How to buy Monero anonymously

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monero anonymizing itself under localmonero mask

1. What is Monero?

As per Wikipedia: Monero (XMR) is an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on fungibility, privacy and decentralization. Monero uses an obfuscated public ledger, meaning anybody can broadcast or send transactions, but no outside observer can tell the source, amount or destination. Monero uses a Proof of Work mechanism to issue new coins and incentivize miners to secure the network and validate transactions.
Monero is actively encouraged to those seeking financial privacy, since payments and account balances remain entirely hidden, which is not the standard for most cryptocurrencies.

2. Why Monero? (as explained by getmonero.org)

lock Monero is the leading cryptocurrency with a focus on private and censorship-resistant transactions. Most existing cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, have transparent blockchains, meaning that transactions are openly verifiable and traceable by anyone in the world. Furthermore, sending and receiving addresses for these transactions may potentially be linkable to a person's real-world identity.
Monero uses cryptography to shield sending and receiving addresses, as well as transacted amounts.
classified folderMonero transactions are confidential and untraceable. Every Monero transaction, by default, obfuscates sending and receiving addresses as well as transacted amounts. This always-on privacy means that every Monero user's activity enhances the privacy of all other users, unlike selectively transparent cryptocurrencies (e.g. Z-Cash). Monero is fungible. By virtue of obfuscation, Monero cannot become tainted through participation in previous transactions. This means Monero will always be accepted without the risk of censorship. Dandelion++ allows transactions to be propagated without the origin being certain. This will obfuscate a transactor's IP address and provide further protection against network monitoring.
growing plantMonero is a grassroots community attracting the world's best cryptocurrency researchers and engineering talent.Over 420 developer have contributed to the Monero project, including 30 core developers. Forums and chat channels are welcoming and active.
Monero's Research Lab, Core Development Team and Community Developers are constantly pushing the frontier of what is possible with cryptocurrency privacy and security.
cash bills Monero is electronic cash that allows fast, inexpensive payments to and from anywhere in the world. There are no multi-day holding periods and no risk of fraudulent chargebacks. It is safe from ‘capital controls’ - these are measures that restrict the flow of traditional currencies, sometimes to an extreme degree, in countries experiencing economic instability.

3. Buying Monero Anonymously With Cash

Step 1

Register an account with LocalMonero. If you already have an account, skip to the next step.

Step 2

Go to the main page - you'll see the top offers for your default region. You can refine your results by entering the desired amount and changing the currency, country or payment method (select "All online offers" if you're unsure which payment method you want to use) in the search box and pressing "Search".
buy monero online: search options to select currency, country and payment method
From the list of ads, choose one from a trader with a high amount of trades and a good reputation score (shown respectively in the brackets next to the username). A green circle means the trader has been online today; a yellow circle means they have visited the site this week; and a gray circle means that the trader hasn't been here for over a week. You can click the "Buy" button to view more information about an advertisement.

Step 3

After you press the "Buy" button, you'll see more information about the advertisement, including the terms of the trade. Read through them before submitting the trade request, if you don't agree with them, you can go back to the previous page and choose another advertisement. To start the trade, type in how much Monero you want to buy and click the "Send trade request" button. You'll be once again shown the trade terms, read them carefully one more time and make sure you agree, then press "Accept terms".
buy monero ad details such as user's reputation, trade limits and price

Step 4

Next, you'll be prompted to enter your settlement wallet address. This is the address that the coins you've bought will be sent to. If you don't have a personal XMR wallet, you can use either the official Monero GUI or CLI wallet or Feather wallet. Copy your address from your wallet and paste it in the "Receiving Monero address" input (make sure the pasted address is the same as the copied address to avoid losing your coins). Please note, that the wallet you use for trade settlement must be your own, third-party hosted wallets are not allowed. Once done, press "Start trading" to begin the trade.
buy monero ad details, terms of trade and trade amount input

Step 5

A trade page will be opened in your browser. Communicate with the seller through the trade chat to make sure the seller is ready to receive your payment and to clarify any questions you have about making the payment.
buying monero online trade window, showing chat, trade status and 'I have paid' button

Step 6

Conduct the payment according to the seller's instructions and immediately press "I have paid" - this will notify the seller that the payment is complete and prevent the seller from canceling the trade.
buying monero online trade window, showing chat, trade status and 'I have paid' button

Step 7

Once the seller has confirmed receiving your payment, they'll initiate the trade settlement. You'll see that the trade status will have changed to "Processing". At this point, there's nothing else you need to do - the coins will be transferred to your provided settlement wallet address automatically. This will take some time (usually around 10-60 minutes), so just relax and wait for the incoming transaction to appear in your personal wallet. Please note, the network transaction fees associated with trade settlement will be deducted from the trade amount, meaning you'll receive slightly less than what's displayed on the trade page.
buying monero online trade window, showing chat, trade status and 'I have paid' button

Step 8

That's it! Once the trade settlement is finished and you've received your coins, you'll be able to see the settlement details by expanding the "Transaction details" section on the trade page. Don't forget to leave feedback about your experience with this seller!
buying monero online trade window, showing chat, trade status and 'I have paid' button
4. Advanced Techniques of Staying Anonymous When Using This Method of Buying Monero

Use Tor

tor logoAccording to TorProject.org, Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.
To use it, simply download and install the Tor browser from their official website. After you launch it, you can access LocalMonero through our special Tor portal: https://nehdddktmhvqklsnkjqcbpmb63htee2iznpcbs5tgzctipxykpj6yrid.onion
When Buying on LocalMonero, Use Payment Methods that Involve Cash
Cash Payment IconWhenever you buy using a bank transfer, or PayPal, or other such payment options, there will always be a privacy leak due to the records kept by the companies that process your payment. In order to avoid that privacy leak, stick to methods that involve cash.
Use methods like cash by mail, ATM cash deposits, face-to-face meetings, or gift cards bought with cash.

Why Financial Privacy is Important

Unfortunately, coins like bitcoin have no privacy embedded in their protocol. All the transactions and amounts traded between all parties are publicly visible. This prevents bitcoin from being fungible, and leads to fundamental problems with the viability of bitcoin as a global monetary base.
Imagine the following scenario: bitcoin has become the only used currency in the world. What would some of the implications of the lack of privacy be?
1. Physical safety
customer paying with btc to a criminal cashier
You are traveling through parts of a country with a medium to high violent crime rate. You need to use some of your Bitcoin to pay for something. If every person you transact with knows exactly how much money you have, this is a threat to your personal physical safety.

2. Trade secrecy
surveilace btc eye
You are a business that makes a payment to a supplier. That supplier will be able to see how much money your business has, and therefore can guess at how price sensitive you are in future negotiations. They can see every single other payment you’ve ever received to that Bitcoin address, and therefore determine what other suppliers you are dealing with and how much you are paying those suppliers. They may be able to roughly determine how many customers you have and how much you charge your customers. This is commercially sensitive information that damages your negotiating position enough to cause you relative financial loss.

3. Price discrimination
inflation of food products
You are a private citizen paying for online goods and services. You are aware that it is common practice for companies to attempt to use ‘price discrimination’ algorithms to attempt to determine the highest prices they can offer future services to you at, and you would prefer they do not have the information advantage of knowing how much you spend and where you spend it.

4. Tainted funds
bitcoin as a bomb in an envelope
You sell cupcakes and receive bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment.

How Monero solves this
Monero solves these privacy issues by automatically applying privacy techniques to every single transaction made.You can have confidence that it is not possible to own ‘tainted’ Monero. This is a concept in economics known as ‘fungibility’ and is historically considered an important characteristic for any currency to have.