Creating a New Wallet
We do not suggest creating a new wallet with the recovery phrase (mnemonic phrase) option on our website unless you are planning to use MEW offline.
When you’re creating a new wallet through the ‘Mnemonic Phrase’ option on MEW, you are given the choice of whether or not to include an extra word. This is an extra word of your own choosing tacked onto the end of your phrase. For example, if you’re making a 24-word recovery phrase, this will act as a mandatory 25th word every time you want to use this phrase.
Occasionally, this extra word is also referred to as a ‘password’, but this is misleading. It’s actually a 13th / 25th word to your phrase.
The upside to this is extra security. If someone got a hold of your 24-word recovery phrase, they would still need your extra word to act as a 25th word in order to access your funds. This greatly increases the security of your phrase.
Adding an extra word creates a whole new set of addresses than without the extra word. This is part of what makes extra words useful for secret wallets. Using the 12 or 24 word recovery phrase will show one set of addresses, and adding the extra word will show a whole different set of addresses. This way, you can hold a small amount as a decoy on the addresses that are accessed with the phrase alone, and a larger amount on the addresses that can only be reached by adding the extra word.
The downside to the extra word is integration with other platforms. Almost every other Ethereum wallet interface requires your recovery phrase to be in a 12 or 24-word format and does not offer the extra word option. Therefore, restoring this phrase through other Ethereum wallets can prove difficult. This extra word becomes necessary to see your wallet, so you will not be able to regain access through non-supporting wallets. (Hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor do support the extra word/passphrase/hidden wallet feature. However, importing an outside wallet via a recovery phrase into a hardware wallet defeats the purpose of hardware security.)
In the end, the choice is yours.
Accessing or Restoring a Wallet
We do not suggest accessing or restoring your wallet with your recovery phrase directly on our website unless you are using MEW offline.
When accessing or restoring your wallet through the ‘Mnemonic Phrase’ option on MEW, you are given the choice of whether or not to include an extra word. Most of the time, the answer is no.
Most apps or extensions that use recovery phrases, such as the MEW wallet app, MetaMask, and hardware wallets, do not include an extra word in their recovery phrase. They ask you to input a password for app access, but this is different than requiring an extra word for recovery purposes.
If you made your wallet directly on MyEtherWallet.com, you may need to use the extra word you chose during creation to restore your wallet. However, most wallets made through other platforms will not require the extra word. Simply toggle this option to the ‘off’ position and proceed with your recovery process.