Monero (XMR) is a cryptocurrency system that focuses on privacy, security and most importantly claims to be totally untraceable. While it was originally founded as the Bytecoin blockchain in 2012, the currency was forked to create Bitmonero, which was ultimately renamed Monero.
Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts are exchanging a portion of their holdings for Monero. However, many newcomers to the 12th most popular cryptocurrency system on Earth find themselves overwhelmed or confused. One of the most common questions asked is, “How do I choose the right wallet for my Monero (XMR)?”
There are four different categories of wallets available for this cryptocurrency:
- Mobile Wallets
- Hardware Wallets
- Hosted Wallets
- Desktop Wallets
Monero GUI Wallet (Desktop)
This wallet is the most powerful and complete option that Monero users have at their disposal. This wallet can operate on most operating systems and is entirely full-service. From an easy-to-navigate interface, you may engage with any function of Monero right from the comfort of your desktop machine.
Because the GUI wallet is so powerful, it does require a degree of processing power and hard drive space in order to download and sync itself to the desktop. For those with machines that might not be up to the task, specifically a machine that cannot be dedicated specifically to operating the Monero GUI wallet, this may not be the best option.
However, if you are looking for a full-service wallet to send, receive and manage XMR funds, the desktop GUI wallet is the most powerful choice.
Ledger Nano S (Hardware)
This ultra-convenient wallet is the most popular Monero hardware wallet available today. While the Ledger Nano is popularly with Monero enthusists, it also supports a host of other currencies like Bitcoin, Ripple and Stellar.
Security is a very important part of the principles that drive Monero as a private and anonymous means cryptocurrency. Any hardware wallet needs to have bolstered security options for its users. The Ledger Nano S, which comes as a discreet and unassuming USB device, has a number of security features to protect your information. It also makes it as easy as possible to manage your XMR on the blockchain.
Features of the Ledger Nano S include:
- Simple 2-button operation
- Display screen
- Companion app, which makes it easy to manage your currency
- Security chip that stands against even advanced attacks
- Secured PIN code
- Recovery seed accessibility
One big drawback of the Ledger Nano is that like the Desktop GUI wallet, it requires a computer to spend Monero. For people that intend to use their Monero regularly for purchases, a mobile wallet is likely a better option.
Security is of the utmost importance in the storage and management of cryptocurrency. Even one small vulnerability in your wallet can expose you to all kinds of risks. Edge, which many believe to be the best mobile Monero wallet, is designed to maximize the three most important aspects of a mobile wallet: privacy, security and ease of use. This focus on protecting your data has prompted tens of thousands of users to entrust millions of dollars in cryptocurrency with the Edge mobile app.
Since 2014, when Edge started as Airbitz, it has been the go-to mobile wallet for those worried about the dangers of cryptocurrency security breaches while still needing quick and easy transactions. As a trusted name in blockchain security, Edge has been integrated into numerous top-tier blockchains platforms OpenLedger and Augur. There is no mobile application available that provides better and more comprehensive security for your cryptocurrency.
This simple and convenient web wallet was created by a core member of the Monero cryptocurrency team and hosts secure, private accounts for it users. For those who are intimidated by the interface of the Monero GUI desktop wallet or don’t wish to run a full node, MyMonero is the most trusted, and thus most popular, web wallet for XMR. For simple storage and exchange of XMR, many users have opted for this web-hosted wallet.
There are, however, some downsides to using MyMonero. The biggest downside is that it does leave users exposed to security risks, especially if they are frequent users of the hosted wallet. Using a hosted wallet means that users don’t control their own cryptocurrency and are putting all their trust in others. As high-profile hacks, like that of the MTGox Bitcoin exchange, have shown, hosted wallets are vulnerable to hackers.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Monero Wallet
So now that you have an idea of the most popular Monero wallets on each platform, it’s time for you to make a selection. You need to pick the right wallet for your needs. Ask yourself questions like:
- What is the interface like? Can I use it easily?
- What protections and features to protect my privacy does each wallet have?
- How secure will my XMR be from theft with this wallet?
- Is there a way to get support from the wallet’s provider if I run into issues?
- Is this wallet under development, or is it an older wallet that no longer receives improvements and upgrades?
- Is this wallet generally well-reviewed by people looking for the same features and security as myself?
There aren’t very many wallets that operate with Monero, but that doesn’t mean that they are all safe place to put your funds. It is best not to become overwhelmed with an interface that you can’t navigate or privacy options that you don’t understand or feel comfortable with. Try to find the sweet spot between security and ease of use that will guarantee you have a good experience and keep your funds safe.