Regardless of if you are a beginner or expert in the crypto world, every individual who owns cryptocurrency knows the importance of having a safe and secure cryptocurrency wallet to store their digital assets and there is a vast selection of crypto wallets available in the market which users can choose from. Nevertheless, for cryptocurrencies issued on the Ethereum network; this includes Ether (ETH) and all ERC-20 standard tokens compliant with the Ethereum blockchain, MyEtherWallet, sometimes referred to as MEW, is the best and most flexible wallet solution for cryptocurrency holders. This article will provide a thorough review of MyEtherWallet, from its features to a step-by-step preview on how to set up a MEW account.
What is MyEtherWallet?
MyEtherWallet is a free, open source, client-side token wallet generation tool created for the Ethereum blockchain. MEW was designed with an Ethereum compatible interface and launched in 2015, a year after the release of the Ethereum blockchain itself. MEW was created by Taylor Monahan and Kosala Hemachandra to cater to the lack of options in the market for storing and receiving Ether. However, MEW has since advanced in its scope of functionalities and in the crypto industry today, MyEtherWallet is one of the most popular wallet choices among users.
How does MyEtherWallet work?
It is pertinent to note that while MyEtherWallet is essentially a website, wallets generated by users on MEW are not web wallets but desktop wallets. This is as a result of the fact that although the wallet is created online, a factor which would make it web based, the private keys to the generated wallets and other wallet specific information are not stored on MEW servers. Rather, the private keys are transferred to the creator of the wallet for them to store offline, preferably on a hardware wallet.
Technically, the MyEtherWallet allows the user to simply generate new Ethereum wallets which can be used to store and manage Ether and other ERC20 tokens. When a user creates a MEW account, a public key and private are automatically generated for the wallet. This entire wallet creation process happens on the browser and nothing is recorded on the MEW servers, thus putting the user in total control of their private keys and consequently, their funds. By doing so, MyEtherWallet combines the strengths of both online and offline wallets through the ease of set up and the offline advantage of simply taking the funds off the net.
Features of MyEtherWallet
MEW has an intuitive and user-friendly interface designed to suit all levels of users from beginner to expert. The layout is focused on the elements of the web application that allows the user to manage and transfer Ether and other alt coins. Essentially, with its rudimentary design, users will not have a problem navigating through the website.
While a MEW wallet is completely free to set up, executing transactions on the platform comes at a fee which is charged to the initiator of the transaction. On MEW, the transaction fee is called the “gas limit” and it is paid to the miner responsible for validating the specific transaction. The gas limit can be customized to either speed up or slow down the transaction validation process. For example, if a user lowers the gas limit of a specific transaction, the transaction will likely take longer to be mined and thus validated compared to transactions with higher fees.
MyEtherWallet supports Ether and every other ERC-20 token compliant with the Ethereum blockchain. This means users can conveniently store, receive or send any token supported on MEW. Additionally, the user can also add and manage other ERC-20 and custom tokens yet to be supported on the platform.
MEW features a built in cryptocurrency exchange powered by Bity and Kyber Network. The exchange provides users with a friction-less portal through which they can exchange one cryptocurrency for the other.
Users can connect to and access their MEW wallets via the supported platforms on the wallet. TREZOR, Digital Bitbox, Ledger and Secalotare are the supported hardware wallets on MEW. Connection via the MetaMask browser plugin and via the KeyStore file (.JSON) are also supported on MEW.
How to set up a MEW account
The process of setting up a MEW wallet is very fast and can be completed within a few minutes. Here is a step by step guide on how to open a MEW wallet;
- First, visit the official MEW website – myetherwallet.com Ensure that the address in the URL bar shows the “MYETHERWALLET LLC [US]” certificate in green text to avoid falling victim to phishing attacks perpetuated by fraudsters. It is recommended that you bookmark the original site and only login from there to avoid malicious websites posing as the original.
- On the homepage of the website, you will see a “Create a New Wallet” button in the middle of the screen. The “New Wallet” option on the menu also offers this function.
- Input your preferred password in the provided textbox – your password should be something you can easily remember as you will need it for future login purposes.
- After entering your password, MEW will generate a keystore file specific to your wallet which you will be advised to download and save on your computer drive. The keystore is an encrypted copy of your private key so it is in your best interest to follow the prompts and warnings concerning the keystore file. Click on “I understand. Continue” once you are done.
- On the next screen, you will be given your private key. The safety of your wallet is largely dependent on how secured your private key is. No matter what you do, never reveal your private key to another party.
- Click on the “Save your address” button to view your public address.
- Afterwards, you will be required to select your preferred method of accessing your account. MEW supports a number of software wallets as well as hardware wallets like Ledger, Trezor and Digital Bitbox. However, owning an already existing wallet is not mandatory as you can still access your new wallet via the private key or downloaded keystore file.
- Next, sign in using the appropriate information to access your account details. These details include your public key or account address, your account balance and your QR code.
- You can transfer funds from another wallet to your MEW account or purchase Ether or other tokens via an exchange and send it to your wallet to fund your account.
Benefits of MyEtherWallet
- MEW is compatible with Ether and all ERC-20 tokens.
- The interface is very beginner friendly.
- It is an open source platform, like a web application connecting users to the Ethereum blockchain.
- MEW is very secured as passwords are not stored on the server, in the event of a cyber security breach or hack, the digital assets of users would still be safe.
- The user is put in full control of the security of their private key
- MEW is compatible with various third party wallets and applications to facilitate the storing, receiving and sending of coins.
MyEtherWallet has rapidly grown to become one of the best options for managing Ether and other ERC20 token transactions. In addition to being a flexible and feature rich wallet, MEW incorporates some of the best security techniques of the crypto industry while putting the user in control of their funds. Always remember to keep your private key protected at all times or you stand the risk of losing all your funds. It is highly advisable to store your keys on a Hardware wallet like Ledger Nano or Trezor.