Work has been continuing on Ethereum’s GUI wallet also known as Mist. One of Ethereum’s early criticisms was for its lack of an easy to use GUI wallet, which was warranted as early versions were command-line only making routine transfers hard for people who were not fluent in command line interfaces. The Mist team hopes to bring that era to an end and has been steadily improving upon its GUI wallet.
UPDATE: Wallet 0.5.2 (Beta 10) has now been released.
Full list of changes:
Added a send-all functionality to the send page.
Add German (thanks to @ColRad) and Portuguese (@alexvandesande) translation for the wallet!
Added log infos to the splash screen, so users can see what the node is currently doing…
Improved ether display precision on the confirmation screen
Added a check with NTP servers to see if the computer time is correct, if not it shows an error
Increased error timeout
If you should notice that your wallet links lead to a white page, please run the following script in the console:
This changes all your wallet addresses internally back to lowercase (we introduced that by accident).
The latest release (beta 9) is actually a bug fix for the earlier beta 8 release, and is the first wallet to support the upcoming Homestead release. Homestead is slated to go-live with block 1,150,000 which is expected to be mined sometime during “Pi” day, or March 14, 2016. While acknowledging its beta status and that it still isn’t completely bug free, the developers tout “it’s certainly the more stable release we’ve ever done as it fixes some very common bugs”.
The Ethereum GUI wallet includes Geth, so it includes everything you need for a new installation and it will also work with your existing Geth or Eth installs if you already have a wallet installed. An easy step-by-step tutorial helps you get started by generating a new wallet and even offers a means to import a pre-sale wallet.
The developers do note that eth isn’t bundled on OSX with the Ethereum-Wallet, but that you can start an eth node before starting Mist, and the wallet will connect to it.
Some of the important features and bug fixes added in Beta releases 8 and 9 include:
- Adds an About screen
- Fixes an issue where it didn’t select the right account when clicking “send” from an accounts page
- Fixed the importing of wallet contracts
- Fixes an issue with the checksum and shape shift
- Fixes some bugs in the import presale wallet. We also added more specific error reporting so we can identify an issue some users are having with importing the presale wallet
- Supports Go-ethereum Homestead edition
- Implements address checksum to ensure address validity
- Fixes a sync issue with windows
New Wallet Installation
Installation of the Ethereum wallet is fairly straight-forward, as is the case with most similar GUI wallets. Simply download the wallet zip file from the official Ethereum Mist GitHub page, and extract it. Open the extracted folder and double click on the Ethereum-Wallet.exe file to launch the wallet. On Windows you may get a firewall warning, if this happens be sure to click on “allow” to let the Ethereum wallet connect to the Internet and begin the process of associating with peers and downloading the blockchain.
When the wallet first launches, it will present you with two choices highlighted as light blue links. One is to connect to the test network, and the other is to connect to the live network. At the bottom of this and subsequent screens you will also see the number of peers connected and the status of the blockchain download.
This process might take some time as there are already over 1 million blocks and the blockchain file size is nearly a 10 GB download. There are a few more steps you can complete to setup your wallet while you are waiting, although depending on the speed of your Internet connection the entire process may take 2-3 hours.
Assuming you don’t want to try the test network, by clicking on “Use The Main Network” link you can proceed to the next step of the setup process which conveniently offers to import your presale wallet by simply dragging and dropping it into the designated space highlighted on the form. The presale wallet should be in a file named “ethereum_wallet-backup.json” and would have been downloaded or emailed to you earlier if you participated in the presale event.
If you do have a presale wallet and wish to import it now, you will need to find the above file and simply drag it into the space indicated. You can also import the presale wallet at a later time, so do not worry if you wish to skip this step for now.
Once the import has been completed, or if you do not have a presale wallet to worry about, simply click on “Skip” to continue on.
On the next page you will be asked to provide a password to protect your wallet. This is much like any other cryptocurrency wallet, in that you will need to have this password in order to gain access to any of your Ether stored within your wallet. As suggested on the screen, make it strong (not easily guessed) and be sure to record it somewhere securely. Once you have typed in your password and verified it, you can click on “Next” to continue to the next step.
The next screen shows your new default wallet address created during the previous steps. It also briefly explains that you will need some amount of Ether to perform any actions and even offers to let you load some Ether by depositing Bitcoin. If you click on the ‘Deposit Bitcoin” button, a new window will open up that allows you to use ShapeShift.io to trade Bitcoin, as well as a handful of other alts, and convert them to Ether that will then be deposited to directly to your newly created Ethereum wallet address.
If you do choose to utilize this service, be sure to double check that your Ethereum wallet’s address does indeed match what is automatically populated in the ShapeShift form (Destination Address) to be safe. I did not encounter any problems, but never assume anything when transferring funds, always double check!
Once you are finished adding funds via ShapeShift, or if you prefer not to add funds at this point, simply click “Next” once again to continue on. The next three screens are a set of tutorials offering to provide overviews on how to: “Make your own money”, “Create a crowdsale”, and create a “Blockchain Organization”. Clicking on any one of these will open your browser and take you to the relevant content on the Ethereum.org website.
Depending on what steps you did to proceed to this point, you should be nearly a quarter to half-way through the blockchain download by this point. You could continue to read the tutorials, or simply wait until the sync is complete. As with other wallets, you can simply dismiss it to the background and continue of with other tasks while you wait.
Once the download process is completed and the blockchain sync is current, you will see a new link at the bottom of the screen “Launch Application”. As it’s name suggests, clicking on this will launch the actual Ethereum Mist wallet.
Once you are within the actual Mist wallet application, you can review your accounts, wallets, and transactions. Unless you loaded your wallet with presale funds, or took advantage of the ShapeShift exchange to load you wallet during installation, you will basically have an empty wallet with limited options at first. To begin experimenting with contracts,you will need to have at least 1 Eth in your account.
Among the the more interesting menu bar options along the top of the wallet, we find the Ethereum Wallet->About Ethereum Wallet which brings up the recently added about page, which simply shows the current version, license (GPL-3.0), link to the Mist GitHb and the Copyright notice. Under Accounts->Import Pre-sale Accounts we can again get to the screen where you can drag and drop your Pre-sale json file if you did not do so when initially setting up the wallet. Finally under the Develop menu item, we have Ethereum Node in which we can choose from Geth 1.3.5 (Go) or Eth 1.2.1 and Network which we can choose the main or test (Morden) networks. The other file menu items are fairly common and not too interesting.
Setting up and using this wallet for this article was a fairly easy process. I tested it on a machine without a prior Eth installation or wallet, to test its user friendliness for those who are new to Ethereum and may not be adept at the command line. I think the developers of the Mist wallet have passed this test with flying colors as the installation process walked the user through the most common tasks needed to get going with setting up a Ethereum wallet on their own PC. Since this release is still in Beta we can continue to expect further refinements as development continues, but for now I think they have met the goal of bringing a user friendly functional Ethereum wallet to the market.