An Ethereum wallet allows users to store, receive and send Ethereum or ERC-20 tokens. Setting up a secure Ethereum wallet is essential for utilizing decentralized applications and protecting your funds. This step-by-step guide covers the basics of Ethereum wallet types and how to use them.
Types of Ethereum Wallets
There are several types of Ethereum wallets available:
- Hardware Wallets: Physical devices like Ledger and Trezor provide cold storage by keeping private keys offline. Most secure option.
- Software Wallets: Mobile and desktop apps like MetaMask, MyEtherWallet and Exodus give user-controlled hot wallet access. More convenient but less secure.
- Web/Exchange Wallets: Hosted by exchanges like Coinbase or web wallets like Blockchain.com. Convenient but users do not control keys.
- Paper Wallets: Keys generated and printed out on paper. Very secure if stored properly. No digital access or transactions.
Choosing and Setting up an Ethereum Wallet
Consider how you intend to use Ethereum when selecting a wallet type. Hardware wallets are best for large holdings, while software wallets provide more functionality.
Follow the wallet’s setup guide to create a secure password and backup your seed phrase to restore access if needed. Store backups securely.
Funding your Ethereum Wallet
To add ETH to your wallet, locate and copy your Ethereum public address on the receive tab. Send ETH to this address from an exchange or another wallet.
Small test transactions can verify correct access before depositing larger amounts. ETH should appear in the wallet shortly after sending.
To send ETH payments from a wallet, enter the recipient’s public ETH address and desired send amount. Set the transaction fee (gas) and submit.
Sending tokens requires adding that token to your wallet first. Review transaction details carefully before confirming. Monitor the transaction status until it receives sufficient network confirmations.
Ethereum wallets allow interacting with decentralized applications (dApps) built on the Ethereum blockchain.
Connect your software wallet like MetaMask to dApp sites. This will display your wallet address to sign transactions on the dApp using your wallet’s keys.
Keep best security practices in mind:
- Keep seed phrases or keys private and securely backed up.
- Use strong unique passwords on wallets.
- Beware phishing attempts asking for wallet access or information.
- Transactions are irreversible, so double check send amounts and addresses.
With an understanding of Ethereum wallet options, how to access funds on them and basic security principles, users can safely begin storing ETH and interacting with decentralized apps. Take time learning how wallets work before depositing substantial funds.