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MetaMask

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MetaMask
MetaMask Fox Logo
Developer(s)ConsenSys Software Inc.
Initial release2016; 5 years ago (2016)
Operating systemiOS
Android
PlatformBrowser extension
Mobile app
TypeCryptocurrency wallet
Websitemetamask.io

MetaMask is a software cryptocurrency wallet used to interact with the Ethereum blockchain.[1][2] It allows users to access their Ethereum wallet through a browser extension or mobile app, which can then be used to interact with decentralized applications.

Features[edit]

MetaMask allows users to store and manage account keys, broadcast transactions, send and receive Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies and tokens, and securely connect to decentralized applications through a compatible web browser or the mobile app's built-in browser.[3][4]

Usage figures[edit]

As of April 2021, MetaMask's browser extension had approximately 3 million monthly active users, according to Fortune.[5]

History[edit]

MetaMask was created in 2016 by ConsenSys, a blockchain software company focusing on Ethereum-based tools and infrastructure.[6][7]

Up until 2019, MetaMask had only been available as a desktop browser extension for Google Chrome and Firefox browsers. Given the popularity of MetaMask among cryptocurrency users, and its lack of an official mobile app for several years, instances of malicious software posing as MetaMask became problematic for Google in regulating its Chrome Web Store and Google Play platforms.[8][9][10] In one instance, Google Play unintentionally removed MetaMask's official beta app before reverting the decision a week later on January 1st, 2020.[11]

Starting in 2019, MetaMask began releasing mobile app versions for closed beta testing, followed by their official public release for iOS and Android in September 2020.[2][3]

In March 2020, MetaMask was audited by security firm Least Authority, and found to be "exceptional, [...] stand out in terms of secure architecture and paving the way for security best practices, [with] comprehensible and robust [code] and clever and clearly thought out [underlying design]"[12] The audit did discover some issues in the LavaMoat plugin system, which is not deployed to production yet.[13]

Criticism[edit]

While MetaMask and other "web3" focused applications aim to decentralize control over personal data and increase user privacy, critics have pointed to the potential for MetaMask's browser extension to leak identifiable information to data collection networks and web trackers as a fundamental flaw.[6][14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Steven (2018-01-16). "Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  2. ^ a b Schroeder, Stan. "Crypto wallet MetaMask finally launches on iOS and Android, and it supports Apple Pay". Mashable. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  3. ^ a b Leising, Matthew (2 September 2020). "MetaMask's Blockchain Mobile App Opens Doors For Next-Level Web". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  4. ^ Jaffe, Justin. "How to keep your cryptocurrency safe". CNET. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  5. ^ "Ethereum: Mastercard, UBS, and J.P. Morgan pour $65 million into crypto startup studio Consensys". Fortune. Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  6. ^ a b EST, Adam Piore On 11/19/18 at 5:09 PM (2018-11-19). "How blockchain technology could help us take back our data from Facebook, Google and Amazon". Newsweek. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  7. ^ Popper, Nathaniel (2016-03-28). "Ethereum, a Virtual Currency, Enables Transactions That Rival Bitcoin's (Published 2016)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2016-07-24. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  8. ^ Goodin, Dan (2019-02-09). "Google Play caught hosting an app that steals users' cryptocurrency". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  9. ^ Cimpanu, Catalin. "Exclusive: Google removes 49 Chrome extensions caught stealing crypto-wallet keys". ZDNet. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  10. ^ Varshney, Neer (2018-06-12). "Google should learn from Apple's cryptocurrency guidelines". Hard Fork | The Next Web. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  11. ^ Beedham, Matthew (2020-01-03). "Google lifts ban on Ethereum wallet app it thought was mining cryptocurrency". Hard Fork | The Next Web. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  12. ^ Rose, Emery; Tarr, Dominic; Leitner, Alexander (4 March 2020). "MetaMask Plugin System + LavaMoat Security Audit Report" (PDF). Least Authority.
  13. ^ "Implement security audit feedback". GitHub. 25 November 2019.
  14. ^ Canellis, David (2019-03-22). "PSA: MetaMask reveals your Ethereum address to sites you visit, here's how to hide it". Hard Fork | The Next Web. Retrieved 2020-11-30.