What is monero?
The most popular privacy coin available, monero (XMR) is an open-source cryptocurrency which was introduced in 2014. What sets it apart from so many other cryptocurrencies is that it’s secure, private, and untraceable. Its origins stem back to bytecoin, which was born in 2012. Unhappy with a rumoured bytecoin premine, a community member developed a fork of the CryptoNote blockchain. This resulted in the creation of BitMonero, which faltered due to a number of issues, including poor communication. Another hard fork was decided, resulting in the creation of monero. Since then, the monero cryptocurrency has shown impressive growth, taking it into the top 10 of cryptocurrencies by market cap.
How is it different from bitcoin?
There are some differences when it comes to monero and bitcoin. While monero’s transactions are recorded on the blockchain like bitcoin, monero differs in that it protects the privacy of both parties. The sender is protected with ring signatures, which involves the mixing of the sender’s address with a group of other addresses. This makes it extremely difficult to establish a link between the sender and their address. Meanwhile the recipient is protected with the use of a stealth address, which is automatically generated and recorded in the transaction. It serves to hide the receiving address.
Another difference between monero and bitcoin is that monero is fungible. One monero can be substituted like for like for another, meaning that the history of one coin cannot be traced. In contrast, everyone can see the various transactions and trails within bitcoin’s blockchain, which means it’s more about anonymity than privacy. Finally, the Monero CryptoNight hashing algorithm limits the effect of ASIC miners. Again, this is in contrast to bitcoin, which has seen the centralisation of its mining system. Many feel that this is unfair.
Buying and selling
It’s very easy to invest in monero since it’s available on most major cryptocurrency exchanges. There’s particularly high volume on Bithumb, Bitfinex, and Binance. The most common pairs are with BTC, ETH and USD. Here’s how to buy monero based on your location:
USA: Both Bitfinex and Kraken offer an XMR/USD pair, which makes it fairly easy to buy and sell monero. However, you’ll likely have to pay by bank wire, which can take some days. A quicker method to exchange monero is to sign up to Coinbase, buy ethereum or litecoin with a credit or debit card, and then trade it for monero on another exchange, such as Binance. Unfortunately, it’s not currently possible to buy monero with a credit card.
Canada: If you’re located in Canada, you have a couple of options available to you when buying monero. One is to wire CAD to Kraken, though this method can be slow. Another is to buy BTC from a Canadian exchange, such as QuadrigaCX and use a service like ShapeShift to quickly change this into monero.
UK: In terms of buying monero in the UK, Cryptomate is one of the few exchanges with an XMR/GBP pair. Another option is Kraken, which can accept EUR via SEPA transfer. Otherwise, signing up for Coinbase and purchasing ETH or LTC via credit or debit card is much quicker. You can then transfer the ETH or LTC to an exchange that also lists XMR.
Australia: The quickest and easiest option to those of you in Australia is to invest in monero with AUD on Coinspot, an Australian crypto exchange. Another option is with LocalMonero, which lets you buy monero from local sellers. There are a wide range of payment options including cash, bank transfer and PayPal, though fees are higher.
Europe: Kraken is the best option when you’re buying monero in Europe. It allows you to make a free SEPA transfer in EUR to fund your account. You can then take advantage of the XMR/EUR pair. There aren’t many better options, other than buying another cryptocurrency by credit card on Coinbase and sending it to another exchange for trading. This is because there’s no option to buy monero with a credit card.
Where you store your monero cryptocurrency is really down to what you intend to do with it. If you’re looking to trade it for another cryptocurrency in the near future, you may prefer the convenience of keeping it on a cryptocurrency exchange. However, you should keep in mind that this isn’t the safest choice, since you run the risk of your account being hacked. If you do decide to leave your XMR on an exchange be sure to only do so with a small amount and enable Two-factor Authentication. If this is more of a long-term investment, take a look at the following wallet options, which should provide you with the necessary security and peace of mind.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal of choice when it comes to monero wallets. There’s hope that this will change in the near future as more wallets offer monero integration.
Desktop: The only monero desktop wallet currently available is the official client which can be found on the Monero website. It’s available for Mac, Windows and Linux. A desktop wallet provides greater security than a web/online wallet but is still vulnerable to viruses and hacks. It’s therefore important to take all of the necessary precautions.
Hardware: There are no hardware wallets supporting monero as yet. This is partly due to monero’s use of ring signatures which complicates the process somewhat. However, Ledger are said to be working on monero compatibility. A hardware wallet is considered one of the safest ways to store cryptocurrency.
Mobile: Unfortunately, there aren’t many viable options when it comes to mobile wallets for monero. While there are some monero mobile wallets, they’re all from third parties and none of them have established a strong reputation. Official GUI should soon be released for Android and iOS, while Coinomi is said to be working on integrating monero.
Web/Online: The main web wallet for monero is MyMonero. As this is not an official monero wallet, it should be used with some caution. It was developed and managed by one of the Monero core team, which does provide some legitimacy. However, web wallets do carry some security concerns so use at your own risk.
Paper: A paper wallet is one of the safest ways to store your monero because it’s offline and not vulnerable to hackers or viruses. However, it is vulnerable to loss, theft, or damage, so it’s important to keep your paper wallet in a safe place. You can create a monero paper wallet at Monero Address, which is an offline wallet generator.
Just as there are many exchanges on which you can buy monero, there’s a growing list of merchants and services that accept monero. This cryptocurrency is popular for the privacy it provides to both the seller and their customer. It’s well worth knowing that any business that accepts bitcoin can be paid in XMR.to, which converts your monero into bitcoin to send to the merchant. Take a look at some of the following merchants and services that accept Monero:
Azur Samui: Surely one of the more exciting purchases you can make with monero is on Azur Samui. There you can buy a luxury apartment, penthouse or villa with monero or bitcoin on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand!
The Company of Marionettes: A UK-based marionette puppet shop, The Company of Marionettes accepts monero cryptocurrency. There you can buy handmade string puppets with shipping available worldwide.
SilverRound: You can swap your monero for real silver and gold on SilverRound. Based in the US, SilverRound say they’ve been in business for 55 years. They also accept b
Crypto Games: Offering games such as blackjack, roulette, and video poker, Crypto Games is a bitcoin and altcoin gambling site. Not only do they accept bitcoin and monero, they also a number of other cryptocurrencies.
TheBigCoin: TheBigCoin makes it easier for you to spend cryptocurrencies like monero online. They claim that you can use crypto at over 50,000 online retailers, including Amazon.
How to mine
How it works
As monero is a proof-of-work cryptocurrency, you don’t need to buy expensive monero mining hardware. In fact, monero can be mined with a CPU or GPU. As such, almost anybody with a computer can mine monero. ASICs are not required and are, in fact, ineffective. By having their computer solve mathematical problems, a miner can discover a block and receive a reward in monero as a result.
How to set up
First you’ll need to consider if you want to mine solo or in a monero mining pool. Whether or not you decide to mine solo will depend on how much computer power you have. Otherwise, pooling your resources with others in a mining pool can result in more regular rewards. Either way, you’ll need to download some mining software suitable for your CPU or GPU.
A monero mining pool can help you receive more consistent rewards. The main monero mining pools are Nanopool and MineXMR. Be sure to compare the size of the mining pool, the reward type offered, and the fees charged (if any). It’s also possible to do monero cloud mining, but keep in mind that most cloud mining companies are scams. The most reputable monero cloud mining company is Genesis Mining.
Calculate mining profitability
Like with many cryptocurrencies, monero mining is less profitable than it used to be. In order to find out if it’s worth it, you should use a mining profitability calculator or monero calculator. Simply enter your hashing power, power consumption, and cost of electricity in order to estimate of how long it will take for your mining to be profitable.
How to accept monero payments
The benefit of accepting monero payment is the privacy it provides to both merchants and their clients. There are several ways of doing this. In particular, you could list your monero wallet address in plain text. This is probably the quickest and easiest way, but there are more professional options. The most popular choice is through a platform, such as CoinPayments or CoinGate. Such payment gateways should allow for easy integration through popular plugins.
E-commerce services for merchants
The main e-commerce services for merchants looking to accept monero are CoinPayments and CoinGate, which make it quick and easy to integrate monero payments on your website. Another option to consider is GloBee, which is a web application that allows you to accept a wide range of payments from card to cryptocurrencies, and settle them in monero.