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

By: Alexander Reed | Last updated: 3/15/24

Cardano is an open-source, decentralized cryptocurrency founded in 2015 that became available for trading in September 2017. In this post, I’ll explain Cardano, 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 (ADA) wallet (Ledger Nano X, Trezor Safe 3, Exodus)
  2. Locate your ADA address
  3. Find an exchange or broker that sells ADA (Coinmama, Binance)
  4. Purchase the ADA directly or trade another cryptocurrency for it
  5. Withdraw the ADA to your wallet

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

Payment methods:
Credit/debit card, SEPA, wire
Payment methods:
Credit/debit card, wire, crypto
Payment methods:
Credit/debit card, SEPA, wire
Payment methods:
Debit card, SEPA, wire, ACH
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That’s how to buy Cardano in a nutshell. Keep reading if you want a deeper explanation of Cardano and the buying process. 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 faced by Ethereum, the current leader in smart contracts.

Cardano has a foundation layer that, similar to Bitcoin, settles payments. On top of that, there is a control layer that 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 to run smart contracts, similar to how Ether runs contracts on Ethereum. The ADA supply is limited to 45 billion coins.

Cardano was created by the company IOHK (Inputs Outputs Hong Kong) together with the Cardano Foundation, a Swiss-based not-for-profit organization. Charles Hoskinson was its CEO. Charles was also one of the co-founders of Ethereum.

Cardano works on a proof-of-stake model called Ouroboros. Instead of mining, you must stake your Cardano to participate in the network’s consensus process. Staking your Cardano will allow you to generate income from it. However, you’ll need to stake a considerable amount to make it worthwhile.

Cardano and its token ADA have made their way to the top of the cryptocurrency charts while trying to win the battle for the go-to smart contracts platform alongside Ethereum, Solana, Polkadot, and many others.

Notably, World Mobile Token (WMT) is being built on Cardano. This project offers remote mobile network access in Africa with approximately 150 nodes in East Africa. A Ghanaian startup named Mazzuma also received funding from the Adaverse, a Cardano ecosystem accelerator. Mazzuma(GPT) aims to use AI in its innovative contract creation platform.

2. Buying Cardano (ADA) in 3 Steps

Step 1 – Choose a Cardano wallet

When Cardano was still in its early stages, there weren’t many options for storing ADA. However, the project has come a long way, and today, most hardware and software wallets allow you to store ADA.

Cardano Hardware Wallets

You can use a hardware wallet if you’re looking for a secure solution to store your ADA. Hardware wallets keep your private keys offline, making them much more resistant to hacking than software wallets connected to the Internet.

You can use a Ledger hardware wallet to store ADA. All Ledger models support ADA, but the Nano X also has Bluetooth mobile support. You can read my Ledger Nano X review here.

Alternatively, you can use the Trezor Model T or Trezor’s newest wallet, the Trezor Safe 3.

You can read our full review of the Trezor Model T here and our full review of the Trezor Safe 3 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 intuitive and supports desktop and mobile devices.

Trust Wallet is a mobile wallet that supports Cardano (ADA) and nearly every other cryptocurrency or chain currently available. The crypto-behemoth Binance purchased Trust Wallet in 2018. The wallet is available for Android and iOS smartphones and is very smooth and easy to use.

Finally, Daedalus is the official, open-source Cardano desktop wallet. It can be downloaded from its official website. The wallet’s idea is to grow with the community and become a universal wallet, blockchain application platform, and app store.

Daedalus Wallet is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Homepage screenshot of the Cardano (ADA) cryptocurrency wallet Daedalus

Locate Your Cardano Address

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


Step 2 – Buy ADA on an exchange

Since Cardano (ADA) is one of the most popular cryptocurrency projects and among the biggest market caps, it is available on numerous exchanges and through many brokers.

Buy Cardano through CEX.IO

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 exchange allows you to buy Cardano with a credit card, debit card, SEPA transfer, Swift, Skrill, Epay, ACH, and wire transfer. If you want to save on fees, using the trading platform and not the instant buy option is better. You can read our complete CEX.IO review here.

Buying Cardano through Coinbase

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

Coinbase has been around since 2012 and has a solid reputation, with the only exception being the quality of its support. It seems like the company has a lot of room for improvement there, with the only live support being subject to lengthy phone waiting times and an offline response time between ‘slow’ and ‘no response at all.’

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

You can read our full review of Coinbase here.

Buy Cardano through Coinmama

Coinmama is one of the oldest cryptocurrency brokers 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, SEPA/Swift transfer, Apple/Google Pay, or Skrill. Verification is relatively quick, and the fees are pretty low compared to the competition. You can read our complete Coinmama review here.

Buy Cardano through Binance

Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2017 that has become the biggest crypto exchange in the world. On Binance, you can find and trade over 500 cryptocurrencies, including ADA, that can be bought with various cryptos or fiat currencies.

Binance lets you buy coins from its exchange with a credit or debit card, SEPA transfer, or bank transfer. You can read our complete Binance review here.

Here’s how to buy Cardano on Binance using Bitcoin:

  1. Sign up to Binance
  2. Go to “Deposit” -> “Crypto” and select BTC to 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”

Here’s how to buy Cardano on Binance using your bank card:

  1. Sign up to Binance
  2. Go to “Trade” -> “Buy Crypto”
  3. Search for ADA
  4. Type in the amount of ADA you want to buy
  5. Enter your card details
  6. Click “Buy ADA”

Buy Cardano through Uphold

Uphold is an all-in-one platform that lets users trade cryptocurrencies, including Cardano, commodities, equities, and fiat currencies. Although it doesn’t offer the greatest range of additional cryptocurrency features, Uphold is perfect for those who wish to trade all kinds of assets on a single platform.

Uphold users can fund their accounts instantly using a debit/credit card, wire transfer, or, alternatively, link a bank account for easy transfers. Note that there are hidden spreads for Uphold trading, so ensure you understand how much you will pay before making a trade.

You can read our complete Uphold review here.

Buy Cardano through eToro

eToro is an investment platform known for its speculative investment opportunities. The company allows users to buy and sell coins at low fees and with various payment options.

eToro’s platform also allows users to invest in (and trade) various assets, including commodities, stocks, currencies, and indices. It has many advanced trading tools, such as stop-loss, take-profit, and set orders, which execute automatically according to a coin’s price. It should be noted that stop-loss and take-profit are not guaranteed.

The main thing to remember when dealing with eToro is that it’s a bit complicated to withdraw the coins to your own wallet. However, with eToro, you can easily withdraw fiat currency (i.e., USD, EUR). Therefore, if you’re using eToro, you might as well skip Step 1 of getting a wallet.

You can read my complete eToro review here.

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

Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. Take 2 mins to learn more

Buy Cardano with Cash

There are very few crypto/Bitcoin ATMs where you can buy Cardano (ADA) with cash. Therefore, you may be better off buying Bitcoin with cash and then exchanging it for Cardano on one of the cryptocurrency exchanges listed above.

How to Buy Cardano with PayPal

You can buy Cardano with PayPal on Coinbase. It’s expected that there will be more options for buying with PayPal in the future as cryptocurrencies continue to grow in popularity.

Alternatively, you can go to LocalCoinSwap, which lets you buy Bitcoin via PayPal. All you need to do is transfer your Bitcoin to an exchange such as Binance and exchange it for ADA. Then, withdraw it to your private wallet—don’t leave it on the exchange.

Step 3 – Withdraw the ADA to your own wallet

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

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

3. Conclusion

Cardano is a cryptocurrency that has become one of the most popular projects in the market. It continues to grow in popularity. While the project has come a long way since its early stages, there is still much room for growth as the platform is used for more applications.

It’s hard to say if Cardano will continue to stay near the top of the cryptocurrency list in the future, with such fierce competition from Ethereum, Solana, Polkadot, and others. But it is definitely one to keep an eye on going forward.

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!

Having delved into futures trading in the past, my intrigue in financial, economic, and political affairs eventually led me to a striking realization: the current debt-based fiat system is fundamentally flawed. This revelation prompted me to explore alternative avenues, including investments in gold and, since early 2013, Bitcoin. While not extensively tech-savvy, I've immersed myself in Bitcoin through dedicated study, persistent questioning, hands-on experience with ecommerce and marketing ventures, and my stint as a journalist. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and presently, I'm focused on crafting informative guides to shed light on the myriad advantages of Bitcoin, aiming to empower others to navigate the dynamic realm of digital currencies.

View all Posts by Alexander Reed

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32 comments on “Buy Cardano (ADA)”

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  1. I want to purchase ADA and I’ve been trying to use Yoroi to make a purchase. Everything seems to work perfect until I try and use a CC to make a purchase. All of my CC’s refuse the transaction. I’ve got a Chase VISA card. I called them and they told me VISA won’t allow me to purchase crypto with my card. I’ve got a KEY BANK debit card that is a Mastercard and KEY BANK can’t give me a straight answer on why the purchase is being denied. And YOROI doesn’t accept AMEX. Do I need to find another bank that will allow crypto purchases or what? Frustrated!!

  2. 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. Yes, you can buy ADA without a wallet. It would just sit on an exchange. The best way to protect your money is to set up a wallet.

  3. 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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