Is MetaMask Legit and Safe?

Zac McClure
ByZac McClure, MBAReviewed byAlex MilesUpdated on December 14, 2023 · minute read
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  • MetaMask is a non-custodial crypto wallet that emphasizes user control over private keys. This decentralization ensures heightened security but demands responsible key management from users.

  • While MetaMask supports numerous crypto networks, including Ethereum, Arbitrum, and Binance Smart Chain, it lacks direct Bitcoin support. Users relying on MetaMask for crypto purchases should be aware also of the need to acquire fiat indirectly through third-party processors, with associated fees.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts and blockchain users around the globe often find themselves at a crossroads when selecting a wallet for their digital assets. MetaMask, with its user-friendly interface and non-custodial approach, has emerged as a significant player in the market. New users often wonder: is MetaMask safe? We answer that question and more in our comprehensive and current MetaMask review.

Is MetaMask safe?

Is MetaMask safe? MetaMask has earned the trust of over 30 million users, positioning itself as a reliable choice for managing digital assets. One of its key strengths lies in being a non-custodial wallet, meaning users have full control over their private keys. The wallet employs robust encryption methods, making it resilient against most cyber threats.

MetaMask's commitment to security is apparent through its user interface, which guides individuals in creating strong passwords and safeguarding their 12-word backup passphrase.

The decentralized nature of MetaMask adds an extra layer of security. With MetaMask, users interact directly with the blockchain, reducing the risk of centralized points of failure. However, users must be proactive in maintaining their security. Best practices include avoiding phishing attempts, using hardware wallets for further protection, and staying informed about potential risks in the dynamic crypto landscape.

What is MetaMask?

Launched in 2016, MetaMask initially functioned as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. Over the years, it has evolved into a versatile tool available as both a mobile app for iOS and Android and a browser extension compatible with Chrome, Edge, Brave, and Firefox.

MetaMask's primary feature is its non-custodial nature, emphasizing users' responsibility for safeguarding their private keys. As a gateway to Web3, MetaMask allows users to send, receive, and store various cryptocurrencies, supporting networks like Ethereum, Arbitrum, Optimism, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and Avalanche.

How does MetaMask work?

The inner workings of MetaMask involve a combination of blockchain technology and user-friendly interfaces. When users set up MetaMask, they are presented with a 12-word backup passphrase representing their private keys.

This passphrase is crucial for accessing the wallet in case of a forgotten password or the loss of the device where MetaMask is stored. The wallet connects users to decentralized applications (dApps) like Uniswap and OpenSea, offering a seamless experience in swapping tokens, earning interest, and trading NFTs.

Users choose their preferred cryptocurrency and destination wallet address to initiate a transaction. MetaMask displays the current Ethereum gas fee, allowing users to select their preferred transaction speed. While MetaMask is fee-free for basic features, users need to cover gas fees determined by the blockchain when making transfers. MetaMask supports the Ethereum network by default, and users must manually add other networks they wish to utilize.

What is MetaMask used for?

MetaMask serves as a multi-faceted tool in the cryptocurrency space. Its core functionality revolves around providing users a secure and user-friendly environment to manage their digital assets. The wallet's compatibility with various networks extends its utility beyond Ethereum, allowing users to engage with decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, NFT marketplaces, and other blockchain-based applications.

The wallet's support for Ethereum and networks like Arbitrum, Optimism, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and Avalanche opens doors to various cryptocurrencies. Users can store and manage popular tokens such as Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), and Binance Coin (BNB). Additionally, MetaMask facilitates the storage and transfer of assets within the emerging ecosystems of different blockchain networks.

However, MetaMask's lack of support for the Bitcoin network is a notable drawback. Users seeking to store Bitcoin or other top-10 cryptocurrencies like XRP, Cardano, or Solana may need to explore alternative wallet options. Additionally, while MetaMask allows users to buy cryptocurrencies through third-party payment gateways like MoonPay and Mercuryo, this indirect purchasing method comes with an average commission of 3-5%.

What are the risks of using MetaMask?

While MetaMask offers a range of features and benefits, users should be aware of potential risks associated with its usage. One significant aspect is the manual addition of supported networks beyond Ethereum, which can be complex for new users.

Although the wallet supports multiple networks, users need to input details like RPC URLs and ChainIDs manually. While manageable for experienced users, this process might pose a challenge for beginners, increasing the risk of errors during network setup.

Another consideration is MetaMask's decentralized and non-custodial nature. While this gives users unparalleled control over their assets, it comes with the responsibility of safeguarding private keys and the 12-word backup passphrase. Forgetting the password and losing access to the backup passphrase may result in permanent loss of access to the wallet and its stored cryptocurrencies.

Furthermore, MetaMask relies on third-party processors like MoonPay and Mercuryo for fiat currency purchases. While convenient, this centralized fiat payment process requires users to undergo KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures, compromising the anonymity associated with some crypto transactions.

Is MetaMask a legit and safe way to interact with Web3?

MetaMask is widely considered one of the best crypto wallets available. Its popularity and extensive user base indicate its legitimacy as a well-established crypto wallet. Its commitment to security, non-custodial design, and integration with decentralized applications contribute to its legitimacy in the blockchain space.

In terms of safety, MetaMask provides users with tools and features that can help secure their digital assets effectively. The emphasis on strong passwords, the 12-word backup passphrase, and user education on potential risks demonstrates a commitment to user security. The decentralized architecture further enhances safety by reducing the reliance on central points of control susceptible to attacks.

However, users must play an active role in maintaining their security posture. Following best practices, such as avoiding suspicious links, using hardware wallets, and staying informed about potential threats, is crucial for a safe experience with MetaMask. While MetaMask is generally considered safe, users should remain vigilant in the rapidly evolving landscape of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

MetaMask FAQs

Now we’ve given our comprehensive MetaMask review, here are answers to frequently asked questions about MetaMask, including: is MetaMask safe?

What is the downside of MetaMask?

Despite its popularity, MetaMask is not without drawbacks. One notable downside is the need to manually add supported networks beyond Ethereum. While experienced users may navigate this process smoothly, beginners might find it challenging to input the required details correctly, potentially leading to errors during network setup.

What is the safest crypto wallet?

The search for the safest crypto wallet involves considering various factors, including security features, ease of use, and supported cryptocurrencies. While MetaMask offers a secure environment, alternative wallets with additional security layers, such as hardware wallets, may be preferable for users prioritizing safety.

Can MetaMask be hacked?

MetaMask's security measures, including strong passwords and a 12-word backup passphrase, significantly reduce the risk of hacking. However, as with any online tool, users should remain vigilant against phishing attempts, malicious websites, and potential security vulnerabilities. MetaMask is only as secure as the person using it. 

If you accidentally leak, share, or somehow make public your passwords, seed phrases, or backup phrases, a hack is entirely possible, and savvy hackers will target crypto users through social media, email, or other channels. If you don’t recognize a link, don’t click it, and only connect MetaMask to websites you trust after verifying you’re at the correct URL.

Why does MetaMask have bad reviews?

As noted, MetaMask does have downsides. Decentralized finance (DeFi) is a new area, and many MetaMask users are inexperienced in blockchain and don’t know how to begin or even what MetaMask does. The interface can sometimes be confusing, and there are few protections in DeFi for users who make mistakes or suffer from hacks. 

People who struggle in crypto will naturally look for an outlet to complain - some negative reviews of MetaMask are legitimate, and others likely come from frustrated crypto users who’ve made a preventable mistake or don’t understand how to use the software. Always do your own research and understand the risks involved before undertaking any crypto activity.

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Zac McClure
Zac McClureCo-Founder & CEO at TokenTax
Zac co-founded TokenTax after his career in international finance and accounting at JPMorgan, Imprint Capital and Bain. He has worked in more than half-dozen countries and received his MBA from the UPenn Wharton School.
Alex Miles
Reviewed byAlex MilesCo-Founder at TokenTax
Prior to TokenTax, Alex worked as a Product Designer at Dropbox and before that Readmill (acquired by Dropbox). He holds a BS in Digital Information Design - Interactive Media from Winthrop University.

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