How to Buy Cosmos (ATOM) Cryptocurrency

The native cryptocurrency on the Cosmos blockchain, ATOM, can be purchased on many different platforms.
Connor Emmert
By Connor Emmert 
Edited by Claire Tsosie

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.

Cosmos (ATOM) is the native token on the decentralized blockchain network Cosmos, which allows developers to build their own independent blockchains. The network’s website notes that developers have used its technology to build several major blockchain projects, including its own ATOM token. Other projects on the network include:

  • coin (CRO).

  • Terra (LUNA, which collapsed in May 2022 and has since been rebranded).

Cosmos simplifies the otherwise difficult process of developing blockchains, making the larger crypto ecosystem more scalable and accessible. Buying ATOM is a good option for people who want to invest in Cosmos’ technology and believe in its potential.

About Cosmos

Before Cosmos launched, blockchains were built in isolation from each other from the ground up, which took a lot of programming work. Cosmos introduced a platform that allows developers to create their own separate blockchains through a software engine called Ignite, previously known as Tendermint.

Ignite provides the core foundation on which blockchains are built — consensus mechanisms — to anyone who wishes to build their own blockchain. Each blockchain on the platform is connected through the Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol, which allows the transfer of information between two blockchains. This means users can directly swap tokens from different blockchains through the protocol without relying on a third party.

Decide whether to invest in ATOM

Like many other cryptocurrencies in 2022, ATOM has suffered during the downturn that has plagued the larger crypto market.

Historically speaking, ATOM prices have been extremely volatile, which can translate to high risks and high rewards for investors. In the past two years, the price of one ATOM token has ranged from slightly over $1 to as high as $44. The price sits at about $12 as of this writing, but value fluctuations can happen rapidly and are not for the faint of heart.

As a relatively young cryptocurrency, ATOM is still trying to become more popular. ATOM’s market cap is currently a little over $3.4 billion, which makes it the 26th largest cryptocurrency on the market in terms of total value — so still a long way off from contending with the likes of Bitcoin, which has a market cap in the neighborhood of $412 billion.

Find a place to purchase ATOM

While ATOM isn’t among the most popular cryptocurrencies, it's available on most major cryptocurrency exchanges. There are two distinct types of cryptocurrency exchanges to choose from:

Centralized exchanges

Binance, Kraken and CEX.IO are all centralized exchanges where you can buy ATOM tokens. Centralized exchanges are companies that match buyers and sellers for cryptocurrency transactions. Similar to a stock exchange, they act as a central, governing body that oversees each transaction to maintain security and fair play between investors on the exchange.

Centralized exchanges are easy to find and they don’t require a huge amount of technical expertise, so they’re typically a good fit for investors who are new to crypto. However, they’re usually more expensive, as most centralized exchanges charge a service fee for transactions. They also handle a large number of transactions daily, which makes them an attractive target for hackers.

Decentralized exchanges

Uniswap, PancakeSwap and Poloniex are examples of decentralized exchanges that allow pairings and transactions with ATOM. Decentralized exchanges allow investors to trade directly with each other without third-party oversight. Using decentralized exchanges can be beneficial because they are typically cheaper to use, and they’re generally faster because transactions don’t have to be filtered through a centralized organization.

However, decentralized exchanges can be difficult to understand, and the lack of a governing party leaves investors with little reprieve if a transaction goes wrong.

NerdWallet rating 


NerdWallet rating 


NerdWallet rating 




0% - 3.99%

varies by type of transaction; other fees may apply



per trade



per trade

Account minimum 


Account minimum 


Account minimum 



Get $200 in Crypto

when you sign up. Terms Apply.



no promotion available at this time


Get $5 in Crypto

after opening a Webull account, activating crypto trading, and completing one [1] crypto trade before 3/31/2023.

Decide how to pay for ATOM

Once you’ve selected an exchange, there are a few different ways you can purchase ATOM:

  • Cash: You can buy ATOM directly using traditional fiat currency like the U.S. dollar. Fund your exchange account with cash using a debit card, ACH or wire transfer, and enter a purchase order for ATOM in the amount you’d like to buy (some exchanges will also let you use credit cards to fund your account, but this procedure carries extreme risk and should generally be avoided).

  • Cryptocurrency: If you already own other cryptocurrencies, you can transfer digital assets to an exchange that has an appropriate pairing for ATOM and place a trade for an exchange. If you already have an exchange account, you should be able to check the exchange's website to view which cryptocurrencies can be exchanged for ATOM.

Decide how to store your ATOM

If you decide to purchase ATOM tokens, you’ll need to decide where to store your digital assets, and there are a few different options to choose from:

Keep it at the exchange

Most cryptocurrency exchanges will allow you to store your assets at the exchange itself. This is the simplest way to store your crypto, but it does come with some risk. Hackers pose a constant threat to exchanges, which are a choice target due to the number of transactions and assets they handle on a daily basis.

Use a crypto wallet

Crypto wallets are a more secure option for storing your cryptocurrency.

  • Hot wallets remain connected to the internet at all times, which allows you to access the contents of your wallet from anywhere. While this is safer than keeping crypto at the exchange itself, the internet connection still leaves you exposed to the possibility of a hacking event.

  • Cold wallets are the most secure place to keep your crypto, but they are less convenient as you must have physical possession of the device in order to access your wallet. Investors who would rather take the risk of a cyberattack completely off the table might be better suited with a cold wallet, which is a physical storage device that is completely offline.

Neither the author nor editor held positions in the aforementioned investments at the time of publication.
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.