MyEtherWallet Co-founder Announces MyCrypto, Causes Panic Among Ethereum Users
Taylor Monahan, the co-founder of Ethereum wallet service, MyEtherWallet, popularly known by the abbreviation MEW, has announced in a post on Medium that she will be spearheading a new competitor, MyCrypto.com.
MyEtherWallet gets Forked
In her blog post, Taylor has given a brief history of how she and her other co-founder Kvhnuke set up MyEtherWallet, initially as a sidekick, which they both would manage along with their day jobs. MyEtherWallet was thus originally started as a fun project when the only way to send ether was via command line in 2015. After the user base grew exponentially, she, along with the other co-founder, pursued it full time. Now, however, she has decided that it is time to part ways and work on her own venture, MyCrypto.com. Except that though, she has remained largely silent about her relationship with her co-founder.
It was on February 10, 2018, when users and others noticed that MEW’s official Twitter tweeted that it was affiliated with MyCrypto. The new website even boasts of a similar interface to that of MEW, indicating that Taylor’s project is a fork of the MEW open source project. However, MyEtherWallet is still working and in control of the other co-founder Kosala Hemachandra. It is rumored that Taylor decided to leave MyEtherWallet because she was having differences of opinion with the other co-founder on the future path of growth for MEW.
Alternative to MyEtherWallet, MyCrypto, Emerges
MyEtherWallet’s official Twitter account was also changed to MyCrypto, sending panic and confusion among its users. Though a clarification was issued later, it had already caused lots of anxiety by then. In her blog post, Taylor says, “My friends, family, and especially (my) husband saw the toll (that) this responsibility was having on my mental health and urged me to stop letting it destroy me. My husband answered as many support tickets as he could each day, cooked dinner each evening, and carried me to bed at 4 am, then 5 am, then 7 am when I fell asleep typing at the computer.”
Taylor later goes on to claim how much she has done for MEW’s growth. She added that it was finally in the later months of 2017 when she felt that the need to transform her fun side project into a real company.
“It’s fun to imagine a world where I stopped building MEW and moved to a deserted island without internet. It’s not fun to stop building MEW and imagine a world where I kept at it.” It is at this point where Taylor in her blog explains why she can’t live without working on MEW, forcing her to fork the project into her own, MyCrypto, which she describes as the next level of scaling for the original MyEtherWallet project. She also clarified that it would be the other co-founder Kvhnuke who will remain in control of the MEW Github repository, domain, AWS instances, and the MyEtherWallet social media accounts.
Uncertainty over the future of MEW
Users now have two options to decide between for their ether wallet, MyEtherWallet or MyCrypto. Taylor has also stated, “MyEtherWallet will continue to be online until it, for whatever reason, is not online.” She said that she hopes it will continue to remain a great and user-friendly product in the future.
Kvhnuke has confirmed that Taylor left the MEW team along with a majority of the other team members. He did not explain the nuances of the split but assures that MEW is fully operational under his leadership. A lawsuit has also been filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, titled “Kosala Hemachandra v Taylor Monahan & MyEtherWallet LLC, Case No. BS171730”. The case mainly deals with the control over MEW and its finances.
One document suggests that shareholders who own more than 50 percent stake combined are pushing for the dissolution of MEW, however, the outcome of the legal battle is uncertain.
Overall Negative for Ethereum Community
Stefano Bernadi of Token Economy highlighted some key takeaways from the MEW situation, stating that it would not be surprising if MEW is maliciously forked to create a wallet with a similar name to scam Ethereum users.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if someone forked off MyCrypto or MEW again, with a new name, claiming to be an original developer, keeping the UI and just saying that have a new name but that they are legit.”
In December 2017, the Ethereum wallet service was the victim of a scam which saw a fake version of the wallet topping the Finance category of Apple’s App Store. Bernadi also questioned the safety of user funds with both MEW and MyCrypto, saying that overall it is negative for the ecosystem. MEW could change a few lines of code to peek at private keys, whereas MyCrypto had the initiative to take away one of the “most valuable assets of MEW without any notice,” also raising questions of trust.