Monero GUI Wallet: Is It Any Good for Storing XMR

Published: December 12, 2023 | Last Updated: November 7, 2023

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

The Monero GUI wallet is one of the two officially endorsed software wallets by the Monero community on getmonero.org alongside the Monero CLI wallet. In this review, I test the wallet and share with you what I like about it and where I found it lacking. 

Monero GUI wallet

Overall Rating 2.5/5

The Monero GUI Wallet makes life easy for both advanced developers and less technical users. As a desktop app, it is straightforward to use. Its open-source nature and the fact that it is endorsed by Monero users give it a lot of gravitas. Its major drawbacks are that it does not support other digital currencies and is not available to use on mobile. While Monero enthusiasts would consider this a benefit my methodology* scores wallet on their breadth of service and as such I rate it with 2.5 stars.

*You can read about my rating methodology in my reviews of the 20 best Monero wallets.

Pros

  • Official wallet endorsed by Monero community
  • Customizable for beginners and advanced users
  • You are in control of your keys
  • It’s easy to set up and use
  • Compatible with Ledger and Trezor hardware wallets
  • You can use it for mining XMR

Cons

  • Only for desktop
  • You might experience some syncing delays
  • Only stores XMR.
  • You can’t trade or buy cryptocurrencies on it
  • Compatibility issues for those who use Arch Linux

Background

Monero GUI is an open-source desktop wallet that was launched in 2013. GUI stands for graphical user interface and is a common way for programmers to build an app that allows users to click on buttons rather than typing in code. 

Let’s take a tour of its main features.

Features

  • Available to download as a desktop app on MacOS, Windows and Linux
  • Option to connect to hardware wallets
  • Simple mode to connect to a remote node and start being used directly
  • Advanced features to download a full node
  • Multi-language: English, German, Esperanto, Spanish, French, Swedish, Croatian, Hungarian, Hindi, Bahasa, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Taiwanese, Romanian, Danish, Serbian, Slovenian, Czech, Catalan, Turkish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Finnish, Bulgarian, Norwegian, Afrikaans, Greek, Tamil, Vietnamese, Icelandic
  • Shows you XMR prices in fiat currency

Pros 

1. Customizable for beginners and advanced users

As a beginner, you can use the simple mode to connect to a remote node.

What is a node?

A node is just a fancy term for a computer and what it means is that you are connecting to someone’s computer who has downloaded a full copy of the Monero network.

The benefit of connecting to someone else’s node remotely is that you don’t need to download a full copy of the Monero blockchain which can be more than 90GB in data.

The only drawback with using a light wallet that connects to a remote node is that you risk connecting to a malicious node that tries to collect some personal information such as your IP address. To be frank there is not much they can collect. For less technical people the simple mode is ideal.

The other alternative is to use the advanced mode and download a full node to your computer. You can do this provided you have enough disk space. This way you are guaranteed 100% privacy.

2. Self custodial

Monero GUI is a non-custodial wallet, meaning that users fully control their wallet. Your private keys are securely encrypted on your device. There is no central server with your data that is at risk of being hacked. 

3. Open source

Monero GUI is an open-source wallet which means that anyone can check the source code for vulnerabilities. 

4. Easy to use

Setting up the GUI is very easy. The app provides a nice user interface with clear instructions about the options available to you and what is going on for each step of the process.

The wallet also includes some nice features such as the ability to save frequently used addresses under an address book tab.

5. Hardware wallet compatible

If you own a ledger hardware wallet such as the Ledger Nano S or Ledger Nano X you can connect it to the GUI to manage your XMR on the device.

The GUI is also compatible with Trezor wallets.

Hardware wallets are considered way safer as they are not internet-connected. 

6. Endorsed by Monero

The GUI is officially supported, maintained, and recommended by Monero developers. 

7. Use it for Monero mining

If you operate a Monero mining rig then the GUI wallet is the best way to collect mining rewards. It hooks up to any type of Monero mining software. Most people use XMRig with their GUI wallet.

Cons

1. Only available on desktop

The wallet is not available on mobile which means you can’t use it when you’re on the go.

2. Privacy 

The remote node option means you compromise on privacy and are dependent on the reliability of other nodes.

On the other hand, if you download the whole node it means you have to have at least 90GB in your hard drive available. I know I don’t have that kind of space.

3. Synchronisation delays:

When you open the wallet you will need to wait for it to synchronize. Sometimes this can take a long time and you may need to troubleshoot by selecting another node. 

4. Only for XMR

You can only store Monero currency on the GUI. This means you will have to download multiple crypto wallets if you want to hold a portfolio of different crypto coins and tokens.

5. Compatibility with the Linux operating system

Users on Reddit are reporting that there may be compatibility or performance issues when running the GUI wallet on certain Linux distributions, particularly those based on Arch Linux.

6. No built-in exchange or fiat on-ramps

You can’t buy XMR using fiat via the wallet interface like you can with other crypto wallets. Also, you can’t swap cryptocurrencies within the wallet like you can with Exodus or Guarda for example.

How to use the Monero GUI

1. Download the wallet to your laptop or PC. 

2. Open the file and select Create New Wallet

create new wallet Monero GUI

3. Name your wallet

name wallet Monero GUI

4. On the next tab you will be given a 25-word mnemonic seed phrase. Write the keywords down somewhere safe. You can also print them. Do not screenshot them or store them online. 

recovery phrase example Monero GUI

5. In the next tab fill in the blanks using the keywords you have noted down

verify phrase Monero GUI

6. Next create a password to be able to log into the app on your device.

The seed phrase is for you to import the wallet to any device whereas the password is for managing your wallet day to day. Make sure you set a strong password. 

set up password Monero GUI

7. The next screen will show you the folder where your wallet files are stored. Click on Create Wallet.

8. Enter your password to open the wallet

9. When you first open the wallet it will say “Wallet is not connected to Daemon”. This means it hasn’t connected to the remote node yet. The message will update to say waiting on daemon synchronization to finish”. When it is finished you will be able to see your Monero balance and perform transactions. 

Monero GUI wallet interface

10. To receive Monero coins click on receive and share the QR code or copy the primary address. This is your public address that anyone can use to send you Monero

Monero GUI wallet receive interface

11. To send Monero click on the send button and paste the wallet address of the person you are sending XMR to in the send field along with the amount of XMR you want to send. 

Alternatives to Monero GUI

There is a plethora of cryptocurrency wallets catering to every need. I have a preference for wallets that allow you to manage all your cryptocurrencies from one place for small amounts and hardware wallets for larger amounts that I plan to hold for the long term. 

Monero Wallets

Multi-currency wallets

Hardware wallets

Resources

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Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

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