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How to buy Cardano (ADA) – A Beginner’s Guide

By: Ofir Beigel | Last updated: 5/6/21

Cardano is an open-source, decentralized cryptocurrency that began in 2015 and only became available for trading on October 2017. In this post I’ll explain a bit about what Cardano is, its currency (ADA) and how to buy it online.

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How to Buy Cardano Summary

Here’s how to buy Cardano (ADA):

  1. Get a Cardano wallet (Ledger Nano X, Exodus)
  2. Locate your ADA address
  3. Find an ADA exchange (CEX.io, Coinmama)
  4. Withdraw the ADA to your wallet

If Coinmama doesn’t work out for you here are a few additional buying options:

CEX.io
Payment methods:
Credit/debit card, SEPA, wire
Coinbase
Payment methods:
Debit card, SEPA, wire, ACH
Coinmama
Payment methods:
Credit/debit card, SEPA, wire
Binance
Payment methods:
Credit/debit card, wire, crypto
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That’s how to buy Cardano in a nutshell. If you want a deeper explanation of Cardano and the buying process keep on reading, here’s what I’ll cover:

  1. What is Cardano
  2. How to buy ADA in 3 steps
  3. Conclusion

1. What is Cardano

Cardano is a cryptocurrency and smart contract platform that aims to solve the issues confronted by the current smart contract leader – Ethereum.

Cardano has a foundation layer that, similar to Bitcoin, is used for settling payments. On top of that there is a control layer which runs smart contracts. It’s as if you rolled Bitcoin and Ethereum into one network.

Cardano aims to create a cryptocurrency and smart contract platform that is sustainable, scalable and interoperable (i.e. to allow the exchange of assets between different blockchains, similar to atomic swaps).

The platform uses ADA as its currency in order to run smart contracts, similar to how Ether is used to run contracts on Ethereum. The ADA circulation is limited to 45 Billion coins.

Cardano was created by the company IOHK (Inputs, Outputs, Hong Kong) and Charles Hoskinson, its CEO, which has been one of the pioneers of Ethereum as well.

Cardano works on a Proof-of-Stake model, which means that instead of mining, you can stake your Cardano in order to participate in the consensus process of the network. The process of staking your Cardano will allow you to generate income from it, however you’ll need to stake a large amount of Cardano to make it worthwhile.

Cardano and ADA have made their way to the top of the cryptocurrency charts while trying to win the battle for the best smart contracts platform alongside EOS, IOTA, NEO and more. The first official use case of Cardano was announced in December 2017 with the potential for Greek student diplomas to be stored and verified on the Cardano blockchain.


2. Buying Cardano in 3 Steps

Step 1 – Choose a Cardano wallet

Cardano is a young project that’s still very much under development. For this reason, there are very few wallet options available for storing ADA, the Cardano currency.

Cardano Hardware Wallets

If you’re looking for a secure solution to store your ADA you can use a hardware wallet. Hardware wallets keep your private keys offline on the hardware device itself. This makes hardware wallets much more resistant to hacking than software wallets that are connected to the Internet.

For storing ADA you can use Ledger hardware wallet in conjunction with AdaLite. Both Ledger models support this, but the Nano X also has mobile support. You can read my Ledger Nano X review here.

Alternatively, you can use the TREZOR Model T in conjunction with AdaLite You can read my full review of the TREZOR  T here.

Cardano Software Wallets

The easiest way to store ADA alongside other cryptocurrencies would be to use a free software wallet such as Exodus which is pretty intuitive and supports both desktop and mobile versions.

Another great option is Atomic Wallet, a software wallet available for desktop and mobile that allows you to store ADA and over 300 additional cryptocurrencies. The wallet also allows you to exchange your assets via non-custodial Atomic Swap with a decentralized order book.

Finally, Daedalus is the official Cardano desktop wallet, Daedalus can be downloaded via its official website. It’s an open-source cryptocurrency wallet for ADA. The idea behind the wallet is that it will grow with the community, becoming a universal wallet, blockchain application platform, and app store.

Daedalus wallet is available for Windows and Mac.

Daedalus wallet

 

Locate Your Cardano Address

Once you have your Cardano wallet make sure to locate your ADA address. It’s a very long string of letters and characters that starts with a “D”. Here’s an example:

DdzFFzCqrht6uv8fraMCgBXgTYypPmNZvJeJupPraMUgbYJWJ2CVoqNQ4KfGne2ebpZgjaC7PP1vxgyRwLZ3WsywNDxZVPjHgMmLRQ3W

Step 2 – Buy ADA on an exchange

As Cardano matures more and more exchanges allow you to buy and trade ADA including several established market leaders:

Buy Cardano Through CEX

CEX.io is a cryptocurrency exchange that has both an “instant buy” option for beginners and an advanced trading platform for more seasoned traders.

The excahnge allows you to buy Cardano with a credit card, debit card, SEPA transfer, ACH and wire transfer. If you want to save on fees it’s better to use the trading platform and not the instant buy option. You can read my complete CEX review here.

Buying Cardano through Coinbase

Coinbase allows you to instantly buy Cardano with your debit card, bank account and Paypal. The exchange is available for users from over 100 countries globally and claims relatively low fees (especially when using ACH transfers withing the US).

Coinbase has been around since 2012 and has a solid reputation, with the exception of the quality of its support; It seems like the company has a lot of room for improvement there, with no live support available and an offline response time that’s somewhere between ‘slow’ and ‘no response at all’.

Still, Coinbase is probably the cheapest and fastest option for buying ADA – as long as its services are available in your country.

Buy Cardano Through Coinmama

Coinmama is one of the oldest crypto exchanges around. Coinmama acts as a broker, meaning they instantly send you your coins instead of holding them in a dedicated account like other sites may do.

Coinmama allows you to buy Cardano with a credit card, debit card or SEPA transfer. Verification is relatively quick and the fees are pretty low compared to the competition. You can read my complete Coinmama review here.

Buy Cardano Through Binance

Binance is a Shanghai-based cryptocurrency exchange that has become one of the most popular crypto exchanges around. On Binance, you can find dozens of cryptocurrencies, including ADA, that can be bought with BTC or ETH.

Recently Binance added the option to buy coins from its exchange with credit or debit card, however it’s not possible to buy ADA this. What you can do, is buy Bitcoin with a credit card and then exchange it to Cardano. You can read my complete Binance review here.

Here’s how to buy Cardano on Binance:

  1. Sign up to Binance
  2. Go to “Funds” -> “Deposits” and locate your Bitcoin address
  3. Deposit Bitcoin to your Binance Bitcoin address
  4. Wait for the coins to show up in your account
  5. Go to “Exchange” -> “Basic”
  6. Search for the ADA/BTC pair
  7. Go to “Market” and type in the amount of ADA you want to buy
  8. Click “Buy ADA”

Buy Cardano Through eToro

eToro is probably the easiest way to go if you’re into Cardano only for speculative reasons (buying low and selling high for a profit). eToro, one of the leading companies in the cryptocurrency space, gives users the option to buy and sell many different coins at low fees and with a variety of payment options (PayPal, credit card, etc.).

The main thing to keep in mind when dealing with eToro is that its a bit complicated to withdraw the coins themselves to your own wallet. With eToro you can easily withdraw fiat currency (i.e. USD, EUR). Therefor, if you’re using eToro you might as well skip Step 1 of getting a wallet.

You can read my complete eToro review here.

*This ad promotes virtual cryptocurrency investing within the EU (by eToro Europe Ltd.), UK (eToro UK Ltd.) & USA (by eToro USA LLC); which is highly volatile, unregulated in some EU countries and the UK, no EU or UK consumer protections & not supervised by the EU or UK regulatory framework. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal.

67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CFDs are not available to US customers.

Buy Cardano Through Bittrex

Bittrex is a US cryptocurrency exchange with a huge number of cryptocurrencies listed. On Bittrex you can buy ADA by trading it for BTC, USDT and also USD. Bittrex accepts wire transfers only. You can read my complete Bittrex review here.

Buy Cardano with cash

There isn’t currently a way in which you can buy Cardano ADA with cash. What you can do is buy Bitcoin with cash then exchange it for Cardano on one of the cryptocurrency exchanges listed above.

How to Buy Cardano with PayPal

You can buy Cardano with PayPal on either Coinbase or through eToro, though with eToro it would be more difficult to actually withdraw your coins. It’s expected that there will be more options in the future, as cryptocurrencies continue to grow in popularity.

Alternatively, you can go to LocalBitcoins which allows you to buy Bitcoin via PayPal. Then, all you need to do is transfer your Bitcoin to an exchange such as Binance and exchange it for ADA.

Step 3 – Withdraw the ADA to your own wallet

Once you’ve finished buying ADA make sure to move the coins to your own non-custodial wallet (i.e. a coin that gives you access to your private key). Leaving your coins on an exchange exposes you to the risk of fraud or theft (which have happened numerous times in the past).

One the coins hit your wallet, you’ve successfully completed the process of buying Cardano.


3. Conclusion

Cardano is a cryptocurrency that continues to grow in popularity. While it’s still at an early stage, the project shows some promise and should become easier to buy, sell, and store as cryptocurrency enjoys more widespread adoption.

It’s hard to say if Cardano will continue to stay in the top of the cryptocurrency list in the future, with such fierce competition from Ethereum, IOTA, EOS and others.

Have you used any of the above wallets or exchanges? What do you think of Cardano as a project? Let me know in the comments below!

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28 comments on “Buy Cardano (ADA)”

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  1. I hear on TV how the transactions using Crypto is free. Then I buy Cardano on Coinbase. They charged me 4.5 percent and promised to charge another 4.5 percent when I sell. And does not stop there. They got me Cardano for 2.86 USD when the graph showed 2.83 or less for last 2 hours. They will probably snipe another 3 cents when i go to sell. Talk about hype and reality.

    1. This may be possible through a crypto ATM machine or something similar. However, the machine itself would actually need to offer Cardano as a cashable asset. Otherwise, you’re likely to need a wallet.

  2. can’t even get through the article in 2 mins never mind buy anything as a result of reading it.
    waste of time. you suck.

    1. You can certainly move it to a separate ADA wallet. However, to sell it for fiat or some other form of currency, you may have to do that through Coinbase, as typically one sells to an exchange.

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