If you have been spending time in and around the cryptocurrency industry for a while, especially in the Ethereum sub sector, then you most likely have heard about the names of MyEtherWallet and MetaMask. It is quite possible that you may have also used their services as well.
To summarize, MyEtherWallet and MetaMask are two of the most popular ways to store and access Ether (ETH) as well as other Ethereum-based tokens and cryptocurrencies, such as those created on its ERC-20 standard.
However, both of these services bring their own sets of features, pros and cons to the table for their users. While some members of the Ethereum community prefer MyEtherWallet, others are more likely to learn toward MetaMask as a more easy to use solution.
However, it is important to note that it falls on the end user to determine whether or not one of them could be a viable solution depending upon their usage, level of expectation from the service, and the overall functionalities that either of these platforms bring to the table.
To determine which one of them is the right fit for you, let’s go ahead and do a little comparing and contrasting to see what is what with both of these platforms.
MyEtherWallet (also stylized as MEW) is a cryptocurrency wallet service that allows its users to store their ETH and other tokens associated with the Ethereum blockchain.
MyEtherWallet is also a full-node wallet, this means that it connects directly to the Ethereum blockchain.
Anyone can go to the MyEtherWallet website and create their own digital wallet by generating their password as well as private and public keys, with the latter being the address where they can receive funds easily.
However, while MyEtherWallet connects these keys directly to the Ethereum blockchain, it does not save any data regarding the access details on its servers. This means that you are responsible for holding your keys safe, you are responsible for keeping and knowing your password and staying on top of your account details.
This means that even though a user could access their Ethereum-based tokens through MyEtherWallet, the service will not hold the funds for them. Instead, it will open a portal for them to access their funds directly through the Ethereum blockchain. All of this will be done without MyEtherWallet ever knowing about the user’s password or their private key, which means that only the user will be in control of accessing their cryptocurrency data.
The interface itself remains simple to use, where users could easily send and receive funds directly through the wallet. Access MyEtherWallet with use of a password and their private key(s). The process is not complicated at all and anyone can perform these basic functions with ease.
MyEtherWallet does not charge its users any fee for its services and still remains free to use. All that users have to pay in terms of transaction execution is when they send funds to another Ethereum account, they will have to pay a network fee.
This method of operation and no custodial interference by MyEtherWallet makes the service a sought after provider by those who value their privacy and want to have total control over their cryptocurrency management. It is an ideal demonstration of decentralization, where funds are not stored or controlled by wallet services as custodians, but are instead put through directly to the blockchain to be accessed by a simple user interface.
Since MyEtherWallet does not store any information on its servers, it also does not offer services that are considered as security standards by most cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet services. The most notable of these services is two-factor authentication (2FA), which allows a third-party application to verify access attempt through additional verification by sending confirmation prompts to a user’s phone number or their email address.
MyEtherWallet does not use 2FA because unlike cryptocurrency exchanges or most third-party wallet services, it does not save a user’s sign-in information to its servers even in an encrypted form. Since the information is directly verified by the blockchain itself through a user’s private key, this eliminates the need for a third party to verify those sign-in attempts.
With that being said, MyEtherWallet allows its users to export their private keys through a Keystore/JSON file, which is an encrypted method of saving one’s private keys in an effective manner. This file, which encrypts a private key for it to be incomprehensible, can then be utilized by users to sign-in to MyEtherWallet or to other supported wallets to access their cryptocurrency information.
However, it also has its own negative aspects. A user can lose complete access if they ever lose their password or private key. Since MyEtherWallet does not store this data for its users, if they ever lose the information that they memorized or stored through their computer through a Keystore/JSON file or wrote it down on paper, then they would also lose access to their funds permanently.
It also means that if a user’s private key ever gets into the wrong hands, then the malicious party would have a free run at their cryptocurrency account without the account holder being able to do anything about it. But that is more to do with common sense and maintaining personal privacy than the security aspect of blockchain – as it is similar to one sharing their personal email password with a stranger.
With that being said, that is how it mostly works with most blockchain-based wallets that are provided by the respective blockchains themselves (not referring to third-party services such as Coinbase). Users have to ensure that they set up a strong password to their wallet, and never share their private key with anyone, regardless of the circumstance.
It is important to note that the overabundance of phishing sites that run their Google ads on phrases such as “MyEtherWallet” and pose as MyEtherWallet to steal susceptible users’ private keys are a growing problem among MyEtherWallet users. MyEtherWallet users should always be aware and make sure to double check their address bar to be certain that they are indeed on the one and only true MyEtherWallet site.
However, MyEtherWallet does bring added security by allowing its users to run it as a cold storage software wallet. While this approach is only recommended in cases where a user cannot afford a hardware cold storage wallet such as Ledger or Trezor, it can still be implemented by using their “Send a transaction offline function”.
The way to do so is extensive, yet can be done by following the described steps.
MyEtherWallet is also interesting because it allows for different functionalities such as swapping tokens, interacting with a contract or deploying a contract, accessing the ethereum name service to make their address simple and easy to remember and more.
Users can also participate in selling ethereum domains and check the status of their transaction.
MyEtherWallet truly is a staple of Ethereum community
MyEtherWallet remains a decentralized form of a wallet solution, it still comes with other drawbacks in terms of no restoration of services on loss of a password or private key, and the plethora of phishing sites that might cause one to lose their funds.
However, the aspect of decentralization and not saving any user account information is something that also works in the favor of MyEtherWallet, since it provides those users with a sense of assurance who want to maintain complete control over their cryptocurrency funds.
Users have complete control and have access to different functionalities that can keep their information safe. MyEtherWallet can be accessed by Metamask and other browsers for added convenience if necessary as well.
From account creation to completion, MyEtherWallet is there every step of the way with their helpful guides that provide detailed explanations on navigating the process.
MetaMask is an Internet-to-blockchain bridge service that allows users to connect to the Ethereum blockchain through their regular web-browsers, namely Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Brave.
MetaMask works as a browser extension within these browsers.
When utilized, it opens doors for users to explore the Ethereum blockchain and its associated decentralized applications (DApps). This makes MetaMask a very effective gateway to access blockchain applications through standard browsers without having to go through extensive processes and downloading the whole blockchain to their computer just so they could access it.
The program achieves this feat by hosting blockchain servers for free. This is possible through Infura, an Ethereum and InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) access portal. The service remains free of charge for end users, who only have to pay for sending their ETH or Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies through MetaMask or its extension to a third party.
MetaMask also has an identity vault, which means that users can use different addresses on the Ethereum blockchain to access different DApps.
In addition to these blockchain-browsing functionalities, MetaMask also doubles as a wallet for ETH and other Ethereum-based tokens and cryptocurrencies. The identity vault functionality extends to this operation as well.
The extension allows for users to access multiple keys for different iterations of their wallets for various Ethereum-based tokens and cryptocurrencies.
When a new vault is created with MetaMask, it also generates a 12-word seed phrase. The seed phrase is then utilized to generate user accounts and private keys.
In the case that a user loses access to their account in terms of not remembering their password or misplacing their private keys, then the 12 word seed phrase could be utilized to gain access to the account. Instead of having to use JSON data files or private keys, the 12 word seed phrase is essentially the magic phrase to access the information of different cryptocurrencies in one’s wallet.
This makes the seed phrase one of the most important tools in operating the MetaMask wallet.
MetaMask also allows its users to export their private key into files for them to be imported by other iterations or wallets in a simple manner. However, doing so is only recommended if a user trusts the computer that they are utilizing to export their private key. Similarly, users can also import their keys from other iterations and identity vaults in order to access them.
Once the keys have been set up and a user has created their MetaMask account and digital wallet, they can use it to conduct a variety of tasks. Users can view their existing ETH and Ethereum-based tokens,, send ETH to another Ethereum wallet address, and use their public key to receive ETH . All of these functionalities are currently available after the various updates that MetaMask went through in the past.
However, sending tokens except for ETH is not possible due to MetaMask’s restrictions at the moment. The alternative method here is to connect to another service such as MyEtherWallet by using MetaMask, and then send tokens through it. Doing so is relatively easy, and takes just a few steps in order for the services to be connected and for MetaMask to be able to send tokens to other Ethereum-based accounts easily.
MetaMask’s UI makes the process of managing one’s cryptocurrency funds pretty easy and seamless. The ability to access DApps and other blockchains on the Ethereum platform such as EtherDelta and IDEX makes the process of buying new Ethereum-cryptocurrencies and tokens that much easier.
This hybrid model of not only being able to keep users’ funds secure but also giving them an array of possibilities to trade and exchange between their cryptocurrencies makes MetaMask a pretty impressive proposition. These features and more is why many people in the Ethereum community utilize MetaMask and its associated exploratory and wallet solutions.
However, MetaMask comes with its own set of problems. In addition to not being able to send any tokens except for ETH by itself, its issues with managing ERC20 tokens are also a problem.
While newer updates have made it possible for user-owned ERC20 tokens to appear in their account seamlessly, there are times when there might be a few hiccups. Sometimes, these tokens do not show up in a user’s wallet until they have been added manually.
Yet another issue is that since MetaMask is solely a “hot” wallet, it is always online and comes with its own set of risks.
Because of this level of exposure, it is in the best interest of the user to not hold a large sum of cryptocurrency within their Metamask account.
This means that while MetaMask is a powerful solution that eliminates the need of having to download the entirety of the ethereum blockchain and its data, its wallet services are still evolving.
👉 Read our MetaMask review.
MyEtherWallet + MetaMask, The Ultimate Solution
While MyEtherWallet takes the prize in terms of wallet services, one must still pay attention to the many features and benefits that MetaMask brings to the table.
That is why, we recommend a different yet very beneficial approach. Instead of having to choose between MyEtherWallet and MetaMask, you can simply choose to use both services at the same time.
MetaMask, combined with MyEtherWallet, makes for a stellar combination.
This is evident in the fact that even MyEtherWallet swears by MetaMask’s abilities to resolve the issues that MyEtherWallet faces at the moment.
By using MetaMask as a combined solution with MyEtherWallet, users will be far less likely to fall prey to phishing sites that are there to do nothing but take advantage of new users’ naive approach towards cryptocurrency. By using MyEtherWallet with MetaMask, users would be able to potentially minimize their interactions with potential phishing scams and maximize their ethereum crypto experience.
Also, if you are using MetaMask and have configured your MyEtherWallet through the platform, then you can simply click the extension’s button while accessing the latter’s site, and you will be able to access your funds from the blockchain instantly.
Hesitant about migrating from MyEtherWallet to MetaMask? Not to worry, setting up MetaMask with MyEtherWallet is very easy.
Once the setup is complete, you can ensure that you are resolving the issues faced by MyEtherWallet and MetaMask in an effective manner.
As a combined solution, these platforms provide the kind of services that remain hard to beat even when you consider the involvement of large scale cryptocurrency exchanges. The only few solutions that could surpass the combination of MyEtherWallet and MetaMask would be hardware wallets such as Ledger and Trezor.
Don’t think about MyEtherWallet and MetaMask as competitors, look at them as complimentary solutions to completing your objective.