What Is MetaMask Snaps?
Crypto Basics

What Is MetaMask Snaps?

4 months ago

MetaMask has recently released a feature that could dramatically increase the functionality of the popular crypto wallet. Learn more about how it works!

What Is MetaMask Snaps?


Ask anyone in crypto and they’ve probably used or heard of MetaMask.
Developed by blockchain infrastructure firm ConsenSys in 2016, MetaMask is a software wallet (also known as a hot wallet) that can be used on Ethereum and other Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) chains to interact with decentralized applications (DApps).
Launched by the co-founder of Ethereum, Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys is a Brooklyn-based software company. Lubin started ConsenSys in early 2015 to develop decentralized software services and applications that operate on the Ethereum blockchain.

Seven years on, MetaMask has grown to become one of the most widely used crypto wallets, with more than 30 million users worldwide. While the success can be attributed to increasing adoption of DApps, the role that ConsenSys plays in advancing the blockchain industry cannot be overlooked.

Source: ConsenSys

Initially designed as a browser-based extension, MetaMask has since expanded to a mobile application on both iOS and Android devices in 2020. Additionally, MetaMask has continued to expand on their in-built functions, which now include fiat on and off-ramping solutions, liquid staking, bridging and swapping directly within the wallet interface.
However, MetaMask recently unveiled a highly anticipated feature to their wallet known as “MetaMask Snaps.”

Let’s take a look at what MetaMask Snaps offer, and how to start using it.

What Are MetaMask Snaps?

MetaMask Snaps are features created by independent developers which can be installed by users directly to their MetaMask wallets. This will enable new functions that are not available on MetaMask by default.

Another way to think about Snaps are like how browser extensions on Google Chrome enable new functionalities which are not available by default.

This feature will be available in open beta for MetaMask v11.0 and up, which has been rolled out over the week of September 11.

Source: MetaMask blog

MetaMask Snaps span across three main categories: Interoperability, Transaction Insights and Notifications.
Interoperability means Snaps now allow MetaMask users to use their wallets on non-EVM blockchains such as Solana and Cosmos. This makes it much easier for new users to explore other blockchains without having to create separate wallets and handle more private keys or seed phrases.
Transaction insights are focused on giving users more clarity on transactions before they approve them, which has long been a hurdle for general user experience. These are generally geared towards safety and security to protect users from phishing, hacking or scam attempts by malicious actors.
Finally, notifications-related Snaps allow users to receive crypto-related news and notifications directly to their wallet interface, which could open doors for solutions such as wallet-based messaging or push notifications from DApps, such as in the event of an ongoing exploit or upcoming airdrop.

So the question now is: where to get started?

How To Use MetaMask Snaps?

To start, check that your MetaMask extension has been updated to the latest version. After that, simply head over to the MetaMask Snaps Directory, where you will be able to view all the available Snaps on one page.
For security reasons, the release of Snaps remains permissioned for now and all of the current Snaps on the page have been vetted and audited by the MetaMask team and third parties.

Source: MetaMask Snaps page

To install a Snap to your wallet, simply click into the Snap you’re interested in, and hit the “Add to MetaMask” button.

During this process, MetaMask will notify you of the permissions you are granting to the specific Snap to ensure that users are aware of the risks when installing a Snap to their wallet. Importantly, Snaps do not have access to users’ account data on MetaMask.

While the Snaps are audited by the MetaMask team, Snaps are still a beta feature and users should still be cautious.

Source: MetaMask Snaps page

Once the installation is completed, you should be able to locate your installed Snap by heading over to your wallet’s Settings. Under Settings, click into the Snaps tab to view your installed Snaps.

From this interface, you will also be able to disable or re-enable a Snap if you wish to, or view which sites the Snap is currently connected to by clicking into the Snap. At this point, you may also remove the Snap from your MetaMask if you wish to.

Each Snap functions differently and is used in a different way, which will be explained on either their own website or in their description on the MetaMask Snap Directory.

What’s Next?

Users can now start downloading and testing existing Snaps on your MetaMask today. For developers, MetaMask has also released the documentation to get started on your own Snap today.
While the release of Snaps is currently controlled by the team, MetaMask co-founder Dan Finlay envisions “software to be open-ended and easily extended and interconnected.” The team has made it clear that they view Snaps as a way forward to “the product taking a dramatically more externally collaborative posture.”

Following this line of thought, Snaps are expected to eventually reach a stage of permissionless releases to allow for more Snaps to be on the market, similar to the Chrome Web Store and its millions of extensions and independent developers.

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