How and Where to Buy Cardano (ADA)

Cardano has cemented itself as one of the most popular blockchains since its creation in 2017. In fact, its native cryptocurrency, ADA, remained in the top 15 coins by market cap since December of that same year. With that in mind, what exactly is Cardano? And how and where can investors buy Cardano?

Best Exchanges to Buy Cardano

1 kraken-1200x1200
More details + Standard exchange fees: 0.9% – 1.5%
Kraken Rating
This is a crypto exchange with a solid track record and good customer service
BTC, ETH, DOT, DOGE, 90+ Cryptos
Ease of use
Customer support
Value for money
  • Excellent security features
  • Low fees on Kraken Pro
  • Established exchange
  • The lowest fees can only be accessed on the Pro area. There is a small learning curve to learn how to use it
2 cex-1200x1200
More details + Standard exchange fees: 0.16% – 7%
CEX Exchange Rating
One of the best and most trusted crypto exchanges
BTC, ETH, BCH, 60+ Cryptos
Ease of use
Customer support
Value for money
  • Easy to use app
  • Cryptos, derivatives, stable coins
  • 24/7 support
  • Lacks in choice of coins
3 Binance Review
More details + Standard exchange fees 0.06% – 0.1%
Binance Rating
Binance is one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges. It is renowned for its low trading fees, vast array of supported cryptocurrencies and services.
Ease of use
Customer support
Value for money
  • 600+ cryptos to trade
  • Low trading fees
  • Automated trading bots
  • Comprehensive service
  • Was hacked in 2019
  • Customer service needs improvement
4 coinbase-1200x1200
More details + Standard exchange fees: 0.5% – 2%
Coinbase Rating
The only crypto exchange to be listed on the stock market
100+ Cryptos on Coinbase and 250+ on Coinbase Pro
Ease of use
Customer support
Value for money
  • Is insured against hackers
  • Low fees on Coinbase Pro
  • Supports 100+ countries
  • Customer support is slow and ineffective
  • Goes down when large volumes of users hop on the platform

For investors looking for an exchange to buy Cardano on, there is a huge number to choose from. Due to its popularity and position within the Defi space, ADA is listed on almost all of the world’s largest exchanges.

Individual exchanges have a number of benefits and drawbacks. So it’s essential to research each one thoroughly before deciding which site to buy Cardano on. When you pick an exchange, you should consider which payment methods are accepted and what fees are charged.

ADA Price History

For those interested in buying ADA, it’s important to look back at the cryptocurrency’s price history. Cardano was funded through an initial coin offering (ICO), debuting with a market cap of $600 million. By the end of 2017, this had risen to $20 billion, and Cardano has not left the list of top 15 cryptocurrencies by market cap since.

When released, ADA was worth around $0.02 per coin, but by January 2018, it would cost an investor almost $1.30 to buy Cardano. A significant consolidation period saw the currency worth $0.21 at the end of 2020, but a strong bull market led to ADA’s price rising to $3.10 in September 2021, the cryptocurrency’s all-time high.

ADA Tokenomics

There is a total supply of 45 billion ADA, although the circulating supply falls between 30-35 billion tokens. ADA’s initial distribution took place between October 2015 and January 2017.

During this sales period, over 25 billion ADA was sold to investors. 20% of that amount – just over 5 billion ADA – was distributed amongst the network’s three main entities:

  • The Cardano Foundation – 648,176,761 ADA
  • Emurgo – 2,074,165,644 ADA
  • IOHK – 2,463,071,701 ADA

The remaining supply of tokens (almost 14 billion ADA) was set as the reserve for incentivising staking.

How to Buy Cardano (ADA)

Investors that want to buy Cardano, must first choose an exchange on which to do so. Here, fiat currency can be used to purchase cryptocurrencies, including ADA.

A step-by-step guide to buying ADA
Create and verify an account
You will need to follow the exchange’s registration process. Exchanges like the ones listed above will ask you to verify your identity. This is required to help prevent fraud and meet regulatory requirements.
Choose a payment method and make a deposit
Some exchanges offer a wider selection of payment methods than others. While some charge additional fees for certain payment types, like debit cards.
Place your cryptocurrency order
Find Cardano (ADA) on the site. Cryptocurrencies will often be listed by their ticker, in this case, “ADA”. Decide whether you want to purchase a certain number of ADA tokens, or spend a specific amount of your chosen fiat currency.

The exchange rates will be the same, but beginners may find it less complicated to spend $50, rather than purchase 100 ADA, for example.
Choose a storage method
It can be risky to leave your recently purchased cryptocurrency on an exchange. It’s much more beneficial to have a personal, secure place to store your ADA, outside the exchange you bought it on.

It’s also much easier to stake Cardano once it’s taken off an exchange. Use your crypto wallet’s address to send your ADA from the exchange to your preferred storage method.

How to Store Cardano

After you buy Cardano you want to make sure you store it properly. There are a number of excellent options for storing ADA, including both cold and hot storage solutions.

Cold storage or hardware wallets refers to the offline storage of cryptocurrency tokens. This makes it much more difficult for somebody to access your holdings maliciously. However, it can make it difficult to utilise your cryptocurrency fully.

On the other hand hot storage, usually a desktop wallet or browser extension, makes it easier for holders to access their ADA. However, it lacks the security of an offline alternative.

The most popular wallets for storing Cardano are:

What is Cardano?

Cardano is a layer 1 blockchain that was launched in 2017 by Charles Hoskinson, co-founder of Ethereum. The Cardano ecosystem is a decentralised network overseen by The Cardano Foundation, IOHK, and Emurgo.

Cardano’s developers consider the network to be an improvement on the blockchains that came before it. Including Bitcoin and Ethereum. In fact, they refer to it as a third-generation blockchain.

First-generation blockchains, like Bitcoin, could not run smart contracts and decentralised applications (DApps). At the same time, second-generation blockchains struggled to make their networks scalable.

Cardano allowed developers to create smart contracts while focusing on scalability and interoperability – the ability for different blockchains to exchange data with one another.

Cardano works using a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. Blockchains are decentralised systems that record data and allow users to exchange and store value in the form of cryptocurrency.

For the network to remain decentralised, participants need to validate the authenticity of transactions, using a consensus mechanism. Cardano’s PoS mechanism works by randomly selecting validators to validate the next block of transactions.

To be selected, coin holders (in this case, ADA holders) must offer an amount of their cryptocurrency as collateral. This gets entered into a lottery to validate the next block. The more ADA that is staked, the higher the likelihood of being chosen.

What is ADA?

As mentioned previously, ADA is Cardano’s native cryptocurrency. It was named after Ada Lovelace, a female mathematician from the 19th century who is widely considered the world’s first computer programmer.

ADA is a digital currency that can be used globally as a secure exchange of value. Without the need for third-party intermediaries. Transactions using ADA are permanently recorded on the Cardano blockchain.

ADA holders can stake their coins by delegating them to a stake pool in order to earn rewards. The yields for staking ADA – and other cryptocurrencies – are often higher than those found at traditional banking institutions. This staking reward is given to users in return for their contribution to the network. It adds to the security and governance of the blockchain.

Aside from staking, ADA has a number of uses. It can be held as an investment or used to make purchases. Because of Cardano’s smart contract functionality, ADA can also be used to interact with the network by way of transaction fees or traded on one of the blockchain’s decentralised exchanges (DEXs).

History of Cardano

Cardano is an open-source blockchain that was launched in 2017.

Work originally began on the Cardano platform in 2015. This was after Ethereum co-founder, Charles Hoskinson, co-founded a blockchain engineering company called IOHK alongside former Ethereum team member Jeremy Wood.

Today, IOHK’s primary purpose is the development of Cardano. The other companies involved in the running and maintenance of the Cardano ecosystem are The Cardano Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation. It is legally responsible for overseeing the Cardano network and Emurgo – the blockchain’s commercial arm.

Future of Cardano / Cardano Roadmap

Over the last few years, Cardano has regularly been criticised for not moving forward as quickly as some of its competitors. Cardano’s developers pride themselves on the fact that the network has never experienced any outages or downtime. A notable achievement that is crucial to the decentralisation and scalability of the ecosystem.

In line with this way of thinking, Cardano has been following a roadmap since its inception, designed to position it at the forefront of the Web3 space.

Byron Era – Foundation

Cardano’s Byron era focused on laying the foundation on which the network could be built. This phase of the Cardano roadmap enabled users to buy the blockchain’s native cryptocurrency, an integral part of any Web3 project. The Byron era also saw the delivery of the Daedalus wallet – IOHK’s official desktop wallet for storing ADA. And Yoroi – a light wallet created by Emurgo, designed for day-to-day use and quick transactions.

Perhaps most importantly, the Byron era looked to build a community around Cardano. It did this by firstly increasing the number of exchanges on which people could buy Cardano online. Additionally, it grew the number of GitHub commits and created a community of around 490,000 members.

Shelley Era – Decentralization

Decentralization is arguably the most important aspect of any Web3 project. Cardano’s Shelley era was implemented without service interruptions and demonstrated a period of growth and development for the network. During this time, additional nodes – computers that run software to validate blockchain transactions – were moved under the control of the Cardano community, allowing for further decentralization and security.

As a proof-of-stake blockchain, it was essential that Cardano introduce a delegation and incentives scheme to reward participants for staking and adopting the Cardano network. This was achieved during a hard fork – a permanent divergence from a previous version of the blockchain – which took place during the Shelley era. Overall, this period in Cardano’s history created a more useful and valuable network for users to be a part of.

Goguen Era – Smart Contracts

Cardano’s Goguen era saw the integration of smart contracts, which are programs or protocols that will automatically execute or complete an action when the terms of the agreement are met. The ability to run smart contracts is incredibly important for increasing the adoption of a blockchain. This change allowed developers to build DApps on top of Cardano using Plutus, Cardano’s smart contract development language and execution platform.

The Goguen era also saw the addition of a multi-currency ledger, which enabled users to create new natively-supported tokens, including fungible and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Cardano has done well in this regard. In fact it is one of the top 10 most popular NFT blockchains other than Ethereum.

Basho Era – Scaling

A number of blockchains struggle with scalability. The Basho era looks to improve this, along with interoperability, by improving the network’s underlying performance. This can be done by introducing sidechains, which are new blockchains that can function in tandem with the main Cardano chain. Work can be offloaded from the main chain onto a sidechain, which would increase the capacity of the network. Experimental features and tests can also be run on a sidechain, without impacting the security of the main Cardano blockchain.

Voltaire Era – Governance

The Voltaire era of Cardano will allow the network to become completely self-sufficient. It will see a voting and treasury system implemented, allowing network participants to use their stake and voting rights to make decisions regarding the governance of the ecosystem. From here, a percentage of all Cardano transaction fees will be pooled to provide funds for future developments.

Once these two systems have been introduced, Cardano will be under the control of its community, rather than external operators like IOHK.

Cardano FAQs

Is Cardano a Good Investment?

Cardano is a well-designed, decentralized platform, and its roadmap demonstrates the level of care and attention taken by its development team. In terms of Web3 companies, Cardano could potentially be a good investment, although the price of cryptocurrencies can be incredibly volatile, so it’s important to conduct thorough research before committing to a purchase.

Where Should You Buy Cardano?

There are a number of excellent options for buying Cardano (ADA). A person’s location may dictate which exchanges are available to them, but there are some definite outliers in the DeFi space. Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance are four of the largest and most well-respected exchanges, and all of them allow users to buy ADA safely and securely.

Where Should You Store Cardano?

Storing Cardano is a matter of preference. Some people chose to leave their ADA on the exchange from which they bought it, but this isn’t necessarily the most secure option available. Hot wallets are easily-accessible and cheaper alternatives to cold wallets, and they make it easier for ADA holders to spend, stake and utilize their purchased cryptocurrency. Cold wallets are more secure for longer-term holdings, but they can be expensive and the ADA difficult to access.

Will ADA’s Price Go Up?

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know whether the price of ADA will rise or fall in the future. Cryptocurrency is still in a period of relative infancy, so many experts are confident that its overall market cap will continue to increase over time. Cardano is in an excellent position to take advantage of the wider adoption of cryptocurrency, but it’s an incredibly volatile asset class and therefore nothing is guaranteed.