Backed by the developers behind Ethereum, the Ethereum Wallet may not be the most user-friendly option, but it’s widely considered to be one of the most secure.
In a few short years, the Ethereum project has developed rapidly, bringing many new ideas to the blockchain space. When it comes to storing ether and other digital assets issued on the Ethereum platform, you have the option to take advantage of the official Ethereum Wallet, designed and developed by the team behind the Ethereum platform itself.
What is the Ethereum Wallet?
The official Ethereum Wallet, sometimes also called the Ethereum Mist Wallet, is a feature that is built into the Ethereum platform. Designed by the team behind Ethereum, the Wallet is integrated into the Mist web browser. This browser is an application that, while still under development, can be used to connect to the main Ethereum network and interact with other Ethereum applications.
- Windows, Mac OSX, Linux
How much does it cost?
The Ethereum Wallet is free to download and use, although it will cost you some time and space on your hard drive to download the blockchain.
You will most likely need to pay transaction fees in order to send ether over the network, although there is a flexibility feature built in to give you some control over fees in relation to transaction priority.
Which currencies can I store?
- Digital tokens issued on the Ethereum platform
The Ethereum Wallet is found within a larger application called Mist. Mist is a web browser designed to interact with decentralized applications (DApps) running on the Ethereum network. The Ethereum Wallet is one application built into Mist, and you’ll need to run Mist in order to use the Wallet. It’s important to note that Mist is still in beta, and it’s up to users to stay informed about bug fixes, software updates and other potential issues by checking in with official Ethereum channels.
How do I add currency to my wallet?
Ethereum is a young project, and many elements of the Ethereum platform are still under development. A lot of the existing infrastructure that enables users to interact with Ethereum is designed primarily for developers and those with a fairly advanced technical skillset. Fortunately, however, the official Ethereum Wallet does come with a simple graphical user interface (GUI) and it’s not too difficult to get it up and running. Here’s how:
- Before you can add currency, you will need to download the latest version of the Ethereum Wallet. The safest and easiest way to do this is to use the link on the official website.
- If the download doesn’t start automatically, you may be taken to Ethereum’s GitHub page. Scroll down until you find the appropriate download for your operating system.
- Once the download has completed, you can launch the Mist application.
- You’ll be prompted to choose between using the “Main Network” or the “Test Network”.
- The “Test Network” is mainly a tool for developers to test programs without having to spend real ether to fund smart contracts. If you want to use real ether to fund your wallet, choose the “Main Network”.
- You may be asked if you have a wallet file. If you participated in Ethereum’s presale, you can drag and drop your wallet file into the window. If you don’t have an existing wallet file, simply choose “Skip”.
- Choose a password for your account and click “Next”.
- Mist will then generate some key files for you, which you should back up along with your password. If anything were to happen to your computer, you’d need to have your password and keyfiles to restore your account and recover your funds.
- Now you’ll have to wait while Mist downloads the Ethereum blockchain. This can take a long time, depending on your Internet connection and computer.
- Every time you open Mist, it will need to sync with the Ethereum network, which can also take a little while.
- Once you’re connected, you should see your “Accounts Overview”.
- Click “Main Account (Etherbase)”.
- You can now add funds to your account with bitcoin or US dollars, by transferring ether from another account, or by converting other cryptocurrencies to ether via integration with the ShapeShift exchange.
- Once you’ve selected your currency of choice, fill in the appropriate fields and click “Submit”.
- When the transaction completes, the ether you added will show up in your “Main Account”.
How do I make payments with Ethereum Wallet?
Once you’ve deposited some ether in your account, making a payment is fairly straightforward. You’ll need to know the wallet address of the recipient. It doesn’t matter if the recipient is using a different type of wallet as long as it’s configured to work with ether.
- Choose your account. To begin, open your wallet and select the account you’ll be using to make the payment. If you’ve only added ether to your “Main Account”, use that one, although you have the option to create any number of accounts for different purposes within the Ethereum Wallet.
- Enter transaction information. When you choose the appropriate account to send from, you’ll be taken to a page for that specific wallet. From there, click the “Send” button. Enter the receiving address in the “To” area of the form. Enter the amount that you wish to pay.
- Transaction fees. When you make a transaction on the Ethereum network, you’ll be charged a small transaction fee. You have the option to adjust your fee based on your priorities. Lower fees generally mean your transaction will be slower to process, and vice versa. Use the fee slider to select your rate.
- Send. Double check your information and click “Send”. If prompted, you’ll need to enter your password to confirm the transaction, and then hit “Send” again.
How secure is the Ethereum Wallet?
Built and backed by the developers behind Ethereum, the Ethereum Wallet is widely considered to be one of the most secure digital wallets for storing ether. Because your personal wallet is stored on your computer, you’re in complete control of your private keys and your funds.
This also means that if you lose your password or private keys, you may not be able to recover your wallet or its contents. It’s a good idea to write down your password and keys and store them in a secure physical location.
Where can I get the Ethereum Wallet?
To get the latest version of the Ethereum Wallet, it’s recommended that you download the software directly from the Ethereum website.
Pros and cons
- Easy to purchase ether with US dollars or bitcoin, or directly through the application.
- Because the developers behind Ethereum created this wallet, it’s widely considered to be one of the most secure wallets for storing ether.
- Holds ether and other digital assets issued on the Ethereum platform.
- Complete control over your passwords, private keys and funds without relying on any third-party software.
- Installation and use require some technical knowledge and may be difficult for beginners.
- Documentation is not easily accessible.
- It can take a long time for Mist to connect to the Ethereum network on startup.
- To install the wallet, users need to download the entire Ethereum blockchain, which can take a long time and requires significant storage space.
- Only available as a desktop client.
What’s in the works for the Ethereum Wallet?
As the Ethereum platform forges ahead, many developments are slated for the near future, including some significant changes to the process used to validate transactions. How this will impact the Ethereum Wallet remains to be seen, but users will want to stay current with software updates to ensure their wallets are up to date with security features and the Ethereum protocol. Some of the changes on Ethereum’s roadmap include:
- Casper algorithm. Ethereum has announced that, eventually, it plans to change the way transactions are approved by implementing a different consensus algorithm. Rather than using mining, Ethereum will shift to a system where people can “stake” their ether towards transactions, a lot like placing a bet. This may have an effect on transaction fees for wallet users, as well as giving users the option to participate and earn ether without the resource-heavy demands of mining.
- Anonymous transactions. The latest update to the Ethereum platform will include new cryptographic proofs, zk-SNARKs, designed to enable anonymous transactions.
- Faster download and syncing. The team behind Ethereum has suggested that it’s working on a solution that will use a less resource-intensive process, to increase the speed of the initial blockchain download and the sync to the Ethereum network.
Frequently asked questions
Image source: Ethereum Wallet