Every Single Day We Are Struggling With Phishing Issues – MyEtherWallet Founder Kosala Hemachandra

Interviews | April 30, 2018 By:

Kosala Hemachandra is the Founder and CEO of MyEtherWallet (MEW), an open-source, client-side interface for generating ethereum wallets & more. He has built up over 8 years of experience as a computer engineer. Hemachandra has been endlessly fascinated by the potential of blockchain technology to reshape how the world works, and has dedicated himself to the creation of tools to empower users, of which MEW is one.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What was the inspiration for MEW? How did it all begin?

KOSALA HEMACHANDRA: MEW history goes back to the beginning of Ethereum, Ethereum released the yellow paper and I was intrigued. I wrote my first smart contract, an “Ethereum faucet” to help initial testers to test Ethereum testnet. It was when Ethereum released their mainnet that I started to notice people having issues doing basic tasks like creating wallets, sending transactions…etc/

I thought of making a simple UI, which enabled users to create wallets and send transactions.

Popularity grew and people started to ask for more features, since I am not a designer, I brought in my best friend Taylor to support the site with her web designing skills

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Can you tell us about the split with your co-founder, Taylor Monahan?

KOSALA HEMACHANDRA: Up until June 2017 MEW team was just Taylor and myself. We then realized we had to start to hire more people. We interviewed developers and hired some of them. A couple of months passed by and Taylor and I started have different opinions on how MEW’s future should be.

I cannot get in to too much details, as both of us have to obey a legal agreement.

Unfortunatley contradicting visions about the future lead to the split with Taylor leaving MEW at the beginning of January 2018. This was both emotionally and professionally, a tough situation for me as Taylor was also my best friend.

Following the split, I started to build a new team, because I knew MEW is no longer about Taylor or myself, it is a company about the cryptocurrency community who are all around the world.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Your insights on the future of cryptocurrencies and tools that are needed to take advantage of the Web 3.0 era?

KOSALA HEMACHANDRA: Web 3.0 will replace the current structure of the internet with a more decentralised platform. Compared to last year we already have lot of different tools, applicationsand standards to make development easy and faster.

Some notable tools are web3.js and Truffle Framework. Solidity language had lot of improvements around debugging to minimise the errors common users will make. This reduces the amount of bugs that can potentially exist.

In my opinion we still have a long way to go, we cannot expect everything to work on the first try. Failure is the key to a strong solid future.

There is a strong need for education on the use of cryptocurrency wallets and the steps users should take to store cryptocurrencies safely and securely.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Do you think we are in the middle of a cryptocurrency bubble?

KOSALA HEMACHANDRA: I don’t believe we are in a bubble, but lot of whales seems to manipulate the current situation and since the cryptocurrency trading is unregulated, anyone with huge amount of funds can bring the price up or down. There are groups of people that are doing this together. I believe instead of focusing on the price, we as developers should focus on the utilitarian aspect of the technology.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: What’s the fee structure of MEW?

KOSALA HEMACHANDRA: MEW doesn’t charge fees from its users. We have a different business model.

We have affiliations with lot of hardware wallets providers and whenever a user purchase a hardware wallet through our link, we will get paid a percentage of that transaction.

We also have a partnership with a Swiss cryptocurrency broker named Bity. Whenever our users use their service to exchange cryptocurrencies, we get a percentage of the transaction fees.

The same applies to the Kyber Network integration which we recently launched. With this new integration, Ethereum-based cryptocurrency holders will now be able to instantly exchange their ETH into popular ERC20 tokens using a new token swap function.

BLOCK TRIBUNE: Tell us about MEW’s new team and what its plans are for the coming months.

KOSALA HEMACHANDRA: MEW has an amazing team and I am impressed by them everyday. We all have one goal and one vision in mind and we are all working together to achieve that goal which is to make a better, safer, UI friendly platform for our users.

MEW team has members from blockchain world as well as corporate world. At the end of the day we are still a corporation that has to obey the rules.

On April 24, users of MyEtherWallet experienced a phishing attack that saw users of the service lose around $152,000 worth of ether. MEW’s major server was compromised so that users who were trying to reach the MyEtherWallet site were redirected to a fake duplicate site. Block Tribune asked Hemachandra about the company’s plans for preventing something similar from taking place in the future.

KOSALA HEMACHANDRA: Every single day we are struggling with this phishing issue. We are filing DMCA violations and taking down phishing domains as fast as we can. Unfortunately they keep coming back up.

We are working on a mobile application which can help prevent these phishing attacks. In essence the application will act as a hardware wallet in your phone which will communicate with MEW through a secure encrypted peer-to-peer channel. This will give users the ability to double check and verify their transaction for the second time (2 factor) and will not expose the private key to the browser. This way phishers wont be able steal funds from accounts.