How to buy Cardano (ADA) Cryptocurrency – 2020 Guide

Cardano is a relatively new, decentralised cryptocurrency, which was first released in 2015, and has been gaining traction ever since it became available to traders in 2017. Here you will find a detailed description of what Cardano is, and how the Cardano token ADA can be purchased.

 How to Buy Cardano (ADA) – Brief Steps

  1. Get an ADA wallet – Ledger or Atomic are good choices
  2. Note your Cardano wallet address
  3. Find an exchange, which offers ADA – Coinbase and Bitpanda are great choices
  4. Buy ADA
  5. tokens on the exchange
  6. Send your Cardano tokens to your wallet address for storage

Step by step guide to buy Cardano

Below you can find a detailed step-by-step walkthrough of the process of buying and storing Cardano.  

Step 1 – Choose a cryptocurrency wallet

In order to buy ADA coin, you first have to have a place to store it. In this section, we will take a look at two different wallet options for storing your Cardano. 

  • The first option is a hardware wallet called Ledger, which is a remote device, you can carry anywhere you go. 
  • The second option is Atomic – a desktop and mobile wallet, which is software-based. 


Pros: extremely secure, as it has virtually no touch with online environments

Cons: there is a physical device you have to carry around

Ledger is a hardware cryptocurrency wallet, which looks very much like a USB flash drive. However, it performs complex functions and stores all your cryptocurrency assets. Getting yourself a Ledger is very easy. You can purchase a device here. There are currently three types of Ledger devices.

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In order to start using the Ledger wallet, you have to download the desktop or mobile version of Ledger Live. It is the software, which facilitates the use of your Ledger wallet. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be using the mobile version of Ledger Live, as it is easier to set up.

Here is the step by step process for setting up your Ledger Live application:

1. Chose the device you are using

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2. Follow the instructions to set up a PIN code for your device

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3. Choose a recovery phrase, and make sure to remember it – it is the only way to retrieve your profile and funds if you forget your PIN code.

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4. Pair your Ledger device to your mobile phone via Bluetooth (or via USB connection if you are using the desktop application).

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Once you successfully pair your device, you will be all set to store cryptocurrency on it. Take a note of the wallet address once you complete the pairing, as this is where you will be sending your funds.

Ledger Live is available for all computer and mobile operating systems.


Pros: Easy to set up and use from your computer or mobile

Cons: Does not have the added layer of security of a hardware wallet

Atomic is a software-based cryptocurrency wallet, which is often advertised for its support for the ADA token. Other than Cardano, you can store more than 300 other cryptocurrencies in Atomic. In order to use the wallet, you have to visit the Atomic website or download the app straight from your mobile application store. We are going to be using the mobile version for this tutorial.

Here is a step-by-step guide to setting up your Atomic wallet:

1. Save and install the Atomic app on your mobile

2. Click on create new wallet once the app loads

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3. Chose a password for accessing your wallet

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4. The next screen is very important – it shows you a 12-word backup phrase, which will be used in case you forget your password. As you can see the words have no meaning and were randomly selected for the sake of security. Make a note of this sequence of words, as it is your only backup option.

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5. After writing down your backup passphrase, you will be redirected to the main menu, where you can see all the available cryptocurrencies and your wallet address for each one of them.

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Probably the most significant advantage of the Atomic wallet, is that it allows you to swap between currency balances in-app, or in other words, without the necessity to go through a cryptocurrency exchange. 

N.B! Regardless of the wallet service you choose, you should make a note of your ADA wallet address – this is the most important piece of information you are going to receive from your cryptocurrency wallet. Cardano wallet addresses always start with a D, which is followed by a long string of letters and numbers. 

Here is an example of how Cardano wallet address might look like:


Step 2 – Chose a cryptocurrency exchange

In order to buy Cardano with fiat money (either a credit card, debit card, or bank transfer) you have to use the services of a cryptocurrency exchange. Below we will provide you with a detailed guide on how to sign up and purchase ADA on several trusted cryptocurrency exchanges. Note that it is a common practice to first purchase one of the more established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ether, and then exchange it for ADA. (With Atomic you can do this directly in your wallet.)


Coinbase is one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, and one of the most trusted ones. They support a ton of different currencies, and the signup process is fast, easy and secure. 

Briefly about the process:

Get started by stating your name email and choosing a password

  • Verify your email
  • Set up your phone number for two-step verification
  • Upload identity documents and proof of address
  • Link your credit or debit card and top up with fiat currency

Pros: Coinbase is well-established and secure. It also comes with an integrated cryptocurrency wallet.

Cons: The verification process takes a bit longer than other exchanges – approximately two hours. 

Here is a step by step guide to signing up and purchasing ADA on Coinbase:

  1. Create an account and fill in your login information

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2.Provide your phone number, in order to go through the two-step verification and authenticate your account via a code sent to you through SMS

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3. Fill in your personal information, and the purpose for your use of Coinbase

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4. Verify your identity via passport, driver’s license, or personal ID

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5. You can choose between three different ways to upload your personal documents

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6. We chose the recommended upload method, which is through your mobile phone camera

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7. The final step of the verification process will take you to a page asking for a recent document (past three months) which has your address on it – this is done to verify that you live at the address you state a few steps back.

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8. Once you submit all necessary documents, you will get verified, and you will be redirected to the Coinbase home page.

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9. By clicking the Trade button you will be redirected to the purchasing page, where you can deposit fiat currency into your account

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10. Once you deposit funds in your account, you will be able to exchange them for cryptocurrency

11. Coinbase does not support ADA, so a good choice for you would be to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum, and send it to your Atomic wallet, where you can directly convert it to Cardano.

While Coinbase does not allow you to purchase ADA directly, it is one of the most trusted exchanges out there, which is why it is featured in this guide. If you wish to purchase Cardano directly, you can move on to our second suggestion – Bitpanda.


Bitpanda is another trusted cryptocurrency exchange, targeting customers in the euro area. Some of its biggest advantages include the easy verification process, and the ability to purchase Cardano directly from the exchange. 

Pros: Easy to use, automated platform, full wallet integration

Cons: Available only to customers in the euro area

Briefly about the process: 

  • Register on the platform and confirm your email address
  • Verify your account by indicating your personal information 
  • Deposit fiat currency (US, EUR, etc.) and buy Bitpandas’ supported cryptocurrencies

Here is a step by step guide on how to purchase ADA on Bitpanda:

1. Fill in your name and email address – the signup process takes only about a minute.

2. Once signed up and logged in you will see all currencies available for purchase, however, before you can get some Cardano, you will have to verify your account.

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3. Clicking on Verify Now will take you to the first screen of the verification process, which gives you two options – a light or a full verification. To keep things simple we will go through the light version.

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4. Next, you will have to fill in your personal information, your ID information and submit a biometric data sample (a selfie). This whole process happens on-site, without the need to upload any documents. You just have to show your ID to your computer or mobile camera.

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5. Once you show both sides of your ID and your face, your verification will enter the pending phase. It usually just takes several minutes for the Bitpanda team to verify your account.

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6. Once your account is verified you will be able to deposit fiat funds to it. Bitpanda accepts deposits in EUR, USD, CHF and GBP.

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7. After depositing the desired amount of fiat currency, you will be able to trade it for Cardano by clicking the bubble of the cryptocurrency on the homepage.

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Bitpanda is a very suitable option for people who want to buy ADA directly, as their verification process takes no more than fifteen minutes and the exchange supports direct purchases of the cryptocurrency.

Step 3 – Move your Cardano from the exchange to your wallet

It is the most important step of the whole process. It is essential that once you purchase your Cardano from an exchange, you move it to your preferred wallet. Remember that Nota bene remark we mentioned earlier? Your wallet address comes into play at this step.

Both Coinbase and Bitpanda support withdraws to external wallets. In essence, your wallet address (the long string of letters and numbers) lets the exchange now where to send the funds, much like an email address lets you receive your mail.

Moving your assets to an external wallet protects you from possible theft or fraud, as storing your ADA on an exchange leaves you vulnerable to hacks.

What is Cardano?

  • Cardano is one of the youngest cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms, which was developed as a direct competitor of leaders in the industry like Ethereum. 
  • The basic structure of the Cardano cryptocurrency is divided among two layers – one of which carries out payment settling, and another, that operates smart contracts. In this regard, Cardano is very similar to the way the Bitcoin works.
  • Cardano was developed by Inputs, Outputs, Hong Kong (IOHK). Unlike Bitcoin, you do not mine Cardano, but stake it, in order to make money. Of course, the larger the amount you stake, the more money you are going to make from your ADA tokens. 
  • By far, the most recognizable official application of Cardano was delivered by Greek universities looking to use the Cardano blockchain to store graduate data and diplomas. 

Recent Developments/Updates – Nov 19, 2019

Weiss Crypto Ratings admitted that ADA is yet to be used for its intended smart contract functionality. But the comparison against EOS heated the discussion. While some agreed wholeheartedly with the assertion, many argued that Weiss rating is becoming a mouthpiece for elevating ADA over EOS.

The Cardano network turned two at the end of September, but it is still a long way off of becoming a platform coin to displace Ethereum (ETH). Cardano has gone through multiple testnet stages, but ADA remains a relatively unused coin that does not see many transfers.

How to buy cardano

Final Words

Hopefully, you will find this guide useful if you are just starting out and exploring the option of buying Cardano for the first time. Some tips to remember:

  • Keep in mind that nowadays, there are numerous alternatives to the wallets and exchanges we mentioned above, but these are our trusted and tested choices.
  • You can stick to our suggestions, or go exploring the vastness of options available; however, we would always recommend choosing a trustworthy wallet and exchange, to better safeguard your assets.
  • ADA is getting traction with each passing day and is probably one of the wise investment choices at the moment. Of course, there is nothing we can guarantee, as markets work in a mysterious way.
  • One thing is sure. However, Cardano’s popularity is on the rise, which usually means that its value is going to go up as well. Don’t hesitate and visit the wallets and exchanges we mentioned here, to get some Cardano of your own.