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How To Buy Crypto Under 18

Buying crypto when under 18 is a fickle task. Fortunately, there are several alternate ways to invest in crypto as a teenager.

This article is for educational purposes only and not investment advice. The cryptocurrency market is highly volatile and carries significant risks. The platforms listed may not require immediate ID identification but have the right to refuse or terminate an account if users are below 18. Read their T&Cs before making any financial decisions and talk to a parent or guardian first.

Buying crypto is not easy if you are less than 18 years old. Most cryptocurrency exchanges and investment platforms must abide by regulations that prevent the sale of cryptocurrencies to anyone under 18. However, restricted access for those under 18 is not universal. Several crypto platforms without full KYC requirements can be used for those under 18 who are legally able to in their country and allowed according to the exchange's Terms of Service. Apart from using an exchange, there are several alternative ways to buy small amounts of crypto as a teenager.

How To Buy Cryptocurrency Under 18

Here is a complete list of the different ways to buy crypto if underage:

  1. Use a parent or guardian. This is one of the easiest ways for minors to buy crypto via their parents or a guardian who will create an account with a crypto exchange to buy crypto with their bank account. Then, transfer to the teenager's external wallet.
  2. Ask a friend or relative over the age of 18. Similar to the above, ask someone over the age of 18 to buy and transfer crypto on their behalf to a self-custody crypto wallet. This can take place as a cash transaction in exchange for crypto.
  3. Use a crypto debit card. There are several platforms that do not require KYC to purchase crypto with funds from a bank account using a credit card. It may be more difficult to obtain a credit/debit card and some banks can restrict crypto purchases. Although, there are some exchanges that permit buying crypto with credit cards.
  4. Trade goods or services for crypto. Having a physical or online business that accepts payment in crypto using a third-party merchant. The crypto earned from providing a service can be stored in a wallet and cashed out when over 18 years old.
  5. Participate in airdrops and bounties. This method requires holding existing crypto using the above methods. Some blockchain projects will distribute airdrops and bounties for holding their coins to increase awareness of their project.
  6. Buy crypto with gift cards. P2P platforms offer multiple payments such as prepaid cards and Amazon gift cards which can be converted into crypto.
  7. Participate in a crypto rewards program. These methods are usually tethered to promoting blockchain projects such as content creators, sharing referral links, and joining Telegram groups. It is also one of the best ways to earn free crypto for any age group.
  8. Receive crypto as a gift. This method involves receiving crypto as a gift. There are several ways to give crypto as a gift to anyone under the age of 18.

How To Buy Crypto Under 18 Using An Exchange

Buying cryptocurrencies under 18 does not have to be a tricky process. To help explain how the process works, here's a full tutorial to buy crypto under 18.

Step 1 – Create an account with a no KYC exchange

This will be completed using the KuCoin cryptocurrency exchange. Head over to the KuCoin website and click ‘Sign Up’ in the top right corner of the screen. On the next screen, fill in the required account details. KuCoin provides the option to use either an email address or phone number to create an account. Choose a strong password and read the ‘Terms & Conditions’. The email address or phone number may need to be verified before access is granted.

Step 2 – Choose a purchase method

There are several ways to purchase cryptocurrencies through the KuCoin exchange. However, the easiest is through the exchange’s ‘Fast Trade’ option. Fast Trade allows individuals to purchase crypto directly using a range of payment methods including Visa, Mastercard, and bank transfer.

Note, the payment method will vary depending on the cryptocurrency being purchased. Remember to check which payment methods are available for the crypto of interest.

Step 3 – Enter transaction details

Once on the Fast Trade webpage, select a fiat currency from the drop-down menu on the right and enter the amount to spend. Then select a cryptocurrency to purchase. The ‘I want to buy’ field will be automatically filled.

Step 4 – Confirm the transaction

Before completing the transaction, remember to double-check all transaction details. Check the ‘Reference Price’ at the bottom of the page to understand exactly what cryptocurrencies will be received. Once happy with the transaction click the ‘Buy’ button. After the transaction has been completed, unless otherwise specified, cryptos will be sent to an exchange wallet on the KuCoin platform.

Step 5 – Send crypto to a non-custodial wallet

Although cryptos can be securely stored on an exchange’s internal wallet, it is best practice to send cryptocurrencies to a personal crypto wallet that provides complete control. Also known as a non-custodial wallet, these wallets can either be software-based, such as desktop or mobile applications, or hardware-based, such as USB memory sticks. For more details on the best crypto wallets to use, read our guide.

How Many Under-18s Are Interested In Crypto?

Investing in crypto is a young buyer's market. According to data collected by Stilt, 17.40% of all cryptocurrency transactions are completed by those from Generation Z (currently aged between 18-24). Although there is little data on the investing habits of those under 18, there is sufficient data available to highlight a clear trend in the investing habits of those aged 18 and above.

Cryptocurrency buyers breakdown by generation
Cryptocurrency buyers breakdown by generation (Credit: Stilt.com)

Gen Z is the second largest market participant after millennials, who make up the bulk of crypto activity. Combined, Gen Z and millennials account for 94% of all crypto holders, which indicates that the crypto industry is dominated by younger investors.

It is therefore understandable why individuals under 18 may have the desire to buy cryptocurrency or at least participate in the growing ecosystem. It should also be noted that the above figures do not include crypto purchases between friends and family, using crypto ATMs, or receiving crypto for providing a service.

Where To Buy Crypto Under 18

We have compiled a list of crypto exchanges that do not require ID. While these exchanges state users must be over 18, they also do not ban underage investors by mandating ID verification for all accounts. In addition, most payment methods such as bank transfers and cards require holders to be 18 and above which will further limit the possibility to acquire crypto on centralized exchanges. Therefore, these exchanges should be used by a parent or guardian on behalf of the minor.

1. ByBit

ByBit is our best overall pick for those looking to buy under 18. The world-leading platform does not require KYC verification to make spot purchases and provides a safe, secure, and clean environment to start building a crypto portfolio.

Key highlights:

  • One-click buy across 20 different cryptocurrencies
  • Withdraw up to 2 BTC per 24 hours
  • Spot trading fees start from 0.1%
  • Purchase crypto using over 50 different fiat currencies.

With high trading volumes and high liquidity, ByBit has quickly risen to the top of the crypto exchange market. Under-18s have the option to purchase cryptos using either Bybit’s ‘One Click Buy’ module or through the spot market. There is also the benefit of paying zero fees on crypto purchases regardless of age.

Bybit one-click buy screenshot

Funds can be deposited using a range of payment methods including credit cards, SEPA, bank transfer, and Google Pay. While fees are higher for One Click Buy purchases, spot trading fees for non-verified users start from 0.1% which is competitive in the market.

Without KYC, only crypto can be withdrawn and withdrawal limits are capped at the equivalent of 2 BTC per day. But, unverified users do have the option to trade other crypto derivatives if they so wish.

2. KuCoin

KuCoin is a market-leading trading platform that allows investors to purchase over 700 different cryptocurrencies. It is therefore one of our best picks for those under 18 looking to invest in a wide range of altcoins. For those under 18, account verification on KuCoin is optional, which means that cryptos can be purchased and traded with just an email or phone number. KuCoin users can purchase different altcoins through spot markets, the P2P platform, or the platform’s Fast Trade module.

Key highlights:

  • Access to over 700 different cryptocurrencies
  • Withdraw up to 1 BTC every 24 hours (without KYC)
  • Spot trading fees start from 0.1% and can be reduced by holding the native KCS token
  • Free educational material for learning the basics of cryptos
KuCoin one-click buy screenshot

While fees are higher for Fast Trade, spot trading fees start from 0.1% and can be reduced even further by holding the native KCS coin making it a potentially cheaper option than ByBit. Although crypto withdrawals are limited to 1 BTC per 24 hours for unverified accounts, this should be more than suitable for those under 18.

Unfortunately, all other KuCoin products such as margin trading, derivatives trading, and buying NFTs do require KYC verification, so these will not be accessible to underage investors. Perhaps the biggest limitation is that KuCoin can't be used in the US. Therefore, those under 18 from the US will need to look elsewhere.

3. CoinEx

CoinEx is next on our list. It is a privacy-focused crypto exchange that makes it perfect for those under 18. With privacy at the forefront, users can take advantage of all CoinEx products without needing to submit KYC documentation.

Key highlights:

  • Access to over 500 different cryptocurrencies in spot markets
  • All features accessible to unverified users
  • Withdraw up to 10,000 USDT every 24 hours
  • CoinEx spot trading fees start from 0.2%

Those that create a new account with CoinEx can purchase over 500 different cryptocurrencies through the exchange’s spot markets which are slightly less than KuCoin's offering. There is also a ‘quick buy’ feature using USDT, USDC, BTC, and ETH. The fees for quick buy purchases vary based on the payment method and spot trading fees start from 0.2% which is quite reasonable.

CoinEx buy crypto screenshot

We note that CoinEx makes clear in its Terms & Conditions that use of the platform falls on the responsibility of each individual. Therefore, it is up to each person to check that CoinEx can be used in the geographic location where they are based. While geographic restrictions are slightly hard to fathom, CoinEx users have the added benefit that the majority of its products can be used by unverified investors, including the ability to trade futures.

This is not allowed on the platforms above (and not recommended for those under 18 either). CoinEx may be a good exchange to consider for small purchases under the 10,000 USDT daily withdrawal limit.

4. PrimeXBT

PrimeXBT is a platform that was launched in 2017 to allow users to trade forex, commodities, and indices using Bitcoin as collateral. Unlike competitors, the platform allows USD withdrawals up to $20,000 and is, therefore, our best pick for those under 18 looking to withdraw in USD.

Key highlights:

  • Trade forex, commodities, cryptos, and indices using BTC as collateral
  • Withdraw up to $20,000
  • Trading fees start from 0.5%
  • Demo trading mode to help beginners
PrimeXBT crypto convert tool

Although fiat deposits are restricted to KYC-verified users, those wishing to remain anonymous can deposit Bitcoin and begin trading instantly. When using Bitcoin as collateral, all features within PrimeXBT are available. Unfortunately, the ease of withdrawing high amounts of USD comes at the cost of higher trading fees, which start at 0.5%.

But, with high withdrawal limits, PrimeXBT could be a strong choice for those looking to make their first purchase while under 18. The higher-than-average fees might be a price worth paying for the additional access to forex, commodities, and indices.

5. 1Inch

1inch is a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange (DEX) aggregator. Instead of completing transactions internally, 1inch searches for the best exchange rate across multiple DEXs. As the platform operates using blockchain technology, users have the possibility of trading over 400 different cryptocurrencies without KYC requirements.

Key highlights:

  • Trade over 400 different cryptocurrencies
  • Non-custodial which means control remains with the investor
  • Agreggator searches for the best exchange rates among a variety of DEXs
  • Users can earn interest by depositing cryptos within liquidity pools

To utilize 1inch, investors must have cryptocurrencies to trade. However, once acquired, 1inch can then be used to complete crypto-to-crypto transactions. The best benefit of this is that 1inch does not require custodial control for transactions to be completed.

Swapping crypto on 1inch

As a decentralized application built using smart contracts, there is no need to deposit cryptocurrencies to begin using the platform. All transactions are completed in a non-custodial manner which means end users remain in control.

However, as an application built on top of a blockchain, those under 18 will need to use a Web3-compatible crypto wallet for access. Although relatively straightforward, the process of using a DEX may be more confusing when compared with purchasing and trading cryptos through a regular exchange.

But if users are willing to learn and become familiar with how 1inch operates, both anonymity and security can be ensured while trading crypto at preferential exchange rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should minors be buying Bitcoin?

No, individuals under the age of 18 should not invest in the cryptocurrency markets on their own. There are many risks involved with buying Bitcoin that may not be understood by minors and result in losses. Therefore, parental consent and guidance are recommended, and with money, they can afford to lose.

What is the best approach to buying crypto as an under 18?

The best method for a person under the age of 18 to buy and own cryptocurrencies is to ask their parents or guardian to make a purchase on their behalf. The digital currencies can be transferred to a hardware wallet and given to the minor as an investment until they are of legal age to trade or convert it back to cash on a licensed crypto exchange. The same approach should be considered when the minor wants to sell Bitcoin for cash, as KYC exchanges will not permit underage accounts.

Is it legal to buy cryptocurrency if I am under 18?

In most countries, it is not legal for a person under the age of 18 to buy cryptocurrencies. While it is technically possible to purchase cryptocurrency on certain trading platforms, it shouldn't be done without permission from a parent or guardian and set up proper parental controls.

Are there any risks when buying crypto under 18?

There are certain laws and regulations that can introduce risks for individuals within specific countries that may place minors at increased risk when trading crypto. Other risks to be aware of include increasing restrictions on non-KYC crypto exchanges, financial risks due to the volatile nature of the asset class, and security risks associated with scams and frauds that a person under 18 may not fully understand.

Conclusion

Buying crypto is becoming more difficult on centralized platforms for those under the age of 18. The majority of crypto exchanges now require KYC verification and due to regulations, many cannot sell cryptos to minors. But there are many solutions out there such as no KYC exchanges and decentralized aggregators. While there may be some withdrawal restrictions, including payment methods (that also must require individuals to be 18 and over), there are a few platforms that can be used to dabble in the world of crypto.

It is also important to remember that cryptocurrencies are extremely risky investments. Talk to a parent or guardian before making a purchase, or simply wait until legal age.