MetaMask Product Manager Discusses Future Plans 30 Million Monthly Active Users, Snap Module May Expand to Non-EVM, No Plan to Issue Coins
MetaMask PM discusses future plans 30M monthly active users, Snap module expansion, no coin issuance plan.
Author | Decrypt
Translation | GaryMa Wu Talk Blockchain
Note: This article is a transcription of the interview content, with some adjustments and revisions made during the translation process. We recommend that readers refer to the original video while reading this article for a more comprehensive understanding.
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Interviewer: Liam J. Kelly, Decrypt News Editor
Interviewee: Alex Jupiter, Product Lead of MetaMask
Q: In addition to mentioning L2 at the EtherCC conference, another important topic you discussed was “account abstraction,” which aims to make cryptocurrency wallets smarter. The field of cryptocurrency wallets has seen a surge of competitors hoping to gain more market share from MetaMask. Some people have been criticizing MetaMask, claiming that it lacks innovation and should strive to surpass its current capabilities to capture more market share. What is your response to these critics who believe that MetaMask still has room for improvement?
A: We have always been committed to improving MetaMask. Our vision is far from complete, and we have a very dedicated team working tirelessly every day to enhance this wallet. Competition is a driving force for us, pushing us to constantly make progress in account abstraction. Ethereum has two types of accounts:
● EOA, External Owned Accounts, which MetaMask is based on and signs transactions with private keys. If you lose your private key, you will lose access to all your assets;
● Smart contract wallets, which have been around for quite some time.
Now, with innovations like Gnosis Safe, more advanced features become possible. These wallets are considered smarter because they offer multi-signature solutions and social recovery features. However, we cannot overlook the benefits brought by EOA, such as complete non-custodial control and user-friendliness, just by remembering these keys. It also ensures high scalability. Nevertheless, we are actively exploring new solutions because we understand that as Ethereum evolves, MetaMask must evolve accordingly. Having a large user base, introducing new technology to over 30 million people naturally takes more time compared to early-stage companies with only a few users.
Q: Tell us about the challenges of introducing new features (such as smart wallets) to MetaMask. Are there any changes that need to be made, or eips that need to be introduced to change the underlying technology of Ethereum?
A: Currently, ERC-4337 is receiving considerable attention from the Ethereum community as a wallet solution, and it is still very attractive. It doesn’t take a long time to push it forward. We are excited about building a stronger ecosystem around it, but there are still some immature aspects, and it is not ready to accommodate 30 million users. However, we have decided to collaborate with these teams and drive the development of the wallet forward.
Q: I think this conversation will also involve an argument, that is, account abstraction is bound to be the direction of future development, but perhaps it will coexist with external owned accounts (EOA) like they currently do. Everyone present seems very optimistic about the trend of smart wallets, but do you think it has a sustainable future? Do you think this is really the future of cryptocurrency wallets?
A: Time will gradually reveal the development direction of MetaMask, but our goal is to promote various innovations within the industry. Our positioning for MetaMask is very clear, we hope to open up the functionality of the wallet to expand its possibilities. We are introducing a new set of APIs called MetaMask Snaps, which allows developers to extend the functionality of the wallet in any way. For example, if they have ideas to enhance security by using advanced encryption technologies such as multi-party computation or threshold signatures, they can create a Snap and attach it to MetaMask to achieve this functionality.
Similarly, for those who are committed to developing account abstraction solutions, they can develop a Snap and attach it to MetaMask to expand its functionality. We have our own internal ideas, but we also want to make MetaMask flexible and adaptable to future technological developments. Our goal is to remain agile and allow developers to create their own versions of MetaMask. With joint efforts, we hope to build the best user experience.
Q: Can it be understood in this way: People want to make some small changes, and they can add this Snap module to essentially adjust its operation?
A: They don’t have to be small changes. These changes can be significant. For example, we recently launched a new user interface to support the use of MetaMask on multiple blockchains. Through MetaMask Snaps, we can gradually add entirely new accounts and introduce entirely new user interfaces. Transaction analysis remains the core function of the wallet, but as MetaMask gradually supports more platforms, there may be significant changes in the next few years. Depending on the Snaps developers choose to integrate, the appearance of the wallet may be different from its current state.
Q: I remember you mentioned that MetaMask has an impressive 30 million users. How do you plan to continue growing the user base? Are you considering launching tokens or implementing more luxurious measures to achieve this goal? Is expanding the user base a metric that you focus on every day? Or is your main focus on improving the quality of the user experience?
A: We certainly focus on maintaining and improving the quality of our service. Although we have impressive data, such as 30 million monthly active users and 100 million users last year, we also realize that these numbers are influenced by the market and the broader ecosystem, and may fluctuate. Therefore, our main focus is still to provide the best wallet experience.
In the past, we have observed that new innovations like NFTs can lead to a surge in usage, and we hope to be at the center of such trends. As a secure and non-custodial wallet, we prioritize security, so we will be very cautious in selecting partners. Because once we release flawed or less-than-excellent features, it could have serious consequences and damage the reputation and user experience of the wallet. Therefore, we are very cautious and meticulous in every development to ensure that we provide the best product.
Q: So, you’re not actually moving fast and breaking things, contrary to popular belief?
A: That’s right. Moving fast and breaking things is not in line with the ethos of Web3 when it comes to building projects like wallets. And I don’t think our users want that either because they trust us.
Q: The surge in usage and downloads of MetaMask is undoubtedly beneficial, and it seems that Layer 2 solutions might be the potential trend going forward, which could further drive cryptocurrency adoption and attract more users to download MetaMask. So, what are your thoughts on the impact of the Layer 2 trend on the development and plans of MetaMask?
A: L2 solutions will undoubtedly continue to exist. There may have been debates about their feasibility in the past, but recent growth and adoption of projects like Polygon clearly indicate that people desire the security of Ethereum while also seeking faster and more cost-effective transactions. L2 meets that demand. Personally, I believe there is ample evidence to support this viewpoint because the next wave of cryptocurrency users is likely to choose L2 for its speed and affordability rather than the Ethereum mainnet.
MetaMask is committed to supporting every EVM-compatible blockchain and has the potential to expand to non-EVM chains, which will further drive growth and adoption in different markets. However, we are determined to maintain high-quality standards throughout the expansion process to ensure that everything we do is of high quality.
Q: MetaMask launching its own token has become a hot topic in the Twitter community. Can we talk about that?
A: In reality, the actual utility of launching a token for us is currently very limited. I have no announcements to make at the moment, and although I understand that your audience might be interested in tokens, I can confirm that there are no plans to make such an announcement right now.