Monero Releases “Best Practices” to Help Keep Users Safe
Monero, one of the most prominent privacy-focused cryptocurrencies, recently released a series of pages collectively called “Monero Best Practices.”
The collection has tips for those looking to handle their Monero in the safest manner possible and has useful information for beginners and veterans alike. In total, there are seven pages with topics spanning from setting up your first wallet to encouraging users to learn about Monero continually.
All pages can be viewed here, with each page downloadable as either a .jpg or .pdf for distribution to other people. Many of the tips within their content could also apply to many other cryptocurrencies, so even if you don’t own Monero, it’s still worth a read.
A Secure Wallet is a Happy Wallet
The first of the seven talks about the basis of any cryptocurrency: a wallet. Without it, users wouldn’t be able to send or receive payments.
Some advanced wallets even allow you to interact with DApps, providing additional functionality without making the user have to go anywhere else.
In its most basic form: the user has the choice between a “hot” and “cold wallet.”
Hot wallets are typically connected to the internet and recommended to be used akin to a checking account. Cold wallets are kept offline and used more like a savings account.
This works because as long as you know the address to a cold wallet, you can continue to send funds to that wallet even if it’s online; the balance will be reflected as soon as you bring the cold wallet online.
Know Your Exchange Safely
Now that users have a safe place for their Monero to stay, the second place to worry about is where you’re getting Monero from. The page has seven useful questions you should ask yourself when considering the use of an exchange:
- Are there positive reviews available through third-party sources? Are they reliable?
- Has it ever been attacked? Was the response to the attack appropriate?
- How long has the exchange been in operation?
- Are the creators/managers known or reputable individuals or entities?
- Are you able to maintain your privacy by not sharing any personal information?
- Does the website use security precautions like captcha and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)? Does it have legitimate security certificates and start with https://?
- If you plan on reporting taxes, does the exchange allow you to download reports for easy proof of buy/sell transactions
Other good practices include double checking which addresses you are sending it to, carrying a small first test transaction, and utilizing decentralized exchanges whenever you can.
Don’t Talk About How Much Monero You Have
This page focuses more on the individual and their actions rather than technical implementations which makes it simultaneously more accessible and more difficult at the same time.
While merely mentioning how much Monero you have may not seem like a problem at first, it can paint a bullseye that hackers can take advantage of.
While it’s good to have your funds secured, it’s even better not to have them tested in the first place. Because if people don’t know if you own Monero, people looking to steal funds won’t even know to check you.
In extreme cases with governments that impose capital controls, merely saying that you own cryptocurrency could have agents knocking on your door.
Never Share Your Private Keys
A tip more targeted towards users new to the cryptocurrency scene, under no circumstance should you ever share your private key. As long as your private key is safe, the Monero stored in your wallet can’t be stolen.
Exchange support staff, Monero developers, literally no one needs your private key for anything. If anyone ever asks you for it, they’re trying to steal your funds.
Moreover, while it’s already challenging to get recourse if your funds are stolen, Monero’s transaction privacy characteristics make it even harder for you to know where the fund went.
The only thing a user should share with others is a public address for when they are receiving payments and on some occasions a view key to verify incoming transactions to your wallet.
Know Your Hard Forks
While other cryptocurrencies typically only conduct hard forks to either reverse terrible situations that affect a large portion of a community like the Ethereum DAO hack or when the code is about to undergo significant changes, Monero schedules two hard forks per year.
These hard forks are done by developers to implement several updates to Moneros codebase. Hard forks make previous implementations of Monero incompatible, so it’s imperative that users update their wallets accordingly to make sure funds are sent and received successfully.
Other times hard forks occur is when projects with different ethos or goals utilize the original projects code but tweak them. Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, as well as Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, are excellent examples.
At this point, all things that would directly affect you have been taken care of. This practice, as well as the next one, shifts the perspective from reactive to proactive.
While the previous practices have focused on building a defense, community participation isn’t necessarily crucial to keeping Monero secure but will help users develop a more intimate knowledge of the community and perhaps anticipate any potential threats that may occur.
Being involved in the community will also help users stay in the loop of what’s going on, allowing them to hear as soon as a new vulnerability is discovered, or if exchanges suddenly become compromised for example.
Seek To Learn More
The benefits of continuing to learn more about Monero is two-fold: it allows the user to navigate better and use Monero technology, as well as troubleshoot any problems that they may come across in.
It also makes them more knowledgeable, and able to spread the word about Monero to others. The average Monero user is more technologically savvy than the typical cryptocurrency user (which are already more tech-savvy than the mainstream audience), so it’s hard for Monero to acquire new users that may have trouble building a wallet in a command line.
Not Just Practices For Monero
Like stated earlier, many of these concepts could easily be adapted and used for any cryptocurrency so regular users of cryptocurrency would benefit from browsing through this series.
As privacy concerns rise, demand for currencies like Monero will increase. Literature like this will enable users to utilize Monero better, and help the community grow overall.