MetaMask To Support Cross-Chain Interactions With 'Snaps' By 2024
Snaps will allow MetaMask users to interact with applications on other networks
By: Jeremy Nation •DeFi News
MetaMask, the popular Ethereum wallet from ConsenSys, plans to launch its long-awaited Snaps protocol before the end of 2023, allowing wallet users to access new applications and execute cross-chain protocol interactions.
First announced in 2020, MetaMask described Snaps as “an open source system that allows anyone to safely extend the functionality of MetaMask” to create new web3 experiences. This means developers can use Snaps to build out specialized features on top of MetaMask.
Christian Montoya, the senior product owner at Snaps, told The Defiant that Snaps also allows wallet users to run applications deployed on different networks using MetaMask.
Snaps promise to offer new web3 experiences to wallet users and ignite a thriving developer ecosystem building innovative snaps. Wallet providers typically prioritize simplicity and security over flashy features, meaning wallet experiences have not changed much in recent years.
MetaMask won’t charge any fees to Snaps users. The protocol is on track to launch in Q4.
Individual snaps are composable, allowing users to build modular snap-stacks providing tailored functionality. Examples of features supported by snaps include custodying non-Ethereum assets and simulating transactions to protect against malicious attacks.
“[A snap] can say, ‘Hey, this contract has been known to be involved in various scams in the past and you shouldn't interact with this contract’, or, ‘We ran a simulation and we figured out that like this is actually gonna transfer all of your USDC’,” Montoya said.
Montoya added that snaps can translate transaction data into human readable outputs, providing further opportunities for users to identify malicious code before signing transactions.
Snaps’ senior product owner emphasized that new features will come online as more APIs become integrated with the protocol. For example, a snap might provide a notification when an Ethereum Name Service domain is about to expire.
MetaMask provides partial support to snap developers through grants and hackathons via the MetaMask Grants DAO. Montaya said the grants aren’t intended to cover developers' entire fees, but should help devs “get over the hurdle of building, deploying, and getting a Snap audited.”
The MetaMask Grants DAO has already disbursed many grants to Snaps builders in 2023, including $60,000 for a community-driven web directory where users can upload, search, and discover new Snaps.
MetaMask also provides documentation, tutorials, and tools to help developers get started with exploring Snaps. It also established a dedicated Twitter account where developers can reach out with questions and support requests for Snaps, and launched a canary version of MetaMask for Snaps developers to test their code on.
“We're building this as an open platform,” Montoya said. “[If] developers make snaps that are ... useful to users, and popular, and so forth, that just benefits our users, right?”