Despite the emergence of a variety of coins aimed at preserving the privacy of cryptocurrency users, Monero remains a favourite of crypto enthusiasts looking to transact anonymously.
The privacy coin makes use of Ring Signatures and Confidential Transactions to obfuscate users’ transaction amounts and addresses, and Monero is completely private and fungible with all transactions being confidential by default.
This strong adherence to privacy makes the coin a popular choice and XMR remains a fixture in the top 25 of leading cryptocurrencies. Due to its growing popularity, there are also an increasing number of wallet options that allow users to receive, store, and send XMR.
Fans of Monero are able to choose from a selection of hot and cold wallet options, and can pick the hardware, desktop, web, or mobile wallet that best suits them, and here are six of the top wallets currently on offer.
Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S is one of the sector’s leading hardware wallets, and the USB like device supports the Monero (XMR) currency alongside hundreds of other coins and tokens. Using the Ledger enables anyone to benefit from the security of a cold, hardware wallet, and the device remains one of the most secure ways to store digital assets.
The Ledger keeps your private keys stored on the device and protects them from being exposed to your computer, so even in the event of your pc or laptop being compromised and infected with a virus or malware, your private keys still remain safe.
It also makes use of a proprietary, secure operating system called BOLOS, and includes recovery seed accessibility, a secured PIN code, and 2-factor authentication (2FA). In addition, it also utilizes an OLED screen that allows users to confirm operations by selecting certain options and clicking the buttons on the side of the device.
The Ledger is generally easy to use, and the Ledger Live App allows people to stay updated on their fund balances and transaction details without having to continuously reconnect the device.
The Ledger has a variety of benefits but may not be the most efficient way to store smaller amounts as it’s necessary to go through the process of connecting the device and transfer funds, while its current price of around $59 + VAT may prove restrictive to anyone looking to store more modest quantities of digital assets.
Monero GUI Wallet
Desktop wallets provide more cost efficient ways of storing cryptocurrencies, and you can manage your XMR holding by using the Monero GUI Wallet which is Monero’s official desktop client.
The wallet has a simple interface, is relatively straightforward to use, and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. The GUI Wallet incorporates a password that protects the wallet file on your computer, in addition to producing a 25 word recovery seed phrase. However, the password isn’t needed when restoring the wallet by using the recovery seed.
The GUI desktop wallet is a full-node wallet, meaning that it’s necessary to download and synch with the full Monero blockchain. This takes quite some time, and also requires significant amounts of hard drive space and processing power.
The wallet also uses a “Daemon” or program that runs in the background to synchronize with the network to scan for and process transactions. Some more advanced features include view only wallets, transaction verification, and the ability to sign a message or file using your wallet’s unique private key.
This allows users to verify and confirm the authenticity of any files, documents, and certificates being shared across the network. The Monero GUI Wallet also supports mining and users just need to specify the number of threads they want and click the start mining button. However, this is only really effective if you have a multi-core processor, and the mining process will command a lot of your computer’s processing power, with higher yields only expected for owners of specialized ASIC processors.
The wallet takes a while to get going but once the downloading and syncing process is finished, it quite straightforward to use. However, due to it being a full node wallet, and incorporating some advanced features, it may be better suited for more experienced users.
Exodus is another easy to use 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.
Versions are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users and the team have also just 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 bolster security, Exodus requires the use 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.
The team have also recently unveiled a Trezor hardware wallet partnership and anyone can use the Exodus interface to view funds held on their hardware wallet and make transfers between the two.
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.
Atomic Wallet is similar to Exodus and currently supports over 500 coins and tokens. Although exchanges using XMR aren’t yet possible, the wallet does also incorporate an exchange which uses Shapeshift and Changelly, with exchanges via Atomic Swaps planned for the future.
Users are required to use a secure password, and are provided with a 12-word backup phrase, and all user data is fully encrypted. Locally held data is secured with AES symmetric encryption algorithm while transferable data is secured with TLS asymmetric encryption.
Users’ private keys are encrypted and never leave their devices, and users retain full control over their funds. Atomic Wallet also comes with a mobile wallet option, while the desktop version is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. Another positive is that it’s built on top of common open-source libraries meaning that the community can examine the code and make sure that it doesn’t contain any malicious code or critical vulnerabilities.
While being a solid, easy to use option, Atomic Wallet suffers slightly in comparison to Exodus and is more of an unknown quantity. Also as the wallet currently doesn’t support hardware integration, it cannot escape the flaws that affect hot wallets which remain connected to the internet. As a result, Atomic Wallet may best suit anyone looking to eventually make use of the Atomic Swap feature.
MyMonero is one of the easiest to use Monero wallets, and is a web-based wallet with a simple and intuitive interface. MyMonero is managed by Monero front man Riccardo “fluffy pony” Spagni, and provides users with secure, hosted Monero accounts. The online wallet only supports Monero’s XRM currency and allows anyone to access their wallet by using a standard web browser such as Firefox, Google Chrome, or Brave.
Accounts can be set up in just minutes, and users will initially be presented with their private key on screen, and it’s important to write down or record the 13-word login key. The team have no access to private keys, as they are encrypted in the browser and not stored on any Monero servers, as a result, if you lose this key you’ll have no other way to access your account.
Although there is a lightweight desktop version is available, the web based wallet completely does away with the need to run a full node or download, install, and run any other software.
This makes it one of the most convenient options available and there are no fees attached to using MyMonero outside of the regular mining fees, and users also don’t need to provide any personal information when creating a wallet. Despite all these benefits, MyMonero best suits people only interested in a quick an easy way to send and store XMR, and doesn’t compare to the feature sets of some of the desktop wallets.
Also, as a hot, web based wallet, MyMonero is riskier than either a hard wallet or desktop wallet, and is best for dealing with smaller amounts of XMR.
Monerujo is an open-source mobile wallet with a variety of features. It makes use of an easy to understand interface and each user’s private data is stored safely on their device. The app is available to Android users and has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Play, with over 350 reviews, and has been downloaded and over 10,000 times.
Monerujo acts as a light wallet, and gives you the option of either using remote nodes to synchronize your wallet with the Monero blockchain or of running your own node. This allows the app to be lightweight, and not take up excess space on your mobile phone.
Monerujo also allows you to import and create multiple addresses, and manage multiple addresses within the same app, and XMR can be easily transferred by using the QR code scanning function. Another handy feature is the ability to pay BTC addresses, and the XMR.to service, means that BTC addresses can be paid via the Monerujo app, and users just need to scan the QR code or paste the BTC address into the send field, with the conversions being taken care of in the background.
This does away with the need to use an exchange to trade XMR for BTC and also allows anyone to send a Bitcoin payment completely anonymously. The wallet’s code has been examined and verified by the Monero community and is a handy way to stay connected to the Monero network while on the move. Again, Monerujo is best for transacting with smaller amounts with the wallet’s main downside being that it’s not yet available for iOS users.
While we have looked at six of the best options in some detail, there are other options that may suit individuals with more specific needs. These include the Ledger Nano X which combines hard wallet security with mobile device flexibility and is currently retailing at around $119 + VAT which makes it an option for people who place a priority on having round the clock access to their crypto holdings.
The Trezor Model T is another solid option, and includes XMR as one of its supported currencies; however, it is significantly more expensive than the Trezor One which currently doesn’t support Monero, and anyone looking to use a Trezor to store XMR will need to spend around $170 + VAT.
Finally, a Monero Paper Wallet is a low cost option, and allows people to store Monero securely when used in the correct way. MoneroAddress is a reliable Monero paper wallet generator and can be used offline which minimizes the risk of getting hacked or having your coins stolen. However, despite their benefits, paper wallets are declining in usage and are best suited to more experienced cryptocurrency enthusiast.
Things to Consider
While the final choice of wallet depends on the individual, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a Monero wallet, and these include:
- Security: Cold, hardware wallets are the most secure options, with hot wallets being inherently less secure. Features such as passwords, data storage, private key management, and two-factor authentication should also be considered.
- Ease of Use: Wallets like the GUI Wallet are best suited to the more experienced while MyMonero is fine for anyone with little to no experience, and each option comes with its own learning curve.
- Developer/User Community: The transparency and visibility of the team behind a wallet can prove vital to its success, while a wallet with a large user base will have a significant body of resources to tap into if you run into any issues.
- Cost: Cold, hardware wallets are the most expensive to obtain, with hot wallet options being widely available and free to use.
- Features: Some wallets support a variety of coins and/or include internal exchanges, allow multiple address generation, or the sending of private files.
- Compatibility: Certain desktop wallets are available to users of various operating systems, while mobile wallets may or may not be available to both Android and iOS users.
The best wallet to choose in order to store and transfer XMR very much depends on each person’s individual requirements. All of the above options involve trade-offs involving cost, ease of use, and security, with a firm case able to be made for either a hardware, desktop, web, or mobile Monero wallet.
MyMonero is the easiest wallet to set up and start using but as an online web wallet, may also be the least secure. The desktop options of the Monero Official GUI, Exodus, and the Atomic Wallet are more secure than a web wallet, and generally easier to use than a hardware wallet, although the more advanced features of the GUI Wallet have a sharper learning curve.
The Monerujo wallet is a great choice for anyone looking for a mobile wallet while Exodus and Atomic Wallet also provide mobile apps.
Finally, the Ledger Nano S makes perfect sense for anyone with significant XMR holdings or those aiming to store and/or transact large quantities of the privacy coin.