Today we have a closer look at an essential tool that gives your browser the capability to make Ethereum transactions through a regular website. This is an important development in the Ethereum Community as it makes it much more accessible for the average user. We also recommend you learn about Saturn Wallet, our independent fork of MetaMask, that supports Ethereum & Ethereum Classic
For the Ethereum ecosystem to continue to grow it has to become accessible for the average everyday user. Surely at some point you would have tried speaking about your love for cryptocurrency with a group of friends, just to be met by blank stares. Even more technical users can become confused and even wary, once you explain that to access your dApps you are going to have to leave the comfort of a regular web browser.
This is where MetaMask comes into the scene. A simple browser plugin that brings together the more complicated user interfaces of Ethereum and the regular web. Essentially it is playing a crucial role to the overall adoption of Ethereum into the mainstream world.
Why is MetaMask important?
Imagine that you would like to buy a new graphic card from Newegg or your favourite online marketplace. As you usually do, you add the product to your cart and proceed to checkout: your browser will make a HTTP request to the webpage and send over the payment details. But hang on, you wanted to pay with Ethereum?
Ethereum is decentralized, meaning that to pay, you would need to write your transaction on the blockchain through an Ethereum node which would broadcast it across the network. Then Newegg would have to go and check the blockchain, make sure the right amount of Ether has been transferred over from your account to theirs. That just sounds like a lot of work.
Even more so when you factor in that regular web browsers would have no idea how to connect to an Ethereum node or interact with the blockchain. Meaning to make a payment or take a payment, you are relying on your user knowing how to use Mist Browser and entering in ETH addresses correctly.
How does MetaMask solve this problem?
The real breakthrough comes with the tool’s ability to specify which Ethereum node to send these requests to. This is a very important aspect because it allows users to enjoy Ethereum without the need of downloading over 10+GB of blockchain on to their hard drives just to make one small transaction.
Not only a bridge into the Ethereum world
The plugin provides you with a very intuitive user interface which really lowers the barrier when it comes to Ethereum and using dApps. Let’s say we need to add the Saturn (SATURN) token to our wallet to trade on Saturn Network, this can be done really easily by simply knowing the token’s contract address.
First if you do not know the token's contract address, then just browse over to etherscan and locate the Saturn token, like so:
Find the token's contract address and copy it:
Click “Add Token” in MetaMask user face:
Paste the contract address in the box like so:
Once you click “Add” you should then see the token appear in your wallet! It is just that simple.
This sounds great, where do I start? How can I install
Our readers have reported some small caching issues when using the MetaMask plugin for Chrome or Firefox. This can cause the plugin to act a bit temperamental and throw up some errors. As a first time user, why spend time troubleshooting something when it should just work right out of the box?
And if that doesn't work for you, then we recommend our very own Saturn Wallet, which supports Ethereum & Ethereum Classic.