Monero (XMR) has become one of the most popular cryptocurrencies for its focus on security, privacy, and the complete anonymity of its users. This feature is a significant milestone in crypto, which relies on the concepts of public ledgers and decentralization to keep track of transactions. As such, many users and traders keen on supporting this privacy coin’s vision have started adding Monero to their portfolio. However, one question keeps arising among newbies to XMR: which wallet should they use for it?
Bear in mind that there’s no perfect crypto wallet for everybody. The best Monero wallet highly depends on what you need and how you intend to use it. Knowing these factors from the get-go will help you limit your options and find the most suitable wallet for your purposes. To elaborate further, here’s a quick rundown of your wallet options and the factors you need to consider when deciding which to pick:
Different Kinds of Monero Wallets
XMR wallets come in all shapes and sizes. Learning about the many different options available and the various features each one has to offer can help you determine which type of wallet to go for. Without further ado, here are the different kinds of crypto wallets that you can use for storing, sending, and receiving Monero:
As its name implies, a full wallet has everything needed to use XMR. Not only does it store your keys, but it also has its own node containing a copy of the public ledger. The latter feature is particularly important because it allows you to access the blockchain network directly. This means that you won’t be going through any third party when using this type of wallet, ensuring more privacy.
The main downside is that a full wallet takes up a significant amount of disk space—at least 50 GB, in fact. Because they’re usually too big to store or run on mobile phones, full wallets are best installed on desktop computers. Essentially, these types of wallets are high-performing but not as convenient to use.
A light wallet doesn’t have its own node. To access the ledger, it must connect to another node located somewhere else. Since it doesn’t have a copy of the ledger, the light wallet takes up less space and can be installed as an app on a mobile phone. However, using this type of wallet does mean that third parties will be involved in each transaction, specifically the developers of the wallet and the owner of the node.
To elaborate, using a light wallet won’t allow other people to interact with your coins. Depending on the wallet’s configuration, it can still offer you various levels of anonymity. For example, by connecting to another node, the owners of the node will know that the transaction is Monero-related, but they won’t see any specific details about the said transaction. Meanwhile, other wallets speed up the transaction process by storing your view key in these wallets’ servers. However, this allows the server owners to see your transaction details.
If complete privacy is a big concern for you, some light wallets do offer a compromise. These select wallets allow you to connect to your own node on your own computer. This limits the number of other parties involved, like a full wallet. At the same time, it lets you enjoy the benefits offered by light wallets, such as being able to use them on mobile phones.
A hardware wallet is an offline plug-in device that, instead of storing your coins, generates and stores your Monero keys. The great thing about keys generated on hardware wallets is that they‘re never exposed to any network connection, which makes them less vulnerable to hacking attempts. These wallets also come with security and management features to help you track your account.
However, hardware wallets still need to be connected to a computer with a light or full wallet to access the Monero blockchain. In that regard, they aren’t as convenient as light wallets, especially if you’re planning to use your Monero for everyday transactions.
If you wish to go old-school, consider getting a paper wallet. First, you generate your Monero keys and address on an offline generator and computer. Then, you write these details down on a piece of paper. Once you’re done, you store the paper somewhere safe and hidden.
The main perk of using this kind of wallet is that it’s completely offline. Unless somebody steals your piece of paper, your coins are safe. The downside is that accessing and carrying out transactions with a paper wallet can be a hassle because you need to do everything manually. Moreover, you still technically need to use a computer to access the blockchain using the information you’ve written down.
What to Look For in an XMR Wallet
Now that you know the types of Monero wallets available on the market, you can go through the process of elimination to determine the best kind and model for your use cases. Ask yourself the following questions during the decision-making process:
- XMR support. First of all, does the wallet support Monero?
- What features does the wallet have that will preserve your anonymity?
- Does the wallet have security measures in place? How does the wallet store your keys? Is there a recovery plan in case any security breaches should occur?
- Is there a working team behind this app or has the wallet been abandoned?
- User-friendliness. Does the platform have an intuitive user interface and design? Do you find it easy to understand how the platform works?
- How portable is it? Can you use it to pay for emergencies or daily needs?
- How quickly can the wallet finish a transaction?
- Customer support. Do the developers of the wallet provide user assistance? When are their customer support services available? How well-reviewed is the wallet’s customer support?
Indeed, there are many things to consider when choosing a Monero wallet. That being said, putting in all this hard work to find the right one will pay off in the end. Remember: your wallet will hold the keys to your account, so you’ll want a wallet that you can trust with this sensitive information. After all, no matter how careful you are, your security and privacy are only as good as the wallet you choose, so pick wisely.
As a final tip, don’t forget that whoever has your Monero keys and addresses controls your money. So, even if you have the most secure wallet in the world, remember to be careful when using it. Always employ best practices to keep your crypto wallets safe, and you shouldn’t have a problem using Monero.
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