1. Crypto Exchanges
To get started in any blockchain, you need to transfer fiat (government-issued currency – i.e. US Dollar) into a crypto exchange and then transfer that into a Cardano wallet. Essentially a crypto exchange is a platform where you can buy and sell cryptocurrency – kind of like a stock broker. You can use exchanges to trade one crypto for another — converting Bitcoin to ADA, for example — or to buy crypto using regular currency, like the U.S. Dollar. Exchanges are like middle-men between the blockchains and banks, and are not blockchain wallets.
Centralized vs. Decentralized: Exchanges are centralized systems – i.e. they are owned and controlled by single-point corporations and organizations like banks. Cardano and many other block-chains are decentralized systems, which means that no one entity can control, change or corrupt them. The exchanges are a temporary necessity to change your fiat currency into crypto-currency or vice-versa.
I personally have used Moonpay, Coinbase, Crypto.com and Voyager as exchanges and I like those because you can install an app on your mobile device and do things there. However, I strongly suggest that you do some research and find an exchange that will suit your needs. Here is a listing of exchanges: https://coinranking.com/exchanges
NEVER SEND ADA FROM AN EXCHANGE FOR ANY NFT TRANSACTION – The exchanges are technically not part of Cardano, so if you send ADA to buy an NFT from an exchange, you will lose your ADA.
2. Cardano Wallet
The next thing you need to do is to set up a Cardano wallet, which is kind of like your own bank account for Cardano. Your wallet is where you will store ADA and then do transactions to send and receive ADA to other wallets when you want to buy NFTs, give gifts, transfer to your own other wallets, etc. Your wallet will hold all of your crypto assets – tokens, NFTs, and cryptocurrency.
I have personally used Yoroi (mobile app), Nami (Chrome extension app for desktop), and Eternl (web app, browser extension, mobile app). I prefer Eternl because it has allot of functionality. All of those are considered light wallets – making them a little easier for the average user. Daedalus is a full-node wallet, meaning it stores and reads the entire block-chain on your computer, making transactions a little more reliable and possibly faster than the light wallets that I mentioned. Please do your own research to decide what will work best for you and make sure you take security measures to save your passwords and seed phrases. Think of your wallet like a bank vault, and the seed phrase is the combination to open it.
NEVER SHARE YOUR SEED PHRASE – if someone asks for it, they are probably intending to steal everything you have in your wallet.
3. Buy or Sell NFTs
If you are interested in NFTs, do some research on the projects before you buy them. Some projects may increase in value and have long-term investment benefits, some projects are good for entertainment purposes, some are geared toward art connoisseurs and collectors, and generally, there are projects that are suited for multiple purposes. I think that there are multiple long-term possibilities of NFTs, both in the virtual world and the real world. If you are interested in selling NFTs, you can do that through marketplaces, but generally, it’s a journey down the rabbit hole. Some of the popular Cardano marketplaces are JPG Store, CNFT.io, Genesis House, and Tokhun.
I have heard allot about scammers that copy successful projects and sell fake NFTs. There are ways to validate the projects you are interested in, such as cross-checking the policy ID, make sure the website and social accounts belong to the original project owner, DM the owners, and many of the marketplaces now have a process where they validate projects – so look for the validation – it usually looks like a checkmark in the marketplaces:
4. Get Involved in Crypto Communities
Communities have formed with each block-chain, with many purposes and personalities. If you’re like me, you’ll find communities that speak your language, share your values, and have similar vision. Most of those exist through Twitter/Twitter Spaces and Discord. Crypto is new and is evolving, so connecting with communities is a way to grow and evolve with them. In the case of Cardano, the system has governance built into it, and it has a grant system that all members are able to vote where grant money is spent. The long-term potential of this type of governance could have many implications for future social systems, so I’m personally interested in Cardano because of the long-term potential for it.
Not Financial Advice
I will not provide any financial device and strongly encourage you to do your research about investing into block-chain/crypto technologies, and if you do so, you must be diligent about the decisions that you make regarding your finances. This page is to support you in understanding the steps that you need to take in order to join Cardano, but I suggest that you also do additional research to understand the network.
Cardano is a robust block-chain system that was built from the ground up with a strong focus on sustainability, scalability, and transparency. It is a fully open source project that that was designed to be an inclusive, fair, and resilient infrastructure for financial and social applications on a global scale. One of its primary goals is to bring reliable, secure financial services to those people who do not currently have access. The cryptocurrency of Cardano is ADA. Learn more at https://cardano.org/
If you would like to know more about the fundamentals, following is an overview from the founder of Cardano, Charles Hoskinson.