NFTs, Crypto, Wallets, Ethereum
NFT Basics: How to Setup a MetaMask Wallet for Buying Ethereum NFTs
Heading back to the fundamentals with this post and a few others, but I needed a place to point people to easy, step-by-step instructions.
Hey there, Medium frens! I’ve been away for a month or so and am happy to be back. As always, we’ve got many super-cool projects in the works here at GenerativeNFTs — so many, in fact, that I realized I never really wrote up a handful of “basics” articles, such as this one. I’ve talked a lot about bringing new users into the NFT space, and definitely need some “NFT 101” pieces to help those people out. So, let’s dive in with setting up MetaMask!
What We’re Talking About Here:
Specifically, this article is about how to setup a MetaMask wallet so that you can purchase NFTs. There are many wallets out there but, in my opinion, MetaMask is the best one for beginners. As you progress in the world of NFTs and crypto, you’ll want to continue learning about wallets (particularly cold wallets like Trezors and Ledgers). But for now, just know this: MetaMask is basically an extension for your desktop browser (and/or an app on your phone) that is a wallet in which you can keep crypto.
Specifically, we’ll be using MetaMask to hold Ethereum (ETH), which is arguably the #1 crypto used in the NFT space. (There are other blockchains and cryptocurrencies involved in the NFT space, but we’re going to focus on Ethereum here.)
Getting Started: Desktop Computer Setup
MetaMask is a crypto wallet that installs onto your machine as a browser extension. Most people are using Chrome, Edge, Brave, or Firefox (or an iOS browser like Safari if you’re an Apple user). (I’m a PC user here, btw, so I’m going to use my own setup as an example. I’m also assuming here that you’re working on a desktop computer, not a mobile phone. Phone users can read along, but the install process is different, as it’s a standalone app.)
To begin, launch your browser and go to the official MetaMask web page at https://metamask.io/. While you hopefully know my writings by now and presumably may trust me (thank you), I want to stress that it’s absolutely critical that you obtain the extension here via the official source. So, make 100% certain you are visiting metamask.io and not some other website offering a download of this software. Scammers are out there all the time trying to lure users to unofficial sites via search engines and ads.
The MetaMask web site looks like this (again, note that I’ve highlighted the address — metamask.io).
Click the Download button to get started.
Note that, with the Brave browser in use, the download screen shows a button that says “Install MetaMask for Chrome,” as shown here:
That’s perfectly okay, as Brave is built using much of the same code as Chrome. But if you were on Edge, for example, it would look like this:
Or, if you were on Firefox, it would look like this:
Anyway… let’s continue with Brave… So, click that button and you’ll be sent to the Chrome Web Store’s page for the MetaMask extension. Next we’ll be adding this to Brave, but I want to show a few things first:
So, you can see here that we’re at Google.com (which is good / safe), and the URL ends in kind of a gibberish code (which is just something I wanted to mention for another detail in a minute), and it’s been downloaded by 10-million-plus users (also a good thing), and there’s an “Add to Brave” button. So, let’s click that… and you’ll see a popup like so:
So, do we trust the developer? Well, yes we do … because (1) we came from the official site, and (2) we saw that this had 10+ million downloads. So we can feel assurance that we’re downloading the correct / legitimate software. So, go ahead and click “Add extension.”
You may notice that a program downloads, and you may recognize that funky code you saw before as it downloads. And now your screen shows in the address bar that you’re in an installation screen on the browser itself. And once again that code shows up:
So, I just wanted to highlight that, as I remember a few years ago when I first installed a wallet, I wasn’t sure what all of those codes were. Seemed suspicious to me at the time (and maybe it does to you, too). But, it’s perfectly normal and expected. So, I just wanted to mention that in case anyone is concerned at this stage.
Let’s move on… Click that “Get started” button…
The next screen comes up … and you’ll need to click the “I agree” button here (but definitely read this screen first, of course!):
The next screen wants to know if you’re importing an existing wallet or want to setup a new one. We want to setup a new one here. So let’s click the right-hand one, “Create a wallet”:
Next you need to set a password. This password isn’t for your funds, really. It’s instead for the browser extension itself. For example, if you exit your browser or turn off your machine, and then restart, it’ll want your password before allowing you (or anyone) to access the wallet that will be available through your browser. So, think up a password, write it down, and fill out this screen:
Next up is an informational screen from MetaMask. I’m gonna screen-shot this whole screen because, although it’s a screen that many blow right past without reading, it’s all actually really great info. So, especially if this is your first time, watch the video there and read everything. (It’s okay if you don’t yet fully understand it all. But at least read and see what you understand after reading everything.)
We haven’t gotten to the secret recovery phrase yet, but I highlighted the bottom-right of that screen and want to reiterate: Never give that phrase to anyone. Just never, ever. Okay? Never.
On the next screen, we get the “Secret Recovery Phrase” (aka “seed phrase”):
Once you click that, go ahead and write that down. I recommend physically writing it on paper instead of ever storing it online or electronically. Good old pen and paper here is your best bet. What you’d NEVER want to do is what I’m going to do here, which is to show it publicly. But, as this is just an instructional article, I want to show what it looks like:
So, yeah, the seed phrase I got was “today offer surface twin rival panic mechanic express wrist good act afraid”. Obviously, I’m never going to actually use this wallet. (I’m actually going to delete this wallet immediately upon publishing this.) But definitely write down your seed phrase when it’s revealed to you (and make sure you keep it in a safe, private place).
Note: If anyone ever sees your seed phrase and/or if you accidentally share it with someone, then your funds and digital assets should be considered, from that very moment, insecure. If this ever happens, then you’ll need to move your funds and digital assets (e.g., NFTs) to another wallet as soon as humanly possible. Furthermore, if you ever lose this seed phrase (and are also locked out of your wallet), then you won’t be able to get to your digital assets ever again. (So, with digital currency and assets comes much responsibility! Never share it, never lose it!)
(((Yes, I’m making a huge deal out of this — likely way too big of a deal. But it’s also true that, for some lucky people, what may start out as a wallet holding some $200 NFTs … could actually appreciate into a wallet holding $200,000 in digital assets. You just never know!)))
Anyway, the next screen asks you to confirm. So, just click through your words from beginning to end…
Click Confirm and you’re all done:
Once you click “All done” it takes you to a wallet screen like so:
This part, at the top…
… shows your initial wallet address. If you click the little button next to it (or, really, anywhere in that area) it’ll copy the address to the clipboard. In my case, this wallet address is…
… which you may recognize as a proper Ethereum wallet address (always starts with “0x” and is a 42-digit hexadecimal string).
If you click off of this screen and go browse some other web site, that’s perfectly fine at this point. You can always get back to it by clicking the little puzzle-piece icon at the top-right of your browser:
And from there you can see that MetaMask is installed:
And so, by clicking there, you can get back to a little popup version of MetaMask anytime.
Note that there are three main buttons on the interface — Buy, Send, Swap.
“Buy” leads to various services through which you can purchase Ethereum. For most of these, you’ll have to setup an account first. I’ve actually never used the “Buy” button on MetaMask and, since this is just an intro article using a test account, I’m not going to do that here. But, presumably, you can setup whatever account is needed, depending on which service you choose, and go through the steps necessary to purchase your ETH.
What I normally do to get ETH into my MetaMask is to (1) obtain the ETH using an outside crypto exchange account (like Coinbase, Binance, etc.), and then (2) use that account to send ETH to my MetaMask wallet address (which I’ve shown you above how to obtain). In my 1.5 years in the crypto space, I’ve found this to be the most common approach used by my own clients, many of whom were new to NFTs but not necessarily to crypto.
Coinbase is among the more popular in the US. (BTW, here’s an affiliate link → if you sign up with Coinbase, we both get $10 in Bitcoin. Not bad!) I actually recommend this approach because Coinbase is giant and super secure. So, you can get in there and safely hook your bank account to it without worrying, and then you’ll have a basic exchange account where you can buy and sell all kinds of cryptocurrencies — and can easily send ETH to your MetaMask wallet.
Additional Wallet Addresses in Your MetaMask Account
Above, I covered how to setup your first wallet address using MetaMask. But you may want to establish a few different wallet addresses, for various reasons, such as:
- Maybe you want to create a separate wallet address to use as a burner wallet (for example, to mint “freemint” NFTs from projects you don’t know much about);
- Maybe you want to establish wallet addresses for incoming payments from others (for example, from individual clients, so that you know who paid you what);
- Maybe you want to create a separate wallet address for a specific group of NFTs you want to mint/own.
You can do this using MetaMask. The only thing you need to remember here is that, while these will be separate wallet addresses, all of them would fall under your same seed phrase. So again, just never, ever disclose that to anyone. If you do, then ALL wallets under that seed phrase would be vulnerable! That said, here’s how to make additional wallet addresses to use:
Simply click the button at the top-right…
… and then click “+ Create account”:
… and then give that account a name (optionally) — I called mine “Payments freom Bob” — and click Create.
You’ll then see the new account, like so:
And, if you click that top-right circular icon, you’d see all of your accounts:
If I wanted to rename “Account 1” to something else, I’d simply click on “Account 1” in the above shot, and then click the three dots on the top-right (as shown below), and then click the “Account details” link:
… and from there you can edit the name:
… and so you could use the above methods to create multiple wallets, all named as you like. (Again, these all fall under the same seed phrase, even if the wallet addresses differ.)
You’re Now Ready for Acquiring and Collecting NFTs!
At this point, you hopefully have been able to add a MetaMask wallet to your browser and have been able to get some ETH to your wallet as well. You’re now ready to purchase Ethereum NFTs. (Yes, there is a whole lot more to wallets than I’ve shown here — including many security best practices. But in terms of the basic setup, you should be good to go at this point.) I’ll be covering additional “NFT Basics” this week. Next up will be “how to mint an NFT.” If anyone has questions, feel free as always to reach out and/or comment.
✍🏻 Jim Dee founded GenerativeNFTs.io to offer generative NFT programming, smart contract development, and mint-on-demand applications to NFT teams worldwide. Sometimes called “the Michael Jordan of generative art coding,” Jim has coded ~200,000 NFTs with more than $40 million in total sales (so far). His Medium blog, read by ~1 million web3 insiders since 2021, is considered by many the definitive source of generative art coding and NFT drop team project management information. Reach out: Jim [at] GenerativeNFTs.io. 🔫🔫
Essential Generative NFT Coding Bookmarks
- For all of my NFT articles organized, head to: → → https://GenNFTs.io/
- The Basics of Generative NFT Coding — An oldie, but a goodie.
- At What Pixel Dimensions Are Most Generative NFT Art Projects Built?
- How to Prepare Artwork for a Generative NFT Programmer
- How to Prepare a Rarity Table for a Generative NFT Art Programmer
- Another article on Rarity Tables (a little more advanced)
- How to Setup Your Super Rare 1/1s for Your 10k NFT Drop
- Strategies for NFT Teams Regarding Whitelists, Allow Lists, Presale Lists — How Many Wallets to Collect
- Logic Rules in Generative NFT Sets Help Curate the Art, but Need to Be Understood, As Well
- How Generative NFT Reveals Work — Options and Strategies for a Smooth, Secure, and Profitable Reveal Process
- Problems in Generative NFT Coding: Technical Uniqueness Versus Aesthetic Uniqueness
- The Trouble with Overlapping Traits in Generative NFT Programming
- Anatomy of a Generative NFT Drop Team: Roles and Responsibilities for Success on the Ethereum Blockchain
- A good list of general information on generative NFTs.
- Cool NFT Projects Now Minting!
- Weird fact: Jim’s 2019 novel 🐕 CHROO (about the world’s richest dog) may have been the first to include an actual crypto address within the text!