Metamask is a browser add-on that manages a user’s Ethereum wallet by storing their private key on their browser’s data store and the seed phrase encrypted with their password. It is a non-custodial wallet, meaning, the user has full access and responsibility their private key. Once lost, the user can no longer control the savings or restore access to the wallet.

Type: Non-custodial/HD
Private Key Storage: User’s local browser storage
Communication to Ethereum Ledger: Infura
Private key encoding: Mnemonic

1. Set up Web3

Step 1

Install the following in your DApp:

npm install --save web3

Create a new file, name it web3.js and insert the following code in it:

import Web3 from 'web3';
const getWeb3 = () => new Promise((resolve) => {
window.addEventListener('load', () => {
let currentWeb3;
if (window.ethereum) {
currentWeb3 = new Web3(window.ethereum);
try {
// Request account access if needed
// Acccounts now exposed
} catch (error) {
// User denied account access...
alert('Please allow access for the app to work');
} else if (window.web3) {
window.web3 = new Web3(web3.currentProvider);
// Acccounts always exposed
} else {
console.log('Non-Ethereum browser detected. You should consider trying MetaMask!');
export default getWeb3;

The above file exports a function called getWeb3() - the purpose of which is to request metamask account’s access via detecting a global object (ethereum or web3) injected by Metamask.

According to Metamask’s API documentation:

MetaMask injects a global API into websites visited by its users at window.ethereum (Also available at window.web3.currentProvider for legacy reasons). This API allows websites to request user login, load data from blockchains the user has a connection to, and suggest the user sign messages and transactions. You can use this API to detect the user of a web3 browser.

In simpler terms, it basically means, having Metamask’s extension/add-on installed in your browser, you’d have a global variable defined, called ethereum (web3 for older versions) - using this variable we instantiate our web3 object.

Step 2

Now, in your client code, import the above file,

import getWeb3 from '/path/to/web3';

and call the function:

.then((result) => {
this.web3 = result;// we instantiate our contract next

2. Set up account

Now to send transactions (specifically those that alter the state of the blockchain) we’ll need an account to sign those transactions from We instantiate our contract instance from the web3 object we created above:

.then((accounts) => {
this.account = accounts[0];

The getAccounts() function returns an array of all the accounts on user’s metamask, and accounts[0] is the one currently selected by the user.

3. Instantiate your contracts

Once we have our web3 object in place, we’ll next instantiate our contracts > Assuming you have your contract ABI and address already in place :)

const myContractInstance = new this.web3.eth.Contract(myContractAbi, myContractAddress)

4. Call functions

Now for any function you’d want to call from your contract, we directly interact with our instantiated contract object (which is myContractInstance declared in Step 2)

A quick review: - Functions that alter the state of the contract are called send() functions - Functions that do not alter the state of the contract are called call() functions

Calling call() Functions

.then (
// do stuff with returned values

Calling send() Functions

from: this.account,gasPrice: 0
.then (
(receipt) => {
// returns a transaction receipt}