Although all Monero transactions are anonymous by default, Monero users may use the “wrong” wallet to compromise their privacy. In this article we give you an overview of what you need to be aware of if you want to send completely private transactions and which Monero (XMR) wallets are suitable for it.
Before we delve deeper into the subject, it is very important that you have a basic understanding of cryptocurrencies, cryptography and crypto wallets. Therefore we would like to give you a short theoretical introduction. If you already know your way around, you can skip this part!
As mentioned earlier, transactions on the Monero Blockchain are automatically private. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, where anonymity in the form of private (i.e. encrypted) transactions is optional, i.e. must be selected, Monero always anonymizes all transactions in terms of transaction amount, recipient and destination address. However, this anonymity can be lost.
If you are looking for a Monero Wallet, you should always consider the following points:
- Monero’s storage on exchanges results in you revealing your IP address and your identity. Since most exchanges and brokers have to retrieve and store the personal data of their customers due to the Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) laws, your anonymity is completely lost. Therefore, if you want to make private transactions, you should always use other wallets.
- It is also important to know if the wallet supports sub-addresses. These are very important because you can create different sub-addresses. The transactions then still go into the same wallet (as they are assigned to a public address) without the addresses being linked to each other. This prevents the sender of a transaction from linking further payments to your public address. Although the Monero protocol has supported sub-addresses since 2017, not all wallets offer this feature. You can find an overview of this in the article below.
Irrespective of anonymity, we would like to give you two more recommendations:1.Even before buying Monero (click here to read our guide), you should have already set up a Monero Wallet. If you buy Monero with Fiat money from a broker, you can enter your own wallet address in the purchase process. This can save you a few extra fees on some trading platforms. 2.You should keep in mind that cryptocurrency exchanges are very popular targets for hackers. In recent years, there have been countless hacks in which security holes have been found by hackers and large quantities of cryptocurrencies have been stolen. Online wallets in the form of exchange wallets are therefore the least secure and worst option for storing Monero (XMR).
Our clear recommendation is therefore to set up one of the wallets presented below and to manage the Private Key yourself.
The best Monero hardware wallets
Cold wallets in the form of hardware Wallets are the safest and best option to store your Monero Private Keys. Of all wallet types, hardware wallets offer the highest level of security that individual investors can obtain. They are also more practical than a Monero Paper Wallet.
Hardware wallets provide the best possible protection because the private key is stored on the device in an isolated manner and never comes into contact with the Internet. Even if a Monero transaction is released, the private key signature is only executed on the hardware wallet. The operating systems of the devices are programmed so that only other components go online to communicate with the blockchain. This means that hackers have practically no way of intercepting the private key (e.g. via keylogger or phishing attack).
The best hardware wallets are not only protected against digital theft, but also against “analog” theft. If a thief steals the device, hardware wallets offer different security levels so that the cryptocurrencies cannot be stolen. Each of the three hardware wallets presented below requires both PIN activation and 2-factor authentication (if activated). This means that theft of stored private keys is virtually impossible, even in the event of physical theft.
Because of this, hardware wallets are by far the safest way to manage your Monero (XMR). Especially if you want to buy larger quantities of Monero, we think you can’t avoid buying a hardware wallet. The price (of 120 Euro) for our test winner, the Ledger Nano X, is not only fair, but in relation to your investment probably to be regarded as comparatively cheap.
In the following box we have compiled an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of hardware wallets:
1.Ledger Nano X
The Ledger Nano X is our test winner out of 8 different hardware wallets, which we tested personally. The wallet is the successor of the Ledger Nano S. After the Nano S has become a little bit older, Ledger presented the Ledger Nano X in May 2019, which offers numerous new features:
- Bluetooth function: The Ledger Nano X can be operated via smartphone (via the Ledger Live App) so that it can be used as a mobile wallet. The private keys are still isolated and securely stored on the hardware wallet.
- More memory space: The internal memory of the device has been significantly increased compared to the Ledger Nano S. The internal memory of the device has been increased by a large amount. The Nano X offers space for up to 100 apps in total, so that now up to 100 cryptocurrencies can be managed simultaneously (without installing and uninstalling apps).
- Larger display: In addition to the memory, Ledger has also enlarged the display. This allows the reception addresses to be shown completely on the display, so that scrolling, as with the Nano S, is no longer necessary.
- Improved security: The central component of the hardware wallet, the security chip, was completely revised and subsequently certified by the French cyber security authority ANSSI.
Insider knowledge: The Monero App was developed by Ledger in collaboration with the Monero community. Since Monero has two private keys due to its security features, both the “Private View Key” and the “Private Spend Key” required to output the XMR are stored on the Ledger device.
Conclusion: In our opinion the Ledger Nano X is currently the best hardware wallet on the market! The Ledger Monero App makes managing and sending Monero not only secure, but also very easy and straightforward. You can find more details about the Nano X in our detailed guide and review of the Ledger Nano X.
2.Ledger Nano S
The Ledger Nano S is already a few years old and was replaced in May 2019 by the Nano X as the current hardware wallet model. Nevertheless, we believe that there are still some good reasons for purchasing Ledger’s long-standing successful model.
The most obvious reason is the very low price of only 59 Euro. In addition, the Nano S is still one of the most secure and reliable hardware wallets on the market. The Nano S has already been sold more than 1.3 million times worldwide, which clearly speaks for the quality of the wallet. In addition, hackers have never managed to steal cryptocurrencies from the device since the release of the wallet.
Conclusion: If you can live without the new features of Ledger Nano X and only want to manage a small number of cryptocurrencies, Ledger Nano S is ideal for you. You get a hardware wallet whose price/performance ratio is unbeatable.
3.Trezor Model T
Almost at the same time as Ledger, SatoshiLabs has launched a new hardware wallet with the Trezor Model T. Just like Ledger, SatoshiLabs has completely reworked its long-standing success model, the Trezor One. As a result, some new cryptocurrencies are now supported with which the Trezor One is not compatible. This also includes Monero (XMR). Using Monero’s third party software – the Monero GUI Wallet and Monero CLI Wallet (via command line) – the Trezor Model T can now send and receive XMR.
In addition, the Trezor model has some other new features and improvements:
- Touchscreen: The Trezor Model T has a touch screen that must be used to release the transactions on the device.
- Firmware Upgrade: Trezor Core has been completely reworked and improved for security reasons.
- More powerful processor: The new Model T has a faster processor, which makes operation even smoother.
- Card slot for Micro-SD: Furthermore, a Micro-SD card slot has been added which can be used for data encryption.
- USB-C Port: The “old” USB port has been replaced by the new industry standard, USB-C.
Conclusion: In our opinion, the Ledger Nano X is a little bit better than the Trezor Model T in a direct price/performance comparison. This is because the Nano X is much cheaper. In addition, the Nano X has a few more features, offers more native apps, requires less third-party software, and is more intuitive to use. Nevertheless, the Trezor Model T is one of the best hardware wallets on the market. Due to the price of about 180 Euro the Trezor Model T only came in 3rd in our ranking.
The best Monero desktop wallets
Desktop wallets are hot wallets and are programs that are installed on a computer in order to manage, send and receive Monero (XMR) via them. If one compares the security level of the different wallet types in a ranking, desktop wallets are located between hardware wallets and online wallets. They are more secure than online wallets, but less secure than hardware wallets. Compared to online wallets, they have the very important advantage that the private keys are stored on the user’s own computer and not on a company server. Thus, the users of the Desktop Wallet and no third party, not even the developers of the Monero Desktop Wallet, have access to your crypto assets.
However, this advantage also entails a great deal of responsibility. Since the private keys are stored on the user’s own computer (encrypted), the user himself is responsible for protecting the private keys from hackers. Due to the (presumably) permanent connection to the Internet, there is an increased risk of malware. This means that it is very important to keep the computer up to date with security updates for the operating system. In addition, anti-virus and anti-spyware software should be installed as a matter of urgency and should be updated regularly. In order to increase anonymity, it is also recommended to use Tor and / or VPN.
If these instructions are followed, Desktop Wallet offer a very good security standard. From our point of view they are the best alternative if you are looking for a free wallet for Monero (XMR). Below we have created an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of a desktop wallet:
1.MyMonero Desktop Wallet
Within the Monero community, the MyMonero Desktop Wallet is one of the most popular wallets for XMR. One reason for this is that the wallet is published by the core developers of Monero and is also based on open source code. This allows the wallet to be considered very trustworthy and secure. As is to be expected, the MyMonero Desktop Wallet stores the private keys locally on the user’s computer, and not on the MyMonero servers.
Unlike some other Monero wallets, the MyMonero Wallet can be set up and used without much technical knowledge. So from our point of view the MyMonero Desktop Wallet is the best because it is the easiest to use Monero Wallet. However, MyMonero makes two small compromises for this purpose, which benefit the user friendliness.
Instead of synchronizing the blockchain locally on the computer, the wallet sends the once generated Private View Key to the MyMonero server to find incoming transactions. This has the disadvantage that if MyMonero’s servers are compromised, the Private View Key will be compromised. In the worst case, the hackers can see the transactions received via the address.
Due to the stealth addresses of Monero, the hacker cannot recognize where the transaction came from. However, it is not possible to send (i.e. steal) your Monero because this requires the Private Send Key, which is not sent to the MyMonero server. The advantage is that, unlike the Monero GUI Wallet or Cake Wallet, the user does not have to wait long for the Monero blockchain to synchronize with the wallet. A further, low risk is that the users of the wallet send the transactions to a remote server, which gives them the IP address of the computer for the transaction. To solve this problem, users can use Tor and / or VPN. Another disadvantage of the MyMonero Wallet is that it does not support sub-addresses.
In addition, the MyMonero Desktop Wallet has a few features that are very convenient for the “average user”. The wallet offers a function to drag and drop QR codes into the application to automatically fill in the transaction address and a function to store addresses in a contact book.
Conclusion: If you can live with the compromises of the wallet, then the MyMonero Desktop Wallet is a very good option. It is aimed in particular at newcomers and users who do not operate a full node and do not wish to download the entire blockchain. If this is a possibility for you, you should have a look at the Monero GUI Wallet, which is not quite as user-friendly, but does not have the risks presented.
The download file for the Wallet program can be found on the official MyMonero website.
2.Monero GUI Wallet
The Monero GUI Wallet is the official desktop client of Monero, which the core developers are continuously developing. There’s a catch, though. The Monero GUI Desktop Wallet is a full node wallet: this means that the users of the wallet have to download the complete Monero Blockchain (70 GB) and synchronize it continuously. For this, the wallet uses a “daemon” (i.e. a program) that runs permanently in the background to synchronize the wallet with the network.
For the permanent synchronization of the node with the network, considerable computer resources are also required, in particular bandwidth and computing power. The advantage, however, is that the users of the GUI Wallet can actively participate in Monero Mining. All you have to do is make a few settings in the wallet and you can start mining afterwards.
However, it should be noted that this is only really effective if the computer has a powerful multi-core processor and mining can use much of the computing power of the computer. In terms of anonymity and security, the Monero GUI Wallet is highly recommended as you can increase your anonymity even further compared to the MyMonero Wallet. This is how you send your transactions and thus your IP to the Monero blockchain via your own full node (and not via a remote server).
Also, you don’t have to trust MyMonero’s servers that they will not be compromised, and you are responsible for the security of your node. In addition, the Monero GUI Wallet includes a password that protects the Wallet file with the private keys on your computer. In addition, a 25 word recovery seed phrase can be created to recover the wallet in case of a defect using the recovery seed. Another advantage of the GUI Wallet is that it supports sub-addresses.
Conclusion: Unlike the MyMonero Wallet, the Monero GUI Wallet is by no means suitable for beginners! It has a relatively simple and clear user interface. Nevertheless, a certain basic technical knowledge is required. If you have this and a powerful multi-core processor, you can easily participate in the mining of XMR using the wallet. The wallet is available for Windows, Mac and Linux users on the official website.
3.Monero Guarda desktop und mobile Wallet
The Guarda Wallet is a Multi-Coin-Wallet that supports Monero and 50 crypto currencies. The Guarda Wallet can be used as a desktop or mobile wallet. Although Guarda also offers a web wallet, this is the least secure version. The strongest security offers the mobile or the Monero Desktop Wallet.
The private keys are stored either on your smartphone or on your PC, depending on which device you use. The wallet is easy to set up, so even beginners will quickly find their way around. The interface is simple and intuitive.
3.Exodus Monero Wallet
The Exodus Wallet is one of the few (prominent) Multi-Coin wallets that supports Monero (XMR). It is one of the oldest Multi-Coin wallets and was launched in July 2016. Since then it has gained a broad user base. Currently the Exodus Wallet can send, receive and manage more than 100 different cryptocurrencies. In addition to the main function, the Multi-Coin-Wallet offers two other features in particular:
- a portfolio tracker (in 30 Fiat currencies)
- and an integrated exchange service from ShapeShift
The security and anonymity of the wallet is basically good. The private keys are stored locally and encrypted on the user’s computer and no personal data is requested before the download. Furthermore, neither the developers nor other third parties have access to the private keys. However, Exodus’s Multi-Coin Wallet also represents a compromise between usability and security. There are four problems associated with Monero that can affect your anonymity:
- Reuse of addresses: A disadvantage of the Exodus Wallet in connection with Monero is that it does not support sub-addresses.
- Closed source code: The wallet is not open source.
- Backup function via e-mail: Sending the backup by e-mail is potentially unsafe.
- No 2-factor authentication (2FA): Since there is no 2FA, hackers “only” need to crack the password via the e-mail and then have full access to the wallet.
Conclusion: To preserve your anonymity, you should rather choose one of the two wallets mentioned above to manage XMR on your computer. Due to the special features of Monero, the Exodus Wallet is rather unsuitable for sending and receiving Monero. Otherwise, you could jeopardize your privacy. However, if you consider Monero only as an investment and don’t value the anonymity features, the Exodus Wallet can be a good choice.
You can download the wallet from the official Exodus website (click here!). The Wallet is available as desktop version for Windows, Mac and Linux. Smartphone versions for iOS and Android are also available.
Mobile Monero wallets for iOS and Android
Mobile wallets have the great advantage that they can also be used on the road to manage XMR. In addition, they work on (almost) every smartphone, as the requirements are very low. In principle, they have a lot in common with desktop wallets, which is why many manufacturers now offer both a desktop and a smartphone version of their wallets.
This is not the case with Monero, however, as very few providers of multi-coin wallets have integrated Monero’s complex technology into their wallets, as is the case with desktop wallets. The following recommendations for iOS and Android are two Monero specific developments and a Multi-Coin-Wallet. Technically, mobile Monero wallets have the same advantages and disadvantages as mobile wallets for other cryptocurrencies. For example, the private keys (with reputable providers) are stored on the user’s smartphone, which gives the user control but also increased responsibility.
The topic of smartphones is even exacerbated by the fact that many smartphone users use public hotspots. In these public networks, the data to be transmitted (without own security measures) is not encrypted.
Therefore it is all the more important for mobile wallets to protect the smartphone with updates for the operating system and anti-virus and anti-malware software (if possible). In addition, a program for data encryption should be considered (VPN, Tor Browser, etc).
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In the box below we have compiled an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of mobile wallets:
1.Cake Wallet (iOS)
If you own an iPhone and are looking for a Monero Wallet, the Cake Wallet is our first choice. Compared to the MyMonero Desktop Wallet, it even offers a higher level of security and anonymity, so you should consider whether you prefer the Cake Wallet to the Desktop Wallet!
The Cake Wallet offers the essential advantage that both the Private Send Key and the Private View Key never leave the smartphone. The Private View Key is not sent to an external server. In addition, the iOS operating system restricts access to the root level, making it more secure than most desktop computers. The only disadvantage of the Cake Wallet is that it must first synchronize with the Monero Blockchain. Depending on when the wallet was created or when the last synchronization was performed, this can take a considerable amount of time and bandwidth. If this is too complicated for you and takes too long, the mobile version of the MyMonero Wallet is the better (but unsafe) option for you.
Another advantage of the Cake Wallet (compared to the MyMonero Wallet) is that it has a number of practical functions, in addition to the usual wallet functions. The wallet has an integrated Monero Exchange Service, with which XMR can be exchanged for various other cryptocurrencies. Sub-addresses are also supported.
2.Moneroju Wallet (Android)
If you own an Android smartphone, the Monerujo Wallet is our top recommendation for you. The Monerujo App is an open-source wallet developed by the Monero community, which is recommended by the Monero developers on the official Monero website and can be classified as very serious and safe. This is partly due to the fact that it is open source software and the source code can be viewed on GitHub. On the other hand, the wallet stores Monero’s private keys only on the smartphone and not on any corporate servers. Another advantage of the Monerujo Wallet is that it supports sub-addresses.
Like the MyMonero Wallet, the Monerujo Wallet is a Light Client. This means that you don’t have to download the entire Monero blockchain, which is great from a usability point of view as there are no long waiting times during synchronization. The disadvantage, however, is that the Monerujo Wallet must use remote nodes to synchronize with the Monero blockchain. This causes the same “problems” that we have described in detail in the MyMonero Desktop Wallet:
- the (unique) Private View Key reaches an external server
- the IP address of the user can be linked to the transaction
Both “problems” can pose a security risk to anonymity, even if the risk is rather low. In particular, the second problem can be solved by using a VPN and / or Tor.
3.Edge Wallet (iOS und Android)
The Edge Wallet is a Multi-Coin-Wallet, which is available for both Android and iOS. Besides Monero, it can manage 17 other cryptocurrencies and store their private keys. Among the mobile wallets, it is some of the few wallets that support XMR. A feature that sets the wallet apart from other competitors is the ability to transfer US dollars and euros to the wallet and buy Monero.
In addition, it has a good safety standard. This allows 2-factor authentication, a PIN and a Touch ID to be set up to protect the account. In addition, client-side encryption ensures that the private keys are always encrypted and protected against malware. Very practical for owners of several smartphones is also that the wallet can be used from several end devices. In addition, several wallets can be set up per account. Nevertheless, both the Cake Wallet and the Monerujo Wallet are safer.
However, if you are looking for a mobile multi-coin wallet for Monero, the Edge Wallet is the best choice as the Edge Wallet uses the MyMonero backend. To download the wallet, you can visit the official website of the Edge Wallet (click!).
The best Online wallets for Monero
Online wallets are the fastest wallets to set up as they do not require any installation or backup. Often the creation of an account is enough to be able to use the wallet with all its functions. This is also one of the main reasons why online is so popular, even though it basically offers the lowest level of security.
This is especially true for wallets on cryptocurrency exchanges, which offer the advantage that the user does not have to worry about anything (except sending). However, users transfer ownership of the private key and thus of the cryptocurrency to the trading platform. Since exchanges are a popular target for hackers, the user of the platform must fully trust that the cryptocurrencies are securely stored and protected.
Beyond the exchange wallet, there are also specific online wallets for Monero that offer much better protection than exchanges. In this category we would like to mention the very popular MyMonero Online Wallet, which we will introduce in more detail below. But first we would like to show you the (general) advantages and disadvantages of online wallets:
1.MyMonero Web Wallet
The MyMonero Web Wallet is a web-based user interface that can be compared to the MyEtherWallet. Like the desktop and mobile versions, it is released by Monero’s core developers and is very popular within the Monero community. The big advantage of the Wallet is the very fast setup, which is done with a short registration, i.e. the creation of an account. All users need is a web browser and an internet connection.
As far as the security of the wallet is concerned, it should be noted that MyMonero basically offers good security and anonymity (to the same extent as the desktop and smartphone versions). Thus, no information is stored on the MyMonero servers. In addition, the private keys are stored exclusively encrypted in the web browser. The main point of attack that all web wallets have is the login. Hackers can create phishing websites that look identical to the original and steal access data and private keys.
Therefore, the MyMonero Web Wallet should be used for smaller amounts of XMR. For long-term storage of Monero, you should use a hardware wallet or other top recommendation from us. You can find the wallet on the official MyMonero website (click here!).
As described at the beginning, exchange wallets should never be used for the storage of Monero (XMR), as they lose the anonymity that Monero offers by default. Generally speaking, exchange wallets offer the lowest level of security. Nevertheless, Binance can be a good choice if you consider Monero merely as an investment and the loss of anonymity is not important to you. Then Binance, as one of the world’s largest and most popular exchanges, can be a good option to trade over 150 cryptocurrencies, including Monero (XMR).
Apart from the lack of anonymity, you must also be aware that the Binance Wallet is an online wallet – with all the disadvantages we have described above. The private keys are owned by Binance and stored by the exchange. The security of your Monero is therefore in the hands of Binance. In May 2019, one of the biggest exchange hacks (after Mt. Gox) in the still young history of Bitcoin, when 7,000 BTCs were stolen by Binance, showed how insecure online wallets of exchanges are – even when it comes to renowned exchanges (such as Binance). Our urgent recommendation is therefore that you only use the Binance Wallet as long as you trade cryptocurrencies.
If you would like to register an account on Binance, you can do so via this link*.
In the following we have summarized the most important aspects of the use of Web wallets:
Monero wallets with Sub-Adress function
Below you will find an overview of the wallets we have tested and whether they support sub-addresses:
|Ledger Hardware Wallets (mit GUI Wallet)||Hardware||✅|
|Trezor Model T (mit GUI Wallet)||Hardware||✅|
|MyMonero||Desktop, Web, Mobile||❌|
|Cake Wallet||Mobile (iOS)||✅|
|Edge Wallet||Mobile (iOS und Android)||❌|
The best Monero Paper Wallet
Paper wallets are considered to be very secure in the Crypto community, as the Monero are “stored” offline on a sheet of paper. This makes them a good alternative to cold wallets, which are not free of charge. Since the password, address and private key are stored on a piece of paper, hackers cannot access these data.
If you want to send your Monero from your Wallet to another destination adress, you have to use a Web Wallet like MyMonero. Apart from that you can receive XMR anytime, even if you are offline. Therefore the sender just needs to know your XMR receiving adress.
Moneroaddress.org is the best known paper wallet service that generates Monero’s two private keys, a public address and a mnemonic seed for recovery. After the generation you can print the data and keep the note offline so that no hacker can gain access to your Monero (XMR).
When creating the Wallet, make sure that your PC is free of malware and that you visit the right website (danger of scam!)
Further important information about the Monero Wallet Test
The information in this article has been compiled by us to the best of our knowledge and experience. However, despite all efforts, you should always gather further information and test different wallets to find the best wallet for you.
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding our Monero Wallet review, please feel free to leave us a comment. We’ll be glad to help you! We would also be happy if you would give us a positive rating if you liked the article.[ratings]