MetaMask Snaps aims to facilitate a “multichain future,” allowing the Ethereum-based wallet service to support non-native blockchains and tokens for the Web3 economy.
Details of the latest in-development addition to MetaMask’s growing ecosystem were unpacked at the StarkWare Sessions event in Tel Aviv, Israel, in Feb. 2023. Speaking to Cointelegraph Magazine editor Andrew Fenton, Alex Jupiter, the senior product manager at MetaMask Snaps, revealed details about potential blockchain synergies.
The last 18 months have seen the development of Snaps speed up after the success of MetaMask Swaps, which brought token swap functionality to the service’s native browser extension. As Jupiter explained, interoperability is becoming increasingly important in the blockchain space:
“MetaMask has historically been an Ethereum wallet. We need to start moving beyond that. The multichain future is very clear.”
Snaps aims to create a permissionless ecosystem where developers can extend MetaMask in any way they want. Jupiter says the team is trying to create an environment where developers can use various application programming interfaces (APIs) from different blockchains to bring additional options to a user’s core wallet experience.
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MetaMask describes Snaps as a system that allows developers to extend the capabilities of the wallet extension. A snap is a program that runs in an isolated environment that can customize a user’s wallet experience.
The possibilities are extensive, with a snap allowing the addition of new APIs to MetaMask, multi-blockchain protocol support and the ability to modify existing MetaMask functionality using external APIs. According to Jupiter, Snaps should be able to integrate with most blockchain protocols:
“Technically it’s possible for us to incorporate all of them. I’m sure there’s going to be an edge case. We have managed to extend Bitcoin, managed to extend to StarkNet. So it should be possible with any of them.”
As Jupiter explains, MetaMask has already created a Bitcoin (BTC) Snap that allows users to interact with its protocol from the wallet extension. This is a more difficult proposition than integrating Ethereum virtual machine-compatible chains like Polygon, but the end result is a highly-interoperable wallet extension across the broad blockchain-based ecosystem:
“It basically means that you don’t need to go anywhere else and MetaMask can almost be the core of your Web3 experience.”
Improving Web3 functionality is another driving factor in the development of Snaps. Despite onboarding millions of users to Web3 through MetaMask’s tools, Jupiter says that simple actions like signing transactions can still be precarious:
“People have problems in terms of knowing if they’re signing a transaction whether it’s safe.”
Jupiter believes Snaps can address this area, allowing third parties to create transaction insights and potentially warn users of signing dubious transactions with unwanted consequences.
MetaMask Snaps is currently available in the developer version of MetaMask Flask. Jupiter says the aim is to have Snaps integrated with the main MetaMask by the end of 2023.