Six Years of MetaMask: Becoming a Toolset for Getting Started with Web3 Culture

Everyone in the global Web3 community is familiar with the MetaMask fox wallet , but the idea behind its creation is not known to many.

When it comes to marketing product culture, founders Dan Finlay and Aaron Davis take a more low-key approach to community building. In the six years since MetaMask was founded, they didn’t give many interviews, and never even did interviews together. They admit: “We prefer to focus our time on empowering the community. We’re not the only supporters of this project, the whole community is.”

who are they? What is the background? How did they meet? How did the idea for MetaMask come about?

This article documents the unique story of Aaron and Dan. An unexpected journey that led them to create the portal to Web3 that millions of people visit today.

Six Years of MetaMask: Becoming a Toolset for Getting Started with Web3 Culture

Aaron Davis and Dan Finlay 

The story of the two founders

Dan is an English literature student, and Aaron is a Japanese-Chinese scholar. Aaron and Dan, working at Apple in 2013, met while working on the VoxelJS project, an open-source remake of Minecraft, to create an environment that helps kids learn to code in the browser. They all had their own career plans, and at the time no one could have imagined that one day they would create MetaMask together.

Dan was born in Detroit, lived in New York for a while, and now lives on California’s Pacific Coast with his wife. Although he is not a keen traveler, he likes Japan and Turkey. On the other hand, Aaron who travels the world likes to move frequently, he is like a true adventurer, driven by curiosity, he has a deep understanding of the historical and social roots of culture.

As a child, Aaron only wanted to play video games, while Dan wanted to live in an igloo at first, then an astronaut. Their dreams came naturally, and Dan abandoned the idea of ​​igloos and rocket ships for art, video production, and improv.

Growing up, Aaron studied Japanese and hoped to become a simultaneous interpreter. When asked about his career ambitions, Aaron explained: “To be a dedicated translator you have to take everything out of your head, and I find pure thinking very inspiring.” People say software engineering is Like learning another language, both require sensitivity to detail, the ability to construct logically, and an adaptation to semiotics. By the time they were in their early 20s, they were already on their way to programming careers.

For Dan, programming started more than 10 years ago with an idea for a hilarious app: the Fartomin, a fart sound synth. “I didn’t know how to program, so I read a book to learn how to program,” he recalls. Aaron still clings to his childhood dream of trying to develop video games — “I don’t have any guidance, so I try to learn from other people’s work, read it, and modify it.”

Dan has worked in a variety of jobs, including portrait painter, videographer, museum docent, arcade supervisor, chess coach, and printer. Dan met Aaron at Apple in 2013. They all want to work on peer-to-peer computing.

Six Years of MetaMask: Becoming a Toolset for Getting Started with Web3 Culture

This sense of sharing, building community, and creating safe platforms for collaboration is driven by social inequality and concern for the rights of others. Dan is obsessed with human rights and socializing. His sense of social justice was shaped by his family’s first-hand experiences with the collapse of the Detroit auto industry and the farmworker movement in California. “I hate that we’re building on a multi-year business foundation, deliberately externalizing its influence, using every possible means of profit-making to continue to grow.” Aaron doesn’t want to rely on people he doesn’t trust to do things. “I hate being disenfranchised,” he says. Their ambitions and philosophies about technology are converging, and the idea of ​​MetaMask is slowly becoming a reality.

In 2014, the second largest blockchain was born, which made them uneasy. “When I heard about Ethereum and ideas about it, I thought they fit into something I wanted to build a modular democracy or a better debate system. I wanted to use computers to help people raise money, send micropayments, etc. ,” Dan explained. They knew it would be cool to have a website powered by the Ethereum network, but it was unclear how login would work. Web-based crowdfunding is still new. Aaron is interested in crowdfunding projects on Ethereum. It took him a while to make a complex account manager, like a browser within a browser, and then, Dan got involved.

While there were a lot of early face-to-face hacking conferences, they also developed a way of working across time zones, in a way that represented a collaborative way to build a decentralized technology like Ethereum. Together, they narrowed down MetaMask’s initial development position. This makes it a great place to get started at hackathons and get developers to use it.

In 2016, MetaMask was born

Six Years of MetaMask: Becoming a Toolset for Getting Started with Web3 Culture

Why a fox logo? Because Aaron wanted an animal mascot, the idea for a polygonal fox came up. “For me, the fox reminds me of many things, folk heroes in Disney’s Robin Hood, rebellion against tradition, intelligent and lonely creatures who take responsibility for themselves, a chance encounter in a dark forest, and solving problems of security cooperation or It’s a question of how we trust each other.” When Dan saw the idea, he worked with a local modeler to make it 3D and then make it interactive, but they also needed a name.

Aaron loves naming things, and he spent a lot of time thinking about the name MetaMask. MetaMask means “your meta-identity”, or “something you use to manage your many identities”. Considering Facebook ‘s repositioning (renamed Meta), the name MetaMask seems quite visionary.

It has been a busy and unique journey for the team. Looking back, there are plenty of unforgettable memories, including when the MetaMask team stayed up late in 2017 when CryptoKitties was on the rise to figure out a way to ease transaction stalls. For the first time in 2018, we started talking about how we will scale the product and let users add new networks. In 2019, the Snaps project for creating Dapps and Web3 websites was launched. 2020 has been a hugely dramatic year, with scammers defrauding MetaMask users for their keys with a new phishing method, but then the Swap trading feature was introduced, bringing MetaMask its first real income, allowing MetaMask to more confidently Recruitment.

2021 is a year of rapid growth, setting the stage for MetaMask’s most ambitious plans. 2022 is the year that the systems and teams needed to build MetaMask more fully meet user needs.

Both Dan and Aaron believe that a new trust fund should be established. Dan said: “Today, most people don’t know how to trust computers, nor how to trust each other. The Internet has shattered our sense of unity. I want people to feel that they can trust more things again, but in the right way The reason.” Looking ahead, Aaron is convinced that “most of the things that are popular today in Web3 won’t be there in 20 or 30 years,” so he focuses on themes and forms, not the details. His goal for Web3 is to build a “tool set for getting started with Web3 culture”.

They are all convinced that MetaMask is a community creating the future functionality of the wallet through MetaMask Snaps. If they were going to give developers one piece of advice, Dan said: “It’s to find a way to serve humanity. Focus on other people’s problems, listen to other people’s opinions, understand how things work, and see if you can make someone else’s problem work. Make life easier. In the process, you may find that it makes things easier for you and others, and these are effective ways, but you have to start with the things you care about and serve others. “Aaron wants developers to try more things. “Have confidence that as long as you put in the time, you can figure out how to make something happen.”

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