Today I am going to show you how you can create your own Ethereum wallet with the help of the MetaMask browser Extension
Step 1: Installing the MetaMask Browser Extension
Firstly, you want to open up Google Chrome and head to the Chrome Web Store. In the search bar, search for “MetaMask” and you’ll see the correct option as being verified by metamask.io (the official MetaMask web page). Press the “Add to Chrome” button.
If MetaMask shows that an error has occurred, just press the “Restart” button to resolve the error.
Step 2: Setting up MetaMask
Hit “Get Started”, and then decide if you’d like to share analytics with MetaMask (Doesn’t affect your experience whether you press Yes or No). Then you will have two options, Restore from Seed Phrase and Create a new wallet.
Step 3: Creating a new Wallet
For this guide we will be creating a new wallet so hit the “Create new Wallet” option. You will then be asked to create a password. Ensure the password is very strong and consists of uppercase and lowercase characters as well as numbers and symbols
This password only encrypts your secret phrase locally on your device. It will not prevent anyone from accessing your account if they have your secret phrase
Step 4: Secret Recovery Phrase Setup
You will be greeted with your secret/seed phrase. DO NOT SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE. It is like the key to your vault and with it, anyone can access every wallet you create under it. Write it down and store it away. It should only be used to recover your wallet in the scenario you lose your laptop (For example). MetaMask will then ask you to confirm your secret phrase, this is the one and only time they will ever do this and it is done to setup the extension and to ensure you have written them down.
Step 5: Quick Overview of the MetaMask extension
To the top right of the extension window, you can change your Network. Mainnet is the default and is where Live funds will be used. If you would like to develop using test networks, then hit the “Show/Hide Test networks” link to do this. To copy your wallet address to the clipboard, hover at the top where it says “Account 1” (or whatever you have named that wallet as) and then click to copy the address to the clipboard.
An average user will only ever need Mainnets and will never usually use testnets
Step 6: Viewing your assets on Etherscan
To view your assets, head over to etherscan.io and paste your wallet address in the search bar and press search. On this page you can see your current and previous transactions, your ETH holdings and any other Blockchain tokens you hold (such as ERC-20 or ERC-721 tokens).
This is publicly accessible to anyone on the internet
Step 7: Quick Actions on MetaMask Page
To the top right of the extension, there are 3 dots. If you click these, you can access the “Quick Actions” menu. Pressing “View Account on Etherscan” will take you directly to the etherscan page where you can view your wallet holdings (Just as we saw in the previous step). “Account Details” will show a pop up with a QR Code you can share to others to share your wallet address, it shows your wallet address, has a feature to allow you to edit the wallet name within the MetaMask extension. It also has a button to allow you to export your private key (More on this in the next step). Lastly, there is a “Connected Sites” button. This shows you which web3-enabled sites you have connected your wallet to and means these sites can automatically connect to your wallet the next time you visit them. You will still need to approve any transactions or actions being sent however.
Top Tip: It is a good idea to go through the Connected Sites list every so often and clean out any sites you do not use to prevent you from accidentally approving incorrect transactions.
Step 8: Exporting your Private Key
As mentioned in the previous step, if you press the 3 dots in the top right corner and then press “Account Details” it will show a pop up. When you press “Export Private Key”, MetaMask will request you to enter your password. This is the password you set up in Step 3 of this guide and is NOT your secret/seed phrase. Enter this password and press “Confirm”. You can then copy your private key. Keep in mind, this private key is only the key for the Account/Wallet your are currently active on and doesn’t provide access to any other wallets you own (unlike your seed phrase)
Do not ever share this private key as it provides access to your wallet and allows anyone to perform actions with your wallet.
Step 9: Funding your Wallet
There are many ways to fund your wallet. The first is to buy ETH through the MetaMask extension. Do this by pressing the “Buy” button on the account/wallet page. You can these choose from a list of providers. Another way to fund it is by sending ETH to your public address either from another wallet or from a Centralised Exchange such as Binance or Coinbase. You can follow their respective guides on how to do this under their FAQ pages.
Top Tip: When sending assets to your MetaMask wallet, ensure you copy and paste your wallet address to guarantee you won’t make a typo causing funds to be sent to the wrong wallet
Step 10: Creating Multiple Wallets
To create another wallet (under the same seed phrase), press the circle icon at the top right and press “Create Account”. Then choose a name and press “Create”. This will then initialise a new wallet address. These are two different wallets and cannot access each other, and they each have two separate private keys and public addresses. You can switch between them by pressing that circular icon at the top of the extension and selecting the wallet you would like to interact with.
When sharing your wallet or connecting to web3 sites, make sure you are “Logged In” to the correct wallet to prevent loss of funds