FAQ

List of common questions with relative answers and resources

General

What's the meaning of [technical word]?

The terminology used in Monero can be quite complex, for this reason we have the Moneropedia. A comprehensive list of terms that you often see and their explanation. If you don't know what a word means or you would like to have more info about it, just visit the Moneropedia. Some example of often searched terms are: node, fungibility, view key, pruning.

How can I contribute?

Monero is an open source community project. Meaning that there is no company who runs it and there is no CEO who hires people. Everything is built by volunteers or community-funded contributors who dedicate their time to the project. There are many ways to contribute:

Translations. It's easy and anybody speaking a language beside English can help. Translations happen mostly on Weblate.

Contact a Workgroup. Almost everything in Monero is managed by workgroups, which are groups of contributors (often lead by a coordinator) working on some specific aspect of the development. Some examples are: the localization workgroup (translations), the community workgroup, the GUI workgroup, the Outreach workgroup and so on. Workgroups are mostly independent and have their own structure. Contact the workgroup that interests you and ask how you can help. For a list of contacts see the Hangouts.

Do what you can do best. Are you a designer? Create Monero related images and spread them around. Are you a writer? Write about Monero. The only limit is your imagination. Find what you like to do and do it for Monero!

The Outreach workgroup wrote a useful article to help newcomers: Getting started with Monero.

More Info: Improving Monero

How does Monero have value?

Monero has value because people are willing to buy it. If no one is willing to buy Monero, then it will not have any value. Monero’s price increases if demand exceeds supply, and it decreases if supply exceeds demand.

How can I get Monero?

You can buy Monero from an exchange or from an individual. Alternatively, you can try mining Monero to get coins from the block reward.

In past, you needed Bitcoin to buy Monero, but that's not the case anymore. You can directly trade Monero for national currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, etc) or other cryptocurrencies on many exchanges. Some require KYC (proof of identification); others do not, like decentralized exchanges. On this website is available a list of exchanges where it's possible to buy/sell Monero (XMR): Merchants & Services.

More Info: How to Buy Monero (Monero Outreach)

How is Monero’s privacy different from other coins?

Monero uses three different privacy technologies: ring signatures, ring confidential transactions (ringCT), and stealth addresses. These hide the sender, amount, and receiver in the transaction, respectively. All transactions on the network are private by mandate; there is no way to accidentally send a transparent transaction. This feature is exclusive to Monero. You do not need to trust anyone else with your privacy.

More Info: About Monero

How is Monero different from Bitcoin?

Monero is not based on Bitcoin. It is based on the CryptoNote protocol. Bitcoin is a completely transparent system, where people can see exactly how much money is being sent from one user to another. Monero hides this information to protect user privacy in all transactions. It also has a dynamic block size and dynamic fees, an ASIC-resistant proof of work (RandomX), and a Tail Emission, among several other changes.

What is fungibility, and why is it important?

fungibility is a simple property of money such that there are no differences between two amounts of the same value. If two people exchanged a 10 and two 5’s, then no one would lose out. However, let’s suppose that everyone knows the 10 was previously used in a ransomware attack. Is the other person still going to make the trade? Probably not, even if the person with the 10 has no connection with the ransomware. This is a problem, since the receiver of money needs to constantly check the money they are receiving to not end up with tainted coins. Monero is fungible, which means people do not need to go through this effort.

Is Monero magic and protects my privacy no matter what I do?

Monero is not magic. If you use Monero but give your name and address to another party, the other party will not magically forget your name and address. If you give out your secret keys, others will know what you've done. If you get compromised, others will be able to keylog you. If you use a weak password, others will be able to brute force your keys file. If you backup your seed in the cloud, you'll be poorer soon.

Is Monero 100% anonymous?

There is no such thing as 100% anonymous. If nothing else, your anonymity set is the set of people using Monero. Some people don't use Monero. Monero may also have bugs. Even if not, ways may exist to infer some information through Monero's privacy layers, either now or later. Attacks only get better. If you wear a seatbelt, you can still die in a car crash. Use common sense, prudence and defense in depth.

Why is my antivirus/firewall flagging the Monero software i just downloaded as malware?

After you have downloaded the Monero software (GUI and CLI alike), your antivirus or firewall may flag the executables as malware. Some antiviruses only warn you about the possible menace, others go as far as silently removing your downloaded wallet / daemon. This likely happens because of the integrated miner, which is used for mining and for block verification. Some antiviruses may erroneously consider the miner as dangerous software and act to remove it.

The problem is being discussed and solutions are being elaborated. In the meantime, if you get a warning from your antivirus, make sure the software you downloaded is legitimate (see the guides linked below), then add an exception for it in your antivirus, so that it won't get removed or blocked. If you need assistance, feel free to contact the community.

More Info: Verify binaries on Windows (beginner), Verify binaries on Linux, Mac, or Windows command line (advanced)

Why is Monero called 'Monero'?

Monero is an Esperanto word which means 'coin'. Initially Monero was called 'Bitmonero', which translates to 'Bitcoin' in Esperanto. After the community decided to fork from the original maintainer, 'bit' was dropped in favour of simply 'Monero'.

Advanced

If Monero is so private how do we know they're not being created out of thin air?

In Monero, every transaction output is uniquely associated with a key image that can only be generated by the holder of that output. Key images that are used more than once are rejected by the miners as double-spends and cannot be added to a valid block. When a new transaction is received, miners verify that the key image does not already exist for a previous transaction to ensure it's not a double-spend.

We can also know that transaction amounts are valid even though the value of the inputs that you are spending and the value of the outputs you are sending are encrypted (these are hidden to everyone except the recipient). Because the amounts are encrypted using pedersen commitments what this means is that no observers can tell the amounts of the inputs and outputs, but they can do math on the Pedersen commitments to determine that no Monero was created out of thin air.

As long as the encrypted output amounts you create is equal to the sum of the inputs that are being spent (which include an output for the recipient and a change output back to yourself and the unencrypted transaction fee), then you have a legitimate transaction and know no Monero is being created out of thin air. Pedersen commitments mean that the sums can be verified as being equal, but the Monero value of each of the sums and the Monero value of the inputs and outputs individually are undeterminable.

More Info: About supply auditability

What is the difference between a lightweight and a normal wallet?

For a lightweight wallet, you give your view key to a node, who scans the blockchain and looks for incoming transactions to your account on your behalf. This node will know when you receive money, but it will not know how much you receive, who you received it from, or who you are sending money to. Depending on your wallet software, you may be able to use a node you control to avoid privacy leaks. For more privacy, use a normal wallet, which can be used with your own node.

Does Monero have a block size limit?

No, Monero does not have a hard block size limit. Instead, the block size can increase or decrease over time based on demand. It is capped at a certain growth rate to prevent outrageous growth (scalability).

Is Monero a mixer or mixing service?

No. Monero uses a completely non-interactive, non-custodial, and automatic process to create private transactions. By contrast for mixing services, users opt-in to participate.

Can I manually import the blockchain?

Yes, you can, but you probably shouldn't. Importing an external blockchain is very resource intensive and forces you to trust the entity providing you with the blockchain. It's usually faster to download it the normal way: running a node and letting it synchronize with the other nodes in the network. If you really need to import an external blockchain, you can download one in the 'Downloads' page of this website. Follow the guide below if you are using Windows. If you are a linux user, you can use the tool "monero-blockchain-import", which is included in the archive when you download the GUI or CLI wallets. Start syncing the imported blockchain with this command: "monero-blockchain-import --input-file blockchain.raw".

More Info: Import Blockchain

Node and Wallet

What wallet should I use?

There are multiple wallets available for a vast number of platforms. On this website you'll find the wallets released by the Core Team (GUI and CLI) and a list of widely trusted and open source third party wallets for desktop and mobile.

More Info: Downloads

I can't see my funds. Did I just lose all my Monero?

You probably didn't. It's very hard to simply 'lose' your coins, since they are technically nowhere. Your coins 'live' on the blockchain and are linked to your account through a system of public and private keys secured by cryptography. That's why if you don't see your funds, it's probably because of a technical issue. Take a look at the 'Resources & Help' section at the top of this page for a list of useful resources that will help you identify and fix your problem.

How can I connect my node via Tor?

Support for Tor is still in its infancies, but it's already possible to natively send transactions through the network and to run a Monero daemon on the Tor network. Better Tor and I2P integrations are in progress.

More Info: Connecting your local wallet to your own daemon over Tor

Why is my wallet taking so long to sync?

If you are running a full node locally, you need to copy the entire blockchain to your computer. This can take a long time, especially on an old hard drive or slow internet connection. If you are using a remote node, your computer still needs to request a copy of all the outputs, which can take several hours. Be patient, and if you would like to sacrifice some privacy for faster sync times, consider using a remote node or lightweight wallet instead.

How do I decide if I should run a full node or a pruned node?

A full node requires a considerable amount of storage and could take a long time to download and verify the entire blockchain, especially on older hardware. If you have limited storage, a pruned node is recommended. It only stores 1/8th of unnecessary blockchain data while keeping the full transaction history. If plenty of storage is available, a full node is recommended but a pruned node still greatly contributes to the network and improves your privacy.

Why does the blockchain need so much space?

When you download the blockchain, you are downloading the entire history of the transactions that happened in the Monero network since it was created. The transactions and the related data are heavy and the entire history must be kept by every node to ensure it's the same for everybody. pruning a blockchain allows to run a node which keeps only 1/8 of not strictly necessary blockchain data. This results in a blockchain 2/3 smaller than a full one. Convenient for people with limited disk space. Check out the Moneropedia entries node and remote node for more details.

Can I avoid downloading the entire blockchain?

Yes. You don't need to download the blockchain to transact on the network. You can connect to a remote node, which stores the blockchain for you. All the most common wallets (including GUI and CLI) allow to use remote nodes to transact on the network. There are multiple ways to take advantage of this functionality. For example GUI and CLI offer a 'bootstrap node' feature, which allow people to download their own blockchain while using a remote node to immediately use the network. Ways to improve the usability of the Monero network are constantly being explored.

More Info: How to connect to a remote node within GUI wallet

Why my wallet needs to be scanned everytime I open it?

Because new transactions have been recorded on the blockchain from the last time you opened your wallet, which needs to scan all of them to make sure non of those transaction is yours. This process is not necessary in a mymonero-style (openmonero) wallet, a central server (which could be managed by you) does this work for you.

Is it dangerous to run a personal node?

Running a personal node is the safest way to interact with the Monero network, because you are in full control and you don't need to rely on third parties. From a general point of view running a node is not dangerous, but keep in mind that your ISP can see you are running a Monero node.

Is it dangerous to use a remote node? What's the data a node operator can get from me?

It's always advisable, especially for privacy-conscious users, to use a personal node when transacting on the network to achieve the highest rate of privacy. Some people for convenience prefer to use remote node which are not under their control (public nodes). The convenience of not having to deal with a personal copy of the blockchain comes at a cost: lessened privacy. A remote node operator is able to see from what IP address a transaction comes from (even if cannot see the recipient nor the amount) and in some extreme cases, can make attacks able to reduce your privacy. Some dangers can be mitigated by using remote nodes on the Tor or I2P networks or using a VPN.