Making the Wallet Personal

What if you could tailor your wallet to your needs?

By: Christian Montoya, Product Lead for MetaMask Snaps Loading...

Making the Wallet Personal

Imagine if anyone in the world could build the next best feature for MetaMask, and everyone could have access to it. In this paradigm shift, you could snap together features for your wallet that best fit your needs.

Do you want support for more blockchains? Transaction simulations? Notifications about your onchain activity? Click, click, done. Much like how you can customize your phone with apps that fit your lifestyle, the wallet of the future should be able to accommodate everything you want to do in web3.

I don’t think I am alone when I say that what drew me to the Ethereum ecosystem was the idea of permissionless innovation. The promise of a decentralized blockchain where anyone could program and deploy a smart contract application intrigued me from the very beginning. This was a new opportunity to explore innovation without limits, where someone could have an idea, get it out to the world, and not be held back by gatekeepers.

Much like the original iteration of the public Internet, where anyone could build and deploy a website, the web3 paradigm shift gave rise to the Internet of value and invited anyone to contribute. Since then, an entire ecosystem has coalesced around this new frontier.

The builders of today are pioneers, exploring new ways of innovating on a new kind of infrastructure. The wallet, like MetaMask, Coinbase Wallet, or Trust Wallet, is one of many applications that make up the “app layer” on top of the “infrastructure layer” that is public blockchains. The wallet is also arguably the most important application in this domain. It is a common interface by which you access the Internet of value.

Everything you do in web3 involves the wallet in some way. My wallet is my “digital companion” that allows me to manage my accounts and assets, connect to blockchains and decentralized applications, interact with others, and even build my own applications. It is because of this that I believe the wallet is the most important design space for improving web3 for everyone.

So how do we make the wallet better? At MetaMask and across the industry, developers and software teams are exploring multiple avenues for improvement. However, there is only so much that in-house software developers can accomplish by themselves. What if, instead, the industry could invite others to expand the functionality of wallets with us? How would the pace of innovation change if we could do that?

These are the questions that inspired the vision of Permissionless Innovation. Much like Ethereum itself, I believe that the wallet can become a vehicle for innovation without limits, where developers can deliver their own solutions and users can benefit from an entire ecosystem of innovation where it matters most. At MetaMask, we recently announced our first step in making this vision a reality: the public launch of MetaMask Snaps.

MetaMask Snaps is a platform, where third-party developers can build new features for MetaMask, in a way that is secure, decentralized, and keeps both the user and the developer in control. Snaps are like “add-ons” or “mods” for MetaMask. A Snap can add support for blockchain protocols beyond Ethereum, display insights about your transactions before you confirm, or display web3 notifications directly in MetaMask. Each Snap adds a new feature to the wallet, and you can choose which Snaps you want to install to personalize MetaMask for your needs.

All of this is possible because MetaMask Snaps is an open platform for developers. MetaMask has worked with third parties in the past to add new features, such as our hardware wallet integrations, ENS support, and curated providers for swapping, bridging, and staking, but with Snaps, we have enabled developers to integrate new features in a way that is much easier. This is because developers can now add functionality to MetaMask without having to merge their code with the MetaMask extension and without having to rely on our involvement. As time goes on, we will add new ways for Snaps to customize the wallet experience, enabling even more features that we haven’t even thought of yet.

Opening the door for developers to build upon a platform is one thing, but delivering those innovations to users is another thing entirely. MetaMask Snaps is both a developer platform and the vehicle by which their products are made available to users. The MetaMask Snaps Open Beta is the first iteration of enabling users to access the first wave of Snaps built on the platform.

Today we have 36 Snaps that anyone can install and start using to make their web3 experience better. These Snaps include support for Bitcoin, Solana, Cosmos, and a variety of other blockchains beyond Ethereum, various web3 communication protocols, security solutions including transaction simulation, malicious address tracking, decentralized identity providers, privacy-enabling services, and even sponsored transactions made possible with account abstraction.

While this is only the first wave of the MetaMask Snaps platform, and things are still a little rough around the edges, we decided to release this open beta in order to give everyone an opportunity to try Snaps and give us feedback that will shape the future of the platform. MetaMask Snaps is all about making the wallet better for you, and we want to hear what you think: what works, what doesn’t, what could be improved, and what new features you want to see.

At Consensys, we are passionate about unlocking the potential of builders around the world and tapping into the innovation of the web3 community. Permissionless innovation is a core value of our ecosystem, and is one of the main reasons we see blockchain technology as such a positive force. We are excited to see what the community will build and how they will shape the future of MetaMask.