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How to buy Cardano (ADA)

Learn how to buy Cardano on 10+ exchanges in our step-by-step guide.

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Cardano (ADA) is an Ethereum competitor which has adopted a slow and steady approach to blockchain development. This has helped it earn a loyal following which helped push the price of ADA to an all-time high of $3.09 in September 2021.

While this has helped make ADA the #8 crypto by market cap, Cardano is still a highly volatile asset capable of major price swings in a single day.

Today ADA is trading for $0.379, which is slightly up from yesterday's trading price of $0.394. Cardano's seen a decrease of -63% over the past year.

So before you buy Cardano, make sure you understand these unique risks as well as its legal, regulatory and tax status here in the US.

If you're ready to get started, read on for step-by-step instructions and a list of platforms you can use to buy Cardano in the US.

How to buy Cardano in 4 steps

To buy ADA all you'll need is a smartphone or computer, an internet connection, photo identification and a way to pay.

  1. Compare crypto exchanges
    The easiest way to buy Cardano is from a cryptocurrency exchange. Comparing in the table below helps you find a platform with the features you want like low fees, ease of use or 24-hour customer support.
  2. Create an account
    To create an account on an exchange, you will need to verify your email address and identity. Have some photo ID and your phone ready.
  3. Make a deposit
    Once verified, you can deposit USD using the payment method that best suits you – wire transfer, Rollover or personal check, bank transfer and cryptocurrency payments are widely accepted.
  4. Buy Cardano
    You can now exchange your funds for Cardano. On beginner-friendly exchanges, this is as simple as entering the USD or ADA amount you want to purchase and clicking "buy". If you like, you can then withdraw your Cardano to a personal wallet.

Disclaimer: This page is not financial advice or an endorsement of digital assets, providers or services. Digital assets are volatile and risky, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Potential regulations or policies can affect their availability and services provided. Talk with a financial professional before making a decision. Finder or the author may own cryptocurrency discussed on this page.

Where to buy Cardano in the US

If this is your first time buying cryptocurrency you'll need to look for a platform that accepts US dollars, like SoFi or KuCoin.

Don't worry too much about extra features or coins for now – you can always sign up with another exchange later.

Use the table to choose a platform that meets your needs and click the Go to site button to get started.

1 - 5 of 12
Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
SoFi Invest Crypto
Bank transfer (ACH), Wire transfer, Rollover or personal check
USD

30
cryptocurrencies

Win up to $100 in crypto with a qualifying first trade
Instantly purchase a handful of leading cryptocurrencies with the SoFi app, which also insures your coins against potential hacks or theft.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Debit/credit cards, Zelle
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND

747
cryptocurrencies

Sign up and get up to US$10 in rewards. Make trades to get up to US$500 in rewards. T&Cs apply.
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Crypto.com App
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Wire transfer, SWIFT, Debit/credit cards
USD, EUR, GBP, COP, CHF, HKD, SGD, AUD, CAD, KRW, SEK, CNY, TRY, RON, JPY, NOK, MYR, BRL, DKK, ZAR, BGN, THB, INR, TWD, PHP, IDR, MOP, MDL, SAR, MXN, CLP

277
cryptocurrencies

Buy 760+ cryptocurrencies, earn up to 14.5% p.a. on holdings, pay with your crypto for cashback at stores, get loans and more with this complete crypto-finance platform.
Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Apple Pay, Google Pay, SWIFT, Visa and Mastercard debit/credit card, ACH online banking, Digital Wallet purchases
USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, GBP, CHF, JPY, AED

183
cryptocurrencies

Buy, sell and trade a range of digital currencies on this high-liquidity exchange – suitable for beginners right through to advanced traders.
Uphold - Digital Asset Platform
Bank transfer, Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer (SEPA), Apple Pay, Google Pay
USD, GBP, AUD, EUR, CAD, CNY, JPY, SGD, INR, NZD

242
cryptocurrencies

Refer a friend to earn US$20 — $10 for you and $10 for the person you refer.
Use the Uphold app to trade between 200+ cryptos and other assets in a single click.
Disclaimer: Star ratings are only displayed for products with 10 or more reviews.
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What is Cardano?

Much like Ethereum, Cardano (ADA) is a layer-1 blockchain that supports smart contracts. Its infrastructure enables decentralized applications (dapps) to be built on its network, which operates under a proof-of-stake consensus.

Its success as a cryptocurrency can be at least partly attributed to its founder, Charles Hoskinson, a notable figure in the crypto space and one of the co-founders of Ethereum.

The Cardano roadmap (also referred to as development eras) is broken into 5 stages – foundation, decentralization, use of smart contracts, scaling and governance. It aims to be a scalable, interoperable and sustainable blockchain for real-world applications and the future economy.

While Cardano has significant goals and a strong team, it has been consistently overshadowed by its slow development cycle, which has seen its usability fall behind that of many other competing networks like Ethereum and Solana.

Read our beginner's guide to how Cardano works

What will I need to buy Cardano?

To create an account with your chosen crypto platform, you only need an email address or mobile number. This will usually allow you to deposit cryptocurrency, but not USD.

If you want to buy Cardano with US dollars, you'll need to pass a Know Your Customer (KYC) check.

This is a standard security procedure for most exchanges in the US and requires you to upload some photo ID, and in some cases a selfie with today's date.

KYC is usually approved instantly, but in rare cases, you may have to wait a few hours or days.

What are the best ways to buy Cardano?

Once you've set up your account, you'll need to deposit funds to buy Cardano with. We've listed out some popular ways to buy ADA and what you should know about each payment method below.

What is the cheapest way to buy Cardano?

Most exchanges let you buy as little as $5 worth of ADA, if not less. Just type in how much you want to spend in USD and let the exchange work out the rest.

Some platforms only offer 1 way to buy Cardano, while others provide several choices. The 2 most common ways to buy ADA are on the spot market or with an "instant buy" feature.

Instant buy

If it's your first time buying Cardano this will be the fastest method – but also the least cost-effective.

You'll usually find the instant buy section under a "Buy now" heading on the platform you've chosen.

It should feature a simple interface that lets you enter the amount of Cardano you want to buy, or US dollars you want to spend.

This is usually the only option available for credit or debit card purchases, but you may also be able to make an instant buy if you've pre-funded your account with a bank transfer.

Be prepared to pay a markup on ADA's market rate in exchange for the convenience.

Spot market

If you see colorful charts with a range of prices, you're probably in the spot market.

The spot market is where buyers and sellers come together to place bids for ADA on the open market. It's usually the cheapest way to buy Cardano because it lets traders set their own price.

You'll find the spot market under a "Trade" or "Spot" heading on the site or app menu of the platform you've chosen to use.

There are several different order types that you can make on the spot market.

  • Market order. This will buy you the amount of Cardano you specify at the lowest possible price available. This makes it like an instant buy order, but with much lower fees.
  • Limit order. This is the most common order type and lets you purchase Cardano at the price you specify. Traders use this to time the market and capitalize on price dips or increases.

How to find the best place to buy Cardano in the US

There are dozens of different trading platforms to choose from when buying Cardano in the US, so to help you find your best option, keep these factors in mind:

  • Where it's registered. Using a locally registered exchange is a good idea. It's more likely to accept US dollars and local payment methods like SWIFT, which helps avoid foreign exchange fees. Choosing from US-based exchanges also means it's likely to be registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) which means it has to comply with local laws in the US.
  • Security. Look at the security features the platform has to offer, like 2-factor authentication and PGP-encrypted emails. Cold storage of user funds is considered industry standard, but insurance funds are less common and indicative of good security practices.
  • Fees. Check the fine print to find out exactly how much your transaction will cost. Depending on the platform you choose, these could include spreads, trading fees and deposit and withdrawal charges.
  • Transaction limits. Are there any minimum or maximum limits on the amount of Cardano you can purchase? Does the exchange restrict the amount of funds you can withdraw from your account in any 1 transaction or 24-hour period?
  • Other platform features. Look out for other features that suit your investment or trading needs. For instance, many exchanges now let you earn yield on your holdings, while some issue crypto debit cards to help you spend your coins.
  • Customer support. If you ever have a problem with a transaction, will you be able to quickly and easily get in touch with the customer support team? Are they based in the US? Check what contact methods are available and find out how quick the team is at responding to enquiries.
  • Insurance fund. A small number of exchanges now insure user funds. Beware that policies vary greatly between exchanges, so you'll need to research this thoroughly if insurance is important to you.
  • Reputation. As a young industry, reputation can provide a lot of clues when choosing an exchange. For instance, who are the founders? Have there been any controversies? Are their business practices transparent? If you can't find any of this information, that may be a red flag.
  • Range of coins. If you're thinking about adding other cryptos to your portfolio in the future, check to see what other coins you can buy through the platform.
  • Read reviews. Finder's crypto exchange reviews include user feedback, which helps you get a better idea of what the exchange is like to use for other people starting out just like you.

Why you should use a FinCEN-registered cryptocurrency exchange

Crypto exchanges founded and based in the US are required to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a division of the US Department of the Treasury. This bureau safeguards the US financial system by working to prevent money laundering, terrorist-financing activity and other financial crimes.

FinCEN-registered exchanges contribute to a more secure financial system in the US and provide you with better consumer protections compared to exchanges based in other countries.

Other reasons for using a FinCEN-registered exchange may include the following:

  • They are subject to state-level regulation and laws.
  • They are more likely to offer US-based customer support.
  • They typically cover local payment methods such as ACH bank transfers and support transactions in US dollars (USD).

Recent Cardano developments

September 22, 2022: Cardano’s long-anticipated Vasil hard fork went live. The upgrade should improve network throughput speed as well as the functionality of the decentralized apps (aApps) built on the network.
June 1, 2022: Cardano (ADA) has surged 20% in five days as investors bet that this month's Vasil hard fork, which will upgrade the network, could boost it long term. Read full story

Is Cardano safe to invest in?

You shouldn't invest in any asset, including ADA without doing plenty of research first. Before you buy Cardano, make sure you understand and weigh up these risks:

  • Price volatility. Cardano's price is largely based on speculation, which means it can rise or fall in a short time. It's not uncommon for ADA to lose more than 10% of its value in a single day.
  • Perceived value. ADA is a unique asset that does not have any tangible value. It derives most of its value from utility and speculation.
  • Exchange vulnerabilities. Leaving your Cardano on a crypto platform exposes you to several counterparty risks, including:
    • Scams. Scammers frequently try to trick exchange users into handing over their username and password, often by phishing with malicious emails or fake website links. Use 2FA and encrypted emails to help protect your funds.
    • Hacks and theft. Exchanges are vulnerable to hacks and theft, so choose one with good security practices and a track record of safety.
    • Fiscal mismanagement. In mid-2022 a number of crypto platforms froze user funds after it was revealed they had engaged in irresponsible funds management.
    • Insurance. Unlike stocks, only a small handful of exchanges provide insurance on your cash deposits.
  • Regulatory uncertainty. The regulatory environment for Cardano and other cryptos is constantly changing. It's important to understand how international rulings have the potential to impact Cardano's future – for better or worse.
  • Novel technology. Cardano was created in 2017 which makes it relatively new as a form of technology and as a currency. ADA doesn't yet have the same track record or performance history as some other asset classes.
  • Technical learning curve. Evaluating the tech behind ADA before you invest is important, but requires a deep understanding of the blockchain and other aspects of decentralized finance. You should be prepared to do plenty of research.
  • Failure to deliver product. Cardano (ADA) is a blockchain well-known for having big ambitions, but for not delivering much. While decentralized finance (DeFi) thrived in 2021, ADA holders mostly sat on the sidelines as the blockchain was unable to provide basic functionality despite many promises to the contrary. Investors should be wary of Cardano's slow development pace.
  • Lackluster product. Cardano's first decentralized exchange (DEX) - SundaeSwap - came online in January 2022. At first, users experienced network congestion and some trades on the DEX didn't execute. Total value locked (TVL) on the DEX is still very low compared to DEXs like Uniswap or Curve Finance.

Where could Cardano's price be heading?

Cardano is expected to finish 2022 worth $0.51, according to Finder's panel of fintech specialists. Looking further down the road, the panel thinks ADA will close out 2025 at $2.45 and 2030 at $5.37.

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Today's Cardano price versus ATH

Compare today's price of Cardano ($0.379 USD) against its all-time high (ATH) price of $3.09 USD on September 02, 2021. The closer the bar is to 100%, the closer ADA is to reaching its ATH again.

Current price: $0.379
All-time high: $3.09
12%
87%

How is Cardano taxed?

If you hold Cardano as an investment, you'll be taxed on any capital gains you make when you sell it — which includes spending it on goods and/or services. In the US, tax obligations also apply to mining, professional Cardano trading and in a range of other scenarios, so make sure you're fully aware of what you need to report to the IRS.

Learn more in our crypto tax guide or use our round-up of the best crypto tax software to make tax reporting easier.

After you've bought Cardano

Once you own some ADA, you have 2 options – keep it on an exchange, or move it to a personal wallet. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Keeping your Cardano on an exchange

Pros
  • Convenience. Keeping your Cardano on an exchange is convenient because you can buy and sell at any time.
  • Security. Holding Cardano on an exchange does come with significant counterparty risks, but reputable platforms also invest heavily in security so you don't have to worry about the pitfalls of self-custody.
  • Insurance. A small handful of exchanges now operate insurance schemes. These can range from insuring user deposits held in cold storage to reimbursing customers if a hack occurs.
  • Earn yield. Many exchanges let you earn yield on your Cardano. This is done in 1 of 2 ways: the exchange will either stake your ADA on your behalf, or lend it to other users. Each carries its own set of risks, though lending is generally associated with higher risk. Make sure you understand which method is being used to generate yield before handing over your assets.
Cons
  • Phishing. Exchange users are frequently targeted by scammers trying to steal login information through malicious emails and fake website links.
  • Hacking. Exchanges are major targets for hackers. While security practices have improved substantially, hacks still occur from time to time.
  • Account freezing. Exchanges have been known to occasionally freeze user accounts, whether due to security concerns, technical issues or market turbulence. This could see you temporarily lose access to your crypto.
  • Limited usability. Cardano is a blockchain with a growing ecosystem of Web3 applications. If you want to use these services, you will need to move a portion of your ADA to a Web3 wallet to pay for gas fees.

Moving your Cardano to a non-custodial wallet

Pros
  • Self-custody. A mantra repeated by crypto investors is "Not your keys, not your coins." This comes from the idea that the only way to guarantee ownership of your Cardano is to own the private key — which isn't the case when you hold on an exchange.
  • Security. Cardano and cryptocurrency wallets vary greatly in their features and security. For the most secure experience, consider purchasing a hardware wallet, which is usually a small USB device that keeps your private keys offline at all times for an extra layer of security.
  • Utility. If you plan to use your Cardano for transactions, daily spending or decentralized finance (DeFi), then storing it in a wallet rather than an exchange will be more convenient.
  • Staking. Cardano makes it straightforward to stake your ADA in its specialist Daedalus or Yoroi wallets. If you don't want to download 1 of these 2 specialist wallets, you can use a multi-coin desktop or mobile wallet for ADA instead.
  • Web3 apps. While Cardano has been a bit late to the DeFi party, it did roll out a few decentralized exchanges (DEXs) such as SundaeSwap and AdaSwap. NFT projects have been launched on Cardano, including Spacebudz and Chilled Kongs that can be purchased via CNFT and other marketplaces.
  • Cheap transaction fees. Transacting on Cardano is significantly cheaper than on another major smart contract platform like Ethereum. You can transact on Cardano for the equivalent of mere cents while you'll spend at least a few dollars to transact on Ethereum.
Cons
  • Learning curve. It's no secret that learning how to use a crypto wallet takes some time and effort. Spend some time learning how Cardano wallets work before transferring any of your funds.
  • Personal responsibility. Owning your own money can be liberating, but it also means the responsibility is all yours. If you lose your private key, the only way to regain access to your wallet is through the seed phrase. Make sure to store both of these privately and securely.
  • Inheritance. A challenge presented by crypto wallets is how to pass access on in the event of death or disability. Several companies are experimenting with ways to solve this problem, like the Trezor Model T wallet's Shamir backup feature.
  • Smart contract risk. Given that many developers plan to unveil new dApps once the Vasil hard fork takes place, initial users of these dApps – which are built using smart contracts – may bear the risk of smart contract vulnerabilities. These faults in the code can lead to loss of funds or a compromised wallet.

Bottom line

If you want to buy Cardano, start by comparing a range of crypto brokers and exchanges available in the US. Look at their features, fees, security and overall reputation to decide which platform is the right fit for you. Consider an exchange registered with FinCEN for added peace of mind.

Remember that owning and using Cardano is not without its risks. Carefully consider investing in ADA as part of a wider strategy, and talk to a financial advisor if you have any questions.

Once you've bought some ADA, think about what your short and long-term goals are. This will help you decide whether to keep it on an exchange, or move it to your own wallet.

FAQs

How do I buy and use Cardano?

Follow our step-by-step instructions to get started buying ADA on a trading platform such as KuCoin or SoFi.

To use the ADA you've bought, you'll have to transfer it from the exchange you purchased it onto a non-custodial Cardano wallet first.

From there, you can stake your ADA or interact with Cardano's DeFi ecosystem and buy and sell NFTs, among other actions.

How do I buy Cardano instantly?

If you already have a funded account set up with an exchange such as SoFi or KuCoin, you can buy ADA almost immediately.

Otherwise, many crypto exchanges also offer an "instant buy" feature using a credit card, but be warned that this comes with higher fees and other added risks. Use our table to look for a platform that offers credit card deposits to get started.

How do I sell my Cardano?

How you sell your Cardano varies depending on whether you want to sell it for another crypto or cash out back to US dollars. One of the most straightforward options is to use a platform with ADA trading pairs, like one of the options listed in our comparison table.

What is the best way to buy Cardano?

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which way is best for you to buy Cardano, but our top picks are a good place to start your research.

If you're buying some ADA just to speculate on its price in the short term, you might want to purchase it on an exchange or app that custodies the asset for you, like SoFi.

If you plan to hold your ADA for a longer term, consider sending it to a cold storage hardware wallet to keep the private keys to your ADA safely offline.

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies, including Cardano, are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance of ADA is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the Cardano or any other cryptocurrency discussed.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DonnApril 15, 2018

    How to buy a certain cryptocurrency?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 15, 2018Staff

      Hi Donn,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      There are just so many things you need to know before purchasing any cryptocurrency. As always, knowledge is power and having the right information allows you to get the most out of your digital coins. Please note that cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and speculative. You need to make sure you understand the risks involved before shelling out any amount of money.

      If you want to learn more about cryptocurrencies, I would highly recommend you read the following articles:

      Beyond bitcoin: a guide to cryptocurrency
      How to trade cryptocurrency – a beginner’s guide
      Latest cryptocurrency news from Crypto Finder

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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