So, at the moment Monero (rightfully) is the only recommend cryptocurrency: Private Cryptocurrency Blockchains - Privacy Guides
While the guide explains the basics, and recommends some non-custodial wallets, one important thing missing is “how to get Monero starting with normal fiat money”.
I am not sure what’s the best way (otherwise I’d just make a pull request) but I’ve done some research on the topic.
These are the available options:
1. Buy on a CEX with KYC, then withdraw to your wallet
Example: Kraken (but only if you’re American). Now that Binance is delisting it I actually don’t know any big-name CEX for non-US residents.
Upside: you probably get the best rates?
Downside: you have go through KYC, although with Monero’s built-in privacy that just means they know you have some Monero, not what you spend them on. Also limited availability as Monero has been delisted in many places.
2. Buy from some other seller without KYC
Example: the only one I’m aware of is the one that’s built into Cake Wallet, called DFX Connect, which only accepts EUR or CHF bank transfers. But I’m sure there’s more providers?
Upsides/Downsides similar to the above although no KYC is a bonus.
3. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) purchase
Upside: can have truly private options like sending cash via mail to the seller
Downside: more complicated than a CEX because you need to choose a seller, usually identify yourself for your first purchase, higher risk of falling for a scammer, …
4. Buy Litecoin (LTC) or Bitcoin Cash (BCH) from a CEX and then exchange to Monero
The idea is to buy these low-fee available-everywhere coins with KYC and then swap them to Monero using another service (e.g. Changenow.io, Cake Wallet)
Upside: circumvents the problem of Monero being unavailable for purchase on most exchanges
Downside: more fees involved because of the two-step process
Questions: What’s the best currency to use; while normal Bitcoin (BTC) is not a good choice because of its high transfer fees, LTC and BCH seem to be the most popular options but which one is better and why? Also, what’s a good (non KYC and cheap) service for swapping that first currency to Moneros?
5. Atomic swaps
The idea here is to swap different coins on a peer-to-peer market but the swap is atomic and automatic, meaning you don’t have to actually “talk” to anyone or risk falling for a scammer. This is a quite new technology. One example is https://unstoppableswap.net/ which currently offers BTC → XMR atomic swaps, the downside being (a) that it’s only a one-way swap at the moment and (b) that it’s only with Bitcoins which have higher fees than most other coins. However, apparently there’s now a BCH/XMR atomic swap in development, which would mean much lower fees. So you could buy BCH on an exchange and then swap it - without KYC or fees - to Monero, and back. I think a LTC atomic swap is also being explored but doesn’t exist yet. (Side note: a problem might be receiving “tainted”/“blacklisted” BTC/BCH/LTC when selling XMR.)
So in conclusion: I have no idea. Localmonero and BCH/XMR atomic swaps sound the most promising in terms of privacy and “getting the most Moneros for your fiat money”. But buying at a CEX might be the easiest option at the moment, although a detour via LTC/BCH might be necessary first.