MetaMask hasn’t issued coins yet, but you need to understand it


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You must not know that this Ethereum portal with 1 million monthly active users has already begun to make money. Three months after it went online, MetaMask Swap has earned more than US$2 million in revenue.

Written by: Pan Zhixiong

As the oldest and most popular wallet tool on the Ethereum platform, “When will MetaMask issue coins” is a question that is constantly being asked. Now, rumors about MetaMask’s upcoming coin issuance are all over again. Although the Ethereum incubator ConsenSys, which incubated the MetaMask project, denied the rumors that MetaMask is about to be issued to ChainWen, how much do you really know about this Ethereum portal with 1 million monthly active users?

MetaMask was initially incubated by ConsenSys and later became the only entry-level product directly facing end users among ConsenSys’s six product lines. Its strategic position is self-evident.

However, as an open source wallet tool, theoretically, it does not have very special technical barriers. However, due to the first-mover advantage, MetaMask has the most important resource that other similar products cannot match-up to 1 million monthly active users. In the long course of development, MetaMask has not been looking for its own business model. Until now, it has finally touched on some doorways: importing user resources into the new on-chain financial business “MetaMask Swap”, providing users with convenient trading tools At the same time, a portion of the transaction commission is drawn as income.

Judging from the transaction data three months after the launch, MetaMask Swap’s business has grown very rapidly. According to a MetaMask Swap accumulated income address tracked on the chain, with the soaring price of Ethereum, the business has so far received more than 2 million US dollars in revenue.

Why do you need MetaMask?

Simply put, MetaMask is an “Ethereum portal that can be accessed with a browser”, or a tool that allows users to interact with the Ethereum network at a lower threshold. Its essence is a private key manager, but you can directly participate in various on-chain financial applications (DeFi), games, domain names (ENS), cross-border payments, etc. through it.

For a blockchain network, the safest way to participate is that everyone runs a full node, does not trust any third-party data, but verifies all the data themselves. But for the current Ethereum network, the operating cost of a full node far exceeds the range that an ordinary home computer or mobile phone can bear.

Therefore, for ordinary users, a lightweight access method is needed without worrying too much about security issues. This is the main entry point for MetaMask. The data that originally needed to rely on building a full node by itself can be obtained through MetaMask access to other third-party trusted data sources-for example, through MetaMask to access Infura, a platform for developers under ConsenSys. Of course, users who have higher requirements for security can also designate the MetaMask access port as their own full node.

MetaMask interface

For ordinary users, MetaMask has become the main entrance to the Ethereum world. MetaMask has supported the most popular desktop browsers. Users only need to download the plug-in from the plug-in store page of the browser, complete the initial setup, save or import the private key or mnemonic, and then they can access the decentralization on Ethereum The website of the application (DApp) interacts with the application.

How was the little fox born?

MetaMask has always been affectionately called “little fox” by users. This project originated in 2015, when Ethereum was just launched on the mainnet. There were few options in the market other than official wallets and browser implementations such as Mist.

Aaron Davis (code-named Kumavis) is the founder and main developer of “Little Fox”, and ConsenSys and Ethereum DEV Grants jointly supported the early development of this project.

Kumavis first gave a large-scale public introduction to MetaMask at the Ethereum Developer Conference DEVCON 1 in London in 2015, when the front-end interface was still in a relatively early stage.

MetaMask has not issued any currency yet, but you need to understand itKumavis is introducing MetaMask at the DEVCON 1 event

Interestingly, in the early videos of MetaMask, Kumavis stated that MetaMask is not only a self-hosted Ethereum browser, but also an identity management tool-this is actually because the terminology at the time was to refer to the “address” of Ethereum as ” Identity”, which is an account that can be used to store assets and interact with smart contracts.

Later, as the user scale gradually increased, MetaMask became an independent product line under ConsenSys. But it wasn’t until April last year that MetaMask was officially added to the product line category on the ConsenSys homepage.

MetaMask goes mobile

It may be because the development iteration of browser plug-ins can be faster, or it may be because overseas users are not so “mobile-first” like Chinese users. MetaMask only has the plug-in version of Chrome browser in the first few years. Later, Gradually support other browsers such as Firefox.

MetaMask has not issued any currency yet, but you need to understand itEarly website of MetaMask

In February 2019, according to the application store data of the Chrome browser, the number of installations of MetaMask exceeded 1 million.

And now MetaMask is not just a browser plug-in wallet, but expanded to a full-featured and full-platform tool. In 2018, MetaMask supported hardware wallets such as Ledger and Trezor. These hardware wallets can use MetaMask to achieve the same functions and experience as software wallets, such as viewing assets and signing transactions.

In 2019, MetaMask was long overdue and finally launched a beta version of the mobile wallet, covering iOS and Android versions. After about a year of testing, the official version of the mobile terminal was finally launched in the second half of 2020, and the Apple App Store (non-China) and Google App Store were launched.

In October 2020, MetaMask announced that monthly active users exceeded 1 million, an increase of more than 400% compared with December 2019. Among them, the top four countries in terms of the number of mobile users are the United States, India, Nigeria and the Philippines. MetaMask said, “The recently launched MetaMask mobile app has played an important role in the introduction of new users.”

Not only supports the Ethereum mainnet, but also accesses the testnet and other chains

In addition to the Ethereum mainnet, MetaMask also has many users from the testnet and other blockchain networks (such as the Ethereum sidechain xDAI).

Many early applications of Ethereum will choose test networks such as Ropsten or Kovan for testing. For developers and ordinary users, MetaMask is the most convenient entrance. For example, MCDEX was testing the Layer 2 version of the decentralized futures exchange based on the Arbitrum Rollup network launched by Offchain Labs. Users can simply set up MetaMask and then connect to this specific network for testing.

In addition, xDAI is also one of the most popular blockchain networks recently, and MetaMask can also be easily connected to the xDAI network. xDAI is a sidechain that is almost compatible with Ethereum, but by changing the consensus to increase the throughput of the network, it also uses the US dollar stable currency DAI as the settlement currency.

MetaMask has not issued any currency yet, but you need to understand itThe game interface of the dark forest

For example, the decentralized real-time strategy game “Dark Forest” built based on zero-knowledge proofs switched from the Ethereum testnet to the xDAI network in the previous version. Users need to pay a small fee to explore the universe in this network. . However, it seems that this game may not be launched on the Ethereum mainnet in the end, because its high-frequency transaction operations and the current high gas cost are difficult to reconcile, so it is estimated that it will remain at xDAI or choose Layer 2.

In addition, there are many experimental projects based on xDAI, such as Circles UBI, Gnosis, 1Hive, POAP, etc. MetaMask is also the main entry point for these applications.

Find a profit model

As a private key management tool, MetaMask must be open source in accordance with industry practices to demonstrate its security. For such an infrastructure tool, how to make it develop sustainably is a difficult problem for ConsenSys.

For a long time, MetaMask has not tried any means of monetization or profit. This is a bit like the Internet industry’s play, first accumulate word of mouth, users and traffic, and finally explore the business model.

But since the end of last year, the situation has changed. MetaMask launched the aggregate transaction function MetaMask Swaps in October last year, which is exactly the same as the monetization method selected by the mobile wallet imToken (launched Tokenlon), the smart contract wallet Argent (with aggregate transaction function), and the wallet Monolith (integrated with Paraswap) that launched physical payment cards .

MetaMask hasn’t issued coins yet, but you need to understand itMetaMask Swap user interface

MetaMask Swap can obtain quotations from multiple decentralized liquidity sources by aggregating Uniswap, Airswap, Kyber, 0x API, 1inch,, Paraswap, Totle, and private market makers to ensure that users are optimized Price for token transactions.

After all, the way of monetizing through financial business is very direct, and it is also a rigid demand of the industry. MetaMask obtains income through transaction commissions, and extracts 0.875% of each transaction as income-the transaction commission rate is higher than the industry level.

According to the on-chain address tracking, we found an address specifically used to collect MetaMask Swap income. In about 3 months, MetaMask Swap has accumulated more than 2 million USD in commission income. You should know that in the first 10 days of the launch of this feature, only $3,000 of revenue was accumulated, so the growth rate is still very amazing, but there is another reason that cannot be ignored, that is, the price of ETH held by this address is also There has been a very significant increase in the near term.