What is Binance Smart Chain?

Binance Smart Chain (BSC) is a smart contract-enabled parallel blockchain to Binance Chain that provides a permissionless platform for decentralized application (DApps). While Binance Chain offers a high-throughput targeting active crypto trades, it lacks in the programmability department. Binance Smart Chain exists to change that. Binance launched Smart Chain to provide a high-speed, low-cost alternative for the burgeoning decentralized finance (DeFi) market, which has suffered from Ethereum’s high transaction fees. Launched in September 2020, Binance Smart Chain boasts a five-second block time, cross-chain asset transfers, EVM compatibility, and a Proof of Staked Authority consensus protocol to ensure scalability.

As a low-cost, high-speed alternative to Ethereum, backed by one of the largest crypto companies in the world, Smart Chain already boasts a wide range of DApps and DeFi apps on its chain. While some DeFi protocols have migrated over to Smart Chain from other blockchain networks, dozens of Smart Chain-native DApps have emerged and experienced substantial user growth since their inceptions. DeFi protocols, such as PancakeSwap, Venus, and Autofarm, make up most of the activity on BSC. But that does not mean Smart Chain is only for decentralized finance. Gaming and gambling DApps have also found a home on Smart Chain, and the first NFTs appeared in early 2021 to provide BSC users with the same crypto collectible experience found on other chains.

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BEP-20 is a token standard on Binance Smart Chain that extends ERC-20, the most common Ethereum token standard. You can think of it as a blueprint for tokens that defines how they can be spent, who can spend them, and other rules for their usage. Due to its similarity to Binance Chain’s BEP-2 and Ethereum’s ERC-20, it’s compatible with both.

BEP-20 was conceived as a technical specification for Binance Smart Chain, with the goal of providing a flexible format for developers to launch a range of different tokens. These could represent anything from shares in a business to dollars stored in a bank vault (i.e., a stablecoin).

Of course, one could equally create a native asset as a BEP-20 token, or even peg tokens from other blockchains to make them usable on Binance Smart Chain. This is what’s done with “Peggy” coins, which are essentially BEP-20 versions of other crypto assets (such as LINK or XRP).

Like BEP-2 tokens on Binance Chain, BEP-20 token transfers are fuelled with BNB. This provides an incentive for validators to include the transactions in the blockchain, as they’ll collect the BNB as a fee for their troubles.

You may know that Binance Smart Chain was envisioned as something of an extension to Binance Chain. With dual chain architecture, both chains are complementary – Binance Smart Chain caters to decentralized applications without congesting the original chain, which is optimized for ultra-fast trading.

Because of this architecture, heavy emphasis was placed on cross-chain compatibility. For that reason, BEP-2 tokens can be swapped for their BEP-20 equivalent. The easiest way to do so is perhaps via the Binance Chain Wallet extension, though more methods will undoubtedly emerge over time.

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Installing and setting up MetaMask

MetaMask can be downloaded on Chrome and Firefox, or on iOS and Android if you’re a mobile user. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll use the Firefox version, but the instructions will be more or less the same for every platform.

Firstly, you’ll want to head over to the MetaMask Download page. From there, select whichever platform you’re using, and follow the steps to install it on your device. Easy!

Next, follow along with the setup specified by the app. Go ahead and click Create a Wallet. Write down the backup seed phrase somewhere secret (preferably not on an Internet-connected device). Without this phrase, your funds can’t be recovered if your device is damaged or lost. Confirm that you’ve written them down on the next page.

And that’s it! You should now see your wallet, ready to send and receive funds.

Configuring the wallet

You might notice straight away that we’re still dealing with an Ethereum wallet. At best, this won’t work with Binance Smart Chain DApps. At worst, you could lose funds by sending them to addresses you can’t actually use.

Let’s change that. We want to access the Settings to point the wallet towards Binance Smart Chain nodes.

Select Settings from the dropdown menu.

On the Settings page, we want to locate the Networks menu.

The Networks menu

We want to click Add Network in the top-right corner to manually add the Binance Smart Chain one – it doesn’t come packaged with MetaMask. It’s important to note that there are two networks we can use here: the testnet or the mainnet. Below are the parameters to fill in for each.

Mainnet (This is the one you are probably looking for)

Network Name: Smart Chain

New RPC URL: https://bsc-dataseed.binance.org/

ChainID: 56

Symbol: BNB

Block Explorer URL: https://bscscan.com

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