How to Setup a MetaMask Wallet
What is a Cryptocurrency Wallet?
Cryptocurrency wallets are basically software that communicate with a system called the Blockchain to allow you to safely access, send, and receive crypto funds and assets. Your crypto wallet stores your funds the same way a bank does but the Blockchain is the mechanism that facilitates and records all of your transactions.
Custodial VS Non-Custodial Wallets
There are a couple of options when choosing what kind of crypto wallet you want to get. A custodial wallet is a hosted, centralized exchange like Coinbase that acts as a third-party with ownership of the private keys used to make transactions. The host or third-party basically has “custody” over your currency. Many beginners make their first purchases on centralized exchanges, it’s easy to sign up for an account and good for holding small amounts of crypto. This option does not yet allow you to purchase NFT. In order to do that you’ll need a non-custodial wallet.
A non-custodial wallet like MetaMask gives you full control over your currency and assets and you won’t have to share ownership of your private keys. If you already have a Coinbase account or other centralized exchange, you can transfer your crypto into your non-custodial wallet. You will still need to purchase Ether on Coinbase but can then transfer it to your non-custodial wallet where you can store large amounts of crypto and purchase NFTs.
How do Crypto Wallets Work?
All crypto wallets use public and private keys to function. These keys work together to access the blockchain in order to make transactions. Think of the public key as your wallet’s address or identifier. You can share it and use it to receive crypto from others. The private key is your way of proving that you are the owner of your wallet.
Public keys are mathematically linked to private keys using a unique key pairing. It is possible to derive your private key with a seed phrase, a group of 12 or 24 words generated within the wallet. With that being said, your private key can be used to recover your public key, but you can’t recover your private key using your public key. That’s why it’s very important to keep your private keys and seed phrases safe.
Getting a crypto wallet is as easy as downloading an app on your smartphone and following the prompts. You can also sign up from your desktop computer but will need the Chrome extension.
How to Set Up a MetaMask Wallet (Desktop)
- Go to MetaMask.io
- Click the Download button on the homepage.
- Click Install MetaMask for Chrome. You will be directed to the Google Chrome web store.
- Click Add to Chrome. Once installed, you’ll see the MetaMask fox head icon in the top right corner of your browser by clicking on the puzzle piece icon.
- Click Get Started then choose Create a Wallet.
- Create a password (min 8 characters) Confirm password and click Create.
- Now that you’ve created your wallet, you’ll be able to view your seed phrase (the 12 word sequence used to recover and backup your wallet)
How to Set Up a MetaMask Wallet (Mobile)
- Download the MetaMask app to your smartphone (App Store for iPhone or Google Play Store for Android).
- Click Get Started
- Click Sync with MetaMask extension
- Open your MetaMask desktop extension, go to Settings > Advanced, Click on Sync with Mobile and enter your password.
- Using your phone’s camera, scan the QR code to start syncing.
You are now able to access your MetaMask account from your desktop or your mobile phone making it that much easier to begin making your first NFT purchases!
Please note that you will not have access to your cryptocurrency until about a week after the transaction was initiated. The ACH bank system that Coinbase uses for payments with bank accounts takes a minimum of 5 days to actually complete the transaction. It is possible to bypass the waiting period and wire money from your bank account to your Coinbase wallet.
If waiting on funds for a week isn’t quite your style, you might try your luck with the purchasing options within metamask (though the fees do run a tad bit higher).
Securing Your Wallet
Your Metamask Wallet is essentially your Account for Web 3.0 – Most apps will require you to at least have it connected to them to work. It’s your key – your point of access for all that web3 has to offer. It holds your most precious digital assets, so you should take great care to protect it. Unlike the internet today where the platform owns your data, you hold your assets and information in web 3.
Here’s what you should do to protect your wallet:
1. Write your seedphrase down on a sheet of paper. Not a .txt file on your computer, don’t screenshot it on your phone, and definitely don’t send it in private messages. (If anyone asks you for your seedphrase they are trying to take your stuff. No one but you needs it, and you only need it to recover the wallet in case of software/hardware issues)
2. Be hyper-aware of the websites you are connecting your wallet to. Some contracts can be malicious or even downright destructive if you permit any actions it wants to take with your wallet. Make sure the URL is correct, and make sure you’re on a reputable platform, and if you don’t know – ask! The Starman NFT Discord is full of helpful folks with extensive experience in Web 3.
3. Look into securing your metamask with a third-party hardware wallet like a Trezor or a Ledger (Buy directly from those companies and no other distributor to be sure the device is not compromised before you even get it). Each of these options have extensive and easy-to-read documentation for using them with metamask.