Ethereum Q&A: Light clients, EVM, and Mist


Marcus asks, “Why would one use
Metamask, MyEtherWallet, or MyCrypto?” “Is it just that they can hold multiple Ethereum-based
tokens, or do they have more useful capabilities?” Metamask, MyEtherWallet, and MyCrypto
are three lightweight clients and wallets. They don’t just implement wallet functionality.
They make the Web3 Javascript interface available… in your browser, that allows applications (DApps)
to run and access the Ethereum network. Through this wallet, [you can] create
transactions and access contracts. These are more than just wallets. They are wallets and lightweight clients that can
expose the application programming interface… which allows a web application
to access the Ethereum network. Yes, they can hold multiple Ethereum-based tokens,
but they can also support web applications. “Is the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM), Wallet, and
Mist the same thing? If not, what are the differences?” “How do you install each of them?”
These are three different things. Mist is a user interface or DApp browser, a front-end that
[acts as] an interface with decentralised applications. A DApp browser like Mist is a wallet,
a client, and a front-end user interface. Mist is all three of those things. There are a few others:
Parity Wallet has its own graphical user interface. MyEtherWallet and MyCrypto are also in that category. Ethereum Wallet is one DApp that runs within Mist.
It is really just a front-end to a simple Ethereum wallet. The Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) executes
smart contract code being compiled into byte code, which is a bit like a machine language. An EVM runs inside every Ethereum client
and is used to validate every transaction. It is also run by miners in order to validate transactions,
and that is how smart contracts get executed. Mist and Ethereum Wallet use a client. In the case
of Mist, they use the Go Ethereum (Geth) client. That client has within it an EVM for validating
transactions and executing smart contracts. There is an EVM inside Geth, which is inside Mist. Perhaps that will help you understand
some of the differences.

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