MyEtherWallet is not exactly a web wallet because your private keys are not stored on the company’s servers.
The way MyEtherWallet works is that it allows you to create your own wallet in your web browser.
All your private keys, account information and funds are stored offline on your computer and not on the company’s servers. This is not a limitation but an advantage because online wallets are vulnerable to security threats.
So MyEtherWallet provides the ease of use that an online wallet provides while keeping your funds secure offline. Your private keys, your account information and your cryptocurrency funds – everything is stored offline on your computer.
You have full control over your funds, which can be a double edged sword. The 2-factor authentication that is seen on many wallets doesn’t apply on MyEtherWallet because it is a client-side application and not a server-side application. 2-factor authentication gives an extra layer of security on server side applications.
However, MyEtherWallet isn’t entirely secure. On April 24, 2018, the company revealed to its users that “Couple of DNS servers were hijacked to resolve http://myetherwallet.com users to be redirected to a phishing site.”
The users lost $152,000 dollars worth of Ether due to this attack.
But the attack was not on the side of MyEtherWallet, but on DNS servers with Google Public DNS (188.8.131.52/184.108.40.206) as they were resolving the domain to a bad server that could steal the user’s keys.
MyEtherWallet has been a trusted name in the cryptocurrency world, but the phishing attack of April 2018 did affect its reputation.
The service provides many features, flexibility, and offers ownership of funds due to which it was liked by its users. They also have a solid customer support system with their website full of support documentation.
Quick help and FAQ section add to this brilliant support system. If you aren’t able to find answers in support documentation, you can also send an email to their support staff.
Trustworthy But Needs Backup
This high level of security combined with the fact that it is an open-source wallet are the reasons MyEtherWallet is one of the most trustworthy names in the Ethereum community.
But keep in mind that your private information is stored on your computer, so you will need to create a backup from time to time. If your hard disk crashes or any other computer failure occurs which leads to data loss, your crypto funds are gone forever.
You Are Responsible for Security
On MyEtherWallet’s website, it is clearly mentioned that “you and only you are responsible for your security”. But why so? This is because MEW (MyEtherWallet) is just a tool to interact with the Blockchain network. It isn’t an application on its own, it just lets you create a wallet which works offline to store your funds and transfer cryptocurrency. Therefore, how securely you use it on your computer is entirely up to you.
If you couple it with a hardware wallet like TREZOR or Ledger Nano S, the security level undoubtedly increases. You initiate transactions offline which makes it secure but also less convenient than online wallets which can be operated from a web browser on any mobile phone on the go. For learning recommended security practices, you can visit the ‘Help’ section on MEW website.
Smart Contracts and Compatible With Hardware Wallet
Another advantage of MyEtherWallet is that you can write and use smart contracts using it. As explained earlier, while usual business contracts list the terms of a business relationship, smart contracts enforce the terms of a business contract using cryptographic code. Moreover, MyEtherWallet is compatible with hardware wallets such as Trezor and Ledger Nano S which means even higher level of security if you purchase any of those hardware wallets.
The company allows you to swap ETH to BTC from inside the wallet interface. Although the wallet is highly secure, some of their users have been attacked by hackers and became victims of phishing. So ensure your computer is not infected and that your connection is secure when you are using this wallet.
No Verification Required
MyEtherWallet is a free-to-use service and doesn’t require any verification. While this may sound good, it also means that any kind of user – authentic or inauthentic – can use this service. The only thing you need to use MyEtherWallet is a password. When you create an account on the website, you get a privatekey which is the most important piece of information as it gives you access to your wallet and hence your crypto funds.
Encryption of Private Key
MyEtherWallet allows you to encrypt your private key for added security. To do so, you have to download the MyEtherWallet’s chrome extension or you can also import your private key into geth.
Once this is done, enter your private key to generate a new wallet. Insert the password and save this wallet. In the ‘My Wallets’ section, go to ‘View’. In this area, type of your new password that you just created. After that, you can download the key with encrypted password.
Once this is done, you can use this new password to access your wallet. You can either use the chrome extension or the MEW website for using the wallet.
MyEtherWallet has a very simple user interface, so that even beginners can get started easily with it. From creating an account to sending ether, everything is intuitive and so can be done without any hassle.
The speed of transactions is also fast. It is only in rare cases that a transaction may take up to a couple hours to process. Overall, the transaction speed depends on the traffic, i.e. the number of people making a transaction at any given time.
MyEtherWallet is completely free to use. When you make a transaction and send ether, you pay a small fees which isn’t kept by the company but gets sent to the miners working on the Ethereum blockchain.
You can’t store a wide variety of cryptocurrencies on MEW but you can store the most popular ones including Ether (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC) and any standard Ethereum token (ERC-20) that is issued on the Ethereum platform. The best part about MEW is that it gives users a lot of flexibility. It lets you create your own offline wallet.
And it is also compatible with hardware wallets. Moreover, there is an active development team working continuously to improve the MyEtherWallet.
According to online sources, they are developing the next version of the wallet, MyEtherWallet version 4+. MEW’s main purpose is to let users interact with the Ethereum blockchain.
So it is clear that as the Ethereum blockchain evolves, the MEW developers will make corresponding changes in the wallet. This involves adding support for new tokens when they are issued and working on security updates that concern Ethereum.
- MyEtherWallet is free to use and open source, which increases its trustworthiness
- There is in-depth support documentation available along with numerous how-to videos on the web
- Your information isn’t stored on online servers but offline on your own computer. The company lets you create your own wallet to store keys and funds offline
- Compatible with top hardware wallets including Trezor and Ledger Nano S
- You can initiate transactions offline
- Good customer support with in-depth online documentation and how-to videos
- It doesn’t store your private key
- It lets you create and access smart contracts
- Simple and easy to use
- Active development community indicates a bright future
- It lets you print your private key as a paper wallet
- High flexibility makes it a good option for all types of users
- Security risks: Some users have experienced phishing attacks and become victims of hacking. But you can couple it with a hardware wallet for added security
- You are responsible for your safety, unlike hardware wallets which guarantee almost 100% safety as long as you retain your recovery seed
- There is no 2-factor authentication, multi-signature security or hierarchical deterministic attribute