Your guide to MakerDAO’s Dai stablecoin and how to buy Dai on an exchange
However, at the time of writing in October 2018, it’s not possible to buy Dai directly with Australian dollars, so if you want to add some Dai to your portfolio you’ll need to buy it using another digital currency. Keep reading to find out how.
Quick guide: How to buy Dai
- Buy ETH.
- Register for an account with an exchange like Bibox.
- Enable 2-factor authentication.
- Select “Funds” and click on “Master account”
- Select “Ethereum” and click “Deposit”.
- Copy the wallet address and use it to transfer ETH into your account.
- Click “Token Trading” at top left of the screen.
- Search for “ETH/DAI”.
- Select a limit order.
- Enter the amount of Dai you want to buy and the amount of ETH you want to spend.
- Review transaction details.
- Click “Sell”.
This is our quick guide to just one way to buy Dai. Compare some other options in the table below.
Where to buy Dai in Australia
Dai vs DAI vs MakerDAO: What’s in a name?
Having trouble wrapping your head around the terminology behind the Dai stablecoin? This should help.
Maker is a smart contracts platform governed by MakerDAO, a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) run on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Maker platform has two native currencies, one of which is a stablecoin named Dai. Dai is listed on cryptocurrency exchanges under the ticker symbol DAI, which is why you might sometimes see it written using all capital letters.
A step-by-step guide to buying Dai
Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to directly buy Dai with Australian dollars. If you want to get your hands on this stablecoin, you’ll first need to acquire a digital currency listed in a trading pair with Dai, such as bitcoin or Ether, and then exchange it for Dai.
Dai can be traded on a variety of crypto exchanges, so compare the features and fees of those exchanges so you can choose a platform that’s right for you. Here’s an example of how to use Ethereum to buy Dai on the Bibox crypto exchange.
How to sell Dai
If you want to sell your Dai tokens, the process you’ll need to follow is quite similar to that outlined in step 4. However, please be aware that Dai is only listed in trading pairs alongside a limited range of currencies, so you may not be able to make a direct exchange for the coin or token you want.
Which wallets can I use to hold Dai?
While you can store your Dai tokens on an exchange if you prefer, the risk of hacking and theft means it’s generally considered a safer option to transfer your tokens to a secure wallet.
Dai is an ERC20 token on the Ethereum network, so there are plenty of wallets to choose from. Some of the popular ERC20-compatible wallets you may like to consider include:
- MyEtherWallet (web wallet)
- Ledger Nano S (hardware wallet)
- TREZOR (hardware wallet)
- Eidoo (desktop and mobile wallet)
- MetaMask (browser extension)
How MakerDAO and how Dai work
One of the key barriers to the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies is their volatility. Bitcoin, Ether and other major digital currencies have all been known to experience substantial price fluctuations, sometimes rising or falling as much as 25% in the space of a single day. If cryptocurrencies are to offer a viable alternative to fiat currency for everyday use, many believe we’ll need the introduction of a price-stable cryptocurrency – widely known as a stablecoin.
MakerDAO is the company behind Maker, a smart contracts platform designed to back and stabilise the value of the Dai stablecoin. The Maker platform has two currencies:
- Makercoin (MKR). This utility token has a fluctuating price and is used to govern the Maker platform.
- Dai (DAI). Dai is a stablecoin that protects against market instability and can be used for payments, savings and more.
Dai is a collateral-backed cryptocurrency designed to have a stable value relative to the US dollar. Anyone who has Ethereum assets can leverage them to generate Dai on the Maker platform through smart contracts known as Collateralised Debt Positions, or CDPs.
As explained in the whitepaper:
CDPs hold collateral assets deposited by a user and permit this user to generate Dai, but generating also accrues debt. This debt effectively locks the deposited collateral assets inside the CDP until it is later covered by paying back an equivalent amount of Dai, at which point the owner can again withdraw their collateral. Active CDPs are always collateralised in excess, meaning that the value of the collateral is higher than the value of the debt.
Real-world use cases for Dai
Why are stablecoins so important? Apart from providing much-needed legitimacy to digital currencies as a whole, Dai has a number of use cases for both individuals and businesses.
- Hedging. When the crypto market is experiencing high levels of volatility, holders can shift their funds into Dai so they can store their value without having to cash out for fiat currency.
- Payments. Dai can be used to buy goods and services from merchants that accept crypto payments.
- Prediction markets. Long-term betting requires the use of a currency that can provide long-term price stability.
- Lending. The price fluctuations of most cryptocurrencies make them unsuitable for loans, as market movements can have a dramatic effect on the value of loan collateral and amounts. Dai’s low volatility could offer stable, predictable loans.
- Instant global transfers. Dai can also offer fast and price-stable transfers to reduce the cost of international trade and payments.
Before you buy Dai: Things to consider
Cryptocurrencies are complicated and volatile assets, so you’ll need to thoroughly research any coin before deciding whether to make a purchase. There are many competing factors that can potentially drive a currency’s value up or down, so if you’re thinking of buying any Dai, consider the following factors first:
- Supply. According to CoinMarketCap, at time of writing (October 2018) the circulating supply of DAI was 62,629,692.
- The nature of stablecoins. If you’re searching for a currency that could potentially experience a sharp rise in value, a stablecoin obviously won’t be the right choice. Dai is pegged to the value of US$1 and is designed to offer price stability and protection against crypto market fluctuations.
- Whitepaper. To find out more about how the Maker platform and the Dai currency work, take a closer look at the project’s detailed white paper.
- Investment. In September 2018, Andreessen Horowitz's dedicated crypto investment fund bought a 6% stake in the MakerDAO project for US$15 million. This investment is designed to help Dai through its next growth stage.
- Competitors. The stablecoin space is becoming increasingly competitive, with a host of other projects (including Tether, DigixDAO and Basis) all offering their own price-stable cryptocurrencies. Do your research to find out how Dai stacks up against these competitors.
Consider all these factors and any other potential risks before deciding whether you should buy any DAI.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ADA, ICX, IOTA, POWR and XLM.