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How to Buy Kusama (KSM) in 3 Simple Steps

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Author: Alice Leetham Updated: September 2, 2022

Kusama is often referred to as the “canary” network for Polkadot, as it provides a testing ground for developers with the same blockchain architecture as Polkadot. The fast pace of development on Kusama and the project’s openness to experimentation could make it a hotbed of innovation in the years to come.

With its unique position and innovative technology, Polkadot’s “wild cousin” has attracted significant attention from investors, especially since the launch of its “parachains”. Keep reading to find out how to buy KSM and why this project could have potential.

How to Buy Kusama

The easiest way to buy Kusama is to purchase it online from a crypto exchange. Exchanges make it easy to buy and sell Kusama and other cryptocurrencies directly from your smartphone, tablet or computer. Check out our recommended platforms below and follow the steps to safely buy Kusama.

1. Choose a platform

The first thing you need to do is decide which platform you want to buy KSM through. Security and reputation are two of the most important aspects to consider when selecting a platform, which is why we recommend brokers and exchanges which are well regulated. You can check out our recommendations in the table below.

Min. Deposit
User Score
The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange with over 2bn daily users
Innovative trading platform offering enormous range of crypto coins
Supports over 60 methods of payment including PayPal
Start Trading
Binance is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. It is better suited to more experienced investors and it offers a large number of cryptocurrencies to choose from, at over 600. Binance is also known for having low trading fees and a multiple of trading options that its users can benefit from, such as; peer-to-peer trading, margin trading and spot trading.
Payment Methods
Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal, Payeer, SEPA, Western Union, Wire Transfer, Yandex Money
Full regulations list:
Min. Deposit
User Score
Sign Up Bonuses
App Available
Supports Multiple Altcoins
Start Trading
Kucoin is a cryptocurrency exchange which offers over 200 cryptocurrencies. Kucoin has a wide range of services, such as; a built-in peer-to-peer exchange, spot and margin trading, bank level security and a wide range of accepted payment methods. Users can benefit from a beginner-friendly interface and relatively low fees.
Payment Methods
Full regulations list:
Min. Deposit
User Score
Secure, Professional & User-First
All-round security protection
100% reserve guarantee and has a legal license of digital asset
Start Trading
Founded in December 2017, CoinEx is a global and professional cryptocurrency exchange service provider. CoinEx supports multiple languages and are providing global trading services in nearly 100 countries/regions.
Payment Methods
Full regulations list:

2. Create and fund your account 

Once you’ve made your selection, create an account. A regulated broker will require you to go through the Know Your Customer (KYC) process, which will involve providing your name and contact information, and usually means uploading a photo ID and proof of address. Once done, go to make a deposit and choose one of the available payment methods to fund your account.

3. Buy Kusama

Now that you have an exchange or brokerage account with funds in, you’re ready to make a purchase. Search for KSM and select the KSM trading pair that contains the currency you funded your account with. Place a market order to buy KSM instantly, or a limit order to purchase it once it reaches a specified price.

Buy Kusama Today

What is Kusama?

Kusama is an experimental blockchain platform where developers can test out their decentralised applications (dApps). It inherits its infrastructure design from Polkadot and involves a large number of independent blockchains called parachains. Every parachain can host a different dApp, with each chain being optimised for a specific use case and having its own token and economics.

The KSM token has three main functions: it can be staked to secure the network in Kusama’s nominated Proof of Stake (NPoS) consensus system, it can be used to create parachains through bonding, and it functions as a governance token to allow holders to vote on things such as protocol changes, upgrades, and feature requests.

One difference between Kusama and Polkadot is that the on-chain governance process is much faster on Kusama, meaning developments and improvements are implemented quicker. This is why many developers are keen to deploy to Kusama and test their dApps in a scalable and interoperable environment.

Ways to Invest in Kusama

Kusama has attracted a range of investors—all with different aims, levels of experience and amounts of free time. For this reason, people like to buy KSM in different ways—from short-term traders to long-term investors.

Buy and hold Kusama

Simply buying and holding KSM can be a good way to take advantage of long-term price appreciation. Your KSM doesn’t have to sit idle while you hold it though—holders can stake their tokens to earn interest.

What’s more, with many projects deciding to crowdfund their bids for parachain slots, KSM holders can also bond their KSM to help a project win a slot. Successful projects may choose to reward those who contributed with airdrops of their native token.

Best Kusama wallets

If you decide to buy and hold KSM, you’ll need somewhere to keep it. The platform where you purchased it will likely provide you with a web wallet where you can store your KSM for free. While this is convenient, it isn’t the most secure storage solution, which is why many investors choose to self custody their KSM in a private wallet.

Software wallets such as MetaMask, Atomic Wallet and Trust Wallet can be downloaded onto a desktop or mobile device and tend to be free and easy to use. Hardware wallets, on the other hand, include the likes of Ledger, Trezor and KeepKey. While these are the most expensive type of wallets, they also provide the best possible security.

Trade Kusama

Those with less patience may also find Kusama appealing as its volatility makes it well suited to making quick profits. Traders can simply buy and sell KSM, but on a much shorter timescale than investors. Alternatively, they can trade derivatives such as futures, options, and contracts for difference (CFDs), which allow traders to speculate on the price of KSM without actually owning it.

Traders probably won’t need to set up their own private wallet for KSM, as constantly transferring tokens to and from an exchange or broker to make trades could be costly and time-consuming. The web wallet provided by the platform will likely be the most convenient option for traders.

Should I buy Kusama now?

This is something you’ll need to decide for yourself based on your own preferences, but there are a few factors worth considering. As the scalability issues and soaring gas costs of Ethereum become more apparent, developers and users alike have been looking for alternatives, and Kusama is already ahead of Ethereum in terms of throughput and efficiency. 

One development that could contribute to KSM’s future price movement is the rollout of the parachain auctions. Kusama’s independent blockchains are being auctioned off to the highest-bidding crypto projects. Bids for parachain slots must be made in KSM and the winner will have the tokens they bid locked up for the duration of their lease period. This simultaneously drives demand and puts downward pressure on the token supply—potentially a very positive combination for KSM price action.

Even once Polkadot rolls out its own parachain auctions, Kusama could still be a valuable project. There will always be fresh startups looking for a testing ground, and even more established projects might prefer the faster pace of development and lower barrier to entry that Kusama offers. 

Finally, Kusama is already developing its own decentralised finance (DeFi) ecosystem that might one day rival Ethereum’s, bringing more use cases and demand for KSM. Kusama certainly appears to have a lot of promise, which might explain why so many retail and institutional investors are starting to turn their attention to this innovative project.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. No. Kusama inherits its token economics from Polkadot, which means KSM is subject to an annual inflation rate of 10%. While perpetual inflation can be seen as negative for long-term value, a significant amount of the newly issued tokens is distributed as staking rewards, which drives demand for KSM.
  2. Sign up to a secure and regulated platform like the ones suggested above. You will often have a choice between making a market order, which means buying instantly at the current price, or a limit order, which means you will automatically purchase KSM when it reaches your chosen price. You may be charged a fee for the transaction, which isn’t usually very much, but it’s a good idea to find out about any charges before you get started.
  3. In the Staking section of the Polkadot-JS wallet, you can navigate to the Account actions subsection to bond your tokens, nominate one or more validators and start earning staking rewards. Many other wallets and exchanges will also offer staking and instructions on how to participate.
  4. The amount distributed to stakers varies with the amount staked. All inflation goes to validators when exactly half of all KSM is staked. If the proportion is greater or less than half, some of the inflation goes to the Kusama Treasury. At the time of writing, annual KSM staking returns are 14.74% for nominators and 15.7% for validators.
  5. Thoroughly research a parachain project before deciding to support its auction bid so as to avoid scams. Follow the participation instructions provided by the project, which might require using Polkadot-JS or participating through an exchange. Any KSM you contribute to the crowdloan will be locked up for the duration of the lease period, after which you will get them back. The project you support might also decide to give you some of their own tokens for free.

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