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How to Buy Cardano - Where to Purchase ADA?

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Author: Sam Grant

Cardano is a groundbreaking Proof-of-Stake blockchain network with a native cryptocurrency, ADA.  

Developed by the co-founder of Ethereum, Charles Hoskins, Cardano is being developed into a decentralized application (dApp) development platform with a multi-asset ledger and verifiable smart contracts.

Considered one of the first, third-generation blockchains, Cardano utilizes a layered blockchain software stack designed to be both flexible and scalable, something few blockchains have achieved until now.

The protocol evolved out of a scientific research-first driven approach with plans to deliver more advanced features than any protocol ever developed.

ADA is the secure, smart money on the Cardano network with a fixed supply and an important role in securing the overall blockchain network in a decentralized way. 

Cardano is at an important stage of its development. Recently the protocol began the transition phase to the Shelley test net, which will transform Cardano from a promising whitepaper into a vigorous and completely decentralized blockchain.

You may be asking yourself, how do I buy Cardano? The truth is there is no ‘best way to buy Cardano’. Different methods suit different types of investors. In this guide, we will explain how to purchase Cardano and explain the different payment methods in more detail.

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Why Trade rather than Buy Cardano?


You Don’t Need a Wallet

You trade on the price movement of the coin without having to buy and store it.


You Can Use Standard Payment Methods

All regulated brokers accept popular methods of payment such as credit / debit card and bank transfers.


Trades Are Fast and Withdrawals Are Easy

Trades are executed within seconds and withdrawals will reflect instantly in your account.

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5 Things to Consider If You Want to Buy Cardano

When setting out to buy Cardano for the first time there are many things you need to consider that will ultimately affect the simplicity and expense of your purchase.

In this step-by-step guide, we will outline everything you need to be fully prepared to make your purchase quickly and easily without any nasty surprises.

Carefully choose your preferred secure payment method

When choosing an exchange or broker to buy Cardano, you will first have to ensure they accept your preferred payment method.

Payment methods all vary considerably in terms of processing times and fees, which can really affect your overall investment experience.

Many cryptocurrency exchanges have limited payment options - only a few will accept credit cards or debit cards and virtually none will accept PayPal.

Depositing with a broker is generally much easier with a larger number of accepted currencies and deposit methods.

Fees, in general, are usually more attractive when you trade with a broker, depending on the payment method.

Will you need to set up your own wallet?

If you purchase ADA on an exchange, it is always a good idea to move your coins as soon as possible. Being centralized, exchanges have been known to get hacked, exit scam, or go out of business.

There are many different types of wallets of various risk levels. You’ll need to research one you trust to store ADA securely.

If you would prefer to purchase Cardano for trading only and not have to worry about securing your coins then a broker is an option. 

With a broker, you are not actually trading ADA, rather an ADA Contract for Difference (CFD). 

The trading experience can be less overwhelming than cryptocurrency exchanges, with a simpler interface, better security, and flexible trading options.

Comparing costs

By now most people understand why cryptocurrency is disruptive when compared with the legacy financial system. Blockchain transactions usually cost a fraction of existing payment methods.

Whenever somebody wants to transfer a cryptocurrency, fees are computed for that transaction to keep the network secure and free from spam.

ADA blockchain fees are negligible and not a major cost factor in most people’s investment decisions. If however, you have to buy another coin, like Bitcoin first to access ADA on your exchange (BTC/ADA), fees can add up quickly.

Safety and security

Cardano’s Proof-of-Stake consensus (PoS) mechanism is being launched with the Shelley upgrade. No project in the cryptocurrency industry has spent as much time and resources on researching PoS as the academic minds behind Cardano.

Cardano’s ground-breaking design offers inherent security, scalability, and energy efficiency without compromising on the level of decentralization.

While the blockchain is secure not all exchanges and brokers are, unfortunately. If you wish to trade Cardano, look for a regulated exchange or a broker that employs advanced trading platforms like MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5(MT5).

These established platforms have earned traders trust with flexible trading systems and best practice security mechanisms, like two-factor authentication (2FA).

Can you understand and navigate the platform?

Cryptocurrency is evolving and becoming easier to use for the average person. Unfortunately, exchanges still remain quite complex for the average person and the process of trading on them can be daunting at first.

If you don’t possess the technical proficiency to navigate a cryptocurrency platform, you might consider a recommended broker that is regulated by a global authority. 

The user interface of brokers is generally far simpler and more intuitive; brokers have generally fewer fees and accept more payment methods. You are also less likely to make a costly error like misplacing a zero in a sell order.

Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Trading Cardano

What is a Cardano Broker?

Brokers are often referred to as the over-the-counter (OTC) market. A broker generally arranges transactions between a buyer and a seller for a commission when the agreement is accomplished.

With a Cardano broker, your funds are traded via a dealer network as opposed to a centralized exchange. When you trade with a broker you are trading an agreement called a Contract for Difference (CFD).

What is a Cardano CFD?

CFD trading is an approach that allows users to trade ADA cryptocurrency via a contract with a broker, agreeing to settle the future difference in Cardano’s value from the time the contract is opened to the time it closes.

This approach is generally more flexible as you are not actually trading the coins themselves.

Trading Cardano CFDs offers several advantages over traditional crypto trading, including more margin options and generally fewer fees, which makes them well-suited to active trading.

When you trade CFDs through a broker, you also don’t have to worry about losing your coins or having them stolen in a hack.

What is the Benefit of Regulation?

Increasing regulations are ultimately a good thing for the cryptocurrency industry. Markets love regulatory clarity. Regulations help remove bad actors from the space and make it a generally safer environment to trade and invest in.

The more regulations the cryptocurrency industry has, the more mature the market and the less volatile your investment will ultimately be.

Regulations in the brokerage industry are important as they ensure the platform you are using is not a scam.

What is the Best Payment Method for Buying Cardano?

The best payment method for buying Cardano really depends on whether you prioritize convenience or cost.

Thankfully, there is generally a payment method to suit every type of investor. As a general rule, brokers will offer more payment methods and fiat currency onramps than exchanges. 

Okay, let’s break down some of the more popular methods.

Buying Cardano with PayPal

PayPal is a payment provider used the world over for online money transfers.

PayPal offers greater convenience than some other methods and the fees tend to be acceptable for bulk purchases.

Unfortunately, very few exchanges offer PayPal as a payment method for buying Cardano. Brokers are far more likely to offer PayPal as they are often regulated businesses, like PayPal itself.

If your exchange or broker does accept PayPal, it is definitely one of the most secure and easy to use methods on this list.

Buying Cardano with Credit Cards or Debit Cards

Credit cards and debit cards are among the most convenient methods for buying anything the world over but convenience comes with a cost.

Credit cards and debit cards aren’t cheap to use, but well-established cryptocurrency exchanges are increasingly offering this method of payment.

For anything other than bulk purchases credit or debit cards are not really economical but you do have the opportunity to collect rewards from any purchases you make.

Via Bank Transfer

Bank transfer is one of the most popular ways of buying baskets of cryptocurrencies and for good reason - it is one of the cheapest. When you link your bank account to a broker or exchange, bank transfers can be very convenient.

It is not always as straightforward as it sounds, however. You will have to find a broker or exchange that accepts payments from your bank. The initial set-up can also take time depending on your bank’s processing. Once you are set-up there really isn’t a better method.

The Verification Process for Trading

To purchase Cardano on an exchange or broker, you will most likely be required to prove your identity. 

The process is generally straightforward and is designed to protect both you and your account from theft.

Step 1 - Confirm phone number

The first step is to confirm your phone number. You’ll probably be sent a text message with a code that you’ll need to enter in their security platform.

Step 2 - Prove your identity

The next thing you will need to provide is a photo ID. On occasion, you will be requested to upload a photo holding the ID document, to make sure it is not stolen.

Depending on where you live, you may also need to show a recent utility bill to prove your address.

Long vs Short Term Investment

Once you have decided to invest in Cardano, you will need to think about the duration of the investment. 

There is definitely a case to be made for both a short and long-term investment in Cardano when looking at recent developments.

While one of the most anticipated smart contract platforms since Ethereum, Cardano’s success is dependent on accomplishing some extremely ambitious goals. 

The Cardano network is aiming to become the “Internet of Blockchains”, making it possible for all cryptocurrencies to co-exist and be converted, without the need for intermediaries.

Cardano also plans to attach metadata to their transactions to make them more attractive for banks and governments.

In the short term, Cardano has begun the migration to its Shelley testnet, which has already seen over 12 billion ADA cryptocurrency staked and removed from the supply. 

With mainnet arriving, Cardano seems destined for bigger and brighter things.

Why Buy, Rather Than Trade?

The main reason for buying Cardano rather than is for a longer-term investment. You are betting that Cardano will realize its vision and the native currency, ADA will be worth far more than current prices.

Just remember buying Cardano and owning the underlying digital assets is a more involved process than simply buying it for trading purposes through a broker.

You will need to learn the idiosyncrasies of a cryptocurrency exchange and also transfer your digital assets and private keys into a dedicated cryptocurrency wallet, in keeping with best-practice security. 

Trading via a broker remains a more straightforward option for traders and shorter-term investors.

What Fees are Involved?

Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, the Cardano blockchain has very small fees when moving ADA coin from one address to another.

Transaction Fees

With Cardano blockchain fees being negligible, the majority of investors and traders are more concerned about the fees they are being charged on exchanges and brokerage platforms they use to buy and sell Cardano.

If you buy Cardano try to find a fiat currency pair. The entire process is going to be more expensive if you have to go through one of the majors first.

Exchange fees can definitively bite into your overall investment if you are an active trader. Exchanges and brokers need to charge fees to remain in business and provide a secure platform for you to trade.

Deposit Fees

Cryptocurrency exchanges generally charge deposit fees, no matter if you are depositing in fiat currency or crypto.

Brokers, on the other hand, don’t often charge deposit fees as they are trying to encourage people to sign up and use the platform.

They don’t have the overheads of traditional crypto exchanges and therefore, typically have a more attractive fee structure.

Withdrawal Fees

Withdrawal fees are also more common on exchanges than on OTC desks or brokers. You will be charged to remove funds from an exchange regardless of whether it is fiat or crypto.

More flexible than exchanges, brokerage platforms are designed for traders who tend to deposit and withdraw fiat currency with greater regularity.

Safely Storing Your Cardano

If you have opted to purchase your Cardano on an exchange, you’ll need to get them off the platform and into a wallet as soon as possible.

The reason for this is that exchanges have proven to be the least secure option in the past. 

The last thing you want as an investor is to return in a year or two to discover the exchange your coins were on no longer exists. Let’s take a look at the best options for storing your Cardano.

Web Wallet

Web wallets are the custodial wallets of a cryptocurrency exchange. As mentioned, it is considered bad security practice to move coins out of this wallet and into one where you control the private keys.

Mobile Wallet

Mobile wallets are a type of ‘hot wallet that is an encrypted application on your phone that can store both your coins and keys.

They are called hot wallets because they are connected to the Internet and exposed to hacking attempts. While better than web wallets, mobile wallets are only recommended as a short to medium-term solution.

If you choose to use one long term, make sure your phone has additional safety measures like pin codes and fingerprint verification.

Two of the most popular mobile wallets where you can store your ADA are Guarda Wallet and Yoroi - a light wallet designed by Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), the research and development company behind Cardano.

Desktop Wallet

While less convenient than mobile wallets, desktop wallets can offer a greater level of security but only if you have reinforced the security on your computer. Desktop wallets are also a type of ‘hot wallet’, so potentially vulnerable to hacks.

Your desktop should have market-leading anti-virus software and the addition of security mechanisms like two-factor authentication when interacting with a wallet.

For this reason, it is prudent to choose a wallet that has a long track record of security. Daedalus is the official wallet for ADA and highly recommended. Atomic Wallet is another wallet that supports ADA and other coins.

Hardware Wallet

Hardware wallets or ‘cold wallets’ are the most secure method currently available for storing your ADA coin.

Unlike hot wallets, hardware wallets are not generally connected to the Internet and as a result less susceptible to hacks. Just don’t lose them.

When it comes to hardware wallets there are two clear market leaders where you can store your ADA, Trezor and Ledger Nano

Wallet Combinations

Sometimes spreading your investment over several different wallets is a good approach to minimize the chance of losing all your investment in one security breach or personal mistake.

It’s a good idea to separate your coins based on the intended timeframe of the investment. Longer-term coins kept in a hardware wallet, while shorter-term coins in a hot wallet for greater accessibility.

What Other Coins Can I Trade or Use to Buy Cardano?

The more liquid coins typically have more fiat currency pairs. Some of the bigger exchanges do offer markets like ADA/USD, but if they don’t you will have to buy another coin first. 

If you buy ADA with Ethereum (ETH) for example, you will be charged fees for using the Ethereum blockchain and trading fees on the exchange, which can eat into your investment.

What’s the Smallest and Largest Amount of Cardano I Can Buy?

You might be wondering what is the minimum purchase for Cardano. Like Bitcoin and Ethereum, ADA is a divisible cryptocurrency and there really isn’t a Cardano buy limit to worry about. You don’t have to buy a whole Cardano.

ADA - the native currency of the Cardano blockchain - is divisible into six decimals, with the smallest amount (0.000001 ADA) known as a ‘Lovelace’.

Being divisible ensures Cardano will never be out of reach to any investors, no matter the budget. Cardano has a supply cap of 45 billion ADA and the maximum Cardano you can potentially own is really only limited by your budget, the exchange, and the circulating supply.

It is not really possible to buy Cardano anonymously with no ID as it is one of the more recent blockchain projects and not commonly featured on peer-to-peer markets and escrow services, where it is possible to buy coins anonymously.

Is it safe to buy Cardano on an unregulated exchange? Not really. Buying cryptocurrencies on unregulated exchanges that don’t require ID is a generally bad idea and these exchanges are becoming less prevalent with increasing regulations.

Another method people use to buy cryptocurrencies is ATMs. Unfortunately, these do not feature ADA yet. For a secure Cardano purchase, you might consider buying ADA for trading purposes on a regulated exchange or broker.

Will Buying Cardano Make Me Money?

Does buying Cardano make you money? We’d really love it to be as simple as ‘buy Cardano get rich’.

In considering any cryptocurrency investment decision, you should analyze the fundamentals of the project, the coin’s economics and price history.

Only after extensively studying this data will you be able to determine if Cardano represents a good investment in the short term.

Cardano is considered one of the first ‘third-generation blockchains’. With the rollout to the Shelley testnet, many eyes in the cryptocurrency industry are watching Cardano, to see if it can deliver on its great promise.

Some people suggest Cardano could realistically surpass Ethereum in capability and market cap, such is the hype behind this project.

To fully inform any investment decision, check out our Cardano price page for important news events and coin metrics.

How to Spend Your Cardano

The Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) is used to settle transactions requiring ADA, Cardano’s native cryptocurrency.

Any financial infrastructure built on the Cardano network including DApps, will utilize the native token ADA.

Holders of Cardano are also now able to stake their ADA, earning rewards for doing so, while keeping the network more secure in the process.

As mainnet launches expect more businesses and commercial apps on the Cardano blockchain where you can spend your ADA.

How to Sell Your Cardano

Selling your Cardano comes with different levels of complexity and cost depending on the platform that you choose.

To sell the currency ADA, you will have to send your coins to an exchange you feel comfortable using and that has Cardano fiat currency pairs.

If your exchange will only let you sell Cardano for Bitcoin, you will need to factor in the additional fees this will accumulate.

If you opted to purchase Cardano on a brokerage platform, the process of selling your Cardano CFD is far more straightforward and usually accrues fewer fees.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Cardano was founded by Ethereum co-founders Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood. Both left the Ethereum project after disagreeing over the direction of the project.

  2. Cardano is designed to be the platform of choice for the large-scale, commercial dApps underpinning the economy of the future.

  3. Yes. Cardano is being developed into a decentralized application (dApp) development platform with a multi-asset ledger and verifiable smart contracts.

  4. Not factoring in fees is the biggest mistake people make trading Cardano. On an exchange, you are charged fees for every transaction. If you are planning on being an active trader these fees can eat into profits.

  5. No two cryptocurrency exchanges are created equal. Depending on where you are in the world your options and fiat onramps will vary greatly. More established exchanges are the way to go if you want to own the coins. If choosing a broker, select one advanced trading platform like MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5(MT5).

  6. Yes. Brokers have a minimum fiat currency deposit before you can begin trading.

  7. Generally speaking, it is more expensive to buy ADA on an exchange when you factor in deposit fees, withdrawal fees, and trading fees.

  8. The price of Cardano and other cryptocurrencies looks to be gaining ground after the savage recent bear market. The Bitcoin halving – an event that cuts the supply of new Bitcoins in half - is driving bullish momentum across the market. Cardano will likely follow Bitcoin in the short term.

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