What is Infura, and why does MetaMask use it?3 min read

What is Infura?

Infura is the service provider that MetaMask uses to get information into and out of the blockchain.

How does Infura work?

Ethereum and other blockchains use different protocols and technologies than your traditional internet network. Yes, it still uses the same physical pipelines as the traditional Internet. However, in software terms, it is a separate network; there is no URL you can access that will “take you to Ethereum” as we are used to.

To natively access these networks and see the data passing through them, you must install what is known as a client. It’s usually a fairly small program, which works like a command-line interface; in other words, no graphics, just text.

It’s not very useful for many people, and it’s certainly not as fun as a rich web experience. Also, sometimes for development purposes, it is much more useful to build a program in a different environment that communicates with the blockchain “remotely” without running a client at the same time.

Therefore, most public blockchain networks, including Ethereum, build an API. If you’re unfamiliar with the technology, think of it as a kind of menu: programmers can request certain data from the blockchain or save data to the blockchain using specially formulated queries. And if the information they’re trying to request or record isn’t on the menu, they can offer the community to change the menu.

Ok, but what is Infura’s role in all of this?

Infura provides what we call an endpoint for the Ethereum API. If we think of a restaurant menu, Infura is like a waiter or a cashier. Infura is the person who takes your order and calls you. Infura provides an endpoint that your code can “point” to so that your requests to receive or record information can still reach the network. And, of course, they return the information you requested.

As a restaurant, Infura charges for this service, but only after placing many orders in a month. For developers who are just trying something out, getting started is free and creating an account is easy.

Why use MetaMask Infura?

MetaMask has always used Infura as its terminal provider because of its unmatched reliability and availability.

As blockchain traffic increases, MetaMask users should be able to send requests to the blockchain no matter where they are, what they are asking them to do in the chain, and how many people are doing it simultaneously. Of course, there are limiting factors in this regard: the higher the chain activity, the more the network and the gas prices will be congested, and in the end, only a few transactions can be carried out in each block. But as soon as possible, your terminal provider should be stuck in this scenario. This is where Infura’s trafficability shines, regardless of which NFT is dropping.

More recently, Infura and MetaMask joined ConsenSys Software, enabling teams to work closely together and ensure that quality experience continues.

Additionally, Infura provides endpoints for multiple Ethereum blockchains, and as we move into a multi-chain world, this kind of reliable multi-chain support will be essential.

Should I use Infura?

Do not! MetaMask has always been a tool that empowers its users and allows them to modify the RPC endpoint (the protocol used by most blockchain APIs).

If you have an alternative Ethereum endpoint, such as running a local node, you can add this provider to your MetaMask wallet named “Ethereum Private Endpoint.”