Getting Started with MetaMask

MrCatalyst
6 min readFeb 3, 2022

Open the Google Chrome browser and navigate to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions and Search for “MetaMask”.

It’s important to verify that you are downloading the real MetaMask extension,The real one:

  1. Shows the ID nkbihfbeogaeaoehlefnkodbefgpgknn in the address bar
  2. Has more than 1,400 reviews
  3. Has more than 1,000,000 users
  4. Is offered by https://metamask.io

If you are trying to install it in some other browser, just check whether it’s offered by https://metamask.io or not.

Once you confirm you are looking at the correct extension, click “Add to Chrome” to install it.

Creating a Wallet

Once MetaMask is installed you should see a new icon (the head of a fox) in your browser’s toolbar. Click on it to get started. You will be asked to accept the terms and conditions and then to create your new Ethereum wallet by entering a password.

Once you’ve set a password, MetaMask will generate a wallet for you and show you a mnemonic backup consisting of 12 English words. Consider this mnemonic as your password recovery or security question which is asked in other platform to recover your account. Hence very important and you should save it somewhere safe (not in digital format).

Once you have confirmed that you have stored the mnemonic securely, you’ll be able to see the details of your Ethereum account.

Your account page shows the name of your account (“Account 1” by default), an Ethereum address (0x9E713… in the example).At the top of the account page, you can see which Ethereum network you are currently working on (“Main Network” in the example).

Congratulations! You have set up your first Ethereum wallet.

Switching Networks

As you can see on the MetaMask account page, you can choose between multiple Ethereum networks. By default it is connected to MainNetwork where the Ether you hold has actual dollar value. Every other network is called a testnet and does not have any real value, hence called the testnet. All the learning or experimentation we do is in the testnet.

The other choices are public testnets, any Ethereum node of your choice, or nodes running private blockchains on your own computer (localhost):

  • Main Ethereum Network
  • Ropsten Test Network
  • Kovan Test Network
  • Rinkeby Test Network
  • Localhost 8545 : Connects to a node running on the same computer as the browser. The node can be part of any public blockchain (main or testnet), or a private testnet.
  • Custom RPC

Why do we have so many testnet?
As a developer of smart contracts you would want to test your smart contract before releasing it to the MainNet, as releasing to the MainNet costs gas which is actual dollars that you will be spending . It is always better to test your Smart Contract that it is working as expected and these multiple testnets act as the testing zone for a Smart Contract. More you have tested in different testnet, more confidence you have in your Smart Contract.

Getting Some Test Ether

Your first task is to get your wallet funded. Switch MetaMask to the Ropsten Test Network. Click Buy, then click Ropsten Test Faucet.

Click on the request 1 ether from faucet, if it prompts for your address, you very well know which address to enter.In a few seconds, the new transaction will be mined by the Ropsten miners and your MetaMask wallet will show a balance of 1 ETH

Click on the transaction ID and your browser will take you to a block explorer, which is a website that allows you to visualize and explore blocks, addresses, and transactions. MetaMask uses the Etherscan block explorer, one of the more popular Ethereum block explorers.

You can manually go the address https://ropsten.etherscan.io and enter the transaction ID for any transaction , whether it’s yours or someone else’s. This is what, is called a public ledger anyone can see from where the ether came and to whom it went.

As per when I was writing this article for rinkeby test net the working faucet was : https://faucets.chain.link/rinkeby

If you have trouble getting ether from Rospten , try rinkeby and and etherscan for rinkeby (https://rinkeby.etherscan.io/)

Sending Ether from MetaMask

Once you’ve received your first test ether from the Ropsten Test Faucet, you can experiment with sending ether by trying to send some back to the faucet.
If you are not using the test ether, you should return it to the faucet as hoarding of the test ether is frowned upon.

We got 1 ether from the faucet but if you try to return the 1 ether , you can’t as some of it will be used a gas fees. To learn more about gas you can checkout the below link.

All this to say: making a 1 ETH transaction costs 1.000063 ETH. MetaMask confusingly rounds that down to 1 ETH when showing the total, but the actual amount you need is 1.000063 ETH and you only have 1 ETH. Click Reject to cancel this transaction.

Exploring the Transaction History of an Address

By now you have become an expert in using MetaMask to send and receive test ether. Your wallet has received at least one payment and sent at least one. You can view all these transactions using the ropsten.etherscan.io block explorer.

You can view all the transactions that took place from your wallet i.e. your account (Account 1) by clicking on the first option “View account on Etherscan”. or by copying the account address and searching it. Like we did for the transaction ID earlier.

Here you can see the entire transaction history of your Ethereum address. It shows all the transactions recorded on the Ropsten blockchain where your address is the sender or recipient. Click on a few of these transactions to see more details.

My advise , If you are just starting to learn please don’t add any ether on the Main Network or if you want to add it to the Main Network have a separate wallet all together just to be safe. Blockchain is still under development and will go under massive changes over time. So be cognizant about this fact before experimenting with your hard earned money in Main Net.

and yes. finally welcome to the blockchain world.!

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