If you’ve spent any time in the cryptocurrency world over the last few years, you’ve no doubt heard of Cardano, the relatively new but very exciting coin that is taking the crypto world by storm. It came out of nowhere in 2017 to emerge as one of the top ten coins in the world today, with a market cap of nearly $30 billion.
First things first though…
What Exactly is Cardano?
Similar to Ethereum, Cardano is a financially-based crypto coin used for bank transfers and digital contracts. Unlike Ethereum, however, Cardano is mainly interested in going to places where financial institutions are not altogether existent, such as in third-world and developing countries.
Unlike other coins that rely on investor capital to drive otherwise-unfunded startups, Cardano’s development team is bankrolled completely by Input Output Honk Kong (IOHK). This company brings more than just money to the table: IOHK’s CEO Charles Hoskinson, is the co-founder of uber-successful crypto Ethereum, so Cardano will undoubtedly benefit from his experience as well. At its Initial Public Offering (IPO), Cardano allowed for 60% of its total output to be bought, with the other 40% coming at later times.
One of the areas that Cardano differentiates itself from the competition is in taking a purely academic and philosophical approach to cryptocurrency, rather than becoming pigeon-holed in political and business-like decisions. The team is made up of engineers and academics, and in the beginning stages only had a set of principles to guide them (the whitepaper wasn’t released until later). The principles are loosely described as:
- Financial involvement across more clients and countries.
- Devotion to government regulations and expectations.
- Diving into the more social elements of trade and economics.
Because of these guiding principles, Cardano is able to remain relatively pure in the face of massive economic pressure.
Cardano runs in two layers: one that handles smart contract between parties and another that handles applications. Furthermore, Cardano hopes to have a more democratic system in the future that allows coin holders to vote on developments within the platform. Like other coins, Cardano coin holders can also earn rewards by validating transactions on the blockchains, possibly even earning a block reward and some of the transaction fees.
How Can I Get My Hands On Cardano?
Before going any further, it’s important to note that Cardano’s name on marketplaces is actually ADA – the platform is called Cardano and the actual cryptocurrency itself is ADA. When you go to Coinbase or one of the other trading platforms, look for ADA to see the trading price and availability.
First, Download the Daedelus Wallet
The only place that you will be able to eventually store your ADA coins is in a desktop wallet called Daedelus, which you can download by visiting their website. At the moment, this desktop wallet is the only secure option for the Cardano platform, which means no hardware, mobile, or web wallets are available at the moment. Be wary of any application that purports to be an “ADA-certified” – they’re most likely scams and won’t provide the level of cryptography needed for maximum security. While Cardano is in the development phase for other wallets, don’t expect anything to be finished until the end of 2018, at the earliest.
Daedelus is exclusive only to ADA for the time being, but the software is open-source and the team has plans to eventually make it a universal wallet, making it open to all different types of coins. Moreover, the democratic element of Cardano means that the community will be able to provide input into future developments of the wallet.
Once you download the wallet onto your computer, you’ll be given a few options, the first of which is whether or not to send logs to the Cardano team of your activity. Neither choice affects the functionality of the wallet. After this, you’ll have to agree to the terms and services; if you agree, the wallet will then begin to sync with the Cardano blockchain. This can take nearly an hour to finish, so be patient.
After this, the install is relatively straightforward. You’ll be asked to provide a name for your wallet, so make sure it’s something that is clearly defined, such as “Wallet for Cardano,” and then create a password and recovery phrase for your wallet. Both of these need to be exceptionally strong, as anyone who discovers what they are will have unlimited access to your wallet. Once you’ve created your password and recovery phrase, either write it down somewhere secure or figure out a way to remember it permanently.
Next, Head to an Exchange
Even though the Cardano platform was developed in 2015, ADA coins were only available on platforms as of October of 2017, so the options are still somewhat limited as to where you can buy it. The relative youth of the coin also means that you may have to buy a different cryptocurrency elsewhere in order to trade it for ADA. Here are a few of the more common exchanges that will help.
This is one of the few exchanges that you can buy ADA directly on, which is also one of the oldest exchanges in existence. By linking your credit or debit card directly with CoinMama, you can buy ADA coins and send them directly to your account. Unlike other exchanges, Coinmama doesn’t hold your coins in an online account, which helps keep the transactions more secure.
One of the more secure U.S. cryptocurrency platforms, ADA is available on Bittrex only by trading for it with Bitcoin or Ethereum. You won’t be able to link your credit cards or pay for ADA directly with cash, so make an account on another platform that accepts fiat currency to buy the other coins, then transfer them to Bittrex and buy ADA. It may sound complicated, but the process is fairly straightforward and relatively simple, so there shouldn’t be too much headache involved.
Unlike Bittrex, Binance is a Shanghai-based crypto exchange that launched in 2017, making it a relative newcomer in the crypto world. Still, Binance has positioned itself well, hosting some of the most popular cryptos on the market today. including ADA. Unfortunately, like Bittrex, Binance doesn’t have any fiat currency options, so you’ll have to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum elsewhere and transfer it to Binance’s platform to purchase ADA.
While you absolutely need to have an account at an online platform in order to buy ADA, some would prefer to buy their coins through different means than by linking their credit card directly to the exchange. For instance, if you would like to buy ADA using cash, you’ll have to buy Bitcoin first, then use the Bitcoin on an exchange that supports both Bitcoin and ADA.
Using a credit or debit card is a little easier, but you’ll still have to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum first before you can then use it to buy ADA. Fortunately, an account at Coinbase supports both coins and you can have an account in a matter of minutes. Once you set your account up, link your card to it and buy the coins, transfer them to an alternative platform that supports ADA, and make your purchase. The same goes if you would like to buy ADA with a Paypal account, except you’ll have to buy Bitcoin through an exchange like LocalBitcoins or VirWox first, then transfer it to an ADA-supported platform.
Finally, Move the Coins to Your Wallet
Since Daedelus is currently the only wallet that can securely hold your ADA coins, it’s best to move them straight to the wallet as soon as you purchase them, rather than keep ADA coins on your account. While a break-in on a platform like Bittrex or Binance is not especially likely, the opportunity is still there, making your Daedelus wallet your best chance at keeping your coins safe.
The opportunities for Cardano are numerous, beginning with the ability to move finances around the global marketplace easily and efficiently. As is demonstrated in the steps above to actually buy ADA in the first place, there are a lot of potential opportunities for this market to grow and expand, eliminating the need to buy alternative currencies before buying the one of your choice.
Still in its infancy, Cardano has the opportunity to be the “next big thing” in the crypto world, but it remains to be seen whether or not they can capitalize on their resources. There’s no doubt that Cardano has attracted some of the most experienced crypto minds, and with the recent price surge at the end of 2017, investors have a lot of hope for the future. At the time of this writing, the current price for ADA is about $0.25, while Ethereum and Bitcoin are both priced at $708 and $8,483, respectively.
Is Cardano the next big thing? The future certainly looks bright.