How to Purchase Polka Dot Crypto for Absolute Beginners

Published: 7th February, 2023 | Last Updated: 19th April, 2024

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.
How to Purchase Polka Dot Crypto
Learn how to purchase Polkadot

To purchase Polka Dot crypto you are going to need

  1. A bank account or debit or credit card.
  2. An account at a centralized exchange. For this, I recommend you get a hold of your passport and a utility bill with your name and address on it.
  3. A crypto wallet to store your DOT coins

Don’t worry if you haven’t signed up with an exchange or don’t have a wallet yet. I will walk you through the whole process.

Ready?

Superb! Let’s go see how you can get yourself some DOT.

Understand what you are buying

First things first, if you are buying DOT because I friend told you to, and you have no idea what it is, then it would be best you read up on Polkadot a little.

What is Polkadot?

In a nutshell, DOT is a digital asset that powers the Polkadot blockchain, which was founded by Gavin Wood, one of the co-founders of Ethereum. One of the main purposes of DOT is to facilitate cross-blockchain transfers of any type of data, including cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and smart contracts.

The Polkadot blockchain is unique in that it allows for parallel processing of transactions, which means it has the potential to solve scalability problems that have plagued the Ethereum network. Some people even refer to Polkadot as an “Ethereum killer” because it has the potential to surpass Ethereum in terms of adoption and use cases.

To get a better understanding read my more detailed article explaining Polkadot.

Okay, now that you have a basic understanding of what DOT is, here is what you need to do to buy it:

Steps to purchase DOT

  1. h-step-1-choose-a-cryptocurrency-exchange
  2. Step 2: Set Up an Account on the Exchange
  3. Step 3: Fund Your Account
  4. Step 4: Buy DOT on the Exchange
  5. Step 5: Withdraw Your DOT to a Personal Wallet

Step 1: Choose a Cryptocurrency Exchange

The first step to purchasing DOT is to find a cryptocurrency exchange that supports it. A cryptocurrency exchange is a platform that allows you to buy and sell digital assets, including cryptocurrencies like DOT.

Large crypto exchanges are centralized platforms that are operated by a single company. These exchanges typically have a wide selection of digital assets available for trade and are relatively easy to use, even for first-time buyers.

Where you can buy DOT

The easiest way to purchase DOT is through a centralized exchange. Here are the major ones that offer DOT. I pulled them from coinmarketcap.com

Centralize exchanges that offer DOT

If you want to do the whole decentralized thing then it gets complicated. The versions of DOT available on decentralized exchanges like Uniswap, SushiSwap, PancakeSwap, and the like are not really DOT. They are actually pegged versions of the token. I personally don’t think you should go down that route so I am not going to discuss decentralized exchanges further.

Step 2: Set Up an Account on the Exchange

Once you’ve chosen an exchange, the next step is to set up an account. This process typically involves providing some personal details, such as your name, email address, and date of birth. You may also be required to verify your identity by uploading a copy of your passport. They will also ask for additional information or documents to prove your address or phone number.

Most major exchanges have both a website and a mobile app. I recommend you install the app as it is easier to photograph your documents when signing up.

How to ensure your account is secure once you sign up

When you sign up via a centralized exchange you just have an email and password. You don’t need to have a private key like you would if you were managing crypto on your own. The crypto is in the custody of the exchange that you keep it on. This is why they say “Not your keys, not your crypto”.

Not having to deal with private keys makes things easy. But, it is risky to keep your crypto assets on an exchange for too long like you would keep your dollars in a bank account. The industry is still largely unregulated and crypto companies have been exploding and getting hacked left, right, and center.

The exchange will ask you to verify transactions by sending you an OTP code by SMS to the phone number or email you submitted when signing up. However, it would be good to also set up two-factor authentication.

Set up two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication allows you to generate an additional code on an app on your phone and input that into an exchange to log in or verify your transactions. You should do this if you plan to transfer any meaningful amount to a crypto exchange. I use Google’s authenticator app. I am sure there are others.

Google's authenticator app
Google’s authenticator app

How to set up Google Authenticator

  1. When you sign up for the first time with an exchange there will be an option under account settings>security to set up two-factor authentication. There there will either be a code you can copy or a QR code you can scan
  2. Open the authenticator app and click on the + icon in the bottom right. It will give you the option to enter the code or scan the QR
  3. Give the field a name. I just name it after the exchange e.g. Kraken, Kucoin, etc.
  4. Voila! you are done

Now when you log in to your exchange it will ask you for your email and password. For example, this is what that looks like on Kraken:

the Kraken login page
the Kraken login page

First, you need to sign in and then it will ask you for the two-factor code

two factor authentication request
The two-factor authentication request on Kraken

Here you need to go to the authenticator app and just copy the code that it shows. The little circle on the right is a countdown. Once the countdown finishes it will generate a new code. So you have to be efficient about doing this.

Two-factor authentication is way more secure than just receiving an OTP via SMS. A phone’s SMS is much easier to hack.

Step 3: Fund Your Account

The next step is to fund it so you can start buying DOT. There are several ways to add funds to your exchange account, including bank transfers, wire transfers, depositing cryptocurrency or using a credit or debit card.

If you choose to use a bank transfer or wire transfer, you will typically need to link your bank account to the exchange and initiate the transfer from your bank’s online platform. Bank transfers and wire transfers can take several days to process and may have minimum deposit amounts or fees associated with them.

Another option is to deposit cryptocurrency into your exchange account. This can be a faster and cheaper way to add funds, as long as the exchange supports the cryptocurrency you want to deposit. For example, if you already own Bitcoin (see What is Bitcoin), you can send it to your exchange account and use it to buy DOT.

If you are in a hurry you can transfer funds immediately with a credit or debit card. However, there is usually a fee of around 2% associated with such a transfer. The other types of transfer usually involve a 0-0.5% fee.

Step 4: Buy DOT on the Exchange

Now it’s time to actually buy some DOT! The process for placing a buy order will vary depending on the exchange you are using, but it typically involves searching for the DOT market or trading pair, entering the amount of DOT you want to buy, and selecting a payment method.

Now, exchanges will often have two versions. A retail version and a “pro” version. The retail versions are easier to operate. You just search for DOT, select it, enter the amount you want and click on “buy”.

how to buy polkadot on kraken
Find DOT, click on buy, select the amount you want, and click on enter

But the retail interface is way more expensive than the pro versions. If you just want to get your job done and don’t plan on trading much then you might just go ahead and pay the heftier fee. However, the pro version is nothing to be scared of.

How to get Polkadot on the pro version of crypto exchanges

Most exchanges look very very similar. Especially the ones that originate from Asia: Binance, Kucoin, Mexc, OKX, Huobi, Crypto.com, etc. They all have very similar designs. The US-based ones: Kraken and Coinbase have slightly different interfaces but the steps are the same.

Here is what it looks like on Binance.

How to buy Polkadot on Binance step 1
How to buy Polkadot on Binance Step 1

First, find the trading tab. Next, click on the default trading pair that shows. Mine shows BUSD/USDT. When you click on that a drop-down will appear. Click on the search bar and type “DOT”.

Now in the drop-down, you will see all the trading pairs for DOT. Note that on Binance there is no DOT/USD option. Interestingly there is a DOT/AUD pair.

Anyway, this means that you need to convert your fiat USD or Euro or whatever you have into something else. The most straightforward thing is to convert it to USDT.

To do that you will just follow the same process I am describing here for DOT but for USDT.

ok, once you have your USDT select the DOT/USDT trading pair.

Now, if you are using their app, your interface should look like this.

How to buy Polkadot on Binance step 2
How to buy Polkadot on Binance Step 2
Select order type

Next, you need to decide what type of order you want to place. The easiest one to understand is the market order. This is the equivalent of that “buy” button in the retail version.

You just select it, enter the amount of USDT you want to convert into DOT and click on the “buy DOT” button.

The order will be executed instantly.

The alternative is to set a limit order. A limit order is an order to buy or sell a security at a specific price or better. So if you set a limit order of $10 for DOT it means your order won’t go through unless the price of DOT is less than or equal to $10.

For infrequent trades and small amounts don’t worry too much about choosing between the 2 options. I usually place a market order.

Dude, where is my Polkadot?

To find your DOT it looks slightly different on different exchanges. On the Asia-based exchanges search for a tab called wallet and then click on the “spot” sub-tab. On Coinbase it is called “My assets” while in Kraken it’s called “portfolio”.

where to find your polkadot on an exchange
Your Polkadot DOT should show here plus any other assets you have. For example, you might see some change in USDT.

Step 5: Withdraw Your DOT to a Personal Wallet

Congratulations, you now own some DOT! The final step is to withdraw your DOT from the exchange to a personal wallet that you control. It’s generally not a good idea to leave your DOT on the exchange long-term, as you don’t have control over your private keys and are at the mercy of the exchange’s security measures.

There are two types of wallets available for storing DOT: hardware wallets and software wallets

  • Hardware wallets, such as the Ledger Nano X, are physical devices that store your private keys offline and are considered the most secure option.
  • Software wallets, such as the official Polkadot-js web wallet, are digital wallets that you can access from your computer or mobile device.

Not all wallets support DOT. For example, the most famous wallet, MetaMask does not support DOT. Here is a full list of wallets that support Polkadot.

I will walk through an example of how to use the Polkadot-js to store your dot

Instructions on how to store DOT with the Polkadot.js wallet.

1. On your desktop computer, navigate to polkadot.js.org and click where it says extension.

2. I am going to do this on Chrome. So go ahead and download the extension for Chrome.

polkadot.js extension in chrome
Click on Add to Chrome

3. Add the extension and make sure you pin it

how to pin extension
Click on the puzzle icon in your browser and click on the pin icon in the dropdown next to the polkadot-js extension

4. Next, click on the extension and follow the instruction to set up an account.

5. When you click on the + sign it will give you a 12-word mnemonic seed. Do not keep it online. Write it down somewhere and make sure you never lose it. It’s important to keep your account login information and private keys secure, as you are responsible for the safety of your own digital assets.

how to set up account polkadot js
write down the 12 words and tick the box to go to the next step

6. Give your account a descriptive name and create a password. This will allow you to log into your account later.

how to set password on polkadot js
Give it a password

7. Awesome. Now you have your wallet set up. Its public address is that string of letters and numbers the name of the account. You can share that with anyone you want and they can send DOT to it. For more on this topic check out what is a crypto address.

polkadot js public wallet address
Your public wallet address will look like this

Now go to your exchange and from the “portfolio” or “wallet” view where we left off earlier and click on your DOT. You should have the option to withdraw. Click on the “withdraw” button.

Here is a screenshot of how it appears on my phone ( I have AVAX, not DOT). If using Binance, select “send via crypto network”.

how to send tokens to wallet
You will get something similar for Polkadot

Now, this is the most important step:

You are going to need to paste in the correct address to your Polkadot-js wallet AND select the correct network. If you do this step wrong your DOT there will be nothing you can do to get your DOT back.

Open your Polkadot-js extension and copy your public address. Then paste that address into the address field on the exchange’s page. When you click on the field that says “Choose Network” a drop-down will appear. Make sure that Polkadot or Polkadot Network is selected. Then hit withdrawal. Within the next few minutes, you should see your new DOT tokens in your wallet.

Conclusion

That’s it! You now know how to purchase DOT cryptocurrency. While the process may seem daunting at first, with a little bit of knowledge and some careful planning, you can be a proud owner of DOT in no time.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to do your own research and seek financial advice before making any investment decisions. The cryptocurrency industry is still in its early days and can be volatile, so it’s important to be cautious and aware of the risks.

We hope you found this guide helpful and wish you the best of luck in your crypto journey!

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.

Learn About a New
Coin Every Week

Learn About a New
Coin Every Week

Master Crypto Basics

Join over 7,300 subscribers. It’s free.

elementalcrypto newsletter benefits