How To Buy Cardano's ADA

This guide will teach you how to buy ADA with confidence. Following the advice in this simple step-by-step guide will help you save money, get the best deal, and secure your new ADA coins.

Welcome to! This complete guide will show you that buying ADA doesn’t have to be confusing or frustrating if you know which/what steps to take. By the end of this page you will have learnt a clear strategy enabling you to safely buy and secure ADA whilst saving money and avoiding common pitfalls along the way.

Want to know how to buy ADA or get ADAs? Let's show you how!

The answer is to use these straightforward steps:

Here is an example showing the flow of funds from USD to ADA:
USD -> ETH -> ADA -> Wallet
Don’t worry if this looks confusing, we're committed to making sure you understand every step of the process.

No Fiat to ADA Pairing: The Workaround

Currently, there is no way to buy ADA directly using national fiat currency. This is because the exchanges that trade in fiat don’t trade ADA, and exchanges that trade in ADA don’t trade fiat.
The workaround is simple:
First trade your fiat money into a cryptocurrency that is paired against ADA. We will cover the most cost-effective way to do this. If you already own some cryptocurrency, you can skip forward to the Buying ADA chapter.

Let us draw up a real world example of this process showing you how to go from USD to ADA.

USD -> Coinbase -> ETH -> Binance -> ADA -> Your Wallet
Full Breakdown:
USD - Initial Fiat

Coinbase - Transfer fiat to crypto exchange which allows fiat to crypto trading

ETH - Buy crypto using fiat - This will later be traded for ADA

Binance - Send your crypto to an exchange that provides crypto to ADA pairing

ADA - Buy ADA by selling your previously bought crypto for ADA

Wallet - Send ADA to your secure Daedalus wallet

*Exchanges will be implementing fiat to ADA pairing in the future which will make buying ADA a lot simpler. #early-adopter-problems

Choosing an Exchange: Which is the Best Cardano Exchange?

Here are the 7 key factors to consider when choosing which is the best exchange for you.

Note on needing 2 exchanges:
If you don’t own any cryptocurrency yet, remember that you will need two exchange accounts.
1st Exchange - Fiat to crypto [USD to ETH]
2nd Exchange - Crypto to ADA [ETH to ADA]
For more information why this is necessary review the Introduction to buying Cardano.

1. Privacy: Protecting Your Identity!

Before signing up to an exchange find out what personal information they require from you and make sure you are comfortable handing this over to them. Most exchanges are compliant with KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) procedures making them obligated to keep records of their clients/customers personal information. Gaining privacy and anonymity rules out the following payment methods for buying crypto:

Your options are limited to buying crypto using cash or a cash deposit, then exclusively using exchanges which don’t require identity verification.
Hopefully in the future DEX decentralised exchanges will become should help create a more private future.

2. Limits: Buying Lots of ADA? Can they handle your volume?

If you are looking to buy a large amount of Cardano Coin, say anything over a months salary, major brokers and large exchanges are good options well suited for large buy orders. They can sometimes offer special business or high volume trading accounts.
Coinbase have high limits for buying crypto using credit/debit cards payment methods.
Cash exchanges and peer-to-peer exchanges such as rarely have a maximum buying limit, instead you are limited by the amount of cryptocurrency that is on offer by the sellers.

3. Speed: How Hard is your ADA FOMO?

If you need to convert your money into ADA urgently make sure to choose an exchange which accepts the fastest payment methods. Credit Card, Debit Card and Bank Transfer orders can be instant, whereas SEPA transfers take days.

A great way to instantly trade your regular money into crypto is to use a Cryptocurrency or Bitcoin ATM. Find one near you.

Tip: Register/Verify/Deposit before you FOMO
Whichever exchanges you decide to use, it is a good idea to register and verify with them ASAP. During bull runs, exchanges can become overwhelmed by a vast influx of new users registering. In these frenzied periods, the verification process has been known to take many weeks. Don’t be the person who misses out on a price rally because you're stuck waiting for account verification or a money deposit to come through!
Be prepared and register today.

Registered accounts with different crypto trading platforms and exchanges can be an extremely valuable asset in of itself. You will be ready to make moves at an instant's notice, selling the tops and buying the bottoms when the opportunity presents itself, all because you were prepared.

Buying your first Cardano Coins can feel time consuming, but remember that once everything is setup, your subsequent crypto purchases will be far faster!

4. Exchange Rate Price: Find the best deal

To get the cheapest price when buying Cardano coins you should compare the current price of ADA across all reputable exchanges and identify which one will give you the best price.

You can view ADA’s current average price along with its exchange specific pricing. As you can see there can be a significant price difference between exchanges so try and use the exchange with the cheapest ADA price.

5. Research Reputation: Avoiding Scams, Hacks & Cowboys

It is essential to do as much background research on your chosen exchange as possible. Researching will help you avoid scams and learn what reputation the exchange has with the online community.

Here are some good starting points to begin with:
How long has the exchange been around for? According to the crypto community is it trustworthy? Do they offer security best practices such as Two-Factor Authentication? For more tips read our Avoiding Crypto Scams chapter.

Find which exchanges we found to be trustworthy by visiting our ADA exchange reviews.

6. Fees: Reducing The Cost of Fees

Exchanges charge fees for providing you with their service. There are three main types of fees you should be aware of: Deposit, Withdrawal and Trading Fees. Different payment methods often carry different fees. Some exchanges offer loyalty schemes which reduce fees once you have spend over a certain amount on fees.

Save your money on fees by following these steps:

7. Payment Method

Let me guess, you already know which payment method you would prefer to buy your ADA with right? This is one of the most important factors in buying your Cardano coins, which is why the whole next chapter is dedicated to Payment Methods!

Payment Methods

I know there is a lot to take in but stick with us - you’ll be ready to buy ADA by the end of this chapter. We’ll have a quick recap on where you can buy ADA before diving in and working out which is the best payment method for you!
Where to buy Cardano?

In order to buy ADA, you’ll be converting your local currency, such as Dollars or Pounds, into cryptocurrency. Luckily for you there is no shortage of payment methods available, each possessing its own strengths and weaknesses. Important factors which should be considered when making your decision include: speed of deposit, ease of use, degree of anonymity, security and commission fees.

We will examine the top 4 most popular payment methods in depth, but first here is a table summarising each methods advantages/disadvantages:

1. Credit or Debit Card

Credit and Debit Cards are exceptionally well supported by most cryptocurrency exchanges and as people are already familiar using them, it makes for an ideal and popular payment method.

Why buy ADA using a Credit/Debit Card?
Instant Speed - Fastest of all payment methods, exchanges can instantly verify your credit card deposit allowing immediate release of cryptocurrency into your account. Perfect for catching flash price crashes/bottoms. This assumes your account has already been verified.
Convenience - Easiest payment method as almost everyone has a Credit or Debit Card and should already be familiar with using them for online purchases.
Widely Accepted - You will find almost all cryptocurrency exchanges accept Credit and Debit Card payments.

Why NOT to buy ADA using a credit/debit card?
High Fees - Highest fees second only to PayPal. Fees are usually percentage based not fixed, this means the larger the deposit the higher the fee making this a bad payment method for large deposits. If you are not in a rush to buy Cardano, we recommend using a Bank Transfer with far lower fees instead. Money saved on fees leaves you with more ADA in your wallet!
No Privacy - Anonymity is not possible as your identity is attached to the Credit/Debit Card details you submit to the exchange when making the deposit.
Some exchanges where you can buy Cardano using Credit / Debit Cards are great.

2. Bank Account or Bank Transfer

Bank Transfers charge very low fees and are widely accepted across all major exchanges making it an attractive payment method.

Why buy ADA using Bank Account/Transfer?
Low Fees - Very Low Fees when making direct Wire (US) or SEPA (Europe) Bank Transfers to your exchange. Will save you lots of money compared to using the high fee Credit/Debit Card payment method.
High Volume Purchases - The perfect choice when buying large amounts of crypto/Cardano from your reputable exchange. Exchanges have higher Bank Transfer deposit limits compared to other payment methods.
Widely Accepted - Almost all cryptocurrency exchanges accept Bank Transfers including Wire (US) or SEPA (Europe) transfers.

Why NOT to buy ADA using Bank Account/Transfer?
Slow Speed - Bank Transfers can take upto 5 working days before arriving so plan ahead. If you need to buy Cardano as quickly as possible this may not be the best option for you. If speed is a priority, consider using a Credit/Debit Card or PayPal account instead.
No Privacy - Anonymity is not possible as your identity is attached to the Bank details you submit to the exchange when making the deposit.

3. Cash - Person-to-Person & Cryptocurrency ATM

Cash is the only option which offers privacy. Being a direct payment method between money and cryptocurrency can make it extremely fast. The two types of Cash deposits are: using a Cryptocurrency ATM, or meeting an ADA seller in person and trading cash for their crypto.

Benefits using a Cash Exchange
Best Privacy - Only method where achieving anonymity is possible. Revealing personally identifiable information can be avoided in each stage of the transaction process if careful.
Fast Speed - Cash to crypto transaction are instantaneous. Organising who or where to make your trade is the time-consuming factor.

Disadvantages using a Cash Exchange
High Cost - Gaining privacy comes at a cost. Sellers and exchanges often charge a premium between 5-15% above the average market rate for accepting cash payments. High Risk - Meeting a stranger from the internet has serious risks associated with it as you don’t know the intentions of the seller. For all you know they may have malicious intentions to scam or even worse, physically rob you. Remember that the larger the value of the order the higher the incentive for criminals to try and scam you so think hard about using this option for large transactions and always stay alert and be careful.
Less Convenient: Travel Required - This method requires you to actually leave the comfort of your home and meet the seller in a physical location. No more buying ADA from your bed wearing your PJ’s I’m afraid!

Bitcoin ATMs

The popularity of Bitcoin ATMs has exploded in recent years. There are now over 2750 ATMs in 67 countries. They are user-friendly and easy to use: Simply insert cash into the machine and crypto is sent to your designated wallet. The default cryptocurrency sold is Bitcoin but an increasing number of ATMs are now also selling a variety of alt coins. It is likely we will see Cardano’s ADA coin as an option in the near future. Until then you can use these ATMs to exchange your local currency into crypto before converting it into ADA.

Advantages using a Bitcoin ATM
Best Privacy - Only method where achieving anonymity is possible. Note that some ATMs require ID submission, so ensure you use one where this is not the case.
Fastest Speed - This is truly the fastest way to buy Crypto. Within minutes you will have successfully traded your cash into crypto in a secure manner. A great option if you are lucky enough to have one located nearby.

Disadvantages using a Bitcoin ATM
High Cost - Gaining privacy comes at a cost. ATMs often charge a premium between 5-15% above the average market rate for accepting cash payments.
Less Convenient: Travel Required - This method requires that you leave the comfort of your home and physically travel to your local Crypto ATM - shock horror, the effort, the effort of it all!
Not Every ATM Offers Privacy - Note that not all cryptocurrency ATMs offer anonymity. Some allow smaller purchases without an ID, but other ATMs can require that you submit valid ID for purchases of any size. Best to research this before making a wasted trip to the ATM if you value your right to privacy.
Find your local Bitcoin ATM [Coin ATM Radar]

4. PayPal

We strongly discourage the use of PayPal for buying crypto as it offers nothing but drawbacks in comparison to any of the other available payment methods. If your PayPal account is linked to your Credit Card or Bank Account why not use them instead and save a killing on fees. Some reasons to avoid PayPal are: high fees upto 20%, provides no privacy, is not accepted by any major exchanges, reports of PayPal accounts associated with crypto transactions being closed, private sellers have issues with fraud, disputes and chargebacks.

Why buy ADA with PayPal?
Familiarity - Many people find using PayPal to be user-friendly and convenient, this is its sole strength. Why NOT to buy ADA with PayPal?
Highest Fees - Fees range between 10-20% hitting larger purchases the hardest. To save money and avoid these hefty fees we recommend using Credit/Debit Card or Bank Transfers.
Not Widely Accepted - Not accepted by any major exchanges. Used by some private sellers, but fraud, disputes and chargebacks are commonplace.
No Privacy - Anonymity is not possible when your PayPal account has been verified or associated with your bank account.
Potential Violation of Terms (Account Closure) - PayPal’s T&C prohibit merchants from selling cryptocurrencies(See *1) leading to many reporting closure of their PayPal account.
*1 - Section 3, h) "You may not use the PayPal service for activities that: involve currency exchanges or check cashing businesses"
Long-Winded Workaround - As there is no direct exchange that offers Paypal to crypto trades, you must use a hacky drawn out process which is described fully in our guide. To summarize, you buy a digital token called ‘Second Life Lindens’ (SLL) using your local money, then sell the SLL for cryptocurrency.

Congratulations! Now you know which payment method suits you best, you are ready to view which exchanges...

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are still feeling a little confused don’t worry, we are here to help you and this chapter aims to tie up any unanswered questions you may still have about how to buy Cardano.

When Should I Buy ADA?

Before making an investment into something as volatile as cryptocurrency it is natural to ask “When is the best time to buy Cardano?”. Anyone who answers this question with certainty should be ignored. No one can see into the future of this wildly unpredictable and newly formed cryptocurrency market. Instead you should aim to thoroughly research and educate yourself on the entire blockchain industry, its markets, competing projects, historic patterns etc. Possessing a knowledgeable foundation of the cryptocurrency industry will help you to make an informed, sensible decision on identifying a good time to buy ADA.

Can I Use Multiple Exchanges?

Using multiple exchanges is possible and even provides some great advantages. For example, if the daily/weekly/monthly buy limits on your primary exchange are too low to accommodate your desired buy order, you can simply open another account with a different exchange effectively increasing your overall buy limit capacity. Having multiple accounts really opens up your options, not only will you be able to compare prices finding the cheapest current ADA price, but in the case of an exchange experiencing downtime, you will be well positioned to simply trade on a different exchange.
Tip: Register/Verify/Deposit before you FOMO
We recommend registering and verifying with all the exchanges you expect to use in the future now. Be prepared and do this before you need to use them, or are experiencing an intense episode of FOMO as verification can take a while, you don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity. Be prepared and signup today.

Can You Sell ADA? How Do You Sell ADA?

Absolutely! Almost all exchanges which let you buy ADA will also let you sell it. Don’t forget they will charge a fee.

Can I Buy Cardano Stock?

Cardano’s ADA coin is not a stock despite it sharing similar traits with traditional stocks. You can buy Cardano’s ADA directly yourself with no need for a stock broker or trader and as it is a decentralised cryptocurrency, it provides you with greater control and security over your asset than holding a centralised traditional stock.
If Cardano’s ADA ever becomes ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) approved, it would be possible to trade it in the regulated market like a traditional stock.

Why Do I Need To Upload My ID To Some Exchanges?

This is because most exchanges are compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures which make them obligated to keep records of their clients/customers personal information.

Can I Buy Less Than One ADA? How Divisible Is An ADA?

Yes it is possible to buy/sell/trade in fractions of an ADA. Let's defining what a single unit of ADA consists of:
1 ADA = 1,000,000 Lovelaces
1 Lovelace = 1/1,000,000 Ada
Ada has six decimal places.
1.000000 = 1 ADA
0.000001 = 1 Lovelace

As we can see the smallest denomination of ADA is called a ‘Lovelace’, this unit can be traded.
Note how ADA has six digits from the decimal point, whereas Bitcoin goes eight digits from the decimal.

Which Staking Pool?

We recommend joining this Cardano Staking Pool.

Does Cardano Unfairly Benefit Early Adopters?

If we look back over how the cryptocurrency financial markets have performed since the early days of Mt. Gox in 2010 there has been an unprecedented Return On Investment (ROI) for those who invested. One of the first Fiat to Bitcoin trades occurred on 12th October 2009 where Bitcoins were being bought for approximately $0.001 (one tenth of a US cent) each. When the price hit $10,000 per Bitcoin in November 2017 those investors/speculators saw a 999,999,900% ROI. Whether or not it is fair that anyone should be able to gain this level of profit and advantage is a philosophical issue open to debate.

With hindsight it is easy to only focus on the rewards early cryptocurrency adopters have received, but the difficult journey which led them to this wealth, along with their integral role in the technology’s widespread success must also be acknowledged. Of those who first learned about Bitcoin, only a few took the initiative to buy in. Early adopters of crypto take an enormous risk when investing their own resources to acquire part of what is an emerging technology. Losing 100% of their initial investment is a real possibility, as is the possibility of becoming exceedingly wealthy.

Buying Cardano as an investment right now would make you one of the pioneering ‘generations’ of Cardano’s ADA hodlers. But be warned that being part of the elite class of early adopters in any cryptocurrency comes with the enormous risk of losing your initial investment. On the other hand if you believe that the Cardano project will succeed as a global cryptocurrency that will be an integral part of the future global economy, it is likely you will never see a better investment opportunity. We are possibly experiencing the birth of a new asset class, this is no joke. Remember to never invest more than you can afford to loose.

Avoiding Crypto Scams/Hacks: Don't Lose Money!

As the value of the cryptocurrency market increases, so does the incentive for scammers and opportunists to rip you off. As they continue to develop increasingly elaborate schemes and trickery, often targeting the less experienced user, it is vital to keep your guard up, stay critical and vigilant. This chapter contains some basic rules to protect you against falling prey to cryptocurrency scams.

General Tips

Research: Become Your Own Authority

Doing thorough critical research empowers you to become your own authority and will help you determine whether or not to trust your intended exchange. Things to research: Are the identities of the owners of the exchange known publicly or are they anonymous? How long have they been operating for? What jurisdiction do they operate in? What experiences have people on social media such as reddit and twitter had using their service? Do they offer security best practices such as Two-Factor Authentication?

With so many fraudulent exchanges out there, we recommend sticking to those found in our extensive directory of trusted exchanges. Each exchange listed has been intensely scrutinised and vetted by our team before being deemed trustworthy, filtering out any scam crypto exchanges. That is not to say that you shouldn’t carry out your own research, but if an exchange you are considering is not listed with us, employ extra care, caution and research.

Remember to visit the detailed reviews we provide for each of our trusted Cardano exchanges.

Sending ADA: Test Transaction

Cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible so any mistakes made are permanent. When sending ADA always:

Storing ADA: Never Leave ADA In Exchanges

These three important reasons explain why you should never use an exchange to store ADA:

ADA should remain in crypto exchanges for the minimum amount of time it takes to complete the intended trade. As soon as the trade is completed, the ADA should be withdrawn from the exchange and sent to a secure wallet. Learn about the three wallet types which allow you to own your private keys in our “Secure Your ADA” chapter.

Check Sellers Feedback Ratings: Buy With Confidence

Peer-to-peer exchanges such as LocalBitcoins allow you to view the sellers feedback rating before making a purchase. Checking sellers feedback will help you to find a seller who has a proven track record of successful cryptocurrency trades whilst avoiding any timewasters.

Trustworthy Signals: Prefer These Sellers
Old account age, short release times, high number of confirmed trades and trading partners, 100% feedback score, real name verification.

Warning Signals: Avoid These Sellers
Newly created unverified account, high number of bans/blocks from other traders, low feedback score and small number of confirmed trades.


Phishing Exchange Sites: Access Your Exchange Directly

Phishing sites disguise themselves to look and behave identically to the official site they are impersonating. This common form of online scam can be avoided by following these simple steps:

Avoid Cardano Investment/Ponzi Schemes

These types of scams attract users by promising them amazing returns on their investment often stating that the investment opportunity is “risk free” with profit or interest being “100% guaranteed”. Don’t waste your time and don’t lose your money, avoid these scams.

Fake Digital Wallets: Stick To Official Cardano Daedalus Wallet

This type of scam is easily avoided by never using third-party ADA wallets. Keep your ADA safe by exclusively using the officially supported Daedalus Wallet. The Daedalus Wallet is Cardano’s own creation meaning it is secure having been built by cryptography experts and will be actively maintained by the project and community.

Fake Cardano Wallets are found on websites and mobile app stores such as Google Play. These scam wallets trick users into believing the wallet offers the safest way to store ADA, but as soon as a victim deposits ADA to their fake wallet, the funds are immediately forwarded on to the scammers.

In late 2017 $3.3 million was stolen from such a scam, when victims tried to claim their Bitcoin Gold using a fake wallet. Avoid falling victim to these scams by visiting our Secure Your Coins chapter to learn more about the Daedalus Wallet.

Impersonators: Charles Hoskinson, is that you? No

Ignore any social media posts offering crypto related: giveaways, reimbursements, investments or discounts. These scams are heavily pushed on Twitter/Reddit/Facebook/Telegram/Discord channels often seeming to have been posted by key figures such as Charles Hoskinson or Vitalik Buterin. Don’t send your crypto to these phonies.

Scammers are creating very convincing impersonations of valued and prominent members of the cryptocurrency community. By pretending to be these figureheads the scammers gain the undeserved respect, attention and trust of unsuspecting users who are at risk of sending cryptocurrency to the wallets controlled by the scammers with the belief they will receive a larger sum back. To inspire further validity to this type of scam, many sockpuppet accounts reply to the original post stating how happy they are to have received their crypto ‘rewards’. Don’t believe them - it’s all part of the act.

This threat has become so common that many public figures, such as Charles Hoskinson, warn their audience in a “pinned” message. Ethereum’s creator Vitalik even changed his Twitter to:
Vitalik "Not giving away ETH" Buterin

General Security: Not Just Limited To Crypto

Avoid Using Public Wifi:

Public wifi hotspots are easily exploitable and should never be used for any important crypto related online activities. If you must use public wifi, at the very least use a VPN service which provides end-to-encryption. Also be aware of criminals stealing your login credentials by using hidden cameras or simply looking over your shoulder. A better approach to using public wifi would be to tether internet from your phone and then use a VPN to encrypt packets from wifi snoopers. Better yet, limit your crypto activities to your trusted home network using Ethernet.

Toughened Login Security: Use 2FA + Password Manager

Enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and using different passwords for each exchange you use will vastly improve the security of your accounts. Having 2FA stops hackers from logging into accounts by requiring a valid dynamically changing 2FA code in addition to the correct username and password. Password managers allow you to have strong unique passwords for all your online accounts whilst only having to memorise a single master password.

Secure Your ADA Coins: Use A Hardware Wallet

Your ADA is only secure when stored in a wallet that you control!
Don’t store your ADA on an exchange - here is why:

With over $1billion stolen from online cryptocurrency exchanges, keeping ADA on an exchange is an unnecessary gamble easily averted by using a wallet where you control the private keys. Two types of wallets offer this: Cold Storage and Hot Wallets, this chapter will focus on Hardware Wallets a form of Cold Storage.
You can visit the Cardano Wallets section for an in-depth look at all the different ADA wallets available to you.

Cold Storage: Offline Hardware Wallet

Hardware Wallets are cryptographically secure devices specifically designed for storing cryptocurrency. Their ability to provide maximum security whilst remaining easy-to-use has made them the most popular type of cryptocurrency wallet especially for those holding large amounts of cryptocurrency.

Hardware Wallets work by storing the private key in a protected area of a microcontroller chip. This means that even if the device is plugged into a compromised computer connected to the internet and ridden with viruses and malware, the private key is never at risk of being exposed outside of the device itself. This is what makes them so secure and why they are referred to as Cold Storage or Offline Wallets.

Ledger Nano S: Offline Hardware Wallet

The Ledger Nano S is currently the only officially supported Cardano Hardware wallet. In addition to providing all the expected benefits of a hardware wallet, when you store your ADA on a Ledger device you have the option to cold stake which will result in you earning passive ADA whilst having peace of mind knowing your ADA is securely stored in the device.

Ledger Nano S - Hardware Wallet: Advantages

Ledger Nano S - Hardware Wallet: Disadvantages