As you begin to explore the crypto space, one of the first things that becomes clear is that you need a wallet interface to interact with the blockchain. But with so many wallet options out there, it can be overwhelmingly confusing to make the right choice for your needs.
Enter MEW's Essential Wallet Guide!
We have created an overview series to help you discover what types of wallets exist, and what are the differences in their features and usability. Things can change quickly in the crypto world, so we'll keep this guide updated with the latest developments. Please follow the links to specific articles in the series for more detail!
Web-based, PWA, and Desktop wallets
This is the oldest type of wallet interface. MEW was the Ethereum blockchain's first wallet interface, and it still offers the web-based and PWA options. Another useful aspect of this type of interface is that besides providing the option of creating a wallet and managing crypto funds, it also supports a wide range hardware wallets. And what are those?
Hardware and hardware-like wallets
Hardware wallets arguably provide the highest standard of security in the crypto space, though with a tradeoff of reduced convenience. They are separate devices that have to be connected to the computer and accessed via an interface which can be their native software, or a third-party interface like MEW.
Mobile wallets (custodial and non-custodial)
Mobile wallets provide the greatest convenience and accessibility, but may be most suited to managing smaller amounts of funds for everyday needs (as opposed to the cold storage of a hardware wallet). What's important to keep in mind is that while hardware wallets and many web-based wallets are non-custodial (you get your own private key or seed phrase that gives you full control over your funds), many mobile wallets are custodial, much like a regular bank. You'll get a password for daily access, but your keys and funds access will be managed by the wallet service.
Browser extension wallets
These wallets are installed as extensions in the browser (or in some cases, built into the browser to begin with) and they are currently the most convenient way to interact with decentralized apps (Dapps) and the decentralized internet (Web3). Some, like MEW CX, offer burn addresses so that you don't need to expose your main wallet and identity while browsing dapps that might interest you.
Smart contract wallets
Smart contract wallets offer innovative methods of wallet recovery that relies less on one user's diligence, and more on a shared responsibility among multiple key 'custodians'. Although the technology is still in its infancy, it offers an intriguing look at the way key management may develop to make crypto wallet security less intimidating.