MetaMask is a well-known wallet for Ethereum-enabled distributed applications (DApps). But can MetaMask hold Bitcoin (BTC), which remains the largest cryptocurrency?
For many crypto investors, Bitcoin is an important part of their portfolio. Besides being an investment asset, Bitcoin can also be used as a payment method. Thanks to wallets such as MetaMask, paying via blockchain technology has become much easier. This Ethereum crypto wallet enables millions of investors to participate in everything the crypto market has to offer. Even though Ether (ETH) is a very popular means of payment, most people buy Bitcoin.
Related: How does Bitcoin work and why was BTC created?
However, Bitcoin is not the cryptocurrency you think of when you talk about buying a non-fungible token (NFT) or investing in decentralized finance (DeFi). Still, there may be situations where you would like to use Bitcoin for these actions. So in this article, you will learn how to store Bitcoin with the MetaMask!
MetaMask crypto wallet
MetaMask is an Ethereum wallet that is available as an app and as an extension in the web browser. In other words, MetaMask allows users to store their private keys and then securely use apps and websites with Ethereum-based DApps and smart contracts. One of the most popular crypto wallets, MetaMask recently passed the 30 million user mark in March 2022. This is due, in part, to the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
Is MetaMask only for Ethereum?
MetaMask is only suitable for tokens that use the Ethereum blockchain, the so-called ERC-20 tokens. If you want to use other tokens (i.e., tokens that are not ERC-20 tokens), you will have to exchange them for ERC-20 tokens. It would then be possible to store these tokens in your MetaMask.
An example of this is Zcash, a cryptocurrency suitable for making anonymous transactions. This cryptocurrency is not based on the Ethereum network and is therefore not an ERC-20 token. But by wrapping Zcash tokens, you can still use Zcash.
MetaMask hardware wallet
Protecting cryptocurrencies often comes up when people first start their crypto research. It is of great importance, which is why a good wallet is indispensable. A hardware wallet is often recommended because it can be used to store your cryptocurrencies offline. But is MetaMask also a hardware wallet?
MetaMask is not a hardware wallet. It is a software wallet. These wallets are also called hot wallets and are connected to the internet. Even so, you can still connect MetaMask to a hardware wallet. This way, you can also use MetaMask with a Ledger, which is the most well-known hardware wallet.
To do so, open the ETH app, and select "Connect Hardware Wallet" to integrate your Ledger hardware wallet into MetaMask. Then, a pop-up window will open, prompting you to choose your device and click "Connect."
When you use a Ledger with the MetaMask browser extension, the software wallet only functions as a portal and not as a wallet. Your private keys do not leave the Ledger so they are not stored on MetaMask.
Does MetaMask support Bitcoin?
MetaMask supports Bitcoin, but not in the way an exchange wallet accepts the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is not an ERC-20 token, so the largest cryptocurrency is not accepted directly by MetaMask. However, you can get BTC into your MetaMask in a roundabout way.
That said, do not try to send Bitcoin directly to your MetaMask. If you try to do so, MetaMask will not be able to receive the token, which could lead to negative consequences. You could lose all the Bitcoin you have sent at once, which would be a terrible situation!
How to send Bitcoin to MetaMask?
As you have read, it is not possible to send BTC directly to MetaMask. But this does not mean it is impossible to get Bitcoin into your MetaMask wallet. BTC runs on its own blockchain. On this Bitcoin blockchain, transactions can only be sent to Bitcoin addresses. This is true not only for Bitcoin but also for other blockchains such as Ethereum.
On the Ethereum blockchain, it is only possible to send Ethereum-related tokens. Sending Bitcoin over the Ethereum network is comparable to paying with the euro in the United States. The euro is not accepted as a currency in the United States, but you can use your euros in a roundabout way. By exchanging these euros, you can receive the same value in U.S. dollars and use this as a method of payment.
Nonetheless, if you do not want to exchange your Bitcoin for Ethereum, there are other solutions. This means that you need to lock your BTC in one place and then bring it to the Ethereum blockchain as a new token, which represents the Bitcoin locked on the Bitcoin blockchain. This is also called Wrapped BTC (wBTC), which means Bitcoin as an ERC-20 token.
Related: Bitcoin wallets: A beginners guide to storing BTC
How to wrap Bitcoin?
There are several ways to wrap your Bitcoin. Let's take Binance as an example. On Binance, BTC and wBTC are two different tokens, so you can trade them. By clicking on “Classic” in the Trade section of Binance, you will be taken to the exchange's trading platform. Here you can find the trading pair with both Bitcoin tokens. Here you can enter how many WBTC you want to buy and confirm this by clicking on Buy WBTC.
What if you don’t see your wBTC in your MetaMask? You can easily change this by adding the wBTC token using the steps below:
MetaMask wallet address
To put your wBTC to work, the wallet address of your MetaMask is very important and easy to find. By opening the application and logging in, you will arrive at the main MetaMask screen. Under your account name, you will find your unique code, which acts as your address. This address can be used to receive crypto.
You can share this code with others, but never share the other codes with anyone. Your login and recovery data are meant to protect your assets. If others get these codes, they can abuse them and cause you to lose your crypto assets.
MetaMask is a popular software wallet, but there are also alternative options. Because of all the different blockchains, several wallets are suitable only for a specific blockchain. Two examples are the Yoroi wallet of Cardano and the Phantom wallet of Solana.
Several software wallets are suitable for the ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. The advantage of MetaMask is that you can use it through websites and the app. This is where MetaMask distinguishes itself from its competitors.
The Trust Wallet, for example, is a much respected software wallet, which can be used as a mobile application as an alternative to MetaMask. The MyEtherWallet and Mist Wallet, two website wallets that accept ERC-20 tokens, are also popular MetaMask alternatives.
Although MetaMask is the most popular all-around software wallet, it never hurts to use multiple wallets. Using different wallets is a type of risk management strategy. By using multiple wallets, you will not lose all your crypto assets when only one wallet is hacked.