It seems that the most common legal age across legal systems is 18. However, in a lot of countries, young adults gain the legal ability to work, own a business, even at the age of 15. So, what’s the status of cryptocurrencies. Can you buy crypto if you are under 18?
How old do you have to be to buy cryptocurrency?
As far as bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies like bitcoins are concerned, there is no age limit. No white paper ever states the minimum age requirement. Digital currencies are created with decentralization in mind, with empowerment in mind. So why would a young adult be restricted from purchasing, trading, investing in bitcoin if they desire so?
Young adults are legible for work, earning their allowance, so why would crypto be off the limits? The first real concern could be the abundance of fraudulent platforms and scams, or even just maliciously misleading projects that cheat even the shrewdest adults. But if it can happen to anyone, why restrict it to conscientious young adults, who probably know more about crypto than a lot of adults.
Do you need to be 18 to buy crypto?
Due to concerns about funding terrorism, money laundering, legal authorities, banks, and financial regulators keep pressuring crypto exchanges to reinforce Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols.
This is a bit nonsensical, considering that less than 0.5% of all crypto coins are involved in such activities, and money laundering operations actually work better with cash or involve cash transactions which are impossible to track, compared to every other digital transaction.
Clearly, it’s just an attempt from the authorities to keep tabs on users for taxation purposes and limit the freedoms that decentralized finances offer. So despite harsh penalties for implementing KYC procedures properly, it’s definitely a piece of good news that you don’t have to be 18 to buy crypto.
Where to buy crypto if you are under 18?
There are plenty of options. You can go through the decentralized crypto exchanges. You could utilize the efficiency and popularity of peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions. But there are also plenty of other workarounds which we will cover.
You can ask your legal guardian to open a checking account for youth. Almost all the banks in all the countries have something like “Youth Spending” UTMA accounts. There will be a debit card attached to that account.
Download and register to the CashApp system. Connect your CashApp account to the debit card. You will need a legal guardian’s ID or social security number for verification. Now you can go to the Bitcoin section of the app and enable bitcoin deposit and withdrawal.
You can go to Paxful, HodlHodl, or other trusted platforms. Registration procedures are simple and don’t require verification. These platforms connect buyers and sellers. You can buy bitcoin or other cryptos. You can even lend your currency to gain 6-12% APR.
Paxful offers a wide variety of payment methods: bank transfers, online wallets, debit cards, PayPal, google play gift cards, amazon gift cards, steam wallet gift cards, ApplePay, a total of 455 different ways. This is especially useful for those who can access local or convenient payment methods.
The best with Paxful is that you can quickly spot the most reliable traders. The transfers are small, as you are buying from individuals willing to part with their crypto. Most traders do 100-200 EUR transactions, though there are offers where the range is 300-700 USD.
HodlHodl doesn’t lack the payment methods either, with well over 100 methods supported, from Google Pay, Apple Pay, to various gift cards, Zelle, Venmo, or Western Union.
Crypto exchanges for users under 18
Coinbase is one of the largest crypto exchanges. It is a verified and trusted platform, very well suited for newcomers of any age. Coinbase has slightly larger than industry standard trading fees, but it also has a simplified user interface making it suitable for young adults under 18. As of July 25, 2017, you must be 18 or older to access Coinbase services.
Binance is another trusted and verified crypto exchange. They are also very easy to use and offer enough payment options that someone under 18 could use. Sadly, however, in 2021 they’ve changed their rules and now they explicitly forbid anyone under 18 or under the legal age to use their services.
KuCoin, Kraken, Gemini, all the top crypto exchanges have added the clause that users have to be of legal age in order to trade. Part of the identification KYC protocols, and sadly while there was trading under 2 BTC permitted without verification, now the passport, ID, or driver’s license are needed for registration, with even deeper verification protocols for those who want to unlock bigger deposits, withdrawals, and generally greater limits.
Luckily there is a decentralized crypto exchange, called Bisq. The whole point of Bisq is freedom of use and anonymity.
Bisq is indeed different from other platforms. It is actually a peer-to-peer trading network. It’s not a centralized (e.g. owned by one institution) website service. Bisq is software you run on your own computer. No funds are stored on the system. Data is transferred through the secure network with no central, vulnerable servers. The system doesn’t know anything about the traders, no data is stored, thus there is no registration needed, full privacy protection. Download the software, and start trading instantly.
Talk to your parents
While this may seem like the worst idea ever, it is actually the way to most convenient crypto trading. If your parents don’t understand bitcoin, blockchain, or crypto, try to find another adult, a teacher, mentor, friend, who would be able to educate them and lay to your parents or legal guardians the benefits of bitcoins.
Basically, they should be happy that a young adult is learning about trading, investments, and handling the finances, rather than spending the allowance or hard-earned cash. The chief advantage of having parents or legal guardians on board is that they can open accounts at Coinbase, Binance, or KuCoin which opens a road to much safer and reliable trading, not to mention other DeFi activities.