Monero is a cryptocurrency that focuses on privacy, scalability, and decentralization. It uses an open source public ledger to record transactions and creates new units through mining. The ultimate aim of Monero is to obscure the details of the sender, recipient, and value of every transaction.
The Monero blockchain is based on the “CryptoNote” protocol that prevents people from tracing back transactions through the blockchain to reveal who sent or received coins. The only people with access to details about a transaction are the sender or receiver of the transaction.
Monero is able to achieve this high level of privacy, through (a) ring signatures, (b) stealth addresses, and (c) “ring confidential transactions” (RingCT).
The ring signatures help the sender hide among other transactions, the stealth addresses hide the receiver’s address, and RingCT hides the amount transacted, thus making the entire transaction completely opaque.
Monero’s success in keeping transactions private is driving huge interest among crypto-enthusiasts. The focus of this Monero wiki is to create a Monero wallets review that will help investors select one of the best Monero wallets and show them how to store Monero (XMR). This review is very crucial as the layman might not be aware of the things to know before selecting a Monero wallet.
Things to Know Before Selecting Monero Wallet
At first glance, the Monero Wallet web site appears legit, but closer scrutiny reveals certain red flags.
For one, Monero Wallet does not seem to be officially endorsed by the Monero community.
And when you do a search for “Official Monero wallets,” the absence of Monero Wallet on crypto-forums that list different types of wallets is unsettling, to say the least.
What one does find, however, are a number of reviews that mince no words while trashing this wallet as a rip-off.
To add to the dodginess, the web site just talks about the potential of Monero, rather than discuss the features of Monero Wallet. There is no mention of any of the protocols or algorithms that can be confidence boosters regarding the safety of the stored coins.
From a more legal perspective, the Monero Wallet web site claims that all rights have been reserved by Monero. Again untrue, as Monero has made it clear it has no affiliations with Monero Wallet. (Source: “Monero Wallet – XMR wallet scam Beware of Wallet-Monero.org,” BitcoinExchangeGuide, last accessed December 19, 2017.)
So if you are looking for the best wallets to store Monero, Monero Wallet should be the last one on your list. Actually, it should not be on the list at all.
Type of Wallets to Store Monero
The five different types of wallets to store Monero are online web wallet, full node wallet, GUI wallet, hardware wallet, and paper wallet.
Online Web Wallet: This is by far the simplest way to store your Monero. Branded as “MyMonero,” this web wallet does not need any installation. It works equally well on both your computer and your mobile Internet browser. The drawback is that other MyMonero’s servers can see your Monero balance. So it is not completely private.
Full Node Wallet: This wallet is for those who would like to simultaneously run a full Monero client and contribute to the strength of the network. This dual action affords users the highest level of privacy, as well as quick and reliable access to funds. While the wallet does not require a large amount of processing power on your computer, it does require a few gigabytes of disk space.
GUI Wallet: These Graphic User interfaces (GUI) wallets are still in the beta stages. The second beta was released earlier this year. A few niggles are still being ironed out on the Beta2 version.
Hardware Wallet: As of now, there aren’t any hardware wallets with Monero compatibility. Both the leading cryptocurrency hardware wallets, “Nano Ledger S” and “Trezor,” have been expressing interest in adding Monero support.
Paper Wallet: While these “cold storage wallets” are offline and hence safe, they are not the most convenient. When the funds have to be transferred or traded, they have to be restored back online. This requires a 1 Monero fee each time. (Source: “Storage options; Storing and protecting Monero,” Monero (XMR), last accessed December 19, 2017.)
Best Wallets with Reviews to Store Monero
In spite of Monero being one of the most popular cryptocurrencies on the market, there are very few wallets that can store Monero. Currently, users interested in storing Monero can use these four options.
Monero Web Wallet: This is the only web wallet for Monero. The wallet works like any account. Once you create a wallet account, you can log in online to access your funds. The good thing about this wallet is MyMonero only encrypts your keys and stores the data on its servers. It cannot access your funds.
Monero Desktop Wallet: The best and only Monero desktop wallet is the official client, which is a full node. You can download it from the official Monero web site.
USB Monero Cold Wallet: From a security standpoint, keeping Monero in a cold wallet is a pretty reliable way to keep money safe from harm. The “Taushet USB Monero Cold Wallet Generator” takes about 10 minutes to set up cold storage for your Monero. It is among the safer ways to effectively ensure your Monero is safe from harm.
Monero Paper Wallet: To make a secure offline paper wallet, users will have to go to MoneroAddress.org. The page generates a new Monero wallet that is self-contained. It enables you to create a Monero wallet without risking the keys. Having said that, this option should only be used by people who are well-acquainted with the process as things can get complicated and messy if not used properly.
Before you go ahead and choose one of the above wallets, it will be a nice idea to arm yourself with certain facts to know before storing your Monero coin.
Facts to Know Before Storing Your Monero
The storing and transfer of Monero is based on two cryptographic keys: the spend key and the view key. Each of these keys contains 64 characters. To authorize the transfer of funds from a Monero account, you’ll need the spend key. The view key, as the name suggests, only allows you to view the balance in an account but does not grant access to transfer funds.
Along with the view key and the spend key, the Monero account also has a public address and a mnemonic seed.
The public address is what you give others in order for them to send Monero to your wallet.
The mnemonic seed is a string of words that you get when you first create the account. It is basically a backup mechanism to restore the account.
Needless to say, whatever wallet you choose to store your Monero coin in, it is very important to write down several copies of your mnemonic seed (keys) and stash them away in various safe places. (Source: ibid)
To be perfectly honest, I’m not too happy with the choices available for storing Monero. Given that it is in the top 10 altcoins in the cryptocurrency market, there should be a better choice.
As I’m not a huge fan of storing any of my cryptocurrency online, it leaves me with the desktop version and the paper wallet. The paper wallet has the disadvantage of being misplaced or stolen, so by process of elimination, I’m down to the desktop wallet. I have no choice.
Having said that, once the hardware wallets (Ledger S or Trezor) start supporting Monero, one of them would be my go-to option. Whichever comes first.