The Importance of Privacy Coins like Monero
One of the initial promises of Bitcoin was that it would make transactions more private in an age where your every move, financial or otherwise, can be tracked due to the increasing powers of technology.
While Bitcoin is indeed more private than many other forms of payment like credit cards and Paypal, it still shows the entire record of Bitcoin transactions publicly on the Bitcoin blockchain. Although there is no identification that you need to hand over when you create a new Bitcoin address, if someone is able to tie that Bitcoin address to you, they can see all transactions associated with that address on block explorers like Blockchain.com.
Recently, law enforcement was able to identify and arrest the operator of a huge child porn site, partly by tracking the website’s Bitcoin transactions.
As a result of Bitcoin’s pseudonymous but not anonymous nature, various privacy coins have popped up.
Perhaps the most well-known of these is Monero, which was created in April 2014 as a fork of Bytecoin. Monero has quickly become popular amongst hackers, users of the dark web, and other similar characters. But it also has uses for those who need privacy, like political dissidents in authoritarian countries.
That all being said, to use Monero, you need a good wallet. After all, what good is privacy if you keep your Monero on a centralized exchange that has all your personal information?
Here are the best Monero wallets of 2019.
Monero Official GUI Wallet
The official Monero GUI wallet is made by the Monero development team themselves and is free to use. It’s available for major desktop platforms like Windows, MacOS, and Linux. However, it can be hard to use since it requires syncing (downloading) the entire Monero blockchain, which is getting close to 100 gigabytes in size.
Depending on the speed of your internet, syncing the Monero blockchain could take a very long time. Not to mention not everyone has that much hard drive space on their computer. Nevertheless, being that it’s an official release from the Monero team and that the code is open source and viewable, you can be sure that your Monero is in good hands with the wallet.
Best Monero Desktop Wallet: Exodus
Exodus is another monero wallet for desktop that comes highly recommended. Exodus is actually a popular multicurrency wallet that supports 100+ cryptocurrencies that also supports Monero. Some of the main benefits with Exodus are the following:
- You don’t have to download the large Monero blockchain, as it’s a “light wallet” that connects to a remote node to retrieve Monero blockchain-related information like recent transactions
- The design is quite nice and easy on the eyes if you want something with a slick user interface
- There is an in-app exchange feature where you can exchange XMR for other cryptos and vice versa anonymously
Though a downside with Exodus to consider is that the code isn’t open source, so you can’t independently verify the safety of the wallet. For larger amounts of Monero, we’d recommend using something like a hardware wallet.
Best Monero Hardware Wallet: Ledger
Ledger is a popular hardware wallet that’s good if you want maximum security for your crypto at the cost of convenience (you have to connect your Ledger to your computer and physically confirm transactions every time you want to use your Monero).
But it’s a great idea to use the Ledger if you just plan on HODLing for a long time, since your private keys never leave the device, making it much harder for hackers to steal your XMR.
For more information on how to use Ledger with Monero, check out Ledger’s official Monero documentation.
Trezor, another popular hardware wallet, also supports Monero. However, it’s only the more expensive Trezor (Model T) that supports it, and at 149 euros, the price is steep compared to the Ledger Nano S, which costs $59.
Best Monero Web/iOS Wallet: MyMonero
MyMonero is a popular Monero web wallet that recently came out with apps for desktop and iOS. MyMonero is developed by Monero developer “fluffypony” with the help of other Monero team members and is fully open source.
The web wallet is great for quick transactions, but we wouldn’t use it for large amounts or privacy since the website could be compromised by hackers.
The apps for desktop and iOS are also nice and easy to use. As with Exodus, you don’t have to sync up the entire blockchain.
The downside with MyMonero (beside the web wallet being a bit insecure) is that it feels a bit basic compared to other light wallets. All you can really do is send and receive Monero but if you’re a Monero fan, that could be all you need.
Best Monero Android Wallet: Monerujo
Monerujo is a community-developed Monero wallet for Android that has some handy features:
- You can choose to either run a full node (sync the blockchain) or use remote nodes (not sync the blockchain). The latter is probably better for users who don’t want to take up too much space on their phones
- You can import and create multiple Monero addresses, which is great if you have addresses that you use for different purposes like daily payments and HODLing
- QR code scanning lets you quickly and easily scan QR codes to automatically copy Monero addresses you want to send payments to
- XMR.to integration lets you pay Bitcoin addresses using Monero. Just scan a BTC address’ QR code or enter the address, and Monerujo will automatically take your Monero, convert it to BTC in the background, and pay your recipient. A great way to make Bitcoin payments anonymously on the go
On top of all this, Monerujo is also open source. One knock we have on Monerujo though is that the design isn’t so sleek compared to apps like Exodus and MyMonero. Nevertheless, Monerujo is definitely the best Monero wallet for Android if you want something that’s no-frills.
We hope this article helped you choose your ideal Monero wallet. Each wallet has its pros and cons and it depends on you as to what the right choice is.
For long-time HODLers who want security, we recommend the Ledger Nano S. For users who want to use small amounts at a time from their desktop or iPhone, we recommend the official GUI wallet/MyMonero (desktop) or MyMonero (iOS). For additional functionality like anonymous in-app exchange, try Exodus for desktop. Lastly, if you’re an Android user, be sure to give Monerujo a try.
There’s been a great deal of renewed excitement around privacy coins with increased government and corporate surveillance as well as the move towards a cashless society becoming more and more pronounced by the day. If you choose to get your hands on some Monero as a result, we hope this article can help you choose the right Monero wallet to fit your needs.