The goal of cryptocurrencies should be as accessible as possible to the everyday person. However, there’s much room for confusion when it comes to even the basics of where to store your cryptocurrencies. This guide will clear up how to safely store your Ethereum in a wallet.
There’s three types of wallets one should know about: Exodus, Metamask, and MyEtherWallet (MEW). Please bear in mind that none of these wallets actually hold your funds. They are stored on the Ethereum blockchain and can accessed from any Ethereum wallet as long as you have your private key.
Exodus is arguably the most accessible and intuitive wallet for storing your Ethereum.
The process is very simple. First, just download the wallet from their website. Exodus supports Windows (64-bit), Mac OS, and Linux systems. Install the program and you will see an empty wallet with all the coins supported.
Go to your newly-created Ethereum wallet, copy the address, and make your first transaction to your wallet from where you purchased Ethereum. Once received, your wallet effectively “unlocks” and you can then set a password. You will also be given the “seed” for your wallet which is a string of 12 words. Make sure to write down your password and your 12-word seed. You will also be asked to provide an email as a backup to restore your funds.
Each time you log in, you’ll be asked for your password. To quit, just close the application.
Sending Ethereum or any other token on Exodus is just as easy as receiving them. Simply click “send” on the desired token’s interface, type the amount and address, and submit. Exodus even gives you a dollar-amount estimation of how much cryptocurrency you are sending.
Exodus has expanded since its humble beginnings and now supports a whole slew of tokens making them easy to store. The long list now includes: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dash (DASH), Golem (GNT), Augur (REP), Decred (DCR), EOS (EOS), Aragon (ANT), Gnosis (GNO), OmiseGo (OMG), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Civic (CVC), SALT (SALT), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), District0x (DNT), Bancor (BNT), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Edgeless (EDG), Matchpool (GUP), Numeraire (NMR), iExec RLC (RLC), Status (SNT), WeTrust (TRST), Wings (WINGS), 0x (ZRX), Vertcoin (VTC), Storj (STORJ), Ripio (RCN), Digibyte (DGB), and Zcash (ZEC).
In addition to this, the Exodus wallet also supports most major erc-20 tokens on the Ethereum network. Other features include built-in swaps between cryptocurrencies which can come in handy.
Metamask is a Chrome extension that really puts the Ethereum network to use, providing you not only with a sleek wallet but also a means to connect to the many decentralized applications on the Ethereum network.
First, go to the Chrome store and install the Metamask plugin.
Create a password and then a 12-word seed will be given. Make sure to keep this safe like you would any other password. Agree that you wrote it down and boom! You can now easily send and receive Ethereum.
To receive Ethereum or any Ethereum tokens, simply click on the three dots above the “send” and “buy” buttons and click “copy address to clipboard.” This is the address you will be sending to and it will appear in your Metamask wallet once received. You can also click “view account on Etherscan” in the same selection panel to view your Ethereum address on the blockchain. If you want to send Ethereum, simply click the “send” button and specify the address and amount.
MEW might be the most daunting wallet for beginners, but it’s also arguably one of the safest. It’s not actually a wallet, but more of an interface with interacts with the Ethereum blockchain via their website. There is no application or plugin.
When you first go on the site, you’ll be met with this:
Create a password and, of course, write it down somewhere safe.
Then, you will be met with the next screen which recommends you download a keystore file. This will be used to login and is arguably much safer since you will not need to type your private key to access your wallet: all you need is this file and your password. I would recommend downloading it and keeping it on your computer.
Next, you will be given your own private key. This, like your password, should be kept safe. This is the holy grail – every wallet has a private key (you can export your private key from Metamask and Exodus at any time also). Your private key can be used to login to any Ethereum-based wallet, so it’s your most important key. You’ll then be met with an interface after agreeing that you wrote it down:
Woah... so many options. Don’t worry, it’s much easier than it looks. If you have your Keystore file, you can select that option and login that way. Or you can also login through your private key. If you have Metamask installed, you can also login via Metamask which just requires typing in your Metamask password and then you can view your Ethereum balance on MEW.
You will need to login each time you do a function on MEW such as viewing addresses or sending tokens or Ethereum. MEW supports all erc-20 tokens on the Ethereum ecosystem so any token built on Ethereum will be able to be stored in MEW.
These are the three best wallets for keeping your Ethereum and Ethereum-based tokens safe. As you become more familiar with these wallets, you will realize they do much more than just store your tokens – in the case of Metamask, you can access the whole world of Ethereum DApps!
All of these wallets are interchangeable and can export your private keys which allow you to access your Ethereum balance via any wallet through the Ethereum blockchain. As the crypto-space moves forward, we can expect to see more and more embedded wallets on desktops and mobile devices making it even easier to receive and send Ethereum and cryptocurrencies in general.