Since its creation in 2013, Monero has quickly risen to prominence as the leading privacy coin. However, over the years, there has been some criticism of the coin’s default wallet software, which currently includes many advanced features that are not of use to most users.
Now, a discussion within the Monero dev community seems to indicate that the official wallet will receive a major usability overhaul as part of an upcoming release. These changes would introduce three modes: one that would retain the wallet’s advanced options, and two that would contain simplified features.
Fewer Options, Faster Set-Up
Essentially, the new simple mode would hide many advanced features, allowing users to create Monero wallets and perform transactions much more quickly. On December 19th, Monero developer dEBRUYNE-1 issued a proposal on GitHub that explained how this change would work:
“The community has long stipulated that … the GUI is not properly tailored to the less tech-savvy. [I am] proposing to add a simple mode, which would be significantly better curtailed … In a nutshell, the goal for simple mode is to let the GUI automatically connect to a remote node and remove all, arguably, advanced features.”
Simple mode would display significantly fewer steps during the wallet set-up wizard, and it would also reduce the number of options in the default wallet interface. For example, simple mode would no longer ask users if they want to connect to the Monero testnet, which is generally only of use to developers.
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Local Nodes or Remote Nodes?
A full list of features that will be hidden can be seen in the GitHub discussion, but there is one important function that will be affected by this change: the choice between running a remote node or a local node. By default, simple mode will automatically connect users to a remote node, which allows the user to perform transactions immediately.
By contrast, setting up a local node takes time, and the user must download the entire Monero blockchain — over 60 gigabytes of data — before making a transaction. Running a local node is not required, but it improves security for the user and contributes to the entire Monero network.
On GitHub, some commenters were concerned that connecting users to a remote node by default will dramatically reduce the number of nodes that join the Monero network in the future. One developer, Gingeropolous, comments:
“If we leave it as a remote node in simple mode, I bet 95% of people that use the GUI will never get their own copy of the chain.”
In response, dEBRUYNE-1 explained that an additional simple mode will make it easier for users to run full nodes — if this option is selected, the wallet will rely on a remote node until a local node is synchronized. This means that there will be three modes: simple mode (with local node), simple mode (with remote node), and advanced mode.
Monero’s Ongoing Usability Efforts
Although the overhaul of the Monero wallet may not attract many users, it will likely keep users that decide to try the coin satisfied. This is just one of Monero’s many attempts to provide a cryptocurrency that is convenient for users.
Most notably, Monero has reduced its transaction fees dramatically, and it continuously takes measures to ensure that mining is profitable for users without specialized hardware. The upcoming wallet overhaul is just one more feature that will offer benefits to users.