MyEtherWallet is one of the popular and widely used wallets for holding Ethereum tokens. However, MyEtherWallet co-founder Taylor Monahan unexpectedly announced last Friday the launch of her own cryptocurrency wallet platform, MyCrypto.com, following the split from MyEtherWallet.
Taylor announced both news items in a long Medium post. She notes: “I was terrified—am terrified—at the potential harm this change will have on myself, the team, and/or the Ethereum community but ultimately, the risks created by continuing down the road we were on are greater than the risks of splitting to a new brand, new company, new name, and new domain. While contemplating this decision, I began to see that my inaction would be the only thing that guaranteed my failure.”
MyCrypto is currently a forked version of MyEtherWallet, but its team assured that they will soon launch an enhanced version of the website, along with desktop and mobile applications.
This sudden controversial move was a shock to the wallet users and many did not take it well.
MyEtherWallet's abrupt change in branding to MyCrypto should have been announced using MyEtherWallet's social media accounts first. This is a very amateurish way of handling it. This is coming from an everyday user of MEW and its biggest fan.
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) February 9, 2018
Though MyEtherWallet’s Taylor Monahan and Kosala Hemachandra did not reveal the exact reason for the split at this stage, both said the decision was based on mutual agreement.
Taylor, however, convinced most of the team members from MyEtherWallet to join her in building the new MyCrypto.com wallet platform. The official twitter handle of MyEtherWallet has also changed to be the official handle for MyCrypto.com, taking thousands of Twitter followers from MyEtherWallet to MyCrypto.com.
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Taylor clarified that Kosala (aka “kvhnuke”) will now be the sole owner of MyEtherWallet. She wrote: “Kvhnuke remains in control of the MEW github repository, the MEW domain, the AWS instances, and the MyEtherWallet social media accounts.”
After Taylor’s announcement, Kvhnuke put his side of the story in a Reddit post. Though both of them are telling the same narrative, it seems Kvhnuke did not take the hijacking of MyEtherWallet Twitter account that well.
Kvhnuke wrote: “Alas, for reasons I cannot delve into here, our partnership had to end. During the transition yesterday, however, MEW’s Twitter account was switched from @myetherwallet to @mycrypto, and tens of thousands of MEW followers were left scratching their heads. Indeed, the change was unexpected, and I’m still in the process of determining the justification behind the switch, and how this issue will be resolved.”
Anyway, Kvhnuke now has to rebuild his MyEtherWallet team, which might not be an easy task at this stage. He also assured that the wallet platform will soon launch some new features, on which Kvhnuke is working.
“Furthermore, for those of you wondering where I’ve been or what I’ve been working on the past several months, I’ve been busy doing what I do best—so get ready for some new and exciting products/services in the pipeline,” Kvhnuke added.
Behind the curtain – Litigation
Although both Taylor and Kosala are saying that the split was mutual, the situation with the popular wallet platform is not so simple, as lawyer Badri Natarajan pointed out there was a dispute between the two co-founder, a common situation in the startup industry.
Natarajan says Kosala went to the California courts to file a suit against Taylor. He shared the accrued legal documents in a public drive, according to which, a long dispute occurred between Kosala and Taylor regarding the firm’s financial books. Responsible for development, Kosala asked Taylor to see the books of the company, but Taylor was not comfortable with that, which led to litigation.
The documents also revealed a negotiation for Taylor to sell her stake in MyEtherWallet to Kosala for $1 million. The documents also show that the firm was dissolved by Taylor, as of December 29, 2017, without any cooperation from Kosala.
Clearly, the situation with MyEhterWallet and MyCrypto.com is more complex than what the co-founders are telling the public. Natarajan raises serious questions: “what company is kvhnuke running now? Who actually owns and operates MEW? It could certainly have been transferred to another company—but has it been?”