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DEFINITION of Metamask (Cryptocurrency)

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Metamask is a browser-based plug-in/add-in or browser extension, which allows users to carry out various Ethereum transactions

BREAKING DOWN Metamask (Cryptocurrency)

Metamask acts as a bridge between the various Ethereum interfaces and regular web browsers. For instance, an Ethereum user may transact and work on the Ethereum network using specific tools and interfaces like the Mist browser or other Dapps which require dedicated installation and configuration. In contrast, the Metamask extension is added to browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and the new Brave browser, allowing an easy to use, no-installation add-on that facilitates seamless connectivity to the Ethereum network and a faster execution of transactions.

Metamask Is A Bridge Between Various Ethereum Interfaces

Metamask essentially brings Ethereum blockchain data and transactions to a standard web browser. For instance, assume that you want to make a purchase an online shopping portal like Amazon, and wish to pay using Ethereum. To make the payment, you have to broadcast payment details on the Ethereum blockchain, from where Amazon will verify it and then process your order. This requires your PC (and Amazon’s) to work as a node on the Ethereum blockchain, and carry out various activities like broadcasting the transaction details.

At present, regular browsers cannot access, write or broadcast onto Ethereum, and users are required to use dedicated tools like the Mist browser. Metamask makes such transactions simple by allowing a user to smoothly transact in ether cryptocoins through their browsers – one can instantly send ethers to the wallet address of the intended recipient (Amazon) through a standard web browser.
Metamask offers a secure vault, which allows a user to create and maintain multiple digital wallets. All the funds, transactions and identity-related data are stored locally within the user’s browser, and nothing ever reaches the Metamask servers, making it fully secure.
Using the available key (a set of 12 different English words), one can easily move the Metamask account to any other device/browser.
Though a user’s browser may not be directly connected to the Ethereum blockchain and his PC may not be acting as a node, the Metamask servers are always on the blockchain and work as the blockchain nodes. Therefore, Metamask transactions work instantly.
Along with connection to the main Ethereum network, Metamask also allows connections to multiple test Ethereum networks which a user can easily connect to, build and test his own transactions, apps, and cryptocoins. It also allows a user to run Ethereum dApps right in the browser without running a full Ethereum node. For instance, one can create and test cryptocoins on the test Ethereum network.

MetaMask also includes a dedicated vault for secure identity, which provides an interface to manage user identities on different sites and securely sign and authenticate the blockchain transactions for each.

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