MyEtherWallet MyEtherWallet Website

A web browser that can be run on mobile or desktop computers.
  • ValidationCentralised
  • AnonymityHigh
  • Ease of useLower Intermediate
  • Supported Coins
  • ETH

Pros & Cons

  • Relatively simple to use, as long as you understand basic security measures and don’t accidentally compromise your own private key or fail to make a backup.
  • You can control your own private key completely, putting you in charge of your own funds.
  • With the client-side application and multiple wallet creation, there is high anonymity and privacy.
  • The software is fully open-source.
  • MyEther only supports Ethereum transactions.
  • MyEther can be vulnerable to browser extension hacks, Java hacks, and phishing emails, so the user has to be alert about all the possible ways their funds can be accessed.
  • You need to buy a hardware wallet, or use a slightly complex method of completing transactions offline in order to stay secure.

Features

You create and back up your own wallets, the keys of which never shared online.

Wallet Info

Founder(s)
Taylor Monahan
Price
Free to create
Private Keys Stored by
Entirely by you
Security
Good, depending on the user’s ability to secure their private key
What it is

A client-side tool, written in JavaScript that allows you to generate Ethereum wallets of your own.

Introduction

MyEther Wallet is a free and open-source application written in Javascript that is run through your browser. It gives the user a high level of autonomy and the ability to secure their own cryptocurrency, although users are entirely responsible for backing up their keys with their own chosen method.

Out of 40 user reviews, 23 gave myEther the top 5-star rating, with an average rating of 3.8 stars. The wallet application is available on www.myetherwallet.com.

Security

As stated above, I am completely responsible both for managing my own private key and for backing up my passwords. MyEther cannot recover my cryptocurrency and it cannot freeze my account if my key is compromised or lost. Indeed, their web site actually states “Your funds will be stolen if you do not heed [our] warnings”. For this reason, I would highly recommend reading CryptoCompare’s user guide and myEther’s Frequently Asked Questions page in order to avoid this from happening to you.

When you attempt to create a wallet, you are explicitly told to use a hardware wallet to store your private key on, such as Trezor or Ledger Nano. This is because web browsers are not a secure place to enter any private key, which the creators of myEther know very well indeed.  Never enter your private key online. After you have clicked through the safety instructions, you are prompted to enter a 9-character-long strong password with which to encrypt (hide) your private key. Remember that anyone who has access to your private key can steal your cryptocurrency within under a minute of gaining access.

You back your account up by writing down the password that you initially use to encrypt your private key with. You should be aware that MyEther is not able to reset your password, so do not forget this password.

You then have access to a password-protected .json file that you download, that has your private key backed up.  You can also view your private key and copy & paste it from the web site, but this is the unencrypted private key, so if you choose this method, you are fully responsible for hiding and securely storing either the file that you create that has the private key, or for any piece of paper that you should choose to write down the private key on. MyEther Wallet does not support either multisignature or two-factor authentication. Therefore, as its own creators advise, store the majority of your cryptocurrency on a hardware wallet. In fact, the MyEther Wallet web site advises you to get a hardware wallet if you are storing any more than a single week’s pay cheque worth of cryptocurrency. Hardware wallets can easily link up with MyEther Wallet.

MyEtherWallet transactions have high anonymity, because I do not need to provide any personal details. No logs of transactions are ever stored on their servers.  It takes only a few clicks to create a new wallet, which prevents any specific wallet address from becoming associated with me. I can create a new wallet for every private transaction I ever wish to send, because it is free and quick, and this will help to avoid leaving an online trail for anyone who may wish to track me.

Since I do not create an account on anyone’s system, I do not need to give away any identifiable information at all. If I keep my own system protected from any attacks, myEther is a good service to use for anonymous transactions.

It is essential that you protect yourself against keylogger attacks on your desktop. Most modern anti-virus software packages should find them. You must also use computer security best practices such as never downloading unsolicited attachments or following unsolicited links and being extremely careful of any files that you choose to open, especially executable files. Also, be sure to protect your browser against any malicious extensions. The MyEtherWallet Chrome extension helps to block malicious web sites. It is also highly recommended that you use an ad blocker on your browser as it helps keep your browser more secure.

Since it is well known that online browsers are one of the least secure ways to interact with cryptocurrency, myEther has developed a system where I can complete transactions entirely offline, and then reconnect to the Internet when the transaction is complete and I wish it to go through. This will prevent my private key from ever being sent online, provided of course that my system is free of keyloggers and browser hacks. The instructions for how to do this will be featured below.

Using this Wallet

Some users report myEther as being easy to use, and others difficult. Which is it? The difference lies largely with computer literacy. If you have moderate computer literacy, are good at remembering passwords, and understand the slightly complex procedure of downloading their web site offline to complete a transaction offline, then I would say you would find myEther easy. But if you do not understand these procedures, it is more likely you would consider it difficult. For this reason, I have classed myEther to be ‘Lower Intermediate’. MyEther has no tricks and is not unintuitive, but does take a certain level of computer literacy and confidence in keeping one’s own backups of passwords safe in order to use properly.

In order to receive funds, I can access my address, or alternatively print or display a QR code for funds to be sent to me. When I send funds, Ihave two options – using their online keystore with my encrypted private key, or sending my private key through in plain text (definitely not recommended unless I use the offline method detailed below).

In order to send funds offline, I have to click the ‘Offline Transaction’ option and then write down two variables called the “Gas Price” and “nonce”. After this, I click on the “Clone web site” button and download the site. When the download is complete, I open the index file, click “Offline Transaction”, and complete the fields as normal. After this, I click “Generate Signed Transaction” and my browser will send you a code. I copy this code, and go back online. I then go back to ‘Offline Transaction’, and paste the code sent to me. I can now send the required amount much more safely.

Alternatives to this wallet

MyEther Wallet is quite unique in that it is a client-side browser application that coaches its users in security features, but makes users entirely responsible for their own keys. In this way, MyEther doesn’t have any similar alternatives, although geth and mist both have similar functions. Its developers suggest using MyEther in combination with a hardware wallet, so those do not qualify as alternatives, either.

Conclusion

For users who have a good basic understanding of computer security and know how to protect against phishing attacks, how to keep their private key safe, how to create a backup, and how to protect their browser against malicious extensions, MyEther is a solid bet for fairly anonymous transactions, and it gives the user a high degree of autonomy, as no one else can possibly access the private key if users take the correct steps to secure it.

In this way, although there is nothing especially tricky or difficult to use about myEther, it is probably intermediate and advanced users who will favour using it, because these are the kinds of users who are confident that they can secure their funds.

For these reasons, I can recommend myEther to lower intermediate users and up, but complete beginners should probably rather use a built-in exchange wallet where their private key and wallet seed key are backed up automatically, all the while reading up and becoming more knowledgeable on computer security so that they may join users of myEther, if they should wish to do so.

AuthorDavid Nugent

David is a forex trader and writer who has spent the last few years giving his opinion and spreading news about oncoming markets and trading tips. Besides from being a trader he is also a lifelong Everton fan and enjoys spending free time watching his beloved team in the premier league.

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