MetaMask is a software cryptocurrency wallet for the Ethereum blockchain. The platform is the brainchild of Ethereum blockchain advocate Joseph Lubin. The MetaMask wallet is available as a Chrome or Firefox browser extension. Alternatively, it can be accessed through an app. MetaMask makes money on swap fees when users compare or swap Ethereum-based tokens. The company also charges management fees to institutions that desire a more seamless DeFi investment experience.
MetaMask origin story
MetaMask is a software cryptocurrency wallet for the Ethereum blockchain. The platform was created by American blockchain software technology company ConsenSys in 2016.
ConsenSys in turn was founded by Joseph Lubin, a champion of Ethereum’s ecosystem construction responsible for more than 50 well-known growth projects. Lubin is also thought to be a multi-billionaire after being one of the biggest buyers of Ether during its initial crowdfunding.
Essentially, ConsenSys is a start-up studio that incorporates and launches Ethereum-based businesses and provides technology services to other companies. One such business was MetaMask, which was launched in July 2016 and developed by former Apple engineers Aaron Davis and Dan Finlay.
Though uptake was initially sluggish, MetaMask benefitted from the CryptoKitties NFT craze and the increased publicity around cryptocurrency in general. The wallet, which allowed users to exchange and store Ethereum-based tokens, surpassed 1 million downloads in early 2018. Beta versions of an app for Android and iPhone arrived just over a year later.
During the summer of 2020, MetaMask achieved the magical mark of 1 million active monthly users. This number was largely facilitated by the increased usage of DeFi protocols including Yearn Finance, Curve, and MakerDAO.
Today, MetaMask is known as the most useful Ethereum open-source wallet in the world, enabling users to manage their Ethereum assets easily. The platform now boasts more than 10 million monthly active users, with the surge in popularity coming from developing nations such as Vietnam and Nigeria.
How does MetaMask work?
The MetaMask wallet is installed as a Chrome or Firefox browser extension. Alternatively, it can be accessed through an app.
The sign-up process requires the user to come up with a password, after which they will be shown twelve so-called “seed words” that they must remember. These words are used if a password is forgotten.
Users can then deposit or send currency and are protected by a private key which is stored locally on their computer. For near 100% security, the MetaMask wallet can be connected to hardware wallets such as Ledger and Trezor.
How does MetaMask make money?
MetaMask revenue generation occurs via swap fees, management fees, and merchandise sales. Let’s take a look at these in more detail below.
Most company revenue is derived from swap fees, which are charged when users compare and swap tokens within MetaMask itself.
A swap fee, or service fee, of 0.875% is automatically factored into each quote. This feature combines data from decentralized exchange aggregators and market makers to ensure network costs are minimized.
MetaMask also makes money from MetaMask Institutional, a wallet designed for trading firms and other financial organizations.
MetaMask Institutional offers the same functionality as the consumer wallet, but it also provides access to qualified custodial platforms that help the business make DeFi investments. This is done without comprising operational efficiency, compliance requirements, or institution-required security.
Management fees for this service are undisclosed.
Lastly, the company makes money by selling branded merchandise in its online store.
Items for sale include t-shirts, hats, mugs, activewear, and apparel for pets such as dogs.
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