Cryptocurrency exchanges are amazing. They help users buy coins such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and more by offering an easy to use interface (most of them). They even store them on their exchange for you.
Did you know that those coins actually don’t belong to you? The exchanges have the private key information for your coins so you actually don’t own them. In addition, exchanges are prone to hacking and your coins could be stolen at any given notice.
There is no way to recover your coins once a hacker sends your coins to their wallet. To prevent this, one should obtain their own secure, crypto wallet. The best starting point is to find an ERC20 wallet.
What is a Cryptocurrency Wallet?
A crypto wallet is a software program that stores private and public keys and interacts with various blockchain to enable users to send and receive digital currency and monitor their balance. In simple terms, it stores, sends, and receives digital currency like Bitcoin and Ethereum tokens in an online wallet.
Cryptocurrency wallets have a wallet address and private key. Your wallet address is a public key which can be used to send and receive currency. Your private key is how you access your wallet. If you lose the private key, you will never be able to access your wallet.
All the assets in the wallet are basically going to sit there forever. You want to save and guard your private key with your life, especially if you have coins.
One thing to note is that there are different wallets for many of the cryptocurrencies on the exchange. You want to make sure that you select a compatible wallet that’s right for you. If you’re looking to dabble with Ethereum, you’ll want to make sure you select an ERC20 compatible wallet.
How to obtain an ERC20 token compatible wallet
The next block of instruction will guide you on how to get one of these wallets. In order to store your ERC20 tokens, you need an Ethereum wallet to get started.
There are many options available today when it comes to choosing the right Ethereum wallet. We will be using myetherwallet for this tutorial. Other options are:
- MetaMask (available as a Firefox and Chrome extension)
- Mist (available for desktop)
- Trust (available on iPhone and Android)
- Parity (available for desktop)
- imToken (ios and Android)
- Cipher (offers a Dapp browser)
- Jaxx (available on iPhone, Android, Chrome, and desktop)
- Exodus (desktop)
Our next top choice for ERC20 wallets is MetaMask, which is a bridge that allows you to turn any browser you have, such as your Firefox or Google Chrome browser, into an Ethereum browser. It allows you to access the Ethereum network right in your browser without running a full Ethereum node. Any of these wallets accept ERC20 tokens.
ERC20 is a fancy jargon for tokens that are created on Ethereum smart contracts.
1) Head over to Myetherwallet (MEW). You’ll get this pop-up that basically walks you through safety and security measures with the wallet. I suggest bookmarking the site for easier access and to prevent possible phishing from a fake one.
2) Click New Wallet, enter a password and click Create Wallet.
3) Download your keystore file and save it somewhere safe and secure. This is 1 way that can be used to access your wallet. DO NOT SHARE is because people can use this to access and steal your assets.
4) Your Private Key. SAVE YOUR PRIVATE KEY and guard it with your life! This is the most convenient way to access your wallet! One of the places I save it at is on a notepad. Next click “Save your address”
5) Now you can unlock your wallet to see your wallet’s address. You can use the keystore file or the private key. The easiest way is to use the private key.
6) Welcome inside your new wallet!! “Your address” in the top left corner is your wallet’s address. You can let people view this, send, and receive cryptocurrency from this address. Your private key is underneath that. The top right also shows your crypto wallet address and account balance. Bottom right shows your equivalent values.
NOTE: myetherwallet website DOES NOT store ANY information regarding your wallet. It is simply an interface that interacts with Blockchain to pull up your wallet. Save your information!
Now you have a cryptocurrency wallet at your disposal! I suggest bookmarking myetherwallet for easy access and don’t forget to save your private key somewhere safe.
Now you can send your coins from the exchanges to your new wallet! Any questions or comments leave them below. Please share if this has helped you, thanks!