Is there a legal age to buy bitcoin? If you’re old enough to appreciate it, you should be old enough to buy it. However, most exchanges mandate a minimum age of 18, in keeping with KYC requirements. But it does not mean that you cannot buy bitcoin under 18, as there are other options available except the exchanges.
Governments consider Bitcoin to be an experimental technology. It is in a legal gray area, allows for what is essentially tax evasion, and is a highly unregulated asset. Think of it less as a currency, but more as a fungible, yet volatile value.
How Old Do You Have to be to Buy Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is not a product or a website that has some kind of centralized rules like age restriction. Asking if Bitcoin has a minimum age is like asking if there is a minimum age for the internet, chairs, microphones, it’s just a thing that has no intrinsic restrictions.
Some merchants, exchanges or E-Wallets may have age restrictions, but Bitcoin is a protocol and therefore there is no restrictions regarding how it is used.
While neither buying or selling Bitcoins has an explicit age restriction, if you buy or sell Bitcoins from a bank account you will be constrained by the age restrictions that may apply.
Traditional Bitcoin exchanges are not the answer to the problem, as nearly every platform will perform an identity check. Part of this verification procedure requires customers to be 18 years of age or older, which can be quite annoying for younger generations looking to venture into the world of Bitcoin. They do not want to get into any trouble with the law, and so they make sure they have appropriate information on their customers. This way they know who is buying what, and can report to the authorities if needed.
Allowing underage young people to purchase bitcoin on their platform is a risk that most exchanges are not willing to take because it falls into a grey area. That’s why popular exchanges do not allow minors on their platform (e.g. no crypto trading on Coinbase under 18).
But luckily for all parties involved, there are alternative solutions to this problem.
How to Buy Bitcoin When You’re Underage?
As technology continues to develop further and further, the surveys found millennials to have a greater interest in cryptocurrency than any other age group. There are teenagers who want to buy a piece of bitcoin. But they don’t know how, or if they are even able to. Well, we’re here to tell you that yes, you are able to buy bitcoins underage.
Teenagers eager to buy bitcoin have a number of options at their disposal. The ‘legality’of each method is subject to interpretation, but from a technical perspective, the following are at least viable:
- Bitcoin ATM nearby (but they tend to have very poor exchange rates, and some may even require an ID).
- You can also trade with people online, using things like gift cards or direct bank deposits.
- Marketplacelike LocalBitcoins.
- Localcryptocurrency groups and websites.
- Mining(in the current environment, mining is highly competitive and does not yield for small players. You’re most likely going to have to buy or trade crypto using either fiat tokens, services, or items. Once you have crypto, you can trade for other cryptos with no problems, due to the fact that it is decentralized. This will become true especially when cross-chain atomic swaps with algorithmically non-biased enforcement such as OmiseGO are available.)
Investing under 18 can be a tough thing to do. However, LocalBitcoins is not responsible for handling customers’ funds directly, they will connect buyers and sellers in an online fashion. There are no [official] age requirements to use this service, although users have to be aware of regulatory measures in the country to make sure they act according to the law.
It is a peer-to-peer marketplace where you can buy BTC from other holders online or in cash. The platform simply finds people looking to sell their digital coins near you, and connects you to that person. You can then do an exchange with this person via Interac, e-transfer, PayPal, or cash deposit.
Although, this option is riskier for minors, because it deals with another actual human being. Seeing that you’re underage, they may try to take advantage of you. Which is why you may prefer the online payment options. Or make the cash transaction in person, assuming you are escorted by a guardian.
With this option, too, however, there are limits to how many BTC you can buy at once, depending who you’re purchasing from. But, again, this threshold is probably much higher than the average underage will be planning to buy, anyways.
It’s not just sneakers and bumper stickers that can be picked up on eBay – sellers will also furnish you with digital assets. Using eBay and/or Paypal to buys mall amounts of bitcoin is quite easy, but you will pay dearly for the privilege and are urged to check seller ratings before parting with cash.
A bitcoinATM is a great option to buy BTC for minors. There are currently over 4,000bitcoin ATMs in the world, and this number is increasing daily. They are probably the safest way to get digital assets for anyone underage
You can simply find a bitcoin ATM near you, and go to it, cash in hand. You then trade your cash for bitcoin. Although, ATMs typically have a higher fee than most other options.
However, keep in mind that some ATMs require verification if you go over a certain dollar amount, but usually, the threshold is high enough that a minor will not cross it with the funds that they have. These limits can also be easily avoidable if you go to different bitcoin ATMs with small amounts. Either way, it is worth it todo your research on this option.
There are other P2P (person-to-person) exchanges aside from LocalBitcoins where you can buy the coins from other users just like yourself.
There are sites such as Solidi in the UK whose terms and conditions advise that “Persons under the age of 18 wishing to trade must contact us first”. Under 16s, in particular, will only be granted low purchase limits, through the exchange has suggested that minors get a parent or guardian to setup an account in their name. Bitcoinprijzen in the Netherlands is another site where under 18s seem able to purchase cryptocurrency using iDEAL.
Some other top P2P exchanges you can look at:
- Huobi Pro
Buying Bitcoin from a Friend
This is one of the safest ways to get BTC. If you have a friend willing to sell his/her coins, you can always buy it for cash or using a gift card or whatever works best for both of you.
Local Cryptocurrency Groups and Websites
Look on Facebook or Twitter and you’ll probably find crypto meetups in your area. The organizers of these groups and forums are keen on encouraging bitcoin adoption and may be happy to help. As always, exercise caution when meeting and trading with someone for the first time and don’t hand over a penny until you can see the transaction on the blockchain.
If you are underage and would like to use bitcoin despite the Coinbaseage limit (or any other popular exchange), there are multiple options how to do it legally.