It can be confusing to enter cryptocurrency for the first time. In this article, we walk through how to set up a MyEtherWallet (MEW) step by step.
What is MEW
MEW is a user-friendly, online wallet under the Ethereum network. It allows you to transact Ether (ETH), execute smart contracts, or store tokens that are under the Ethereum network and are built on top of ERC20 tokens. Examples of such tokens would be SALT (price as of writing SALT $11.61) and Basic Attention Token (BAT $0.39).
Head on over to www.myetherwallet.com. An important thing to note is the website URL. Ensure that they website has both the SSL certificate of MEW LLC, as well as MyEtherWallet.com. This ensures that the site is authentic, and not a phishing scam.
Creating Your Wallet
Think of a unique password for MEW. It is strongly recommended that you do not use a password that is linked to any other accounts, such as your email, to make it harder to hack into. Remember, this wallet stores all of your funds; a hacker who has your password is able to access all of your cryptocurrency and tokens.
Once you have done that, you will be prompted to save a Keystore File. In essence, the Keystore File is an encrypted password of your password. You would want to save this securely. MEW’s website also provides ample warnings and tips about how to store your Keystore File; make sure you follow the instructions.
This is a key that will grant access to MEW. No one will ever ask for your private key, nor should they ever want it; never give this out under any circumstance. Copy and paste this private key in a text document, and save it along with your Keystore File. Once again, MEW also provides many warnings and tips on how to keep it safe, follow them as much as possible. Once you have completed this step, your wallet has been successfully created.
Unlocking Your Wallet
MEW has to be unlocked each time you sign in, or wish to do a transaction.
There are many ways to unlock MEW, the most popular being Ledger. A ledger is a hardware USB wallet which can be connected to MEW. However, as this article is targeted at newcomers who would likely not have a hardware wallet, we will focus on how to unlock MEW using the JSON Keystore File and Private Key.
JSON Keystore File
Click on ‘Select Wallet File’, and go to the UTC JSON file downloaded during the creation of the wallet.
MEW will then prompt you to unlock it and decrypt it. Type the password that created earlier, and the wallet will be unlocked.
MEW can also be unlocked with your Private Key. Simply click on the ‘Private Key’ option, and paste in the Private Key that was saved during the creation of the wallet.
Your wallet is now unlocked.
Basic MEW Interface
After unlocking MEW, the page expands to show the following section.
This is your wallet’s address, or Public Key. This is the key that should be given out when you wish to receive ETH or other tokens.
Click on ‘Send Ether and Tokens’ to access this page.
With MEW, you can send tokens, which are basically smart contracts, to someone else. If you want to send or store a token like OmiseGo (OMG $10.58) from this wallet, the address remains the same.
Just like an email, the ETH or tokens must be sent out to an address. Ensure that the address keyed in belongs to the person you are sending to! Unlike conventional fiat transactions, there is no redress for ETH or tokens that are sent to the wrong address.
After entering the address to send to, you are required to fill in the amount to transfer in the ‘Amount to Send’ field.
The Gas Limit is the default gas price, which changes automatically depending on the smart contract. For beginners, leave it as its default setting.
Click on ‘Generate Transaction’, and the following will appear.
Click on ‘Send Transaction’, and the transaction is sent up to the network!
Special Section for the Inquisitive
The Gas Price
The amount of gas used determines how fast the transaction is approved. On MEW, there is a simple slide adjustment to let a user choose how fast he/she wants the transaction approved. Of course, the faster the approval, the more gas is required. If the transaction is not urgent, using a slow transaction will result in the usage of less gas.