How to set up MetaMask crypto wallet to use DeFi protocols

MetaMask crypto wallet is one of the most ubiquitous wallets in the crypto ecosystem. The reason is pretty simple – it’s got multi chain capability and therefore loads of DeFi integrations. Here’s a full review of what MetaMask cyrpto wallet is and what to use it for. One thing about MetaMask Wallet is that all of the big DeFI protocols interact seamlessly with it. And you can too, once you’ve got the hang of things. In this post, we’re going to take you through some key concepts to understand and 5 steps to take so that you can set up your MetaMask wallet to interact with DeFi and get on with your passive income earning!

This post is for non-tech heads starting out in crypto and based on some of the tech hurdles we faced when first trying out the Decentralised Finance space.

We’re going to assume that you have downloaded either the app or browser version of MetaMask, and created your wallet already which is a process of setting up your password and seed recovery phase.

Here’s what to do next:

1. Set up your blockchain networks in the wallet

The MetaMask wallet comes with the Ethereum Mainnet set up or ‘turned on’. But if you’re into DeFi you’re probably going to use some different networks to transact because of the high fees on the Ethereum Mainnet. The two alternative networks that are most popular at the moment are Matic and Binance Smart Chain.

If you want to use these other Blockchains and networks the first thing you need to do is manually add these different mainnets to the MetaMask wallet. To do this, you go to ‘settings’ -> ‘networks’ -> ‘add and edit custom RPC networks”. You can simply Google the settings you need to add the network, by searching something like “Matic Mainnet Settings for Metamask”. Make sure you land on the Matic developers pages to get these instructions.  

2. Add your token types

You need to ‘add tokens’ to Metamask for them to show up once you have sent them to your wallet. There’s an ‘add token’ button in the Assets tab that you should use to do this.┬áTap the button, input into the search bar the ticker for the token or coin you want, and click ‘add’. It may take a while for your tokens to show up after you’ve done this so don’t freak out if they’re not there immediately.

3. Add custom token types

Sometimes when you search the ‘add tokens’ list you won’t find your token. If you hold that token, it won’t show up in your Metamask until you add the token type. But can still add the token to the MetaMask wallet manually, so that your balance in that token shows up in the wallet. You’ll need to go to ‘add tokens’ then select the ‘Custom tokens’ menu.

Adding custom tokens

Then you have to go to Etherscan block explorer (or the block explorer for the network your token is on) in your web browser. In Etherscan, search on the token using its ticker (e.g. SUSHI). Once you find it, you grab the smart contract address for that token and paste it into the web URL field back in Metamask wallet. The other fields in your Metamask wallet should autopopulate if you have grabbed the right smart contract address. If so, just follow the prompts to complete the add token process.

Finding the smart contract address to add a custom token

4. Make sure you toggle to the right network before you connect to any DeFI protocol

Once you’ve got your coins and tokens showing up in MetaMask, you’re probably going to want to do something with them. Like lend or stake them in a DeFI protocol or Decentralised Exchange. When you use MetaMask wallet you ALWAYS need to double check you are on the right network for the crypto asset or protocol or exchange you are trying to transact with. You toggle this at the top of your screen.

MetaMask crypto wallet

For example, if you want to interact with PancakeSwap to stake some crypto, then that DeFI protocol is built on the Binance Smart Chain. So you open the PancakeSwap website, then from that browser screen you open Metamask broswer extension and toggle to Smart Chain. Then you jump back to PancakeSwap and hit ‘connect’.

MetaMask crypto wallet
Hit the connect button in the top right corner once you’ve selected your network in MetaMask

5. Converting your tokens between Mainnets

One thing about DeFI right now is that the Ethereum Mainnet is expensive to transact on. So if you’re trialling DeFi with smaller amounts it becomes uneconomic to do so. But, there are options with much cheaper transaction fees. To use these options, depending on what tokens you already hold, you might need to convert your tokens to another form so you can use them on another cheaper network. In effect, you’re moving your tokens between networks.

If you want to move your tokens between Mainnets you’ll need to use purpose built ‘bridges’ like the Matic <-> EthereumPolygon bridge‘.

You can connect your Metamask to these bridges and convert the tokens using the bridges. This will make the tokens ‘move’ from one Mainnet to another in your Metamask wallet. This flexibility means you can transact between multiple Mainnets and their associated DeFI protocols/platforms.

This is one of the cool things about MetaMask once you get the hang of it.

The thing to remember is – always connect to the bridge with your MetaMask wallet showing the right mainnet settings. More often than not you’ll start with the Ethereum network. Then after you’ve converted your tokens, toggle to the other mainnet – Polygon or Smart Chain for example. The tokens you converted should show up under this network after a few minutes.

6. Disconnecting your MetaMask wallet

If you don’t disconnect your Metamask wallet from the different Protocols you use, you’re leaving yourself open to phishing and cyber crime.

But…It’s not always straight forward to find how to disconnect your MetaMask Wallet from a website or protocol when you want to. So here is how you do it.

You simply open your MetaMask browser extension, click on ‘Connected’ at the top left, then click on the three grey dots against the account you have connected. You should then be able to select ‘Disconnect this account’.

How to disconnect your MetaMask wallet

DeFi can be a bit scary for the uninitiated because interacting with the new blockchain and smart contract technology takes a bit of practice. Getting through these starter steps will ready you to use the MetaMask wallet with new DeFi services and hopefully make some passive income from your crypto!

Crypto KP

Digital assets. Cryptocurrency. Disruptive Innovation.