Already have a digital wallet? Go to next step.

A digital wallet is a software application for making financial transactions. Currently, there are two types.

Your bank account may be linked to a digital wallet on your mobile so that you can bank on the move and also make payments by tapping the device to a terminal. The second type is sometimes called a crypto wallet to distinguish it from the first type. It allows a user to store and retrieve their crypto coins and tokens. Each wallet has a unique address on a blockchain.

Install wallet app

A wallet is a software application that generates a unique address on a blockchain when you create it.

Click on this image to go the Metamask wallet site, choose your browser or mobile, then download the extension.

Create wallet password

The little fox face should appear on right side of toolbar. If not, then click the little jigsaw piece to make it visible.

Create a password for your wallet. You can reset as long as you have your Secret Recovery Phrase. No phrase = no wallet recovery.

Get recovery phrase

The Secret Recovery Phrase is a 12-word phrase that is the ‘master key’ to your wallet.  If you lose this, you lose all crypto and NFTs in this wallet.

Watch the video about the importance of keeping this secret.

See wallet contents

This is the newborn wallet. In top left, it shows that it is not connected to the page that is currently open in your browser.

The account number is at the top in the middle. There is no ETH (Ethereum currency) and no US dollars in it.

Check network

There are many blockchains, which are often referred to as ‘mainnets’ or ‘networks’. Think of them like toll roads.

You need to know which one you are using. See the drop-down list. You can add to these options.

Understand transactions

This wallet is currently linked to the Polygon network and is also connected to the currently open web page.

It has 10 MATIC in it ( currency used on Polygon network) and there was a free transaction on 5 July.

Not a lot. There are no actual coins or tokens in the wallet itself.

The wallet contains code that points to where something is on a blockchain and authenticates that it belongs to that wallet.

One of the fundamental principles of a decentralized web is that the user controls their own data. This is great as long as you remember how to access it. You cannot ring up the bank or ask for another secret recovery phrase to be issued to you. If you lose it, you will not be able to get to anything that is linked to that wallet, if anything goes wrong with your access, such as forgetting the password. 

There are many blockchains. Most of them have developed a wallet that works with their own software. They have usually developed a native cryptocurrency that works with their wallet. So if you want to interact with a marketplace on a specific blockchain, you may have to download their native wallet and get some of their native crypto.

Remember, it is still early days. More and more wallets are working out how to integrate with a range of blockchains so that users do not have to have zillions of wallets.

A wallet that is linked to an internet browser is referred to as a 'hot' wallet. Serious investors who have a cryptocurrency portfolio, or NFTs worth zillions, usually add an extra layer of protection from possible attacks by storing wallets offline.

A cold wallet is simply a piece of hardware (a bit like a USB) that holds the contents offline. You plug it in when you want to access the wallet.

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