My Ether Wallet (MEW) is a completely free, open source piece of software that allows anyone to create a new Ether wallet. It can also be used to store any Ethereum standard tokens (ERC20 tokens, e.g. MKR, ZRX and many more). As such, you could think of it as an alternative to the popular hardware wallets such as the Nano and Trezor devices.
When you click any link to the MEW website (including the link on this page), be extremely paranoid and treble check the URL so you don’t get scammed with a fake duplicate website.
If you follow the steps below, your wallet is as hack-proof as a hardware wallet, e.g. Nano/Trezor. Make sure that you store the paper wallet securely, because it’s the same as cash when the wallet is loaded with Ether. Imagine having hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars worth of cash in your house! This is
- Create an offline MEW wallet, on a secure PC which is not connected to the internet (e.g. boot Linux ISO from a read-only DVD). You can alternatively download the latest release from Github, switch off your wifi/disconnect your ethernet cable, unzip the file, double click the index.html page and run the website offline. This is not as secure, but it is more convenient.
- Print out the wallet details (this will have the private key, a QR code for the wallet address, and another QR code for the private key). The private key must be kept secret, no matter what. This is what allows you to control the funds. Having the private key = ownership of the funds in a wallet.
- Send a small amount of Ether to the new address. This is to test that you have the correct details (if you bought on Coinbase, use their iOS or Android app to scan the QR code of the paper wallet). The Ether should show up in the wallet within a few seconds (use etherscan.io to search your new address). Sadly, a common problem is users having a typo in the address, in which case the funds are lost forever.
- If the test went ok, send the remaining Ether from Coinbase -> MEW.
- (Optional) Backup a digital copy of the MEW wallet on a clean USB, that you exclusively use for that purpose. Store the wallet details in a password manager on the USB, e.g. KeePass, Keeweb, (any open source password manager that is kdbx compliant). This is convenient for when you wish to do transfers. Being able to copy addresses from a password manager drastically reduces the chances of having a typo and losing funds. Make sure you don’t accidentally copy these details to another PC or upload them online somehow.
That’s it! if you follow these steps, you can now securely store Ether or Ethereum standard tokens in your highly secure, offline wallet. Storing offline makes it virtually impossible for hackers to access your funds. It also shields you from situations where online exchanges have their funds hacked.