MyEtherWallet (often referred to as MEW) is one of the most popular wallets for Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens like OmiseGo (OMG) or Augur (REP). In this article we’ll give you a basic understanding of what MEW is, how it works and how to use it.
What is MyEtherWallet?
MyEtherWallet is a sophisticated piece of open-source software. First and foremost it is an easy to use web app, which lets you store and interact with your Ethereum (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens in a universal way. Not only does it support Ledger and Trezor hardware wallets, it can also create an Ethereum paper wallet completely offline. Once you have stored ETH on MEW, you can even participate in initial coin offerings (ICOs) of new coins, which are going to live on the Ethereum blockchain (ERC-20 tokens).
How does MyEtherWallet work?
First of all, MEW lets you set up a transaction. The signing of this process can even be done completely offline, which means that your private key never leaves your computer. Once your transaction has been sent to the MyEtherWallet servers, the system passes it on to a pool of signed, but not yet processed transactions. Now, MEW’s job is already done.
From now on, the Ethereum ecosystem handles your request. Depending on the amount of GAS you specified for your transaction, miners may choose your request from the pool of not-yet-processed transactions. Remember, the higher the amount of GAS you are willing to pay, the faster your request is taken care of. As soon as the miners have verified your transaction, they put the information on the current block and append it to the blockchain. The transaction is permanently stored now and can be inspected using a blockchain explorer.
How to create a MyEtherWallet web wallet
In this guide we’ll show you two ways of how to create a MEW. The first method lets you create a MyEtherWallet using the online website. This is not recommended because it envolves exposing your private key to the internet at one time or another. The second method shows, how you can generate your keys completely offline. This is our first choice, because it is considerably safer.
How to create a MyEtherWallet online – NOT RECOMMENDED
This section shows you how to create a basic MEW step by step. You’ll need an USB drive to make a backup of your data.
1) Open the website https://www.myetherwallet.com/.
2) You will be greeted by a pop up which gives you a thorough explanation. Click through it.
3) After that you can immediatetelly start to create your very own MEW on the platform’s main page. Enter a password to begin with. Then click “Create New Wallet”.
4) On the next page you will be prompted to save your keystone file. Do so. You can use this to access your wallet later. Once downloaded, make sure to save a copy of this file on your USB drive. Then click “I understand. Continue.”
5) Now you can see your private key which will be necessary to send tokens from your wallet later. Press “Print Paper Wallet” and you will get a document like this.
Note that it contains both your public address and your private key. Make sure to store this document in a safe place. Anyone who gets hold of it will be able to control your assets.
After that, click “Save Your Address”.
6) Now we are going to unlock your wallet. Choose “Keystore / JSON file” on the left hand side. MyEtherWallet gives you a warning that this method is not recommended. This is because your keystore file contains your private key. If the website myetherwallet.com happens to be compromised you may be doomed.
If you want to proceed, click “SELECT WALLET FILE…” and choose the keystore file we have downloaded previously.
7) Now you are prompted to enter your password. Do that and press “Unlock”.
8) You’ll get a notice that your wallet has been successfully decrypted. Scroll down and you will see your current balance on the right side. On the left side you have now access to your public address, your private key and the keystore file. You can even reprint a paper wallet if necessary.
How to create a MyEtherWallet offline – RECOMMENDED
This is the recommended way of how to create a MyEtherWallet, offline that is. You will need an USB drive and a separate computer, which you are never going to connect to the internet again, as well as a printer, wire connected to this PC.
1) Open MyEtherWallet’s github page by clicking https://github.com/kvhnuke/etherwallet/releases/latest (this link will automatically take you to the latest version).
2) Click on “etherwallet-v3.22.3.zip”. This will initiate the download.
3) Once you got it, copy the file to your offline-PC using the USB-drive.
4) Now, on your offline-PC, extract the archive and open the folder it contains. Then open the index.html file.
5) You will see this. We recommend you to click through the slides and read and understand all information MEW is offering here.
6) Once finished, you will be greeted by the MyEtherWallet start page. Enter a password of your choice. We recommend you to make a backup, write it on a piece of paper at least. You will need this passphrase later to access your wallet. Then click Create New Wallet.
7) Now MEW prompts you to download your keystore file. Do so. We recommend you to make at least one additional backup, for example on your USB-drive. Please do not use this USB-drive for anything else later. Never connect it to an online computer again. Then click I understand. Continue..
8) Now MyEtherWallet shows you the private key of your wallet. We recommend you to print a paper wallet now with your wire-connected printer. It will look similar to the one you see in the screenshot below.
After printing your paper wallet, click Save Your Address..
9) We are done now and you can access your MyEtherWallet from your offline computer. Choose Keystore / JSON File on the left hand side, select your recently downloaded keystore file, enter your password and finally click Unlock.
10) Once your wallet is decrypted, you can check your private key, your public address and your keystore file. You can even re-download your paper wallet.
This tutorial shows you two ways of creating a MyEtherWallet. The first one lets you generate your keys on the online website. We warn you to do this. The second one shows you how to download the necessary files from the projects GitHub page and how to generate your MyEtherWallet on an offline PC. We recommend this because your keys remain on the air gapped computer and are never exposed on the internet.
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