MetaMask is arguably one of the most popular self-protecting Ethereum wallets in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and its proprietary Orange Fox avatar plugin acts as a gateway to the world of Ethereum (
) – Tokens, decentralized applications (DApps) and decentralized finance (DeFi).
The retail browser plugin portfolio surpassed 30 million users worldwide in 2022 and has gradually shifted its focus to serving the growing number of institutional users looking to access and manage assets in the growing DeFi space.
Cointelegraph met with Elizabeth Mathew, head of growth and partnerships at MetaMask Institutional (MMI), at the company’s booth during Token2049 in Singapore. A notable change is the Blue Fox background, which has a color scheme that contrasts with the familiar orange MetaMask logo that most users are used to.
MetaMask President of Institutional Growth and Partnerships Elizabeth Mathew speaks with Cointelegraph at Token2049 in Singapore.
MetaMask Institutional (MMI) has been around since October 2021, when institutions began to allocate large amounts of capital to DeFi markets through the traditional MetaMask wallet.
The service arose out of the need to cater for the specific needs of institutional users. Storage access was the main consideration to ensure a wider range of operational control over the portfolio. This included proper distribution of roles and responsibilities across the portfolio held by the organization.
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Another consideration was appropriate access to DeFi, which is inherently controlled by smart contracts and liquidity pools, and there is no real human-controlled element or guardian, as Matthew explained:
“The really unique issue is that you don’t know who the DeFi counterparty is, but we have tools built into the MMI that give you the ability to check the DeFi pool before and after a trade.”
The need for a specific institutional offering was driven in part by interactions with institutional users who used the retail platform to manage multi-million dollar digital assets:
“It was shocking, the type of risk management we saw in institutions. They had millions of dollars worth of assets in browser add-ons or a retail MetaMask browser with a hardware wallet and a spreadsheet. space intervened.
Matthew emphasized that this is not suitable for organizations involved in commerce and DeFi, as well as organizations exploring Web3 through various non-commercial activities. This expands MetaMask’s view of how any organization can connect to Web3, not just retailers or wealth management companies.
MetaMask Institutional took over a year to develop, with Matthew describing the team as deliberate in their design to avoid becoming an asset custodian.
The result is an MMI pool of several recognized custodial groups, given that different parts of the corporate portfolio require different custodial methods and technologies:
“Different organizations have very different needs for how they interact with Web3. Some of these may be high frequency trading style operations requiring low latency and automatic access. Then another organization might be interested in interacting with their fans using a completely different set of apps.”