Once you have ETH in your MEW wallet, it’s time to check out what else is out there.
You are probably familiar with Bitcoin – the original cryptocurrency that still has the highest market capitalization – but there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies in existence, and hundreds of thousands of tokens. Certainly, not all of them may warrant inquiry, but it’s good to be aware of the growing crypto space.
Keep in mind that cryptocurrencies can be based on different blockchains, which means they need to be held in compatible wallets: for example, Bitcoin will need a different wallet than Ether. The good news is that many popular and well-established cryptos are ERC20 tokens. They are based on Ethereum, which makes them easy to manage – you can keep them in Ethereum wallets together with ETH. Swapping between ETH and ERC20 tokens in the MEW wallet app is quick, simple, and decentralized, so let’s do it.
Step 1: Look around
You might be coming to crypto with some ideas about the tokens you want to get, based on conversations with friends, media articles, or influencer videos. MEW swap supports over 100 tokens and currencies, so if you know what you’re looking for, you are likely to find it in MEW right away – skip ahead to Step 2.
What if you are coming in cold? As with any new venture, you should do a bit of research. Allow us to suggest a way to proceed (without giving any investment advice, of course, except the classic – never invest more than you can afford to lose).
- A list of the top cryptocurrencies with prices and market caps could be a natural place to start. Two sites where you can find that information are Coinmarketcap and Coingecko. Keep in mind that price is not everything, and may not be the best indicator of long-term value.
- Explore crypto news and communities. Some popular news sites include Coindesk and Cointelegraph. You can find active crypto communities on Reddit, Twitter, and Telegram, but be aware – there are a lot of scammers there too. Protect yourself against phishers with our pro security tips.
- Search any token that interests you online: take a look at the official website, check team member profiles, and find any reviews of the project. If something doesn’t seem right, move on.
- Look through the White Paper, which is essentially a proposal where the project team describes how the token is created and how the token economics work. Don’t be deterred by technical language – even if you are not an expert, you should glance through to get a feel for the level of effort put into development.
- Sometimes, tokens end up in your wallet without you doing anything – these are called airdrops, and many projects use them as a marketing tool. While this may seem like ‘something for nothing’, the tokens are often frozen until further notice, and you might not get any value out of them for a while, if ever.
- Stablecoins are a special type of ERC20 tokens. Their value is pegged to an asset like the US dollar or collateralized by other crypto to reduce volatility – hence their name. Stablecoins are the basis for decentralized finance instruments. Popular examples include USDT (Tether), USDC, TrueUSD, and DAI. Usually, you will be buying or selling stablecoins in the context of a DeFi operation. We will talk about those in the next installments of the Zero to Crypto series, so stay tuned.
Step 2: Open the MEW wallet app and go to Exchange
Click on the squiggly exchange icon on the bottom of the home page, and then select Swap tokens on the next screen (you can also Buy Ether here, if you haven’t already).
Step 3: Get the best rate on your token
On the swap page, click Select token and browse the token grid or use the Search bar. (If you have currencies other than ETH in your wallet, you can also select which currency you are swapping from in the dropdown on the account card). Once you’ve made your selection, click Find best rate and see the integrated aggregator DEX.AG give you all the options! Pick the best price, proceed, and confirm transaction – you’re done.
Step 4: Watch your portfolio diversify
On the app home page, click on an account card to see all assets in the account. As you make more swaps, your accounts will start to look more interesting, and diversification can give you an advantage in the space – given that you do the research, of course. Besides, when you know that you are getting the best decentralized rate in MEW, there is no reason not to have some fun with it!
For extra credit
- Although we focused on ERC20 tokens in this article, MEW does support swaps to currencies on other blockchains such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Tron, Cardano, Monero, and Dogecoin. Create a wallet that supports the currency you are interested in (blockchain.com offers a non-custodial wallet for Bitcoin) and then try swapping ETH to that currency in MEW, putting your new wallet address as the destination.
- Read a bit about smart contracts. They are what makes Ethereum so different from other blockchains, and the reason why there can be so many tokens.
- Pick a favorite altcoin meme. Start with Dogecoin and work from there. (Technically, an ‘altcoin’ is just any other cryptocurrency than the original Bitcoin, but there’s more context to it than that… You’ll see.)