Buying Monero: Best Guide on How to Buy XMR Privately

Published: December 19, 2023 | Last Updated: November 19, 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.

In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know about buying Monero. I will show you where to buy Monero and the different ways to get it. I’ll also explain why people are buying Monero. For those of you who want to preserve your privacy, I will tell you the steps you need to take so that your purchase is untraceable. I will also show you what you can do with your Monero once you have bought some including which platforms you can use it on to make payments. Finally, we all take a look at the risks of owning Monero including the tax implications and which countries have banned its use. 

buying monero

Ways to get Monero

There are 5 ways to get Monero 

1. Using fiat currencies

You can directly purchase XMR on a cryptocurrency exchange using a debit card or credit card and by making a bank transfer or wire transfer from your bank account.

buying monero on kraken
Here is what buying Monero on Kraken looks like

If you use a Monero wallet it might have an integration with payment providers such as MoonPay or Simplex.

This means you can buy Monero directly from within the wallet. To use fiat currency when buying Monero, you must go through a KYC process. This means you will need to verify your identity and address.

If you are based in the US you will need to share your social security number.

When you share your personal details, if a government agency wants to trace your transactions it can do so.

Or at least it can trace you up until the point where you purchased XMR.

At that point, if you send your XMR to a non-custodial crypto wallet the paper trail will be lost.

2. Using other crypto

If you want to retain your privacy you can buy Monero tokens by swapping them with another coin on a decentralized crypto exchange.

Decentralized exchanges do not require your personal information to sign up.

However, this still assumes that you have acquired the crypto you are trading for Monero without KYC.

Perhaps it is a crypto you bought before KYC was mandatory or perhaps you were paid in crypto from a third party.

3. Mining

A third way to get Monero is to use your CPU to mine it. Mining Monero coins is not the most lucrative activity right now. It requires a high upfront investment and in most countries and states the cost of electricity outweighs and mining rewards you might receive.

4. OTC 

For large amounts of XMR, it will make more sense for you to negotiate for an over-the-counter deal with a large exchange. Here too you will need to KYC.

5. ATMs

Some ATMs allow you to convert fiat to crypto under a certain amount. ATMs that offer XMR are hard to come by but you can check this resource to see if you live close to one. 

buying monero on an atm

Where to buy Monero

1. Centralized exchanges

Not all exchanges list Monero. For example, Monero is not available to buy on Coinbase.

However, you will still be able to buy XMR coins on many of the exchange platforms. XMR is supported on the following major exchanges.

Exchanges that sell XMR

Binance SouthXchnage XT.com
KuCoin Bitbns Biconomy
Kraken CoinDCX Latoken
Bitfinex Coinut BTSE
Gate.io Cryptonex HitBTC
OKX Hotcoin Global BitHash
HTX BingX PayBito
Poloniex Pionex CoinEx
WazirX Nominex RuDEX
MEXC StakeCube Indodax
FMFW.io Graviex BigONE
Bitrue DigiFinex NiceHash
NovaDAX CoinW Tarmex

Keep in mind that not all exchanges support fiat to XMR conversion.

You may first need to buy another crypto with your fiat and then convert that to XMR.

For example, Binance only supports four Monero trading pairs: BTC, USDT, BNB, and ETH. For those based in the US, Binace.us does not support XMR.  

If you are looking to convert fiat directly to XMR check out Kraken. 

The benefit of using an exchange is that it offers high liquidity which means your transactions will go through quickly.

buying monero on fixedfloat
FixedFloat is just one of the exchanges that sell XMR without requiring you to register

Here is a list of exchanges that don’t require you to sign up:

2. P2P exchanges

Peer-to-peer exchanges allow you to retain more privacy as you are directly trading crypto coins with another person. There is no central intermediary who you need to share information with.  

i) Local Monero

LocalMonero.co is by far the most popular platform for buying and selling Monero. Make sure the site ends in .co and not .com 

On LocalMonero, XMR owners can list their Monero and declare what payment method they are willing to accept. The platform acts as an intermediary to ensure that the sale will go through. As a seller, you need to post an arbitration bond equal to the amount you have agreed to sell. Once the buyer makes the payment and confirms you have sent them the XMR to their wallet, LocalMonero releases the arbitration bond. 

localmonero interface for buying Monero
The LocalMonero interface for buying Monero

Using LocalMonero does not require you to KYC though some sellers may ask for that.  

ii) Bisq

Bisq is similar to Localmonero in that it is a peer-to-peer platform for trading Monero. The only difference is that Bisq is a desktop app that you need to download. The source code is open source for everyone to check and it does not require you to KYC. However, there is no option to buy XMR for fiat. However, you can buy BTC for fiat and then convert BTC to XMR. 

bisq network

3. Atomic swaps

Atomic swaps are a way for you to automatically trade XMR for another cryptocurrency, usually BTC, without a central intermediary. To use them you download and install a software program. However, from what I read on the Monero subreddit most people are hesitant to use them because you might end up buying tainted coins this way.  

Why do people buy Monero?

Monero preserves privacy while being one of the most compliant coins.

The creators of the Monero blockchain are funded through donations and unlike other privacy coins, the team does not take any transaction fees and did not do a pre-mine.

Monero’s privacy features mean that no one can track your XMR on the Monero Network. Also, see Is Monero Legal in the US

This is in stark contrast to the Bitcoin network and other blockchains.

On these blockchains, the public ledger is open for anyone to see. If anyone can connect your address to your name it means your whole financial history is exposed. 

Given its confidential transactions, you might think that Monero would attract a lot of criminal and illegal activity.

And while this may be true to some extent you will also find that Monero attracts a lot of liberals who believe in the idea of privacy in monetary transaction being an inalienable right.

After all privacy in financial transactions has existed for a long time in the form of cash. 

How to remain anonymous when buying Monero currency

These days it is hard to onboard to buy digital assets with fiat money without verifying your identity. Especially if you live in the EU or US. (See buying bitcoin anonymously)

However, you can leave a cold trail if as soon as you buy Monero you send it to a crypto wallet address.

Knowing a Monero address does not allow you to see what’s in it. To do that the owner of the wallet would need to provide you with the view key. 

Other factors you need to consider when buying Monero

Which wallets to use

Check out my evaluation of the best Monero wallets or one of the reviews below on which wallets to use.

If you want to maintain your privacy look for a non-custodial wallet that gives you ownership of your private keys.

If you plan on buying a large amount of Monero consider ordering a hardware wallet.

Cold wallets offered by Trezor and Ledger are the best way to keep your wallet offline. 

Software wallets

Hardware wallets

Risks: Where Monero is illegal

The biggest risk with Monero is that the jurisdiction you live in declares it illegal. Monero is a privacy-focused coin that makes use of ring signatures and stealth addresses to hide your transactions from prying eyes. 

At the time of writing countries that have outright banned exchanges from offering Monero are Australia, Korea, and Japan. Furthermore, some countries such as China have banned cryptocurrency transactions altogether. 

Tax implications of buying Monero

When you buy Monero with fiat the only thing you need to concern yourself with is any capital appreciation when you sell. So if you buy Monero at 150 and sell it for 300 you will need to declare capital gains of $150.

How those capital gains are taxed differs from one geography to another.

For example, in Germany, if you hold on to your XMR for more than a year there is no capital gains tax when you sell. On the other hand, in the US it depends on your income tax bracket. 

If on the other hand, you buy BTC with fiat and then buy Monero with BTC you may need to account for any capital gains between the time you bought BTC and sold it. Again the details differ between countries. For example, in the UK multiple closely linked transactions on an exchange are considered one acquisition as long as the transactions are fast enough.

Spending XMR: online stores that accept Monero cryptocurrency

The most popular marketplaces that accept XMR as a payment method are 

  • Monerica is kind of a Craigslist for Monero
  • Cakepay allows you to buy gift cards and prepaid cards
  • Moneromarket.io is an online marketplace similar to eBay where you can pay in XMR
moneromarket
The Monero market interface. Bread anyone?

Disclaimer: none of the above is financial advice so please make sure you do your own research

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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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