How To Send Ethereum From Coinbase to a MetaMask Wallet

Bitcoins placed beside Coinbase App on iPhone, illustrating one of the largest Bitcoin providers, photographed in Cologne, Germany, 14th of April 2021.
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Ethereum is the blockchain project that hosted the NFT and dApp revolutions that continue to change the digital space today. Its native cryptocurrency, ETH, remains the No. 2 biggest digital token in the world, behind only Bitcoin.

Read: 5 Things You Must Do When Your Savings Reach $50,000

Coinbase was the first crypto exchange to go public and trade on the stock market. With more than 103 million users, it remains the largest marketplace for buying and selling digital assets in America.  

Metamask, which reached 21 million monthly active users in 2021, is the most popular digital crypto wallet by far. 

In short, if you own the most popular altcoin and you store your assets on the country’s biggest exchange, but you’d like to transfer them to the most popular digital wallet, you’re hardly alone.

The good news is that it’s not hard to send ETH from Coinbase to MetaMask, but you do have to understand what the process entails and get set up and prepared on both ends of the transaction before you get started.

Here is a quick look at the steps you need to take to transfer assets from Coinbase to MetaMask:

  1. Create a Coinbase wallet.
  2. Transfer assets from your Coinbase account to your Coinbase wallet.
  3. Set up a MetaMask wallet.
  4. Transfer Coinbase assets to MetaMask.
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Here’s what you need to know about the details for each step. 

How Do I Transfer Assets From Coinbase to MetaMask?

Moving assets from the Coinbase exchange to the MetaMask wallet is a straightforward process that doesn’t require much technical savvy — and you can transfer more than just digital coins.

This guide will also explain how users can transfer NFTs from Coinbase to their MetaMask wallets in just four steps. MetaMask can connect to virtually any Ethereum-based platform, and most NFTs are on the Ethereum blockchain — but you can take the following steps to transfer any supported assets from Coinbase to MetaMask, not just NFTs or ETH: 

1. Create a Coinbase Wallet

You must have a Coinbase Wallet to transfer digital assets out of the Coinbase exchange and into a MetaMask wallet. The reasons why will be discussed later.

For now, here’s how to set up a new Coinbase Wallet to get started: 

  • Download the mobile app, tap “Create new wallet,” and then review and accept the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
  • Enter a username, which is how other Coinbase Wallet users will identify and find you. You can change it later, but only once per year. 
  • Set your privacy preferences and choose biometrics or passcode as your preferred security method. Coinbase recommends biometric authentication.
  • Securely back up your 12-word recovery phrase and, when prompted, re-enter the phrase to confirm. 
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2. Transfer Assets From Your Coinbase Account to Your Coinbase Wallet

Since you can’t transfer assets directly from your custodial Coinbase.com account to MetaMask, you’ll have to first move them to your newly established non-custodial Coinbase Wallet. It’s a fairly simple process: 

  • Open the Coinbase Wallet app on your mobile device, go to “Settings” and tap “Connect to Coinbase.” 
  • Follow the remaining steps and, when prompted, sign back into your Coinbase account. 
  • Now that your Coinbase Wallet is linked to your account, return to “Settings” and tap “Buy or Transfer.”
  • Select the assets, the amount you want to transfer and complete the remaining steps. 

3. Set Up a MetaMask Wallet

Download and install the MetaMask software for iOS, Android or a compatible browser. If you already have a secret recovery phrase, choose “Import wallet” to migrate your existing MetaMask wallet from another device. If not: 

  • Click “Create a wallet” and agree to the disclaimer.
  • Create a password and write it down on paper — don’t make a digital copy.
  • You’ll then see a page that discusses secret recovery phrases and assigns a unique one to you. Write down the phrase that it gives you exactly as it appears. You are now ready to use your MetaMask wallet.
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4. Transfer Coinbase Assets to MetaMask

  • Open your Coinbase Wallet, go to “Settings,” click on “Recovery Phrase” and write down your 12-word phrase.
  • Now, open MetaMask and click “Import using secret recovery phrase.” 
  • Enter your recovery phrase from Coinbase, create a new password and confirm.
  • You should now see the newly added account in the import page dropdown menu with an “imported” tag.
  • On your Coinbase app, select “Coins” or “NFTs” — in this case, NFTs — and choose your assets and the amount to transfer. 
  • Make sure both your Coinbase and MetaMask wallets are on the correct network — e.g., Binance Smart Chain if you’re transferring BNB.
  • Paste the recipient address from your MetaMask wallet and hit “Send.”

How Do I Send ETH to a MetaMask Wallet? 

In the previous example, you transferred NFTs by selecting “NFTs” on your Coinbase app in Step 4, just after you imported your Coinbase account to MetaWallet. If you’re transferring ETH, on the other hand, you would click “Coins,” then select ETH and the amount you want to transfer. Before you complete the transaction, make sure your MetaMask wallet is on the ETH/ERC20 network. 

That last part is crucial. 

According to Coinbase, “When sending or receiving, always confirm that you’re using the correct network. Using an incorrect network will cause the funds to be lost.” 

Having multiple networks to choose from lets users select networks with faster speeds and lower fees, but according to Coinbase, “On-chain sends are irreversible; Coinbase can’t retrieve funds that were sent to the incorrect address or using the incorrect network.”

For assets with multi-chain support, it’s critical that you use the same network on both the sending and receiving ends. If not, you risk losing your assets.  

Can I Connect Coinbase to MetaMask?

You don’t need a Coinbase.com account to use a Coinbase Wallet, but you must have a Coinbase Wallet to transfer digital assets to MetaMask. That’s because Coinbase Wallet is a standalone app called a self-custody wallet, which stores your private keys directly on your device and not on Coinbase, which is a centralized exchange.

If you have a Coinbase.com account but not a Coinbase Wallet, you can’t transfer your assets to MetaMask because your Coinbase.com account is a custodial wallet. It holds your private keys to manage your funds on your behalf, and you must have control of those keys to transfer your Coinbase account into MetaMask.

How Long Does It Take To Send ETH From Coinbase to MetaMask?

When transferring assets from one wallet to another, a frustrating but common result is to see your transaction stuck in pending mode. According to Coinbase, you should “Wait at least 30 minutes. Blockchain transactions take time to complete. Most transactions will be completed within 30 minutes.” 

Keep checking in to see the number of confirmations. If the number of confirmations remains stuck at zero for an extended period of time, contact the Coinbase support team.

What Will It Cost? 

Coinbase doesn’t charge a fee for transfers from one Coinbase account to another, but you will have to pay fees to move your assets out of the Coinbase network to your Metamask wallet. 

Coinbase states: “For transactions on cryptocurrency networks — i.e., transfers of cryptocurrency off the Coinbase platform, Coinbase incurs and pays network transaction fees — e.g., miner’s fees. We’ll charge a fee based on our estimate of the prevailing network fees for a standalone wallet-to-wallet send. The final fee that Coinbase pays may differ from the estimated fee — for example, due to your transaction being batched with other transactions or due to changes in network congestion levels. All fees we charge are disclosed at the time of transaction.”

Basically, fees fluctuate so much in real time that you won’t know what the transfer will cost you until you hit “Send.” 

Adjust Transfer Speeds To Control Fees

So-called “gas fees” are based on the amount of congestion the Ethereum network is experiencing at any given time. Fees are higher when more transactions are being executed and lower when fewer people are moving ETH. 

According to Coinbase, you can adjust the speed of your transfer between slow, normal and fast. Slow takes the longest but costs the least while fast costs more but happens more quickly. That’s because miners prioritize the transactions that pay the highest miner fees — low-fee slow transactions get pushed to the back of the miner queue.

You can adjust transaction speeds by going to “Settings” and clicking “Select Your Speed.” 

Protect Yourself

MetaMask states: “Imported accounts are not backed up by your Secret Recovery Phrase. Even though they will appear in your MetaMask wallet, you need to save the private keys used to import them the same way you save your Secret Recovery Phrase.”

The site goes on to explain that if you delete your wallet from your device, you’ll remove your imported accounts with it. In order to restore your wallet using your secret recovery phrase, you’ll have to re-add any accounts you imported with their private keys. 

Always make sure you’re using the right network on both ends and always follow best practices to securely store your private keys and secret recovery phrase.

Information is accurate as of Nov. 1, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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