After the Ethereum blockchain was launched in July 2015, it was possible to work with it only through the Geth console, which is a command line for entering code. And this, of course, seriously complicated the use of ether by crypto enthusiasts without specialized knowledge. But a year later, the first Ethereum wallets began to appear with a friendlier interface, understandable to the average user.
Since then, the range of Ethereum wallets has gradually replenished and today a good choice is presented to users, given the different tastes and needs of traders.
In our article, we will consider all possible Ethereum wallets.
- What is Ethereum Wallet
- How to Choose an Ethereum Wallet
- Types of Ethereum Wallets
- How to Create an Ethereum Wallet: an Overview of Options
- Security When Creating Ethereum Wallets and Restoring Access to Them
- Best Ethereum Storage Wallets
What is Ethereum Wallet
Ethereum wallet is software that allows you to store your funds, easily conduct trading operations and check balances at any time.
The main task of the wallet is not so much the storage of cryptocurrency as the ensuring of transaction security.
Wallets have public addresses, which are a randomly generated case-sensitive set of letters and numbers. If someone wants to send you a certain amount of ether, he will send it to this address, which is also called the public key.
At first glance, everything is quite simple, however, if you delve into the way the work of Ethereum wallets, you can see that the interaction between them requires more complex communication, than just sending the amount X from address Y to address Z.
Ethereum wallets can consist of two types of accounts:
- External accounts – together with the public key, account data means storing the private key in your wallet. Such a password, which you will need to sign transactions. It goes without saying that the private key must be kept secret if you want to avoid theft of coins. The public and private keys are paired, which means that you cannot perform any transaction using them separately or in tandem with another key;
- Contract accounts – unlike external accounts, there is no additional key, only a public one. A certain set of triggers is programmed into it, with the help of which automatic control of the execution of a particular transaction is carried out.
Users can transfer their funds both internally between external or contract accounts, and from external to contract and vice versa.
How to Choose an Ethereum Wallet
Among the many cryptocurrency wallets, including for Ethereum, it is difficult to choose the optimal one, since each user has different needs.
If you can’t find the best wallet for storing ether, look for the following options in it:
- Security is the main point when choosing a wallet, so study the features and measures that he can offer to protect funds. For example, it would be nice to use a wallet that is equipped with two-factor authentication and has a backup and restore function;
- Ease of use – determine your user level, are you a beginner or an expert, and on this basis, choose a wallet. Some of them can be confusing and complicated, so if you are a beginner, look for a wallet for Ethereum that is convenient and easy to use;
- Multi-currency wallet – users prefer this function to store a few more cryptocurrencies in their wallet in addition to the ether. Assets are much more convenient to manage and control when they are in one place;
- Wallet for smart contracts – this means that the wallet has more advanced functionality. For example, in addition to conducting transactions, you can also create contracts;
- Compatibility – the wallet must support the device that you plan to use to access your funds. Check your wallet for compatibility with Android or iOS, as well as Linux, Windows, or Mac operating systems.
The set of the above functions will certainly please any, even the most demanding, user. And the net reputation of the air wallet and the presence of positive reviews, in addition, will make it number one on the background of competitors.
Types of Ethereum Wallets
We offer you a more detailed look at what Ethereum wallets are like.
There are two types of wallets:
- Hot wallets – they mean storing keys on the Internet, due to which you can easily access funds from anywhere in the world and from any device. However, due to such general availability, using the Ethereum hot wallet, your assets are at risk of hacking and theft.
- Cold Wallets – Store your keys offline. They are safer because they connect to the network only when you want it, which reduces the chances of hacking.
Now that we’ve covered hot and cold wallets, let's talk about Ethereum hardware and software wallets.
Let's start with hardware wallets, which are a kind of device similar to a regular portable hard drive, but designed for cryptocurrency.
Hardware wallets are cold wallets. To complete the transaction, you need to directly connect the wallet to the computer or, if your wallet is equipped with a screen, then the operation can be carried out on the device itself.
Software wallets, in turn, are hot wallets and can be of three types:
- Ethereum desktop wallets require installation on a computer and can only be used from the device on which they were installed. They are quite easy to use and suitable for beginners. However, if you want to use this particular type of wallet, make sure that there are no malicious programs on the computer, because, in the opposite case, your funds will be at risk;
- Mobile wallets are very convenient to use, they allow their owners to complete transactions, even while on the go. To start working with such a wallet, you need to install it on your mobile device. In turn, you must understand if the phone is stolen or lost, you can lose all your money;
- Online wallets are superfast compared to other Ethereum wallets. They are good if you work with a small amount of coins. Some of the online wallets offer integration with cryptocurrency exchanges, and also give you the ability to easily manage multiple currencies. The main disadvantage of online wallets, like all hot wallets, is their Internet connection, so they become vulnerable to hackers.
Also, in addition to hardware and software, there are also so-called paper wallets for broadcasting. In fact, this is just a piece of paper with written code.
Paper wallets are cold wallets, and their biggest advantage is that they are not connected to the Internet, which makes your funds protected from hacker attacks. However, the physical storage of funds is also quite risky. If you lose this piece of paper, the probability of access to coins in the future will be extremely small.
How to Create an Ethereum Wallet: an Overview of Options
How to create an Ethereum wallet:
- Choose the type of Ethereum wallet that suits your goals.
- Download software (if required).
- Come up with a seed phrase and remember it.
- Download the file with the private key and store it in a safe place, hidden from prying eyes.
- Your new Ethereum wallet is ready to use!
Next, we will look at how to create an Ethereum wallet on different platforms.
Ethereum Wallet & Mist
The only “thick” wallet for Ethereum today is the official Ethereum wallet, which includes Ethereum Wallet and Mist. In fact, these are two versions of the same software, differing in a set of capabilities for working with smart contracts and dApps.
You can download the latest versions of both programs on GitHub by selecting the necessary files depending on the type of OS used. Installation is very simple — all you need to do is specify the path to the folders on your hard drive where the wallet client itself will be stored (~ 200 MB) and the Ethereum blockchain database (at least 1 TB of free space!).
After starting the installed application, the user gets access to a fairly friendly interface (partially Russified).
To create a wallet in Mist / Ethereum Wallet, you need to click “Add account” and specify a password, which will be used in the future to access and confirm Ethereum transactions.
After that, the generated wallet will appear in the list of accounts, and in the program’s interface the “Send” button will become active, with which you can send broadcasts to other addresses.
The biggest drawback of official Ethereum wallets is the need for full synchronization with the Ethereum network, the duration of which depends on the characteristics of the computer equipment used (2-3 days). The background download of the Ethereum blockchain begins immediately after the first launch of the application.
After synchronization is complete, it will be possible to make a backup copy of the created ETH wallet. To do this, in Mist or Ethereum Wallet you need to go through the menu items “Accounts” / “Backup” / “Accounts”.
After that, a folder called “Keystore” opens, containing files with secret data of user-created wallets. These files must be copied to another computer or USB flash drive, preferably previously placed in an encrypted archive.
MyEtherWallet (MEW) online wallet is one of the most popular options for interacting with the Ethereum blockchain, which is implemented in the form of a recently updated friendly web interface that is understandable even to beginners of the cryptosphere.
The ability to create an Ethereum wallet for a new user is available on the main page of the service’s site and is implemented in three ways.
The process of creating a wallet using the keystore file (key storage) is quite simple, but it is not recommended by the MEW developers because of the risk of its loss or theft by intruders.
All that is required of the user is to invent and remember a password, and then save the generated file to the computer.
To access the created wallet through MyEtherWallet, you will need to indicate the location of this file and the password invented at the beginning.
When choosing this method, which allows you to create an Ethereum wallet, the user needs to specify a strong password and write down the phrase provided to him from 12 words arranged in a specific order.
Then you need to pass a check that the mnemonic phrase is really saved — for this, the corresponding words are entered into the numbered empty fields.
For further access to the wallet through MEW, you will need to enter the entire phrase and password each time.
The MEWconnect mobile application can be installed from the App Store / Google Play or downloaded by scanning the proposed QR code.
Having launched the application installed on the smartphone, you need to click "Create new wallet" and create a password.
Next, the program notifies the user about the generation of a new ETH address, encryption of the private key with the specified password and saving it in the local storage of the device.
The next window displays the address of the created Ethereum wallet and a proposal to backup using the recovery phrase. In the MEWconnect application itself, it is possible to replenish an account by purchasing Ethereum through the Simplex service, but it is impossible to perform normal operations of receiving / transferring coins. To do this, you need to access the ETH address in the MyEtherWallet web version, confirming ownership through MEWconnect by scanning the QR code.
Regardless of the chosen method of creating an Ethereum wallet, MyEtherWallet offers the ability to print a paper copy of it containing data for accessing the funds stored in it — address and private key, including in the form of QR codes.
We also recommend that you look at the detailed instructions that will help you create an Ethereum wallet:
MetaMask wallet is a browser extension that offers users the ability to securely manage ETH assets and ERC20 tokens through a simple and convenient interface, as well as access to dApp features built into the websites you visit.
It can be installed in desktop versions of Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Brave browsers. Installation is done through the built-in application / add-on stores. But to be sure that the official version of the extension will be selected, it is better to use the links on the official MetaMask website.
After installing MetaMask in one of the listed browsers and clicking on its icon in the extensions panel, a web page opens with a proposal to start work.
Further, the user has the opportunity to import an existing Ethereum wallet using a previously saved seed phrase or create an Ethereum wallet for a new user.
When choosing the second option, the user must come up with a password to enter the account and copy (it’s better to write it down on paper) the secret phrase given to him, because its loss makes it impossible to regain access to the generated wallet in the future.
Then you need to check that the seed phrase is really saved by choosing the correct sequence of the words that make it up.
At the creation of a new wallet Ethereum through MetaMask completed. Further work on receiving / sending funds can be carried out through a web page on which the described actions were performed (for this you need to save it as a bookmark), or through a separate extension window that opens when you click on its icon.
Security When Creating Ethereum Wallets and Restoring Access to Them
If you decide to create an Ethereum wallet using any of the above solutions, it is extremely important to take the safe storage of data necessary for further access to it.
In this case, you don’t have to worry about malicious hacking of a wallet remotely. There is only the threat of physical theft or data loss.
Also, a good option would be to store this information and desktop wallet backups in encrypted archives on media disconnected from the computer (flash drives, hard drives), preferably in several copies.
The most unfortunate choice would be ordinary text files stored in the cloud or on a computer that is constantly connected to the Internet.
In the event that the data necessary for accessing the Ethereum wallet is lost for any reason, it is most often not possible to restore it.
If it’s about restoring access to the wallet using a previously created backup, for example, in desktop applications Mist, Exodus or Jaxx, this is done by the corresponding functions built into them by specifying the path to the location of the backup data file.
Best Ethereum Storage Wallets
As mentioned earlier, a wide range of Ethereum-compatible wallets are currently available. To help you better navigate your choice, we have prepared a list of the best wallet options for storing your coins.
Trezor – originally a wallet was created to store BTC, but later began to support other cryptocurrencies, among which there is Ethereum. You need to manage your funds in Trezor using an online wallet, for example, MyEtherWallet, which will include integration with Trezor.
Trezor is equipped with a reliable electronic chip, which only starts after logging in using a password. The portable gadget looks like a USB device, it is very light and convenient for beginners.
Also, this wallet has two-factor authentication and the function of viewing the details of the transaction, until it is confirmed, which reduces the risk of error.
This hardware wallet is not free; its cost starts from € 50, depending on the model.
Ledger Nano S is one of the most popular wallets, and for good reason. It asks for a PIN code when accessing the device, providing access to its funds only to authorized users. If the PIN code is incorrectly determined, the device is formatted several times.
In case of loss or theft of the device, a security tool, the so-called backup phrase, is provided here. With it, you can access the entire contents of the wallet. A backup phrase usually ranges from 12 to 24 words, which makes a huge pool of possible phrases and it is almost impossible to crack it.
Ledger Nano S works with all operating systems. The cost of this wallet is € 80 and it is available in 6 colors.
KeepKey is another USB hardware wallet that was launched in 2015. KeepKey wallet has an LED display with which you can confirm the execution of transactions. Also, this wallet offers its users, as an additional security measure, set a PIN code and a passphrase for data recovery, similar to Ledger.
As for the flaws, KeepKey is a relatively new company, so it doesn't have as much work experience as other hardware wallets. The cost of this wallet is $ 79.
MyEtherWallet (MEW) is an online wallet that has a fairly convenient interface. You can access MEW through an internet browser. In addition, it is important to know that the private key for MEW is stored on your computer in an encrypted file, and not on the website. This means that MEW does not have access to your coins.
As we already noted, you can use the MEW interface to manage your hardware wallet. MyEtherWallet is also a smart contract wallet.
From a security point of view, it must be remembered that using a web browser as an interface opens the door to hacker attacks.
MetaMask – is an add-on for the Internet browser, which can be used in Chrome, Firefox and Brave. It can only contain Ether and ERC-20 tokens. The wallet has hierarchical deterministic (HD) settings - this means that it can create an almost infinite number of addresses.
This client does not support smart contracts.
Exodus is a desktop wallet that provides easy and convenient storage of ETH. Exodus multi-currency wallet supports more than 20 coins and tokens, which makes it a good option if you want to store different cryptocurrencies in one place.
The most notable feature of Exodus is its user interface, which is relatively easy to understand. If you're new to the cryptocurrency world looking for a convenient crypto wallet, Exodus can be a good starting point.
Wallet can only be used for sending and receiving ether and does not support smart contracts.
Exodus stores the private key on your computer, which means that you have full control and full responsibility for your coins. It also includes many useful features, such as integration with the ShapeShift exchange for quick currency exchange. Exodus is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Other ETH Wallets
If you want to manage your assets on the go, try the mobile wallet from the Canadian team of Decentral, who have earned a reputation as a smart and reliable developer. Jaxx wallet stores 13 crypto assets based on Ethereum and has a very convenient interface.
In Jaxx, private keys are stored on the user's device - the code is not located and is not online. In addition, the wallet allows you to back up your funds at any time. This client is also considered the safest Ethereum wallet for smartphones and computers. In the future, the company plans to release its Jaxx hardware device.
Although Ethereum is a relatively young cryptocurrency, it is still quite difficult to choose a suitable place for its storage. In a short period of time, this industry has taken a big step forward and has developed many wallets and tools, which is certainly a good sign. However, having such a variety of offers, it is more difficult for users to make a choice, and companies themselves need to constantly come up with new features and chips for their products in order to stand out from competitors.
We hope that our article has helped you better understand wallets for Ethereum and will contribute to making the right decision when choosing a place to store your funds.
Initially, we advise you to pay attention to the security of the wallet and the convenience of its use, and then it's up to you!