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How to buy Cardano (ADA) in South Africa
Learn how to buy Cardano on 9+ exchanges in our step-by-step guide.
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 R57.20 in September 2021.
While this has helped make ADA the #7 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 R6.24, which is slightly down from yesterday's trading price of R6.02. Cardano's seen a decrease of -62% 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 South Africa.
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 South Africa.
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.
Compare crypto exchanges
The easiest way to buy Cardano is from a cryptocurrency exchange. Comparing in the table helps you find a platform with the features you want like low fees, ease of use or 24-hour customer support.
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.
Make a deposit
Once verified, you can deposit ZAR using the payment method that best suits you – bank transfer, credit card, cryptocurrency and debit card payments are widely accepted.
You can now exchange your funds for Cardano. On beginner-friendly exchanges, this is as simple as entering the ZAR or ADA amount you want to purchase and clicking "buy". If you like, you can then withdraw your Cardano to a personal wallet.
This is not an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade or use any services.
Where to buy Cardano in South Africa
If this is your first time buying cryptocurrency you'll need to look for a platform that accepts South African Rands, like Binance or Bybit.
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.
What is Cardano?
Much like Ethereum , Cardano (ADA) is a layer-1 blockchain that supports smart contracts. Its infrastructure enables decentralised 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, decentralisation, 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 ZAR.
If you want to buy Cardano with South African Rands, you'll need to pass a Know Your Customer (KYC) check.
This is a standard security procedure for most exchanges in South Africa 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.
What is the cheapest way to buy Cardano?
Most exchanges let you buy as little as R5 worth of ADA, if not less. Just type in how much you want to spend in ZAR 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.
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 South African Rands 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.
If you see colourful 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 capitalise on price dips or increases.
How to find the best place to buy Cardano in South Africa
There are dozens of different trading platforms to choose from when buying Cardano in South Africa, 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 South African Rands and local payment methods like SOFORT, which helps avoid foreign exchange fees. Choosing from South Africa-based exchanges also means it's likely to be registered with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) which means it has to comply with local laws in South Africa.
- 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 South Africa? 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.
Using FSCA-registered exchanges
There are plenty of places to buy Cardano, and people in South Africa can choose from platforms registered here at home or in locations all around the world. Opting for a locally registered ADA exchange typically offers more convenience, but may have some downsides depending on your goals.
- South Africa-based exchanges must comply with FSCA Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Counter-terrorism Financing (CTF) reporting obligations.
- You can usually buy Cardano with ZAR.
- Exchanges in South Africa typically support local payment methods, such as SEPA and SOFORT.
- You may be able to access local customer support.
- Subject to local laws.
- You'll need to provide your personal details and proof of ID – a disadvantage if you want to trade anonymously.
- Overseas trading platforms may provide better liquidity.
- ZAR-to-crypto prices are often slightly higher than USD-to-crypto prices, meaning you sometimes pay a premium for buying directly with South African Rands.
- Some features are simply not available on FSCA-registered exchanges. For example, high leverage margin trading, DeFi features and some altcoins.
Recent Cardano developments
January 28, 2023: Cardano hard fork scheduled for February 14, 2023. The hard fork is designed to enhance Plutus, the smart contract programming language of the Cardano blockchain. This upgrade will introduce support for ECDSA and Schnorr cryptographic signatures, making it simpler for developers to construct cross-chain applications and increase Cardano's interoperability with Bitcoin and Ethereum.
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 5 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 decentralised 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 decentralised 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 decentralised 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 ($0.3372 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.
How is Cardano taxed?
Cardano is increasingly treated as a financial asset by governments around the world. This means that you may need to declare your ADA holdings at tax time and should consider consulting a tax professional to make sure you don't run afoul of the law.
After you've bought CardanoOnce 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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 decentralised 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 decentralised 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.
- 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.
If you want to buy Cardano, start by comparing a range of crypto brokers and exchanges available in South Africa. Look at their features, fees, security and overall reputation to decide which platform is the right fit for you. Consider an exchange registered with the FSCA 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.
How do I buy and use Cardano?
Follow our step-by-step instructions to get started buying ADA on a trading platform such as Bybit or Binance.
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 Binance or Bybit, 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 South African Rands. 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 Binance.
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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