Monero View-only Wallets and RINO's neat Feature.
Unlike Bitcoin, Monero has an opaque blockchain where wallet addresses and amounts are hidden by default. An outsider is unable to track transactions simply by looking at a blockchain explorer. This feature helps protect the privacy of both the sender and receiver.
However, one should note that there is a difference between “privacy” and “secrecy.” When something is private, you do not want the public to know about the information, while when something is secret, it is highly sensitive information that you might not want anyone to know about. The ability to keep transaction data private gives the individual the power to selectively reveal the information to authorized parties.
With the use of advanced cryptography, Monero has a private transaction system, not necessarily a secret one. So, users are able to use something called a “View Key” to share information about transactions with the public at large or to a particular party, such as an accountant, auditor, or, with proper due process, law enforcement officials.
The View Key is one of two sets of private and public cryptographic keys that are generated when creating a wallet. The Monero address shared with the sender is made up of a public View Key and a public Spend Key, in addition to other bits and pieces (network byte and checksum data - this is part of the reason why Monero addresses are a little longer than Bitcoin addresses).
When the sender transfers funds to the Monero address, the sender’s wallet will use the public keys from the address to generate a new, random, one-time use, payment address for the transaction. This is what is termed to be a “Stealth Address,” which is the address that is recorded in the blockchain and everyone can see. The receiver will use their private View Key to scan the blockchain and locate the funds (“output”) belonging to the wallet. In order to spend the funds, the user would need to sign the transaction with the wallet’s private Spend Key.
Anyone with access to a private View Key and Monero address could see all incoming transactions and it is possible to create a “view-only wallet” with this information. It would be impossible to transfer out funds with this type of wallet since a private Spend Key is needed to sign off on transactions. This is useful for monitoring incoming donations to an organization.
However, because of the way public/private keys operate in Monero, the balance that is shown in a view-only wallet is not always accurate. Outgoing transactions are not taken into account in the balance unless something called “Key Images” are imported. To get an updated balance of a view-only wallet, the user in control of a wallet with a private Spend Key must sign Key Images, export them, and share this data with the public. Once the Key Images are imported into a view-only wallet, the balance will be updated and is considered accurate up to the date the Key Images were imported.
How is a RINO’s Public View-only Wallet Different.
RINO’s approach is different from view-only wallets in that our wallets show all inbound and outbound transactions, so the balance is up to date and does not require the exporting/importing of Key Images. Moreover, with a RINO wallet, you do not need to scan the whole blockchain each time you access your wallet. The funds are there immediately for you to use as you wish.
This UI improvement allows companies and not-for-profit organizations to easily share their Monero wallets with the public for added transparency and/or auditing purposes. For instance, check our team’s public demo wallet here: https://app.rino.io/public/wallets/rino-tech-team