Polkadot is a blockchain created with interoperability in mind. Its unique design lays the foundation for an "internet" of interconnected blockchains, and claims to offer improved scalability, security, flexibility, and privacy compared to competitors.
In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know in order to buy DOT, the native token of Polkadot. Read on for our three-step guide, as well as a more in-depth look at the project.
If you’re looking for a simple way to buy Polkadot, all you need to do is sign up with a crypto exchange. You can access it online with a computer, smartphone, or tablet to quickly buy and sell Polkadot and a range of other cryptocurrencies. The best platforms are listed below as well as a quick step-by-step guide on purchasing Polkadot.
The most important part of buying any cryptocurrency, Polkadot included, is choosing a vendor that is safe, affordable, and easy to use. We’ve listed our top choices below to help you select the right platform according to your needs.
Signing up is generally easy, and simply requires you to input your personal details. To fully verify your account, you’ll need to upload a copy of your photo ID and sometimes a proof of address as well. Once you’re verified, make your first deposit using one of the available payment methods.
Search the available markets for Polkadot, and find a trading pair with the currency you deposited (i.e. DOT/USD or DOT/GBP). Enter the amount of DOT you want to buy, then execute the trade.
Polkadot was created to enable different blockchains to connect and communicate with one another. The project’s central assumption is that in a decentralised future built on a number of different blockchains, there will be a premium placed on interoperability.
Polkadot acts as a base upon which developers can build their own blockchains (“parachains”), that then “plug-in” to the main Polkadot chain. These parachains can facilitate a range of different applications, from gaming and decentralised finance to NFTs. Polkadot can also “bridge” to existing blockchains, such as Ethereum—which, incidentally, was also co-founded by Gavin Wood, Polkadot’s creator.
The parachain model claims to offer greater flexibility for developers compared to competitors like Ethereum: decentralised applications (dApps) can have their own custom blockchains, rather than being constrained by the “rules” of Ethereum’s chain. This flexibility allows parachains to set their own parameters, such as being public or private, all the while benefitting from the security of the main Polkadot blockchain.
Polkadot investors may choose from a variety of different strategies depending on their risk tolerance, time horizon, and investment goals. In this section, we’ll briefly discuss your options.
This strategy involves simply purchasing Polkadot tokens and holding onto them with the expectation that they will gain value over time. This doesn’t require you to have the time or skills to actively trade the market, and can still generate returns if Polkadot’s price continues to appreciate.
If you opt for this strategy, you can also generate some passive income by staking your DOT tokens. Staking is a process where you “lock up” your tokens for 28 days at a time in order to help secure the Polkadot network, and are rewarded with newly minted DOT tokens for your trouble. Annualised staking rewards for DOT are typically around 5% in dollar terms.
If you opt to hold DOT for the long term, you’ll want to set up a private cryptocurrency wallet. These are more secure than the free, web-based wallets provided by exchanges, and come in two varieties: software and hardware.
Software wallets such as Atomic Wallet and Trust Wallet allow you to safely store your DOT on your computer or smartphone, whereas hardware wallets such as those offered by Trezor, BitBox, and Ledger offer top-level security at varying price points. Ledger products also allow you to stake DOT directly from your wallet.
Traders aim to buy and sell Polkadot over shorter timeframes in order to generate profits. This requires skill, time, and effort, but due to the inherent volatility of the crypto market, there are plenty of opportunities for traders to exploit the price movements of DOT. For more detailed predictions, read our Polkadot price prediction guide here.
Exchange wallets, while less secure, are likely to be more appropriate for frequent traders, as regularly transferring coins to and from a private wallet can be inconvenient.
If your vision for the future aligns with Gavin Wood’s, then investing in Polkadot could merit a closer look. However, whether or not you invest in Polkadot is ultimately your decision, and should be based on your own personal research.
If the future does indeed turn out to be multi-chain, then there is a chance that Polkadot could be heavily involved. By positioning itself as a collaborator rather than just a competitor, it could be argued that DOT has side-stepped the increasingly tense confrontation between the leading dApp blockchains such as Ethereum, Solana, and the Binance Smart Chain.
This approach means that regardless of which chain ends up being dominant, Polkadot still stands to gain from the success of the winner (or winners). By both bridging to other dApp ecosystems and hosting its own community of developers, Polkadot’s “internet of blockchains” has the potential to become a key piece of blockchain infrastructure.