The founders of the MyEtherWallet.com, which is a popular and free client-side interface that allows users to interact with the blockchain, have split up.
In a lengthy blog post Taylor Monahan, who founded the company in 2015 with Kosala Hemachandra, announced that she has started a new rival company called MyCrypto which intends to offer similar services to those of MyEtherWallet. Monahan stated that:
MyEtherWallet LLC was sufficient for the early stages of growth. MyCrypto is designed with next-level scaling in mind from the beginning. The team I have assembled over the past 9 months and I will now be [sic] building, providing support, educating, and ensuring the security of https://mycrypto.com and all future products.
In her announcement, Monahan included the above image which showed the contributions that each of the founders had made in 2017. It implies that Hemachandra’s involvement in the company, particularly on the development side, had waned in the latter half of the year.
Monahan had also emphasised how the volume of work had rapidly increased to the point that, “my friends, family, and especially husband saw the toll this responsibility was having on my mental health and urged me to stop letting it destroy me.”
This inability for Monahan and Hemachandra to co-ordinate effectively may have been a factor in the split.
The fragmentation of MyEtherWallet has not been a clean one. On the December 14th Hemachandra engaged in legal action against Monahan in the state of California.
But perhaps the greatest battle between the two former colleagues has been fought over a twitter account. On February 9th the Twitter account @myetherwallet spontaneously, and without warning, morphed into @mycrypto. Stunned followers of the Twitter account were greeted with a message stating:
Hey all, don’t freak out but we’re no longer @myetherwallet. MEW still exists, but we’re now MyCrypto.
Shortly thereafter, a new Twitter account, run by Hemachandra that represents the original MyEtherWallet company, responded by asserting that:
@myetherwallet Twitter handle was changed without knowledge or permission of MEW’s founder. We are investigating the matter, and will update everyone shortly. Stay tuned for further updates.
With just 7,000 followers the new Twitter account has only a fraction of the following than that of @mycrypto. Furthermore, the Twitter verification or “blue check” that @mycrypto currently has was initially issued to @myetherwallet.
This prompted many to question the legitimacy of Monahan’s decision to use the account given that the majority of the followers had signed up to receive updates from MyEtherWallet and not MyCrypto.
Monahan responded to the accusations by suggesting that she had been using the MyEtherWallet account as her “personal account since day one.”
Where does this leave clients?
It is important to point out that both MyEtherWallet and MyCrypto do not have access to the private key of their users. The services simply allow their clients to interact with a blockchain.
Therefore, security concerns over the split are far fewer than would be raised by a similar event at a cryptocurrency exchange.
Monahan has claimed that the majority of the developers have joined her at MyCrypto. The branding and website layout of the two firms, currently, appears to be very similar.
Thus, as the situation stands, there is not much to distinguish between the two companies in terms of clients services offered or security of transactions. However, as always in the crypto world, this could change rapidly and, consequently, customers must remain ever vigilant.