MetáMásk wallet: A Crypto Wallet and Portal to Blockchain Apps
For a longer exploration of the safety of MetaMask Wallet, you can check the post on how safe & secure MetaMask is. (Spoiler – it isn’t very safe or secure).
In summary, while MetaMask’s code may never have been hacked, there is still major concerns with the security due to:
- Malware on your computer that were picked up from other sites
- Phishing attempts
- Storing your secret phrase on the device attached to the internet
- Inability to stop transactions with a device in your control
What Are The Benefits Of Cold Wallet / Hardware Wallet?
First, and most important, you generate your secret phrase completely separate from an internet connected device. Hopefully by this point, you know that your 12 or 24-word secret phrase will let anyone literally recreate your wallet anywhere and have full control of it. Anything accessible by the internet can be hacked.
The other big benefit of using a hardware wallet with your MetaMask is it allows you to manually approve transactions with your hardware device. If someone is able to gain access to your MetaMask and initiate a transaction, they won’t be able to approve it without your hardware wallet.
This is particularly helpful in preventing your wallet from getting completely drained.
Is Your Migrated Wallet Now Safe?
It is safer for sure. But note since your original seed was created on MetaMask and was connected to the internet for even some amount of time, this is still less ideal.
Starting a brand new wallet with a new hardware device and sending the coins to that new account is still a better solution. However, there are reasons why that isn’t always feasible. For instance:
- Taxes – sending coins from one wallet to another is a taxable event. If you are sitting on large gains you may not want to realize them all
- Staking/Locked-up periods – may make it impossible to move a token
- Being eligible for airdrops – you may impact your eligibility for an airdrop
- Gas – if you have a lot of tokens you may not want to incur all the gas fees making the transactions to send them to a new wallet
Migrating definitely helps improve your security so if any of the above reasons may apply to you, migrating may be a good enough choice for the time being.
12-Word Seed Phrase vs 24-Word Seed Phrase
Migrating your MetaMask to a Ledger leaves you with your 12-word MetaMask seed. Full disclosure, in case that is a deal breaker for you.
Now a 12-word seed phrase is supposedly more than sufficient for the time being. However, it is magnitudes less secure than a 24-word seed phrase, which may be important with the oncoming Quantum Computers.
Quantum Computing and a 12-Word Seed
All I know about quantum computing is it will be really really fast.
Like it may be able to solve a 12-word seed phrase through brute force. The crypto security community’s answer has always been “well then we can just change all seeds to more words to stay ahead of technology”.
Therefore, in some hypothetical future where quantum computing exists MetaMask wallet changes its 12-word seeds to 24-words. I honestly don’t know what this means for your migrated wallet. Just full disclosure.
It isn’t a MetaMask wallet, so I’d imagine any updates they push wouldn’t apply.
Ledger/Trezor already has a 24-word seed so they wouldn’t do any updates.
Your migrated wallet may be orphaned in this scenario.
Personally, it isn’t a huge concern. But it is something that I have pondered and have not found an answer anywhere. Therefore, if in 3 years you are forced to make a bunch of swaps to a new wallet because quantum computing makes your 12-word inadequate, you can’t say I didn’t mention it.
How Do You Migrate From MetaMask To Ledger?
In short, you will be importing your seed phrase from MetaMask onto a new cold wallet and then removing the MetaMask extension to wipe the seed phrase from your computer. Then you reinstall a new MetaMask extension and link your cold wallet with the new MetaMask.
The process is very similar for both Ledger and Trezor.
In more details the steps are:
We have been referring to MetaMask as a wallet so far in this MetaMask review. However, the truth is that the team behind the projects calls the platform something else. According to MetaMask’s website, the platform is intended to be a security application more than a wallet.
The team behind the platform designed the project as a new way of designing internet security, a means to prevent the leakage of personal information on the internet. However, in this MetaMask review, we are only going to focus on their utility as a wallet.
Having clarified this, let’s jump straight to the topic. MetaMask was designed in 2016 by ConsenSys, an American company founded by Joseph Lubin that is in charge of designing blockchain software.
ConsenSys has also developed other Ethereum protocols such as Infura, Meridia, and Gnosis, with MetaMask Wallet also being developed for Ethereum.
At this time, MetaMask can be used as an extension for Chrome, Brave, Edge, and Firefox browsers. All of these extensions are completely free and their code is Open Source. So if you are curious to know how it works and have coding knowledge, you can find out!