Andreas Antonopoulos: The Utility of Lightweight Clients and Wallets

The last two years have seen an exponential rise in the popularity of not just cryptocurrencies, but also blockchain technology. There has been an explosion in the number of DApps based on the Ethereum blockchain including MetaMask, MyEtherWallet, and MyCrypto.

Andreas M. Antonopoulos, one of the world’s most renowned experts on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology explains Metamask, MyEtherWallet and MyCrypto and why they are so useful when it comes to interacting with the Ethereum blockchain.

“Why would one use Metamask, MyEtherWallet, or MyCrypto? Is it just that they can hold multiple Ethereum-based tokens, or do they have more useful capabilities?”

“Metamask, MyEtherWallet, and MyCrypto are three lightweight clients and wallets. They don’t just implement wallet functionality. They make the Web3 Javascript interface available in your browser, that allows DApps (Decentralized Applications) to run and access the Ethereum network.

Through this wallet, you can create transactions and access contracts. These are more than just wallets. They are wallets and lightweight clients. They can expose the application programming interface which allows a web application to access the Ethereum network.

Yes, they can hold multiple Ethereum-based tokens, but they can also support web applications.”

“Is the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM), Wallet, and Mist the same thing? If not, what are the differences? How do you install each one of them?”

“These are three different tools. Mist is a user interface or DApp browser, a front-end that acts as an interface with decentralized applications. It does the function of a wallet, a client, and a front-end user interface. There are a few others such as Parity Wallet, which has its own graphical user interface. MyEtherWallet and MyCrypto are also in that category.

Ethereum Wallet is one DApp that runs within Mist. It is really just a front-end to a simple Ethereum wallet.

The Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) executes the smart contract code being compiled into bytecode, which is a bit like a machine language. An EVM runs inside every Ethereum client and is used to validate every transaction. It is also run by miners in order to validate transactions. This is how smart contracts get executed.

Mist and Ethereum Wallet use a client. Mist uses the Go Ethereum (Geth) client. That client has, within it, an EVM for validating transactions and executing smart contracts. There is an EVM inside Geth, which is inside Mist. Perhaps that will help you understand some of the differences.”

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