With Ethereum (ETH) being the second largest cryptocurrency, it’s no wonder that such a myriad of different wallet services have flooded the market. Among the most popular of these wallet services is MyEtherWallet.
What is MyEtherWallet?
MyEtherWallet is an incredibly lightweight, fast, easy to use wallet for Ethereum. You can access MyEtherWallet’s services through:
- Metamask / Mist
- Ledger Wallet
- Digital Bitbox
- Keystore / JSON file
- Mnemonic phrase
- Private key
The reason why MyEtherWallet supports a large amount of access methods is because it merely acts as an interface to the Ethereum blockchain. All of these methods simply pass along the required information needed to verify you to MyEtherWallet, which in turn provides you with a clean, user-friendly “connection” to the blockchain. This makes MyEtherWallet as easy and fun to use as a web wallet, but as secure as Ethereum’s Mist browser. This is because you’re storing your private keys locally (on your own device) instead of on a potentially vulnerable, centralized web server. Of course, via the methods above, you can choose to provide your public key via a wallet service you may already be using or create a new private key, JSON file, and/or mnemonic phrase.
It’s important to emphasize the fact that MyEtherWallet is not a bank. It doesn’t store your private keys, JSON files, mnemonic phrases, etc. for you. If you lose these methods of access/recovery, you’re out of luck. Remember to store your private, critical information in a safe and secure area.
In this guide, we will be covering how to create and set up a wallet through MyEtherWallet, as well as how to access this newly created wallet using a private key and keystore file.
How to create an Ethereum wallet with MyEtherWallet
The simplest and most straightforward way to set up and use MyEtherWallet with Ethereum is to head over to MyEtherWallet’s website and create your own wallet. Navigate to the Create New Wallet section and enter in a secure password (at least nine characters long, preferably with numbers, capitals, and symbols). The password you choose will be used to encrypt your private key, and will be required along with your private key to unlock your wallet. After you have selected a secure password, click the Create New Wallet button.
At this point, your private key has been generated and your wallet has been created. You’ll be prompted to save your keystore file associated with your wallet. This file can be used in the absence of your private key to restore/recover/view your wallet. Click the Download Keystore File (UTC / JSON) button to download your keystore file. Take careful note of the warning surrounded by asterisks on the page, then select the I understand. Continue. button.
Be sure to save this file to a secure location. I suggest moving it to encrypted external media, such as an external hard drive or USB drive. In case either of these mediums become damaged, you should also make backups and store said backups in separate physical locations.
Next, MyEtherWallet will request that you save your private key. This key will appear as a hexadecimal string of letters and numbers. This key allows you access to your funds. Copy this key into a text file and store it on the same external media as your keystore file. Be sure to delete the keystore file and private key from your computer.
As you can see, you also have the option to print a paper wallet. A paper wallet is a piece of paper that contains your private key and public address, as well as their respective QR codes. Paper wallets are meant as a method of cold storage, or in other words, a way of storing cryptocurrency securely for a very long time without the need to access the funds for a very long time. If you wish to print a paper wallet, proceed to click the Print Paper Wallet button. You should see a new browser tab open, containing an image similar to the following:
Use your built-in browser options to print the entire page, and then proceed to cut out your paper wallet. Attempting to right-click the image to save it and then printing said image will result in the specific part (such as one of the QR codes) you right-clicked to be saved instead of the entire paper wallet image.
Once you are done printing your paper wallet, return to the Save Your Private Key page and click the Save Your Address. -> button.
Congratulations! You just created a wallet using MyEtherWallet!
How to access your wallet in MyEtherWallet
After creating you’re wallet, you should now be on a page that resembles the following. If you aren’t, select the View Wallet Info tab on the toolbar.
The first way to access your newly created wallet is to select the Private Key option. Enter your private key from your text file into the Paste/Type Your Private Key input field, as is shown below:
Proceed to click the Unlock button.
Information regarding your wallet should now have appeared beneath the How would you like to access your wallet? section, similar to that of the following.
From here, you have the option to print a paper wallet if you haven’t yet, via the Print Paper Wallet button. You can also check your account balance/transaction history and token balances (including loading tokens and adding custom ones).
You send transactions by clicking the Send Ether & Tokens tab on the toolbar. You will have to provide your private key once more. At this point, it is important to note that you are not limited to using the private key you received from creating a wallet through MyEtherWallet. If you have used other Ethereum wallets that provide a private key, you can input said private key in MyEtherWallet to access the wallet.
Keystore / JSON File
You can also access the contents of your wallets, including the one you’ve created using this guide, by providing the keystore file you downloaded (and hopefully backed up) earlier. To do so, click the View Wallet Info tab on the toolbar. Then, select the Keystore / JSON File option. Proceed to click the SELECT WALLET FILE button and select your keystore file. MyEtherWallet will require you to enter the password you used to encrypt the file. Once you have typed in your password, an Unlock button will appear. Click it to proceed to unlock your wallet.
You should now see your wallet information as before.
In this guide, we covered creating a wallet with MyEtherWallet and accessing said wallet with both a private key and a keystore file.
MyEtherWallet is an incredibly easy and convenient way to access the Ethereum blockchain. I hope you found it to not only be a simple process, but an exciting one at that. Seeing how simple it can be to access and use Ethereum is a fun experience, and really highlights what is great about blockchain; it provides an amazing level of simplicity and independence that the current financial infrastructure cannot.