How Old Do You Have To Be To Buy Bitcoins?

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When you are underaged, buying cryptocurrencies can be difficult. You don’t know what services to use and what age you have to be. So, how old do you have to be to buy Bitcoin or crypto?

If you want to use an online exchange, you have to be at least 18 years old. Otherwise, you can’t get past the KYC process. Another option is to buy Bitcoins from ATMs. You can use an ATM at any age.

How old do you have to be to use specific services in the crypto ecosystem?

The table below shows you from when you can use a specific service.

NameAge
DEXs (Decentralized exchanges) 0
ATMs0
Person to person0
Huobi16
Binance18
Coinbase18
Gemini18
HitBTC18
Kraken18
Bitfinex18
Bitflyer18
Bittrex18
Bitstamp18
KuCoin18
Upbit18
Okex18
Poloniex18
Bithumb19

As you can see, the only exchange you can use when you are younger than 18 is Huobi, ATMs, or a decentralized exchange (DEX). DEXs can only be used in the crypto ecosystem itself, for example, to trade Ethereum tokens.

How old do you have to be to use a Bitcoin ATM?

You can use an ATM at any age. Based on the ATM, there can be a deposit or withdraw limitation. Also, the fees are usually higher on ATMs compared with online exchanges.

How to find a crypto ATM

Browse to coinatmradar.com. Insert the required information, such as where you live, if you want to buy or sell, and what coins you want to buy or sell. It gives you a map with a lot of crypto ATMs in your area. Pick the one that is best for you.

Tips when you use an ATM

  • Start with a small amount to test the ATM and get confident that everything is working.
  • Never deposit or withdraw a large amount of money because you risk getting robbed.
  • Don’t use any money you can’t afford to lose. Crypto is speculative.
  • Have a look at the fee structure of the ATM.

How to use an ATM

  • Download the required wallet for the coin you want to buy.
  • Scan the wallet address wit the ATM.
  • Insert the money.
  • Done! Depending on the coin, it could take some time until your transaction is confirmed by the network.

Using Bitcoin when you are underaged

The Bitcoin ecosystem itself doesn’t care if you are 16, 18, 30, or 40. It’s censorship-resistant and available to everybody. I would recommend learning about the technical challenges before you start using Bitcoin.

Bitcoin transactions are immutable and permanent

If a transaction is on the Bitcoin blockchain, there is no way to revert it. So, always double-check the receiving address and the amount you want to send. If you send coins to pay for goods or services, make sure to send the exact amount to the address. Exclude the fees because you have to pay them to the miners.

Make a backup of your wallet

If you lose the private key of your wallet, you can’t recover your coins. Always make backups of your wallet, otherwise, you risk losing all your coins.

That also counts for a password that you use to encrypt your wallet. The password is used to make the wallet more secure. Also, make backups of any other two-factor authentication that is used to get access to the wallet. Better safe than sorry.

There is a famous quote in the crypto community: “Not your keys, not your coins”. It’s true for every asset on the blockchain.

Use addresses only as a one-time payment

Think of the address as a bill, not as an account. Addresses are traceable and could build up a transaction history. What do I mean by that?

If you make many transactions to one address, you risk losing all your privacy. If one person could link that address to you as a person, he would know your complete trading history. It includes, with who you traded with, when you made the transactions and how much he received.

By creating many addresses, tracing becomes harder. If you use an exchange wallet, there is the possibility that you can’t generate more than one address. In this case, you have no options, but if you use your wallet, you could generate many addresses.

Wait for a good time when the network is not busy

If you can wait for a time when the Bitcoin network is not that busy. When you are underaged, you usually don’t have to invest a lot of money. You don’t want to pay an extraordinary percentage of your Bitcoins as transaction fees.

For instance, if you buy $10 worth of BTC and you have to pay a $1 transaction fee, that’s 10% of what you bought. Wait for times when you could withdraw your coins for lower transaction fees. Depending on how busy the network currently is, you have to pay fewer transaction fees.

A good indicator to check how busy the network is is the Mempool. Check out this chart to know how busy the network is. Miners take transactions from the Mempool if they add a new block to the blockchain and include them in a block. Afterward, they count as confirmed and have 1 confirmation.

Miners can choose on their own what transactions go from the Mempool to a new block. Miners choose transactions that pay the highest transaction fees. If there are fewer transactions in the Mempool, the pool is not that competitive and you have to pay less.

Use a lightning node if you buy a small amount of BTC

You can make a near-instant and near-feeless transaction through the lightning network. If you buy $10 worth of BTC, it is recommended to use a Lightning channel. The lightning network is a 2nd layer solution to make the Bitcoin network scalable.

As long as your lightning channel exists, you can buy more BTC. You could combine the amount of BTC in the lightning channel into one transaction. Instead of making many transactions on-chain, you make one payment on-chain. You have to close the Lightning channel to receive the BTC on-chain.

Further Readings:

FAQ

How old do you have to be to use Bitcoins?

You can start using Bitcoin and crypto at any age. There is no age restriction because crypto networks are censorship-resistant. Everybody can interact with the Bitcoin network at any age.

Can I buy Bitcoins when I’m underage?

Yes, you can buy Bitcoins through an ATM when you are underage.

Maximilian Groß

I'm a software engineer. I'm the owner of FireStake.com and know the crypto space since 2016. Furthermore, I share everything I learn about crypto on this blog.

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