What is MyEtherWallet?
MEW is a client-side interface that interacts with the Ethereum blockchain. Although you can easily create new wallets in your web browser with MEW, it’s not actually an online wallet. Even though you create the wallet through the web, all of your information and your funds are stored on your computer, not on the MEW servers.
MEW combines the ease of setup provided by online wallets while eliminating many of the vulnerabilities that come with storing your funds online.
In addition to being accessible in a web browser, MyEtherWallet is also compatible with:
How much does it cost?
MyEtherWallet is completely free to use.
You will be charged transaction fees when you send ether, but those go to the miners working on the Ethereum blockchain and not to MEW.
Which cryptocurrencies can I store?
- Ether (ETH)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
- Any standard Ethereum token (ERC-20) issued on the Ethereum platform
How do I add currency to my wallet?
Getting started with MyEtherWallet is very quick and easy. To create a new wallet, simply visit the MyEtherWallet website.
- Check the site. For security reasons, it’s important to be sure that you’re using the secure “https://” protocol rather than “http”. Because MEW users have been targeted by phishing attacks, ensure that the site you’re visiting displays the green “MYETHERWALLET LLC [US]” certificate in the URL bar.
- Create a new wallet. Once you have confirmed that you are visiting the correct site, you should be greeted with a form titled “Create a New Wallet”. You can also choose “New Wallet” from the main menu to access this area.
- Choose a password. Enter a password of your choice into the field. You’ll need to hold on to this password, so take care to store it somewhere safe for future reference.
- Download the keystore. MyEtherWallet will use your password to generate a unique keystore file for your wallet. Follow the prompts, and heed the warnings not to share or lose your keys before you download the file.
- Private key. Once you’ve done this, you’ll get your private key. You have the option to print this out as a “paper wallet”. Be sure to keep this information safe and private. If other people get access to your private key, they will be able to access your account and control your funds.
- Choose your wallet. After you confirm that you’ve secured your private key, you’ll be asked to choose who will be able to access your account. MEW is compatible with select hardware wallets, including TREZOR, Ledger and Digital Bitbox, as well as some software wallets like the official Ethereum Wallet found in the Mist browser. If you don’t have an existing wallet interface that you want to use in conjunction with MyEtherWallet, you can access the new wallet provided MEW is using the keystore file or private key you created when you followed earlier steps.
- Sign in. Enter the appropriate information based on your preferred method of accessing your account. When your wallet is unlocked, you’ll be able to see your account address, your balance and the unique QR code associated with your account. Your account address may also be referred to as your “public key.”
- Transfer existing ether. If you already have ether in another account or on a cryptocurrency exchange, you can move the funds into your new wallet by sending them to your MEW address.
- Get new ether. If you don’t already have ether, you’ll need to get some in order to fund your account. You cannot buy ether directly through MyEtherWallet. If you have another cryptocurrency, like bitcoin, you can exchange that for ether on most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, such as ShapeShift, Bittrex or Kraken. In order to purchase ether with fiat currency, you can use an exchange like Coinbase that supports this type of transaction.
How do I make payments with MyEtherWallet?
Once you’ve added funds to your wallet, making payments with MyEtherWallet is very straightforward. Here’s how:
- From the MEW website, choose the “Send Ether & Tokens” tab from the top menu.
- Select your preferred method of accessing your wallet and enter the appropriate information to unlock your account.
- Enter the wallet address of the payee into the “To” field.
- Enter the amount of ether you want to send.
- The “Gas Limit” is the transaction fee you have to pay to execute the transaction. You can adjust this based on your priorities. Paying a higher fee will yield a faster transaction, and vice versa. You can also just leave the default setting in place for an average transaction.
- Advanced users can add hashed data to the “Data” field if necessary, although this is not required for transactions to go through.
- Be sure you’ve entered the correct information. Transactions cannot be reversed or cancelled once they’re initiated. When you’re ready to proceed, click “Generate Transaction.”
- Depending on several factors, such as network activity and transaction fees, it can take some time for your transaction to process.
How secure is MyEtherWallet?
MEW is best understood as a tool for interfacing with the Ethereum network, rather than as a standalone application. In terms of security, MEW can be used in tandem with other wallets, such as TREZOR, Ledger or the official Ethereum Wallet, which are all known for being extremely secure. On its own, MEW’s level of security depends largely on the users and how they manage the tool.
MEW offers the ability to create wallets and initiate transactions completely offline, which is more secure but less convenient than going through a web browser. There’s extensive documentation available via the “Help” tab on the MyEtherWallet website that can provide additional information regarding the recommended security practices.
Where can I get MyEtherWallet?
Visit the official MyEtherWallet website to get started with MEW. Be sure to double-check that you are using the “https” protocol to ensure the site is secure.
Pros and cons
- Easy to use
- Open source
- Thorough documentation available, including how-to videos
- Accessible through the web, but your actual wallet lives on your computer, not on MEW servers
- Does not store the password or private keys for your wallet
- Compatible with many popular hardware wallets
- Supports offline transactions
- Users have been targeted by phishing attacks and hackers
What’s next for MyEtherWallet?
Because it’s a tool that makes it easy to interact with the Ethereum network, MEW will evolve alongside Ethereum. This includes adding support for new tokens as they are issued and responding to bugs and security updates that affect Ethereum.
- The team behind MyEtherWallet is currently working on the next version of the application, version 4+, which is still in the alpha phase of development.
- Developers can explore the upcoming version on GitHub.
- Support for new tokens issued on the Ethereum platform is added regularly to MEW.
Frequently asked questions
Image source: MyEtherWallet