Purchase an ERC-20 token using the MetaMask App

Overview

If you are new to Crypto even some simple things can seem a little daunting. It’s also nerve-racking to move money around in this new world with out a guide and clear explanation.

So, just a little background. Ethereum (ETH) is not only a blockchain based currency it’s also a decentralized computer. The main implication of this is that you can run a computer program on the network. This fact is so central to what Ethereum is that there has been an entirely new programming language created for the purpose of deploying “Smart Contracts”. It’s called Solidity.

While there are competitor currencies to Ethereum the newtwork effect runs largest on the worlds number two Cryptocurrency (At time of writing). This means that there is a lot of innovation and you can own a part of that by purchasing ETH and then swapping it for another ERC-20 (ETH compatable) currenty. Make sure you do your research to find projects you think will be successful.

In this tutorial I will Purchase ETH and swap it for a project I am a fan of called Oraichain.

MetaMask Setup

This is not a tutorial on setting up a MetaMask account. You do that by downloading the MetaMask app and folling the prompts, or you can Google. Once you are SetUp you should see something like this.

You will wan’t to tap the “Buy ETH” button to continue.

Purchase ETH

I’m using an iPhone so Apple pay is an option. It does not really matter how you do it but, you will want to purchase at least 50$.

You will have to wait a few moments but soon you will see your money (ETH) show up in your account. If you tap on your ETH wallet you can see your transaction history. This is part of the permanent record on the blockchain.

Add a token

I want to purchase Oraichain so I will go to the CoinGecko App I also installed on my phone. CoinGecko does a great job aggregating all the information you need about a token. We are interested in the contract address which is available when you expand the carrot.

If you do not see an Ethereum contract address then it is not an ERC-20 token and you will have to find another way to purchase it. I recommend checking out other exchanges like Crypto.com or Coinbase to see if they provide a managed way to purchase the token.

Once you have the address copied you can paste it into your MetaMask after you tap “Add Token.” Make sure you select “Custom Token” from the segmented control on top. Note, that you can tap next after the address has been pasted and the rest of the info will be filled in.

Swap ETH for ORAI

Now that you have some ETH and the address for ORAI set up you can swap currencies. First you will tap the swap button on the account page. It should populate ETH as the originating currency. Tap the “Select a token” button and then search for Oraichain. Once you find it, tap it and finally select how much ETH you want to convert. Get quotes.

There is some magic happening here. MetaMask is checking out multiple exechanges for you to get the best conversion. Note that all these exchanges usually have their own token issued and the code that is executing this transaction is a Smart Contract. Way Cool!

You can see that MetaMask comes up with a quote which expires. You can also see that the network fee (gas) to swap tokens is high. 0.006 ETH or $23.38 when I got my quote. ETH and crypto currency in general is still early stage and the Ethereum foundation is working hard to reduce the fees and keep the network competitive.

Some more info about fees:

This is the money (ETH) you are paying to all the people hosting the decentralized exchange. You are also paying a direct fee to Metamask for use of the app.

Conclusion

You now have the knowledge to switch crypto currencies. I hope this process, despite the high fee, gave you a glimps into the future. Imaging swapping currencies this way when you travel. Or, switching to a different curreny to interact with a new software product built on the blockchain. Like your rent, money for a video game, or insurance. I welcome any feedback on the article and I engourage you to keep learning about Crypto currency.

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Jon Vogel

Jon Vogel

I contribute to the start-up grind in Seattle as an iOS Engineer. I also used to fly airplanes.