How To Buy Monero (XMR) – Essential Guide 2018

Acceptance of cryptocurrency continues to increase as it attracts users and proves itself in the market. One popular cryptocoin is Monero, a “privacy coin” focused on technology-enabled true anonymity.

The outlook for this altcoin is very positive and deserves a look, whether you are a crypto newcomer or an experienced user looking to diversify. Here’s an overview of Monera and its trends, and how to purchase some your own if you want to join in.

Monero: The Closest Thing to Cash

The non-traceable and independent nature of Monero has caused the digital currency to be hailed as a financial instrument that has many attributes of physical money. Unlike Bitcoin or other ‘transparent’ cryptocurrencies, Monero is designed to be fungible, meaning that one unit can be substituted for any other unit interchangeably.

Yet there is no centralized authority: in a sense, you are your own bank. Wire transfers and holding periods and chargebacks are free. This has fueled interest in Monero as a transnational means to store value and transact safely.

Introduction to Monero

Monero was launched in 2014 as a decentralized, open source cryptocurrency designed from the ground up for privacy and anonymity. By default the altcoin hides the amount and identification of those involved in each transaction. Since its creation, Monero has gained reputation and size, and has gained adherents as a truly untraceable “privacy coin” with a promising future.

Monero is our choice as the premier cryptocurrency for privacy, as we said last year. As further evidence of its worth, the cryptocurrency’s value rose sharply last summer with an impressive rally during the latter half of August.

Several factors played a part in the rise, including a general uptick in privacy-focused alternative coinage, but the main reason was acceptance of Monero for trading on Bithumb. Since then the altcoin has seen steady adoption in darknet markets (DNMs), including the entrance of Libertas as the first Monero-only DNM.

Why Monero?

Everyone knows about Bitcoin and its famous independence from governmental regulation, but the digital currency has real privacy concerns imbedded in the process of creating, or mining, an actual Bitcoin. Because of how Bitcoin’s blockchain entries are maintained within each unit, identities of all transactions in their blockchain are “transparent” and can be revealed.

Newer cryptocurrences like Monero are being created to ensure privacy in a real and absolute way. The underlying software that runs Bitcoin and Monero is called CryptoNote, a protocol that has been forked into many cryptocurrencies. CryptoNote is designed for private transactions, and Monero is an advanced implementation of that mission.

The difference is that Monero isn’t based on Bitcoin, but on another anonymity-focused CryptoNote altcurrency. In fact Monero is one of the rare few cryptocoins not forked from Bitcoin, and therefore does not have any inherited transparency issues. User privacy is protected and untraceable as a priority of the system, operating in line with all its foundational code.

Monera has other differences from older popular cryptocurrencies. The altcoin’s dynamic block size has some issues, but the change is meant to answer the limitations of Bitcoin. Monera implements an ASIC-resistant proof of work. Beyond the existing program, active development is ongoing to improve for the future and to counteract any deficiencies.

Monero: Latest Updates

Despite regulatory challenges, Monero continues to expand and reach new milestones. On May 13, the anonymity-prizing OpenBazaar added Monera, and a number of recent developments point to a growing interest in an improving consumer product.

Monero Goes Graphical

In a sure consumer milestone, the official Monero wallet doesn’t make users struggle with a DOS-era command-line interface. The new interface makes Monero much more approachable and reputable to the mainstream consumer. The app has a clean graphical user interface (GUI)— though this is hardly any guarantee of higher adoption, remember Windows was once thought a gimmick no intelligent user would need. GUI matters, a lot.

Increased Speed

The new Monero GUI wallet syncs faster with its blockchain after the release of version 0.11—about 4x faster. This is a welcome advance, because full privacy mode can be tough if you have a slow connection.

XMR-based Web Mining Causing Quakes

The controversial Coinhive JavaScript miner is pioneering a new revenue stream by having visitors mine XMR altcoinage through their browsers. On the positive side, this product could greatly increase market adoption and mining production for Monera. The issue is one of permission, and the dangers of appropriating mining resources from unsuspecting visitors by installation of the script. Since Coinhive allows for Monera web mining to take place even in redirects and spam-prevention efforts, there may be potential for risk on the horizon as well as opportunity.

Ledger Hardware Wallets Adds Option for Monero

Ledger’s Blue and Nano S hardware wallets for cryptocurrencies recently announced plans to offer support for Monero. This addition to the popular multi-currency wallet takes another step to higher adoption for the cryptocoin, by making Monero much more convenient to store.

Monera Critics Coming on Board

Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell has dismissed Monera in the past, but he has changed his stance regarding it’s relative value and potential future developments in the altcurrency. Online on Reddit, Maxwell called Monera “an interesting alternative and far more valuable than almost all other altcoins…” Doubtless the improved assessment is helped by the responsive developer team and continued upgrades to Monero, and it shows that the cryptocurrency is gaining respect from those in the know.

What Makes Monero Happen

The cryptocurrency can run on Windows and Apple and Linux machines, and through an app on Android and a growing number of systems. The decentralized CryptoNote protocol harnesses three primary technologies to supply Monero with its capacity for anonymity: stealth addresses, ring signatures, ring confidential transactions (RingCT). Together these processes work to hide the sender, receiver, and amount of a transaction.

Among these privacy tactics, the real strategy is in its use of CryptoNote’s “ring signatures.” In this design, transaction signatures are shared by a group of multiple members, rather than individuals. It is like sharing a key: it is impossible to know which member unlocked the door without further knowledge. Monero works very hard to deny such further knowledge.

This untraceable feature has made Monero a top privacy-oriented cryptocurrency. The outlook is very positive, because the altcoin’s focus on privacy reflects a popular concern. The fan base is growing for Monero, and more are joining the bandwagon.

 

The future of Monero

Additional development continues as Monero invests in ever-increasing privacy measures. A new algorithm by Bitcoin’s Core developer Gregory Maxwell was introduced in 2017 to further protect the financial amounts from outside view, and the foundational code of Ring Signatures has also been upgraded in recent months.

Because CryptoNotes is founded as a common protocol for an unlimited number of anonymous cryptocurrencies, the platform’s software team has a continuing and Monero-independent incentive to continue the development of its privacy protection technology. The underlying protocol that powers Monero is shared by other privacy-concerned currencies, a separation of interests which is healthy and more stable while still remaining dynamic. In other words, Monero is poised to maintain its technological competency as an advantage into the future.

There are of course issues, as with everything new. There have been negative reviews from law enforcement around the world, because the privacy features have proven attractive to dark markets. Entrenched interests must necessarily resist cryptocurrency, since it is directed against their own abuse of trust. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon summed that view by claiming cryptocurrency is “going to be stopped … no government will ever support a virtual currency…” Dimon seemed to be making the point of altcoins without knowing it.

Pros & Cons

Obviously the main feature is privacy, but beyond that Monero has features—and challenges—that you want to consider.

Pros

  • Private by design, Monero is fungible like money. Any unit can be exchanged for any another.
  • The focus on privacy is backed up by performance. Governmental action and legal discovery have attempted and failed to break through the altcoin’s anonymity.
  • It’s not based on Bitcoin, so Monero has no built-in transparency or trackability.
  • The solid and responsive development team is engaged with the product and market conditions.
  • The privacy coin is gaining adherents who increasingly see Monero as best-in-breed anonymous cryptocurrency.

Cons

  • Lacks usability. The privacy features add a layer of authentication effort to verify and complete transactions, so by its nature the cryptocoin will be more cumbersome than transparent competitors.
  • No one is in control of Monero. Anonymity does raise the risk of sending the altcoin to people you don’t know and can’t track. Also, without centralized authority, it is untested how the valuation mechanisms operate over time.
  • Unsavory associations with dark markets. Though there is nothing illicit in exchanging currency with willing partners, the unknowable source of that money has cast Monero in a poor light. Perhaps the popularity can be seen as proof of performance, because acceptance has continued to increase as Monero works to move beyond the shady image.
  • The possibility for CPU mining of Monero in browsers has brought in bad actors to distribute code to hijack victims’ systems. This is creating a vulnerability of untoward regulation, but there are actions being taken to curb abuse.
  • The price of Monero has been subject to surges and falls. This volatitily can be good or bad, depending up your situation, but there’s no doubt it hurts the crytocoin’s credibility even as it offers an opportunity to traders.

III. How to Buy Monero

Two main ways to purchase Monero are (a) directly from an individual, or (b) to use an exchange to buy Bitcoin using regular currency (USD, EUR, GBP) and trade them for Monero. Additionally, you can create Monero by “mining” it digitally and receiving the reward.

Step 1: Choose an Exchange

Take time to look for the exchange you want to buy from. Below are a few popular places to deal in Monero … and there are new exchanges getting popular all the time.

Basically, when you buy Monero online, you’ll first need to buy Bitcoin to exchange it in. Monero’s transactions aren’t viewable on a public ledger, but Bitcoin’s are. This may influence your transaction, since Bitcoin will leave a trail.

Local Monero is a website that connects local buyers and sellers. The service facilitates buying Monero for cash offline in a secure local spot. This makes buying Monero more anonymous than using a typical online exchange which requires Bitcoins.

In keeping with the need for anonymity, the company doesn’t maintain IP logs, and only retains trade chat archives for 180 days for potential dispute mediation. All logs and attachments are un-watermarked and encrypted, and users don’t need an email address, just a location.

Kraken (https://www.kraken.com/) is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. It launched Monero (XMR) trading in January 2017. You can deposit funds to purchase Monero, just be aware you will be evaluated during their review process.

Step 2: Obtain a Monero Wallet

There are several official Wallets you can download, including versions for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, ARM, DragonFly BSD, and Free BSD.

Most Wallets can be run on full privacy mode for maximum anonymity. This process was recently updated for faster syncing, but it can still seem slow because you are copying the entire blockchain. The computer will request a copy of all output data, so slow connections may require your patience.

You can sacrifice privacy for reduced syncing time by using a lightweight wallet. There is a convenient, lighter privacy model called My Monero you might check out.

Make a secure backup of your wallet’s mnemonic seed for recovery purposes, and keep it safe. These are 25 words you keep in confidence, and you need them to restore your account. Also note the payment ID of your receiving address.

Step 3: Buy Monero!

You can use a credit card to buy Bitcoin through Coinbase or Coinmama if you live in the US, and use Changelly to finalize your Monero exchange for the Bitcoins. Using a credit card to buy Monero directly on Changelly is quite expensive.

European buyers are able to buy the Bitcoins from BitPanda or Cex.io that are used for Monero at Changelly. If you wish to avoid Changelly, a variety of exchanges support trade of Bitcoin for Monero: Bitfinex (outside the US), HitBTC, Poloniex, Bithumb, Bittrex, and Kraken.

After you’ve purchased your Monero, be sure to move it into your wallet. You want to have them under your own control. You can celebrate the event–you’re a proud new Monero owner!

Summing Up

Monero is great for anyone who wants additional privacy in their cryptocurrency transactions. Transactions in Monero are completely private and anonymous; this has trade-offs, but it’s important to have an altcoin committed to real privacy.

There are challenges, in part because of the early illicit clientele that adopted Monero and continues to exploit its anonymity. The technology is proving its staying power by being just what it claims, however, and there is no doubt the developers are serious about their mission of privacy. The volatility of Monero’s price reflects both its opportunity and risk, but we can recommend it as an altcoin with some unique upsides that is a winner in a growing market.

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