Choosing The Right Wallet
What Is A Monero Wallet?
A wallet is a piece of software that holds a Monero seed, private key and public address. This allows you to both send and receive Monero.
Seed – 25 words that mathematically link to your private key.
Private Key – A long string of letters and numbers that allows you to spend Monero from your wallet. This is mathematically linked to the seed so there is no need to remember it or write it down.
Public Address – A string of 95 characters beginning with the number 4. This is what is given out so the wallet can receive Monero.
A full node stores the entire Monero blockchain. This is the most secure way to use Monero as it does not require connecting to any one individual to trust them. The blockchain is 60+ GB and growing fast, so it takes some time to download. Full nodes are only available on the desktop. Full nodes are recommended for storing Monero long term.
A light wallet is a wallet that connects to someone else’s full node in order to use their blockchain to check for any incoming or outgoing transactions. These are usually the easiest wallets to use and are available on mobile and desktop. Light wallets would be used for every day spending.
A service wallet is associated with some kind of business, like an exchange or a wallet provider, that stores the private keys for it’s customers. This gives customers peace of mind knowing there is some kind of help desk they can call. However these wallets come at a risk of the service being hacked and customer funds being stolen.
A hardware wallet is a small USB device that holds the private key and seed in an offline environment. These are also very secure, but are more cumbersome to use. Usually, a hardware and light wallet need to be used together. Hardware wallets are meant for long term savings, not every day spending.
Simple Wallet Security Model
Scale wallet security as the value in the wallet grows. Got $20 – $200 of Monero? Keep it on a light wallet to show friends. When/if it becomes worth enough that losing the wallet would cause pain, move the Monero over to a full node or hardware wallet for safe keeping. There is no need to stick to one wallet forever, don’t be afraid to change storage methods if the situation changes.