Seeing as you’re here, I’m going assume that you may be a newcomer to the crypto community. If that is the case, you might be unsure of how to get started but don’t worry I’ve got it covered. This step-by-step guide is to help newcomers like you set up a MyEtherWallet and get you off to a flying start. You’ll be receiving, sending, and exchanging ERC-20 tokens in no time.
The first thing you need to do is visit https://www.myetherwallet.com/
If it’s your first time visiting the site, you’ll be greeted by a selection of slides. I recommend reading these slides closely before you begin, particularly if you’re new to the crypto community, as they include crucial security information.
The slides also provide newcomers with information on blockchain technology and explain the difference between a bank and MEW’s interface. If you already know this stuff, feel free to skip those parts. However, I do recommend that everyone read the pages on security, even if it’s just a refresher. You can never be overcautious when it comes to your funds.
When using MEW, your account’s security is entirely your own responsibility, and one of the most important pieces of information to remember is the difference between your public key and your private key.
Your public key is your address. If you send this to someone, they can send you ETH or tokens.
Never send anyone your private key. This, along with a password, is what you will use to access your account. If somebody else gets hold of your private key, they will have full control of your account and you will lose your funds.
Now that’s out of the way, you’re ready to create a new wallet.
After the final slide, you will be asked to enter a password. Be sure to keep a few copies of this password somewhere safe – print it out, store it on your computer, or on a pen drive. Since MEW doesn’t store any of your details, if you lose/forget your password, you can’t reset it or ask for a replacement.
ProTip: Whenever you use MyEtherWallet, look for the green lettering in the URL that confirms you’re not on a phishing website. If you enter your private key on one of these sites you will lose your funds.
Once you’ve chosen a password you will move on to a screen that allows you to download your keystore file, which is used to restore your wallet. It is good practice to make a few backups of this file on a USB drive or a similar offline environment. This will protect you from loss and helps to ensure nobody can steal your information.
Now that you’ve saved your keystore file, you can move on and get your private key. You’ll want to back this up too. Copy your private key into a document and save it in a suitable offline environment. This will protect against keyloggers and other malicious programs.
When you’ve done this, click on the blue ‘print paper wallet’ button on your screen. This will open a new tab with QR codes for your private and public keys. Print your paper wallet and store it in a safe place. Paper wallets are the most secure way to store your information unless you own a hardware wallet.
Now that you have your keys, and have backed up your data, you can unlock your wallet.
Start by clicking ‘Save Your Address.’ You will be taken to the next screen where you can decide how to unlock your wallet. The website will recommend that you download MetaMask or use a hardware wallet to do so. However, if you check that you’re safe to do so (check the website certificate and URL again), you will be able to safely use your private key or keystore file.
Click ‘Select Wallet File’ and then, finally, you will be asked to enter the password again. Enter your password and unlock your wallet. You should now be able to see your balances, and you’re ready to start sending and receiving tokens.
If you found this guide helpful, you should check out our newsletter and join out lively Telegram community where you can discover plenty more about crypto.
Michael is an English and Creative writing graduate of Liverpool John Moore’s University, a former editor of several magazines, and a crypto-currency enthusiast. He is mostly interested in crypto-legislation and the potential of decentralized technology to change the world.