The first two installments of the FOMO TL;DR series:
Now we're going to put everything into wallets. To fully understand what wallets are and what they are not, here's my recent detailed post on that...though not necessary in order to just proceed with this process outlined below.
The most essential thing to understand about cryptocurrency wallets is that to own and transact in crypto requires two keys: a public and a private. The public key is where the funds actually are, on the blockchain...and not "in your wallet."
In order to prove the funds are yours, thus giving you the right to trade or send them to another public key address requires a private key. This is what a wallet actually safeguards and generally has some level of functionality, such that transactions are convenient. The exception is a paper wallet, which is basically a printout of your public and private keys or a backup phrase (that can reconstruct those keys).
There's tons of them available. You can see options here and here. For this exercise, we're going to use two of them, Jaxx and MyEtherWallet. Jaxx is software that runs on your desktop, on Android or iOS, and also has a Chrome extension. MyEtherWallet or MEW is essentially a web-based application for managing your Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens at a moment in time. It doesn't have or store your private key. Each time you want to send ETH or a token anywhere, you have to input your private key. Your private key is encrypted and MEW unlocks the encrypted file by entering a password
Set Up Jaxx
- Head over to Jaxx.io and download the desktop, download smartphone or tablet apps at your respective app stores, grab the Chrome extension, or do all that apply (highly recommended).
- Install them.
- You'll only need to go through the setup procedure for one of them, so chose which one you want to start with, open it, and go through the preliminaries by accepting the terms of service, etc.
I'm going to go through the process of setting up the Chrome extension. They all look and operate the exact same way, but the Chrome extension is on my desktop, but is the size of the phone app, so smaller screen clips.
Create a new wallet. Subsequently, for all the apps on your other devices, you will select to Pair/Restore, and you will simply type in the 12-word backup phrase you'll write down later in this process. That's all there is to it.
Choose Express setup.
Select the wallets you'll use. Click on Bitcoin (BTC), scroll down and also click on Augur (REP). Note that you can return to the Wallet section anytime to add or remove wallets.
You're all set up. But, we'll need to do a little security. On the top, middle, you'll see the symbols for the two wallets you've set up.
Now let's do the critical backup. However, before you do that, click on the Currency tab and make sure your own national currency is selected. If not, change it to that.
Click on Tools, then Backup Wallet.
Now, click yes you understand, then proceed. Yes, write down this backup phrase precisely, then on the next screen, you'll have to type it back in.
This mnemonic phrase is all you will ever need to completely restore all wallets in Jaxx, even with complete loss of all hardware and data. Simply buy a new phone, install Jaxx, enter that phrase and it will regenerate all keys, presto. Pretty cool, huh?
The next step is that we'll be gong to Coinbase and Bittrex (or whichever exchanges you used) in order to send all of your Bitcoin and Augur holdings to Jaxx.
Set Up MyEtherWallet
- Head over to MyEtherWallet.com.
- Proceed to setup a wallet.
Use a strong password, make sure you write it down. As long as you print a paper wallet later, then losing or forgetting your password isn't the end of the world. The paper wallet is sufficient to restore. The password is for the convenience of unlocking your encrypted private key file you'll have stored on your computer.
And bang, you have created a really cool wallet with a single public address to which you can send and receive Ethereum and all ERC-20 tokens.
Now, this is the encrypted file, click on the blue key, give it a name, save it somewhere. Not sure how Windows works but in Mac, it will open a new tab in your browser with a bunch of crypto stuff. Just click the File menu, Save As.. give it a name like MyEtherWallet and save it somewhere. It needs no file extension. It's a plain text file.
Once you have understood and continued, you're going to get the unencrypted version of your private key. Up to you if you want to copy and paste it somewhere, but the more secure way is not to have it unencrypted on your computer, device, in the cloud, etc.
But you absolutely want to print your paper wallet.
This is what you can restore from no matter what. The most secure is in safekeeping that's both fire and flood proof. Note that a safety deposit box is not secure. Safety deposit boxes can be seized by law enforcement and even creditors with a court judgment against you.
Now click the "Save Your Address" to go to the next step, which is to Unlock Your Wallet. However, you can get to this step anytime in MEW by clicking on the View Wallet Info in the menu.
Here, you'll choose Keystore / JSON File, select wallet file (the file you saved earlier), enter the password you used to create your wallet, and unlock it.
Note that the private key does not stay in your browser. If you reload, you'll have to go through it all over again.
And here's the wallet info. You will want to copy your address and paste it somewhere convenient like in notes, keyboard shortcut, etc., so it's available when you want to send Ether and coins to it.
SEND COIN PLEASE
Now let's get our coins into Jaxx and MEW. For those who've already completed Step 2, buying altcoins, you already know how to do this. Whether you used Coinbase or another fiat exchange, you sent your Bitcoin to Bittrex or another crypto-only exchange to buy altcoins.
So, the first thing is to do the same thing, only you're going to send your Bitcoin remaining in Coinbase or other fiat exchange to your Bitcoin wallet address in Jaxx, which is shown as "Your Current Bitcoin Address." The reason it says "current" is because each time you receive coin at a wallet address in Jaxx, it creates a new pubic and private keyset. You can display all of these keys by going to the Tools menu and choosing to Display Private Keys. No need to concern yourself about how it restores all of that from that 12-word phrase. It just does. It's 'FM'.
Now, if you chose to buy Ethereum in Step 1, Do the same as you just did sending your remaining Bitcoin to Jaxx, only this time, you're going to send your Ether to the MyEtherWallet address you just copied and pasted somewhere convenient.
We're almost there. Now, we're going to send our REP from Bittrex to Jaxx and our CVC from Bittrex to MEW. First, log in, click on the Wallets menu, then check the box that says to hide zero balances and you'll see all your holdings which should be REP and CVC, and BTC if you have any left (which you can also send to Jaxx if you like, same way).
What you do is click on the minus sign (-) to withdraw and send elsewhere. You'll use your Jaxx REP address to send your REP, and you'll use your same MEW address to send CVC.
Critical point here. When using anything but Ether and ERC-20 coins, you have to be very careful that you're sending your specific coin to a wallet address for that coin, and always do the first-and-last-4 verification before you send. With MEW, it's one address for ETH and all ERC-20 tokens.
Clicking the blue ^ button sends the max amount adjusted for the transaction fee, so it clears you to zero.
Now, you'll wait, check Jaxx later and your BTC and REP should show up. Sometimes you have to refresh balance. Also, note that Bittrex requires that you confirm a withdrawal by email. It will send you an email with a link to click. Otherwise, your transaction will stay in a pending status until you do.
One last thing. You don't need to unlock your MEW each time. You can select the View Balance Only option, and all you need is your public address. Once your ETH shows up, you can click on the Show Tokens button and it will display any tokens you have a balance in, like CVC.
And I think that about covers it. Tomorrow, I have about a 7-8 hour motorhome drive back home, so I may not get out the 4th TL;DR installment until Wednesday. We'll be setting up everything in a desktop portfolio and also, a smartphone portfolio.
See The Cryptocurrency Resource Library — A Complete Up-To-Date Index of All The Most Important Stuff.