Intermediate Guide to MetaMask
Written in collaboration with MoonVault developers
MetaMask is a popular mobile and browser-based crypto wallet app that supports multiple blockchains such as the Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain and even popular, upcoming ones such as Avalanche.
It is a non-custodial wallet that gives essentially full control over all assets stored in the wallet, secured by a seed phrase/private key.
This article focuses on intermediate to advanced uses of MetaMask that enables frequent users to be more equipped while exploring the world of cryptocurrency. Feel free to familiarise yourself with the many online guides/videos if you are new and come back to this guide after you have gotten your feet wet.
Gas or gwei is the unit of measurement of fees used to pay for using the Blockchain. Generally, crypto wallets will recommend a gwei value that will ensure that the requested transaction that the user submitted be processed in a reasonable timeframe.
However, there could be situations that one may find themselves in where fast clearing times is required. This is especially during times of high load where many users are transacting or at moments where you just want to be ahead of everyone else in having a transaction processed/cleared.
Metamask has options to tweak gwei during the submission of a transaction.
Input the new amount of gwei to prioritize the processing of your transaction. Do note, most of the times that you will be doing this is when the network is congested and/or there is a very important transaction that you want to push out to the Blockchain. The higher the number goes, the higher amount of the gas token will be deducted from your wallet obviously.
There are many sites on the Internet that tracks gas fees for popular blockchains in real time. I would recommend to take a look at them when you are deciding on how much gas fee to accelerate your transaction with.
Speed Up Transactions
What if the transaction got submitted and somehow nothing happens after a long time? Or maybe you did “Confirm” a transaction during high loads but forgot to change the gas fees and it never gets processed because it got trivialized?
You can also make changes to the submitted transaction on the fly within MetaMask. Changing the gas fees will also result in a speedier confirmation of the transaction at the cost of paying for a higher gas fee. The process of doing so is similar to increasing gas as shown in the first section above.
Increase the gwei value to a new one and hit save. Do remember to check the gas trackers to help decide on a suitable value for the increase.
Cancel Transactions (Nonce Method)
Sometimes, even after speeding up your transaction via the above method by increasing gwei, the transaction can still be stuck. Here’s a method to cancel the stuck transaction so that you can resubmit it again. First, the “Customize transaction nonce” option should be enabled in Metamask settings.
Take note of the transaction nonce. The nonce is an incrementing counter of the number of transactions you have performed using that wallet on that device. The example below shows that the transaction I am trying to cancel is #3325 on my laptop.
Create a new transaction to the same wallet address with a higher gas price than the transaction that you are trying to cancel. In our example, the above stuck transaction has a gas price of 5, so I have created a new transaction to the same address with a gas price of 22. Take note that the custom nonce dialog shows 3325 — which is the transaction I want to cancel.
Once the stuck transaction is nullified by the new, remember to change the setting back in Metamask. This won’t be used often but is useful to get out of rare situations with stuck transactions.
Identifying Contract Address
Especially for users who are early investors to a new platform, this section is for you. There have been known projects where malicious developers swap out smart contracts on the actual launch day to a different contract that may harm your holdings.
Basically what they would do would be to create smart contracts and have them audited prior before the launch and once everything looks fine and dandy, change the contracts to another set which may either result in draining wallet funds or locking investments for an unspecified time that wasn’t advertised.
A good way to ensure it does not happen to you would be to look at the Contract Address prior to hitting the Confirm button in MetaMask. Obviously, you will need to do some research beforehand and ensure that you know what is the correct Contract Address.
A good source of information would be the audit report, where all Contract Addresses that were looked at by the auditors will be shown. Alternatively, the projects’ Github repository and/or whitepaper will also contain their smart contracts information.
Adding Custom Tokens
Have you ever wondered why after a swap on a DEX, the tokens exchanged for doesn’t show up in the wallet? That is because due to the ever growing amount of different tokens being created on a daily basis, MetaMask cannot cater to have all tokens added to the wallet.
From a users’ perspective, however, we are able to add our favorite tokens to MetaMask easily. All you will need is the Contract Address of the token. There are numerous ways to get the Contract Address.
- Ask for it in the project’s Telegram channel or official sources
- Quick Google search (not recommended as there could be tokens that are fake and are impersonating the actual token)
- Obtaining it via blockchain explorers
With this, users can manage what kind of tokens are displayed in their MetaMask wallets as they explore the Crypto space.
Advanced Gas Controls
In Metamask settings -> Advanced, there is an option to enable “Advanced Gas Controls”. Below shows the differences with it enabled and disabled.
How is this important you may ask. Eventually there will come a time where you will need to participate in “gas wars”. These are moments where a huge number of users will want to transact at the exact same time. This could be moments of ICOs/NFT launches where a first come, first served system is adopted or during moments of market volatility where you will want your transaction to be first in line to be processed and need to increase Gwei fast.
By enabling Advanced Gas Controls, you essentially skip a few screens and go directly to specifying a new Gwei value for the submission of your transaction. Keep this method in mind to get an edge over others or at least be on par with the rest of the folks.
Disconnect Wallet from Unused Protocols
Do you remember when you have visited a crypto platform for the first time and clicked on “Connect Wallet” in order to gain entry to the DApp? It prompts you to confirm the login with your wallet. What if you decided that the DApp is not for you and think you wouldn’t want to come back anymore, MetaMask still caches that login information to the site and you can actually remove it from the wallet.
It is good to know that this DOES NOT revoke any agreement between the MetaMask wallet and any smart contract on the platform. Revocation of smart contracts are not covered in this article.
The list of uses above aren’t commonly used but knowing the purpose and how to execute them will put you in a better position than other users, especially at times when the blockchain is congested or to help you understand wallet operations better.
It also helps with understanding transactions and prevents anyone from succumbing to malicious developers who may switch out smart contracts at the last minute.
Do feel free to comment or suggest any additions so that MetaMask users can access to this resource. Knowledge is free but however, used in the right way and at the right time will definitely help avoid negative emotional situations.