MetaMask, the world’s biggest self-custodial hot (internet-connected) wallet with over 22 million users, has added the option for users to convert cryptocurrencies into fiats like USD, as a growing list of web3 players strive to make digital assets usable in the real world.
Wallets that allow users to have full control over their digital assets, hence “self-custody”, are becoming more popular after the collapse of FTX that exposed the flaws of centralized exchanges. The challenge is that they are historically hard to navigate for they require a certain level of technical challenges, but players like MetaMask are working to make them more user-friendly.
The cash-out feature initially supports the conversion of only ETH, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, into types of fiats that depend on one’s location. To start with, users pick the country they are in. They then will decide the amount to cash out, at which point they will see a list of third-party, so-called “off-ramp” providers, including Moonpay and Transact — which already facilitates MetaMask’s cash-in, or what the crypto world likes to call it, on-ramp process.
From there, Moonpay will take over and send the ETH to users’ designated bank accounts after calculating the exchange rate. Within minutes, the funds will show up in the bank. Users can also withdraw to PayPal, which is already a partner of MetaMask enabling its on-ramp process.
The off-ramp option could help accelerate MetMask’s mass adoption — provided that the solution is smooth and cheap enough for the average user. But fees can add up quickly.
For one, users are responsible for the gas fee, which is paid to network validators for conducting transactions on the underlying decentralized network. They also likely have to pay Moonpay or other cash-out providers a transaction fee. Let’s see how the costs are divvied up according to the MetaMask demo, using Moonpay in the U.S.:
- The user chooses to withdraw 0.05 ETH
- 0.00021 ETH goes to the gas fee
- 0.0458 ETH is sold
That means there’s an additional transaction cost of 0.00399 ETH, which is about 8% of the total total transaction. Not an insignificant fee.
Of course, transaction costs will vary among users depending on the available withdrawal partners in their markets. The feature is rolling out first in the U.S., the U.K. and parts of Europe “with plans to expand to more regions to cater to our worldwide community,” according to MetaMask’s announcement.
MetaMask isn’t the only one trying to make it easier for users to spend their crypto. Recently, Gnosis, a blockchain network known for low gas fees, introduced a Visa card that allows users to spend cryptocurrencies from their self-custodial wallets in Europe, with plans to expand the service to the U.S. and Hong Kong.