How to Buy Monero – A Beginner’s Guide
By: Ofir Beigel | Last updated: 5/3/20
Monero has gained a lot of attention due to its role as a Bitcoin alternative on the dark web. Following its success, many people are now attempting to speculate on its price. In this post I will give you a short overview about Monero and on the different ways you can buy it online.
How to Buy Monero Summary
In order to buy Monero (XMR) follow these steps:
- Get a Monero wallet (Ledger Nano X, MyMonero)
- Locate your Monero address
- Go to Kraken and sign up
- Deposit money and buy XMR
- Withdraw your coins to your wallet
If Kraken doesn’t work out for you here are some additional buying options:
That’s how you buy Monero in a nutshell. If you want a detailed explanation of the process and Monero itself keep on reading, here’s what I’ll cover:
- What is Monero?
- How to buy Monero in 3 Steps
- Frequently Asked Questions
Monero falls under the category of anonymous coins – meaning a cryptocurrency, that unlike Bitcoin, can’t be publicly tracked. Within this category you will also find two other main competitors – Dash and Zcash.
If you want a short overview of Monero watch our Bitcoin Whiteboard Tuesday episode below:
Monero achieves pretty good anonymity through the use of several methods.
Unlinkable Stealth Addresses
Address re-usage is one of the common privacy issues of Bitcoin. Receiving multiple payments to a single address allows anyone who knows your address to track its balance and all related incoming and outgoing transactions.
What’s worse is that even separate addresses in your wallet may become linked due to the way Bitcoin handles change. For this reason, Bitcoin core developer Luke Dash Jr. said that, “only a fool would use Bitcoin as it is today for darknet.”
No such privacy issues exist in Monero. All destination addresses are obscured within its blockchain, so that only the sender and receiver can identify them. Analysis of the Monero blockchain will never reveal the destination address at which one receives XMR.
Instead, only a cryptographic hash of the destination, unique to each and every transaction, is visible. Only the sender or receiver can decode this to reveal the actual address. These obscured addresses are known as “stealth addresses.”
Beyond the obvious privacy benefits, stealth addresses have a number of ramifications, such as making it impossible to determine the current XMR distribution among addresses.
The amount being sent in any Monero transaction is obfuscated by ring confidential transaction or ringCT for short. (very) Simply put, instead of broadcasting the actual amount being sent, the user transmits only a small random looking piece of information.
This information is enough to verify that the amount being sent is legit while keeping the actual amount private.
Untraceable Ring Signature Payments
Ring Signatures are a way to obfuscate the sender’s identity in Monero. Whenever I sign an XMR transaction, additional signatures are added to my own signature so its practically impossible to distinguish who sent the transaction.
The combination of the above 3 elements makes Monero a maze of mirrors for any potential tracker. No definite linkage can be determined, only the fuzzy possibility of linkage.
Step 1: Get a Monero Wallet
Using a hardware wallet will give you the security of storing your private key (i.e. your “password” offline) while easily being able to send XMR through a desktop interface when needed. The downside is of course that hardware wallets cost money.
If you don’t want to use a hardware wallet you can always use a free software wallet. I recommend using the official desktop wallet from the Monero devs.
If a lower level of privacy doesn’t concern you, the MyMonero web wallet is convenient to use and doesn’t require you to download the full Monero desktop wallet.
MyMonero is a service providing free hosted Monero accounts for those that would prefer not to run a full Monero client themselves, or for those using devices with limited resources. It was developed with the assistance of the Monero Core team.
You can access your account on any device, as long as you have access to your private login key. MyMonero never knows your private login key, and therefore is unable to spend your funds without your authorization. All of the private cryptography is done locally on your device.
Finally, you can also use Exodus – a popular software wallet that supports XMR and over 100 different crypto assets. The wallet also features a built in exchange to swap XMR for other cryptocurrencies and vice versa.
Locating your Monero address
Once you have your Monero wallet you will need to obtain your XMR address. The address is a very long string of letters (case sensitive) and numbers that starts with a “4”. Here’s an example:
Step 2: Find an XMR exchange
Local Monero is a marketplace that brings together buyers and sellers where you can find a wide variety of payment options to buy Monero.
Kraken allows fiat deposits which then allow you to purchase Monero directly. This, however, requires you to go through the exchange verification process.
Another way to buy Monero is to first buy Bitcoin or Ethereum with fiat (i.e., USD, EUR, GBP) then exchange your Bitcoin for Monero through Binance. You can buy Bitcoin with a credit card through Coinmama.
Step 3: Withdraw your coins
Once you’ve bought your Monero from the selected exchange, make sure to move it into your own wallet. Never leave your coins on an exchange, as it puts them out of your control.
Once the coins hit your wallet you’ve successfully finished the process of buying Monero.
1 XMR is equal to 136 USD
- Sign up to Kraken
- Verify your Identity
- Deposit funds (USD or EUR)
- Trade XMR for USD or EUR
- Withdraw the coins to your wallet
There is no way to buy Monero with a credit card directly. The only option is to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum with a credit card and then trade it for Monero.
The majority of cryptocurrencies are only good for speculation. Monero is one of the few I feel comfortable holding over the long term. Monero has proven itself to be both useful and (despite some of its uses) legitimate.
Out of all 3 leading anonymous coins, Monero seems to have the upper hand when it comes to technology and adoption.
Have you had any experience with buying Monero? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.