While the internet has become an integral part of everyone’s life, over time people have realized that a lot of companies are breaching into the privacy of individuals. With increasing instances of these breaches, privacy slowly started gaining importance and now is becoming an increasingly important and modern issue.
With the advent of cryptocurrency and decentralized blockchain, a lot of people felt that the world finally had a solution to tackle privacy issues. But with time all major currencies including bitcoin did leave a trace which made them not completely private. The hunt for the privacy led to crypto developers discover a new coin that used techniques which help in increasing the privacy of a transaction. One such result was Monero a truly anonymous digital cash which is untraceable. For which, you will definitely need a wallet to store your XMR. So, today here we are reviewing the best Monero wallets available right now.
What is Monero?
The hunt for a privacy coin led the discovery of Monero, which was launched in April 2014. Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol devised by pseudonymous author ‘Nicolas van Saberhagen’. While Monero did provide function like other blockchain tokens and currencies, at its core, the token is an open-source cryptocurrency which focuses on privacy and decentralization. So far, just over 17 million XMR have been mined, with a total market cap in excess of $1.61 billion dollars. This ranks Monero 13th among all cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization and interest in the cryptocurrency has subsequently ballooned.
How Does Monero Function?
While Monero is very similar to most cryptocurrencies and uses a public ledger to record transactions and the new units are created through mining, there are few things that this coin does differently to enhance privacy, security and traceability. This is mostly achieved through a number of innovative features, like stealth addresses and Ring signatures.
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It all starts with Monero Wallet address which is a 95-character string and comprises two sets of private and public cryptographic keys. For a transaction to take place with Monero, the sender uses the receivers public view key and public spend key, as well as some random data to generate a unique, one-time public key. While this key is publicly seen on Monero’s blockchain, only the parties involved in the transaction are aware of the details of the transaction.
Once the transaction is through from the sender’s end, the receiver’s wallet scans the blockchain with his private view key, until the right output is found. Once the wallet finds the right transaction details, it calculates one-time private key which corresponds with the one-time public key generated earlier. Now the receiver can spend the XMR’s that he receives using his private spend key.
While this mock transaction explanation did highlight how Monero functions its necessary to understand the critical technical pieces that make Monero unique- Stealth Address, Ring Signatures, and Kovri.
In simple terms, stealth address is a unique, one-time address which is created for every transaction by the sender on behalf of the recipient. These addresses form a real crucial part in Monero’s privacy agenda. In every transaction, a stealth address (also known as a one-time public key) is automatically generated and recorded as part of a transaction. This indicates who has permission to spend an output in a future transaction.
As an observer viewing this information from the outside, because of stealth addresses, is able to see the transaction on the public ledger but is unable to decipher any information related to the transaction.
The second part of the privacy puzzle of Monero is the technique that is known as ring signatures. Ring signatures ensure that transaction outputs are untraceable. They achieve this by mixing the spender’s output with past outputs pulled from the blockchain making the transaction completely untraceable.
While Ring signatures did the job perfectly, the Monero Labs Core Team just improved it in January 2017 by introducing Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT). This was invented by Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell, and manages to hide transaction amounts from third parties.
The third and the last part of the privacy puzzle is called Koveri, which prevent third parties from tracking transactions across nodes. It is a software which hides IP addresses of the parties involved in the transaction thus allows transactions to be sent more privately than ever before.
Kovri tunnels traffic through the I2P network, utilizing Garlic encryption and Garlic Routing. This allows information to travel within a private overlay network, and is additionally encrypted each time it is passed on. Peers are not able to read the information which is being relayed. This creates an anonymous network of Monero users protected from censorship and surveillance.
Top Wallets for Monero
As it has been established that Monero is not a usual coin and its technical differences make it different for others, the wallets used by Monero holders are also very different and unique in their own way.
By far the best wallets are the official wallets that are released by the projects to store their coins and Monero GUI Wallet is just that. It works as a desktop app with a graphical user interface. While syncing and downloading this wallet is a lengthy process due to the enhanced security features involved, the wallet is still one of the most robust wallets available for Monero.
The wallet has a less complicated interface and relatively easy and straightforward to use. The wallet is available across platforms and can be used by Windows, Mac, and Linux users. The GUI Wallet puts together a password which protects the wallet file on the user’s computer, in addition to producing a 25-word recovery seed phrase.
The biggest advantage that Monero GUI Wallet has over other wallets is that it is easy to use for people who aren’t really savvy with cryptocurrency wallets and associated security concerns. The level of access that the wallet offers makes it the ideal candidate for the holders who want to get in on trading Monero but would not want to use something complicated or perhaps buy an expensive hardware wallet.
MyMonero is another popular wallet which was developed by a member of the team behind Monero itself. This wallet is the easiest to use but lacks in providing the much-needed security and anonymity that some Monero holders may desire. The wallet is a web-based and allows users to create an account and check out their Monero holdings there through a web browser.
The wallet does secure the User with a 13-word password which the user needs to keep handy and secure for the long term making it the biggest drawback to My Monero. Most cryptocurrency wallets like the Monero GUI and Ledger Nano S work as either local apps or are stored on devices. Since Monero’s calling card is anonymity, a website account access seems to be undermining that advantage.
My Monero is loved by users need a problem-free alternative for keeping Monero without running a full node.
Ledger Nano S one of the best hardware crypto wallets available to this date which is capable of handling the users Monero holdings. One of the biggest advantages of Ledger Nano S is that it is in hardware wallet which is versatile and portable. Users can easily load it up to a USB stick to enable access to their wallet from wherever they wish across the globe.
Not only that, Ledger Nano S also supports a ton of different cryptocurrencies and even some altcoins such as Stellar, Ripple, Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum Classic making it a one-stop wallet solution. If a user is buying Monero and probably place a huge premium on security – Ledger Nano S is the best choice. The wallet is not only does equipped with two-factor authentication but also a PIN-code and recovery seed accessibility. That makes it pretty airtight when it comes to keeping your funds secure. It also has an OLED screen so that you can review transaction details at the click of a button.
This wallet was made as an open source Android mobile app to store and transfer XMR. Since the code is open, it has been properly analyzed by independent testers from the Monero community and confirmed to be free of any malicious code.
Monerujo keeps running as a light solution, giving users the right alternative of managing their own node with the Monero blockchain. The app is lightweight and only requires a few megabytes on the user’s mobile device.
Even though the app is light, Moneroujo is jam-packed with functions and features. The wallet allows the user you to import or generate numerous addresses, so they can manage their XMR deposits between several sub-accounts on one app. This can be helpful when the user utilizes several wallets for different purposes – one for prolonged holding and another for trading and purchases.
Monerujo utilizes the inbuilt QR code reading tool which facilitates the tasks and eliminates the need to type long Monero addresses. Another convenient element is the XMR.to service in the app which allows users to send XMR to a BTC address, automatically turning into Bitcoin. The entire process runs on the background, so it’s hassle-free and very convenient when one wants to make online purchases while staying anonymous. This feature although is missing from the IOS version yet.
5. Cake Wallet
If the user is an IOS user then Cake wallet is one of the best Monero wallets that is available. The wallet has an extremely clean and intuitive user interface which is a huge advantage as some of the other similar apps have a more complex interface which might be intimidating for new users.
Although this a Monero wallet app, it comes equipped with a built-in exchange for other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Dash. The only major downside of this app is the lack of compatibility with Android devices. Other than that, if you are an IOS device user and looking for a clean and intuitive way to manage your Monero, Cake wallet is a safe bet.
Guarda happens to be the most versatile crypto depositaries that is available today. Along with Monero the wallet supports various currencies such as Dash, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar Lumens, Ethereum, Zcash, Ripple making it a good jack of all trade’s wallet. Unlike desktop options, it’s very lightweight and intuitive. Convenience isn’t restricted by that only – Guarda is compatible with two popular mobile OS iPhone’s IOS and Google’s Android, and runs well in both cases.
The most important point with Guarda is that it doesn’t keep any customer data or private codes. The personal key stays in the gadget’s secure memory and erases when the users end the session. Another reason that Guarda is popular is that it allows users to move from one coin then onto the next easily, without KYC procedures and limits that complicate verification operations.
7. Monero Paper Wallet
Monero Paper Wallet is one of the most intense ways to store the Monero but it offers the most secure and anonymous option. To explain in a nutshell, paper wallets are just a means of printing a paper as ones Monero Wallet to store the users Monero Wallet seed.
It might sound trivial but in reality, there are a series of security measures that need to be followed to ensure the reliability of the wallet. For instance, during the creation of the wallet, it is highly recommended to use a device which only had a clean installation of the operating device or an air-gapped computer that has never been used before. Besides, the use of a printer to print the seed onto the paper wallet is also highly unadvisable as most commercial printer firmware aren’t security hardened.
Due to the number of steps required to create a highly secure and reliable paper wallet, It’s tough to recommend the same new users or people who don’t really know what they’re doing. That said, it’s pretty tough to crack this wallet if not impossible. If security is the top priority and is placed above convenience, Monero Paper Wallet is the best option available.
8. Edge Wallet
A relatively new kid on the block, Edge wallet was released in February 2018 and is well capable of handling Monero. Not just Monero, Edge allows its users to work with various crypto assets, including XMR, BCH, ETH, BTC, and some ERC-20 tokens.
Edge wallet is available for different mobile platforms, but they still don’t have a windows version. One of Edge’s most prominent qualities is its perfect and user-friendly UI. Another thing that stands out for Edge is that it allows users to trade crypto assets right in the wallet. The wallet achieves this as it has collaborated with Glidera (one of Kraken’s affiliates) and charges a 1% commission for this service.
In terms of security, the wallet is loaded with various security tools that guarantee users that their assets stay untouched by hackers. Using two-factor confirmation (2FA), the user needs to type in a unique code sent onto their cell phone each time for authorization.
9. Trezor T
Until recently, Trezor did not support Monero. Trezors Model One still does not support XMR. However, the new T model Monero was one of the key coins along with others to find support with Trezor One of the distinctive highlights of the Trezor wallet is its design. It’s a little gadget about 5-7 inches long connected via a USB wire. It can even be safely used on PCs with malware.
Its menu is managed via Google Chrome or Trezor Bridge – it’s not very complicated in navigation, so even new users will gradually understand the rules of the game. The Trezor wallet is made to be flawlessly connected with your Trezor gadget, helping clients control their coins, start exchanges and check the balance. Trezor allows adding an unlimited number of public addresses as needed to manage numerous payments.
In general, the Trezor UI is intuitive enough to navigate, however, it gives some considerable additional components to security that other different wallets don’t. Prior to sending your XMR, users need to get familiar with the Trezor system and how it works to avoid mistakes that could result in losing crypto.
Trezor is one of the safest options so far. An offline depositary is impossible to hack without accessing the gadget. There is typically a compromise between security and comfort, but Trezor offers both! To keep coins secure and disconnected, you basically simply need to transfer them on your device and hide it.
10. Exodus Wallet
Exodus is another easy to use the wallet and incorporates a clean and intuitive design. The wallet currently supports over 100 different digital currencies including XMR and portfolio balances can also be displayed in over 30 fiat currencies.
The wallet has its versions available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users and the team have also recently released a mobile app. In addition to being a crypto wallet, the Exodus desktop client also contains a portfolio tracker and a built-in cryptocurrency exchange and operates as a light node which means there is no need to download the Monero blockchain as it requests the relevant data from full nodes on the network.
To provide increased security, Exodus uses of a secure password and provides a 12-word recovery seed phrase; furthermore, users’ private keys and transaction data are encrypted and stored locally on their devices and the wallet can be used without submitting any personal information.
Despite all this, Exodus isn’t 100% open-source, and requires a higher level of trust in the development team. Also, as a desktop wallet, it’s less secure than a Ledger or Trezor and is best suited to storing less significant amounts.