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One of the most promising concepts of second-generation blockchains is that of dApps (or “decentralised applications”). These are apps built on top of a blockchain. To date, few have made the headlines (with the exception, perhaps, of CryptoKitties), but there is a an increasingly large amount being pushed to the Ethereum mainnet, and even more in the works — State of the Dapps lists a range of projects in various stages of development. MetaMask will let users interact with these dApps using only their browser. 

Bitcoin Magazine spoke with James Moreau from the MetaMask team to get a grasp of how their platform grants access to the growing ecosystem of games and applications on the Ethereum blockchain.

“MetaMask reduces one of the major headaches of using dApps,” Moreau said. “That is, running a full Ethereum node. Before MetaMask’s arrival on the scene in 2016, users would need to use a client such as Mist to interface with the blockchain. Now, with a few clicks, anyone using Firefox, Brave, Opera or Chrome can install MetaMask and interact directly with the blockchain from inside their browser, by injecting the web3 API, the JavaScript framework for Ethereum which allows dApps to scan the network.”

On top of facilitating access to decentralized applications, MetaMask also functions as an encrypted storage vault for Ethereum addresses. Users are able to generate multiple accounts, in which they can store Ether and ERC20-compliant tokens. It further supports various testnets (Ropsten, Kovan and Rinkeby), for experimentation with projects in beta. If users are already running a full node, they can tether the software to it.

The protocol has been praised for the simplicity in which it grants access to the infrastructure built atop the Ethereum blockchain. Evidently, it has been a popular extension, having reached its millionth download in early February 2018. It has clearly appealed to users who may have otherwise been dissuaded by the prospect of setting up a full

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