After a Long Wait, Monero Light (and Hardware) Wallets are Arriving
The lack of options when it comes to wallets may be offputting for newcomers to monero (XMR), but this is about to change, with light wallets reaching their final stages and Ledger will give users the chance to store XMR in a hardware wallet.
For a long time, Monero users have relied on the official Graphical User Interface and Command Line Interface wallets, with no mobile or hardware support. But that is changing. While development is going strong for Monero, public interest is not as high as it could be. Many people wonder how they can safely store and spend the cryptocurrency.
There was hope that Jaxx would integrate monero into their blockchain wallets, but in February 2017, the company announced it would cease its efforts. Di Iorio, the founder of Jaxx, cited difficulties in obtaining the required information to build a light wallet, as the privacy-focus meant that basic operations like asking a node for information were not possible.
Since other altcoins are built on the same foundation as Bitcoin or Ethereum, adding a wide range of cryptocurrencies is not to difficult. But because Monero is unique in that it is based on the CryptoNote protocol and there is not much documentation to lend a helping hand, it has been more difficult to introduce the cryptocurrency to popular wallets like Jaxx or Coinomi.
Jaxx based its work on the graphical user interface wallet, MyMonero, but as a web wallet, it is susceptible to phishing scams. Eventually, Di Iorio announced the integration would be halted.
Fast forward to September 2017, and there is hope again for wallets to support wider adoption. On September 2, the bounty for a light wallet meeting various conditions was claimed by the creator of the Android wallet, Monerujo. For creating an Android wallet where users can connect to their own node, receive and send payments with QR codes, as well as other functions, a bounty of 36.44 XMR (worth $3,414.42 at the time of writing) was awarded to m2049r, the individual who developed the software.
Soon, once extensive testing ensures the wallet is safe, the wallet will be available on the Google Play Store and F-droid, an alternative for free and open-source software.
The screenshots below show the wallet balance page and the ability to send and receive payments with QR codes.
First, you must enter a node to connect to, which can be one of your own or a remote node. Here, the moneroworld node is used. In the top bar, we enter ‘node.moneroworld.com:18089,’ which is the node we want to connect to. Once we have connected to a node so we can view the blockchain, a wallet can be created or restored from a mnemonic seed. Once you have created a wallet with your password, then you can open it and synchronize with the blockchain.
The developer of Monerujo has also helped to install a Point-of-Sale device for Room77, a Berlin pub that tested the first Lightning Network bitcoin transaction for a beer, which BTCManager reported on in April 2017. With the venue running a full node and providing Wi-Fi for its customers, the wallet can be setup as an inexpensive solution for businesses.
While a light wallet is good for new users wanting to use small amounts and those interested in accepting monero as payment, a hardware wallet is essential for the utmost security. On September 5, a developer from the hardware wallet company Ledger announced that monero integration had begun. Two months ago, Ledger laid the foundation for the adoption of monero for their Nano S and Blue devices. An alpha version is expected by the end of September.
The move from Ledger is welcomed, but the community has discussed the possibility of their own hardware wallet, to reduce reliance on any one company. However, a good reason for integration across existing hardware wallets is that consumers can avoid being directly being linked to monero. Also, with Ledger working on an implementation and plans to get Trezor on board when they release their new hardware wallet, some of the community just do not see the point of a dedicated standalone version.
Monero enthusiasts with non-Android mobiles will not be left behind though. On October 8, following the Hackers Congress (HCPP17) in Prague, Justin Smith, the CEO of XMR Systems LLC will unveil an iOS wallet. Justin will also be speaking at the HCPP17 event, which focuses on financial and economic freedom this year, on the upcoming use cases of monero for private banking and wealth management. BTCManager will be there to hear more and report on other developments from Prague over October 6-8.