What is Monero?

If you are interested in looking at all the altcoins available and find yourself asking “what is Monero all about?”, then this article will help you gain a better understanding.

What is Monero?

Monero (XMR) is a cryptocoin launched in April 2014 that runs on a all operating systems, including Windows, macOS , FreeBSD, Linux and Android. Like all cryptocurrencies, Monero records transaction in a public ledger.

What sets Monero apart from other crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum is the focus on privacy by designing it to obscure details of the transaction by hiding the identity of the sender, the recipient and the amount of the transaction made.

The negative aspect of this privacy is that Monero is attractive to those wishing to use crypto-currencies for illicit transactions.

Monero also uses a different algorithm to most Cryptocurrencies, CryptoNight proof-of-work hash algorithm, which does not allow for users to trace the transactions in the ledger back, which is possible with currencies such as Bitcoin. Even the actual amount of the transaction is shown as less than the actual amount, and no record of sender and buyer is available for public view.

This is known as an opaque blockchain.  Users need wallets to transact with Monero which can be downloaded on the currencies website at https://getmonero.org

XMR Mining

Monero Mining Hardware

Mining XMR (Monero) is considered to be more profitable than many of the other cryptocoins and can be done by anyone with a CPU or GPU. The software required for XMR mining can be found on XMR Stak (https://github.com/fireice-uk/xmr-stak/releases).  More information on XMR mining will be discussed in follow up articles as well as information on the Monero mining hardware required to build a rig.

XMR Mining Pools

A mining pool is where a group of crypto-miners combine their resources to mine more blocks at a faster rate sand see a quicker return on their investments.  Mining pools can be focused on a single currency available for miners to choose or multiple currencies. There are a wide variety of XMR mining pools to choose from. Many of the bigger multi-pools, such as Nanopool, also support Monero mining.

These pools use a variety of payment methods such as PPLNS and PPS+.

See our previous articles on mining pools for Ethereum, Litecoin and Dogecoin

Monero Cloud Mining

Cloud mining is when miners lease the Hardware and software from a provider instead of owning their own rig. This is very different to pool-mining as the resources are not combined in monero cloud mining. Most cloud-mining providers will allow you to mine for any currency you choose as long as they have the hardware and software available.

Monero Exchange

Exchanges allow you to trade one cryptocurrency for another based on the current value of the coins.  Not all exchanges will trade Monero, so you’ll have to find a reputable Monero Exchange before you can start trading.

Because of the privacy element of Monero, it has been linked to illegal incidents such as the Ransomware scam Wannacry where the operators converted their takings into Monero.  Monero has seen substantial growth since its launch, but much of this growth us been linked to the less savoury elements of the internet such as drug dealers (https://www.wired.com/2017/01/monero-drug-dealers-cryptocurrency-choice-fire/) and other cybercriminals (https://cryptocurrencynews.com/daily-news/altcoins/monero-cybercriminal-altcoin/).

Altcoin Wallet

If you’re interested in the exploding cryptocurrency scene at the moment and have taken the step to purchasing something other than bitcoin, you’ll be interested to know what your options are in terms of finding an altcoin wallet to keep your currency safe.

In this article we’ll explore just that.

Altcoin Wallet: Why you need one

When you invest and trade in cryptocurrencies it is vital that you have a digital wallet to store and keep your money safe. Quite simply, a digital wallet is a software program that stores your coins for you by holding the keys to the blockchains that enable you to trade.

By owning the keys, you have control over the funds linked to those keys. Should someone else access your keys, which are similar to banking PIN numbers, they can gain control over your funds.

Safeguarding these keys is the main function of a wallet. For guidance on how to download Altcoin wallets, please watch the following online video:

What is Altcoin?

Altcoin is quite simply a shortening of “Alternative Coin”. Post the launch of Bitcoin, a flood of new cryptocurrencies became available on the market and these are referred to as Altcoin’s. Some Altcoin wallets can manage one or two cryptocurrencies in addition to Bitcoin and some wallets can manage multiple currencies such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin and Ripple.

Best Altcoin wallets

According to Steemit.com  the following are the best Alton wallets currently available:

  • Cryptonator: this is a multi-currency wallet that supports 19 different Cryptocurrencies and has more than 500 000 active accounts. More than 16 million transactions have been processed though Cryptonator. Registering and downloading a wallet is free but there is a rate charged on transactions which have been reviewed as being very high The keys are not kept by you on your device but by Cryptonator themselves which means they have ultimate control over your funds.
  • Agama or Komodo (https://supernet.org/en/downloads) supports 12 different currencies and is available for MAC and Windows. The keys are held by you on your computer and are not encrypted, which means you have to be careful.
  • Exodus: also supports multiple currencies and as an additional feature has Shapeshift built into the wallet, which enables easy exchange of currencies. The wallet also has charts and graphs that enable real time tracking of your portfolio. The wallet only supports 8 currencies, which the developers are not planning to increase. Suitable for MAC and Windows the keys are kept on your device and are encrypted.
  • Jaxx – is voted the second best Altcoin wallet available at the moment. It stores keys for 12 different currencies and has a friendly, easy to use interface. Jaxx is suitable for all platforms, MAC, Linux and Windows as well as mobile devices. Jaxx developers are constantly adding new coins and want to be known as the wallet that supports all coins. Keys are stored on your device and are encrypted.
  • Coinomi – The best Alton wallet based on the Steemit poll is Coinomi. This wallet stores keys for an incredible 64 cryptocurrencies and has Shapeshift built in. As an added feature it combines the value of your different currencies to give you an overall portfolio value. The keys are stored on your device and are encrypted and secure. The only downside to the wallet is that it is only available on Android and not IOS or Linux, although the developers are working on addressing this.

Regardless of the type of Cryptocurrency you are investing and trading in, ensuring you have a wallet that meets your requirements and keeps your currency keys safe is critical. When choosing your wallet ensure the security suits your environment and research the costs associated with the wallet.

Hardware Wallet

All the wallets mentioned above are online software wallets. Another option that you may want to consider for additional security is a hardware wallet, such as the Trezor or Ledger Nano S, which enables you to safely store keys offline.