There is no legal age to buy bitcoins. if you’re old enough to appreciate it, you should be old enough to buy it. However, in practice, most exchanges require a minimum age of 18, in accordance with KYC requirements. no matter how clearly you have scanned your documents and signed your name: if you are a minor, you will not be able to enter. How, then, can minors buy bitcoin without breaking the law?
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new kids on the blockchain
A recent survey found millennials to have a greater interest in cryptocurrency than any other age group. If 18-year-olds are big on bitcoin, it stands to reason that their younger tech-savvy siblings will be just as curious. Many well-known bitcoiners got into cryptocurrencies at 16 or younger and have been hooked ever since. Some of bitcoin’s earliest miners were quite literally minors. Coinbase used to permit under-18s to buy bitcoin in fact but have since debarred them from signing up. In bitcoin’s nascent years, regulation was laxer and, with the aid of an accommodating relative, getting money into an exchange was relatively easy.
That option still exists in some places today, but what about teenagers who are old enough to live on their own but not old enough to buy bitcoin? or minors whose family nucleus is unable or does not want to facilitate their request? that’s when minors intending to buy cryptocurrencies are forced to take matters into their own hands.
underage and overeducated
Teenagers eager to buy bitcoins have several options at their disposal. the “legality” of each method is subject to interpretation, but from a technical perspective, the following are at least workable:
ebay: It’s not just sneakers and bumper stickers you can buy on ebay: sellers will also provide you with bitcoins. Using ebay and/or paypal to buy small amounts of bitcoin is easy to do, but you will pay a heavy price for the privilege and you are urged to check the seller’s qualifications before parting with cash.
Bitcoin ATM: In theory, ATMs are the perfect way for under-18s to buy cryptocurrency. In practice, they’re few and far between in most countries. Unless you happen to live in the heart of Tokyo, brace yourself for an epic trek.
Localbitcoins: Technically, the same rules that govern cryptocurrency exchanges also apply to sites like Localbitcoins.com. Basic verification is easily achievable however, and once complete you’re free to buy and sell P2P, transferring funds directly from your bank account. It’s also possible to meet local sellers in person and buy bitcoin with cash, but caution is advised, especially when purchasing for the first time. Buyers should be accompanied by an adult.
p2p exchanges: in addition to localbitcoins, there are sites like solidi in the uk whose terms and conditions advise that “persons under the age of 18 wishing to trade should contact us first”. Those under 16 in particular will only be granted low purchase limits, although the exchange has suggested that minors get a parent or guardian to set up an account in their name. bitcoinprijzen in the netherlands is another site where those under the age of 18 seem to be able to buy crypto using ideal.
Local cryptocurrency groups – Search on facebook or twitter and you will probably find crypto meetups in your area. the organizers of these groups are keen to encourage bitcoin adoption and may be happy to help. As always, be careful 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.
Some teens determined to get their hands on bitcoin have gotten creative, buying amazon gift cards and trading them on sites like paxful. other options include earning bitcoins online and requesting them as gifts from friends and family.
should minors buy bitcoins?
Adults with a keen interest in bitcoin need little encouragement to preach the decentralized gospel to their children. the chances of growing up in a crypto “home hodl” and not being exposed to bitcoin are slim to non-existent. however, teaching the next generation about the potential of cryptocurrencies must also include a word of warning about its risks, both in terms of volatility and security.
Regardless of what the law says, those under the age of 18 who are determined to buy crypto will find a way. Compared to some of the vices teenagers might be spending their money on, bitcoin seems utterly benign.
do you think that those under 18 should be able to buy bitcoins? let us know in the comments section below.
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