users' assets after gaining control of the wallet.

Privacy and Anonymity

One of MetaMask's priorities is anonymity. Unlike centralized crypto exchanges that require users to meet Know Your Client (KYC) requirements, this wallet doesn’t require users to submit personal information. However, the wallet warns that transactions are not solely anonymous, but classifies exchanges as pseudonymous. Since transactions are recorded on the public blockchain, the wallet ID acts as a pseudonym for the user.

Given that MetaMask does not support Bitcoin, CoinJoin transactions are not enabled. A CoinJoin is a process in which different users mix their coins together before sending them to recipients, ensuring that the senders and recipients remain anonymous.

Setup  

The process of setting up MetaMask is easy. Users start by downloading the mobile app for Android or iOS, or the browser extension for Brave, Google Chrome, Opera, Microsoft Edge, or Firefox. After this, users will either be prompted to import an existing wallet using the 12-word seed phrase or create a new wallet. New users can click “Create a Wallet” and will be asked permission to gather anonymous usage data to improve the product. Users can opt out of those that may seem privacy sensitive, such as requests for private keys, transaction data, or IP addresses, as part of MetaMask’sprivacy policy.

Users can then proceed to set up their eight-character password and their 12-word seed phrase will be presented. Users must keep these safe because should they go missing, access to the wallet will be lost permanently. Once the seed phrase is confirmed, users can carry out transactions such as send, buy, swap, and stake seamlessly.

Usability

MetaMask functions as an in-browser application for desktop or laptop computers, as well as a smartphone app available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The wallet can be seamlessly integrated with various crypto websites such as OpenSea, Uniswap, and QuickSwap.

Desktop

The MetaMask wallet app allows users to send or receive coins with any other wallet or smart contract provided a supported blockchain is used. Users also have the option of buying coins using providers on the platform, such as MoonPay, Wyre, and Transak. While the wallet doesn’t require users to meet KYC verification, these third-party providers do to remain compliant. The wallet is compatible with hardware wallets such as Ledger and Trezor, giving users room to transfer crypto and NFTs from a software-based hot wallet to a hardware-based cold wallet for safe storage.

While it is easy to use MetaMask on a connected website to send, swap, and receive tokens, users cannot sell tokens on the wallet. As such, they will have to send their coins to an external wallet before converting them to cash.

1

Mobile App

The MetaMask wallet mobile app is available on Google Play for Android and the Apple App Store for iOS devices. The wallet has a 4.5 star rating on Google Play with pockets of complaints centered on “bugs on the new version” and the slow speed of the browser extension.

The mobile app also allows users to send and receive tokens and NFTs on supported blockchains. It is expected that users have sufficient Ether (ETH) to cover gas fees during transactions. Users have the opportunity of buying Ether using Transak on MetaMask mobile via bank transfer, credit cards, or Apple Pay on iOS devices.

Customer Service

Despite being one of the most popular cryptocurrency wallets in the Ethereum ecosystem, MetaMask’s customer support is limited to technical issues experienced when using the wallet on a personal device. While support is not live, users can get help via the self-help center, community message board, email, or ticket system.

Cost & Fees 

Transaction fees on MetaMask are the sole responsibility of the users. Charges are mainly for gas fees which are paid to the blockchain service. When buying crypto, users may be expected to pay a processing fee, a base fee, and a gas limit. Users will also pay a service fee of 0.875% for any swaps.

Users can customize their gas fees depending on how fast they want the transaction to be processed. These fees, which are quite higher than the standard fees, are called high-priority fees. The model behind this strategy is that miners are enthusiastic to process transactions that come with higher fees. So paying higher fees will prompt them to process transactions faster.

Final Verdict

MetaMask is a decentralized wallet with vast features and Web3 applications that make it a central hub for NFT and Web3 enthusiasts who desire to build decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain. The wallet exists as a web browser application and mobile app.

While this wallet has vast features, it cannot be used as a primary wallet because it does not support Bitcoin, the most-held digital asset in the crypto industry. With technical features being dominant, the wallet is suitable for intermediate and advanced crypto investors.

Methodology

One of the most important things to consider before you transact in and store cryptocurrencies is that you have a suitable crypto wallet in place. To help determine the wallet that works best for you, we conducted a comprehensive review process of the top cryptocurrency software wallets. 

Our review process is built around a quantitative ratings model that weighs key factors like security, costs, privacy, usability, customer support, and features according to their importance. Our team of researchers gathered over 40 data points and conducted extensive research for each of the 19 companies we reviewed. Our team of writers, who are experts in this field, then test drove each wallet to lend their qualitative point of view.

Our model gave preference to companies with the strongest security measures and reputations. Companies with rich features, such as supporting a large number of crypto assets, giving users the ability to sync with hardware wallets, and allowing for fee customization, also ranked highly.

Read our full methodology.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. MetaMask. "What Is Staking?

  2. MetaMask. "Frequently Asked Questions."

  3. Coindesk. "FTX Accounts Drainer Swaps Millions in Stolen Crypto, Becomes 35th-Largest Ether Holder."

  4. Decrypt. "MetaMask Surpasses 30 Million Monthly Active Users."

  5. Google, Google Play. "MetaMask Blockchain Wallet."

  6. Transak. "How to Buy Cryptocurrency on MetaMask."