An online digital wallet that allows users to manage, transfer and receive Ethereum, operating as an extension to a regular browser.
MetaMask is a cryptocurrency wallet that operates as a plug-in for standard internet browsers such as Chrome and Firefox.
It allows users to manage, transfer and receive Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens — without the need to download the whole blockchain in the process.
As well as allowing digital coins to be stored, MetaMask also enables users to interact with smart contracts and decentralized applications without using a full Ethereum node.
The cryptocurrency wallet was created in 2016 by ConsenSys, a Brooklyn-based blockchain software company focusing on Ethereum-related tools and infrastructure.
Hot wallets — or web-based wallets — are often considered insecure, with phishing attacks being the main risk for users. These scams are used by hackers to steal sensitive information such as passwords and usernames.
The software uses HD backup settings and relies on a team of developers that regularly update its open source code.
A HD wallet, or hierarchical deterministic wallet, is a next-generation digital wallet that automatically generates a hierarchical tree-like structure of private and/or public addresses. This takes the issue away from the user, as otherwise the key would have to be generated externally.
One of MetaMask’s key features is the use of a 12-word phrase that has to be kept safe or to remembered by the user, as it will be required in the event of forgetting a password.
Due to its success in the cryptocurrency community, the lack of an official mobile website for several years led to malicious actors to develop phishing software that posed as MetaMask’s mobile app.
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