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Bitcoin Is Coming to Ethereum Stalwart MetaMask: Sources

source-logo  coindesk.com 22 May 2024 15:20, UTC

MetaMask, the most-used Ethereum wallet, is working to integrate native bitcoin (BTC), according to two people familiar with the matter.

Access could arrive within the next month, one person said, while another said functionality is not yet set in stone, but features could initially be limited and expanded over time.

MetaMask is a giant in the Ethereum (ETH) ecosystem, the most-used wallet on that blockchain. It's poised to cross one of the biggest tribal divides in cryptocurrencies, with plans to add support for Bitcoin (BTC), according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The exact timeline is unclear, but one person said access could arrive in MetaMask within the next month. Another person said the exact Bitcoin functionality is not yet set in stone, but features could initially be limited and expanded over time.

MetaMask's Ethereum wallet is the gateway for more than 30 million monthly active users into the Web3 world of decentralized applications and non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. When Ethereum debuted almost a decade ago, it expanded the capabilities of what a blockchain could do beyond what Bitcoin pioneered, adding support for smart contracts – essentially software built atop that blockchain.

MetaMask helps users navigate such a smart contract-based environment. Since early last year, similar functionality has been added to Bitcoin, including NFT-like Ordinals and Runes, which enabled the creation of meme coins on Bitcoin. Whether MetaMask support will help users traverse these Bitcoin enhancements is unclear.

Read more: Bitcoin Runes Protocol Sees Traction Waning After Much-Hyped Introduction

MetaMask is built by Consensys, an Ethereum-centric research and development firm helmed by Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin. Asked to comment on the development plans, a MetaMask spokesman said via email: "We're excited about MetaMask's commitment to embracing the multi-chain world of web3 and continually exploring new integrated features to enhance the usability and security of the leading self-custodial wallet. While we can't confirm any timeline for specific developments at this time, we're always working on innovations to serve our users better. Stay tuned for further updates when we're ready to share more."

While MetaMask does not currently facilitate Bitcoin directly, it uses an Ethereum-compatible ERC-20 token known as Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) to bridge bitcoin to Ethereum's decentralized apps.