In brief

  • MetaMask Mobile is both a cryptocurrency wallet and a web browser.
  • It allows users to access the Ethereum blockchain wallet and decentralized applications.
  • Its arrival corresponds with the rise of decentralized finance, which is increasing demand for Ethereum-based tokens.

Over a year after being released in a public beta, MetaMask Mobile is now available for anyone to download.

The web browser version of the MetaMask wallet and web browser is the way that many people access the Ethereum blockchain. It tallied 1.3 million users as of November 2018. And the growth of decentralized finance on Ethereum means that its potential reach is expanding.

 

Available on Android and iOS, MetaMask Mobile does all the same basic things that its web-based sibling does. Users get a token wallet, key vault, and login so they can manage digital assets and access blockchain applications, such as decentralized exchange Uniswap or non-fungible token trading outpost Open Sea.

MetaMask, which (like an editorially independent Decrypt) is funded by Ethereum incubator ConsenSys, emphasizes the decentralized nature of blockchains, so it doesn’t take custody of users’ keys. Instead, as its website notes, “MetaMask generates passwords and keys on your device, so only you have access to your accounts and data.”

MetaMask isn’t the first to take its browser-wallet to mobile. Popular web browser Opera released the Opera Touch for iOS in June 2019, which also includes a way to connect to Ethereum dapps and buy and sell crypto.

But MetaMask definitely hasn’t missed the market.

Decentralized finance, much of which takes place on the Ethereum blockchain, is now a multi-billion dollar industry (or bubble, depending on who you ask). Some DeFi protocols allow users to lock up tokens they own and earn interest--like your grandparents might have done with a bank certificate of deposit. But instead of getting 1% back in interest in a year, users often receive other tokens in return, which are currently shooting up in value at an exponential rate. (How long that will last, though, is anybody’s guess.)

While DeFi tomorrow may look very different from DeFi today, for now, at least, MetaMask users can access it wherever they are.