Web3 is a strange, ambivalent space. The perception of web3 outside the space is generally negative and viewed with suspicion. And we seem to be happy to fuel this view with weekly news about scams, rug pulls, hacks, and other security flaws. Some critics are happily mentioning the bad news regularly: more proof that web3 is just a giant scam and does not work.
Admittedly, the web3 experience could be easier, more pleasant, and more welcoming. Buzzwords like permissionless, ownership, decentralization, immutability,... are hurled at newcomers without providing context and explanation.
The technology itself makes matters worse. Often it is not self-explanatory how things work or what users have to pay attention to; that is even true for core components like wallets. A slew of technical terms need to be understood. Yes, there are FAQs, text and video tutorials, and other material available. But how much material is a newcomer supposed to read and watch if they want to start with web3? Setting up a wallet, purchasing ETH,... Oh, that cute NFT is on Polygon? What is Polygon? Can't I just buy it with my ETH? Most people will drop out at this stage if they are not very curious about the space or technology, especially if the use case is not obvious to them. It is simply too much effort.
So, much of the technology is not ready for mainstream adoption and the industry is plagued with scammers and ponzis. Why should I stay and watch the space or even get involved?
MetaMask is certainly the most well-known and established wallet application for interacting with the Ethereum blockchain. It was created in 2016 already and is almost a synonym for an Ethereum wallet application.
The application is available as a browser extension for Chrome, Edge, Brave, and Firefox. Also there are iOS and Android mobile apps available from the respective app stores.
When reading tutorials on interacting with Ethereum or applications and protocols built on it, MetaMask is often used as the reference wallet application.
Ethereum is great. We can buy and sell NFTs and we can be our own bank by swapping, lending, borrowing, and staking tokens. Everything could be fine. Well, if only there were no gas fees.
Yes, gas fees on Ethereum can ruin a good trade. So it is no surprise that people are trying to minimise those fees. Possible way outs are Layer 2 solutions like Arbitrum and Optimism or side chains like Polygon. However sometimes the transaction has to take place on Ethereum; current skills on RabbitHole are such examples.
In simple terms, gas fees are paid for computer power.