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News/How to Buy Crypto Under 18: Your Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom

How to Buy Crypto Under 18: Your Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom

Van Thanh Le

Oct 9 2023

9 months ago5 minutes read
Robot happy on bed showing where to buy crypto under 18

Table of Contents

SectionKey Points
Why Are Teens Flocking to Crypto?Teens are drawn to crypto for financial freedom and the allure of blockchain technology. It's like a financial video game mixed with the Marvel Universe for tech enthusiasts.
Is It Legal to Buy Crypto When You're Under 18?Buying crypto under 18 is possible but tricky. Parental consent is crucial. Be aware of tax implications, known as the "kiddie tax," and keep parents informed for IRS compliance.
Why Do You Need Parental Consent?Parental consent ensures legal and financial safety. Parents can set up custodial accounts and guide minors through market volatilities and security measures.
What Are Your Buying Options?Options include Bitcoin ATMs, P2P Exchanges, Decentralized Exchanges, Parental Assistance, and Crypto Gift Cards. Each has its pros and cons, from user-friendliness to risk levels.
How Can You Earn Crypto Instead of Buying?Alternatives to buying include freelancing in crypto, participating in airdrops, and play-to-earn games. Each has its own set of pros, cons, and precautions.
How to Cash Out Your Crypto?Cashing out as a minor involves challenges like age restrictions and ID verification. Workarounds include No-KYC exchanges, DEXs, and parental guidance.
How to Keep Your Investments Safe?Security measures include hardware wallets, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), unique passwords, and avoiding public Wi-Fi. Never share private keys and always double-check recipient wallets.

Why Are Teens Flocking to Crypto?

Teen excited about how to buy crypto under 18.webp

Curious about how to buy crypto under 18? You're not alone. Teens are swarming to the crypto scene for a taste of financial freedom. Imagine managing your own assets without relying on the traditional banking system. It's like leveling up in a financial video game, and who wouldn't want that?

But it's not just the money game that's enticing. Teens are tech aficionados, and the cutting-edge blockchain technology behind crypto is a siren call. It's like the Marvel Universe but for finance and tech nerds. Intrigued? Stick around; this guide is your golden ticket.

Is It Legal to Buy Crypto When You're Under 18?

You're itching to know how to buy crypto under 18, huh? The crypto world is tantalizing, especially for teens eager to invest. But before you dive in, let's get real about the legal landscape.

Age Restrictions and Parental Consent: The Dynamic Duo

First things first, age is more than just a number in the crypto universe. Most exchanges are strict with their 18+ policy. So, how to invest in crypto under 18? Your secret weapon is parental consent. 

The Tax Web: Where Ignorance Isn't Bliss

Here's where it gets tricky. The IRS is keen on your crypto earnings, and they're taxed at your parents' rate. Ever heard of the "kiddie tax"? If you're under 19 (or 24 and a student), your unearned income up to $2,200 is safe. 

Anything beyond that, and you're in your parents' tax bracket. If your parents are unaware of your crypto moves, they could unintentionally file a false tax return.

Keep the Folks in the Loop

The IRS Form 1040 has a crypto question that your parents can't afford to mess up. They need to be clued in on your crypto activities to steer clear of legal hiccups. So, it's not just your game; it's a family affair.

In a nutshell, buying crypto under 18 is doable but comes with its own set of rules. You'll need an adult ally and a good grasp of tax implications. It's not just about making money; it's about being financially savvy and responsible.

Why Do You Need Parental Consent?

Parent and teen exploring how to invest in crypto under 18.webp

You're under 18 and you've caught the crypto bug. But wait, there's a catch—most platforms won't let you in without a guardian by your side. Why? Let's delve into why parental consent isn't just a formality but a necessity for both legal and financial safety.

Navigating the Age Barrier with Parental Aid

First off, the age restriction on most crypto platforms isn't arbitrary; it's a legal mandate. Platforms have to adhere to regulatory guidelines to avoid legal hassles. 

Here's where parents come into play. They can set up what's known as a custodial crypto account for minors, essentially a joint account. This ensures you're in compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. 

Some even go the extra mile by providing documentation as a formal nod for their kids to enter the crypto space. It's like a legal safety net, ensuring you're not stepping on any legal landmines.

Financial Safety 101: Parental Guidance Required

But it's not just about ticking legal boxes. The crypto market is a rollercoaster, and who better than your parents to be your financial seatbelt? They can guide you through market volatilities, helping you dodge impulsive decisions and scams. 

Plus, they can assist in setting up secure digital wallets, ensuring you're not an easy target for crypto thieves.

What Are Your Buying Options?

Most traditional exchanges like Coinbase and Binance have an age limit. Bummer, right? But don't lose hope; there are workarounds.

What's the Deal with Traditional Exchanges?

These are your go-to platforms for trading a wide range of cryptocurrencies. They're centralized, meaning they operate under a single entity. The downside? You've got to be 18 or older to get in on the action.

And let's not forget, the crypto realm is like the Wild West—high risk and mostly unregulated. Therefore, if you're a minor, you've got to tread extra carefully.

Alternative Methods for Under-18s

You're tech-savvy, you've done your homework, and you're ready to invest. So, where to buy crypto under 18? Let's break it down.

Bitcoin ATMsPhysical, user-friendlyLimited availability, fees
P2P ExchangesFlexible, varied payment methodsRisk of scams, due diligence needed
Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) or Crypto WalletsEnhanced privacy, no central authoritySteeper learning curve
Parental AssistanceGuided learning, safer transactionsLimited to parents' willingness
Crypto Gift CardsEasy to use, beginner-friendlyPreloaded amounts, short-term
Custodial AccountsGuided learning, legal compliance, asset securityLimited control, dependency, potential mismanagement
Crypto Apps (e.g., Step)User-friendly, educational features, low entry barriersLimited features, over-reliance on sponsor, regulatory gray areas

There you have it. Whether it's using a Bitcoin ATM in your neighborhood or getting your parents to lend a helping hand, you've got options. Just remember, each comes with its own set of pros and cons, so choose wisely.

This isn't just a guide; it's a case study in financial freedom for minors. Go ahead, pick your path and step into the crypto universe. Just be smart about it.

Can Peer-to-Peer Platforms Be Your Go-To?

If you're under 18 and wondering how to trade crypto as a minor, P2P platforms like Bisq, HodlHodl, and could be your answer. These platforms offer a unique blend of pros and cons tailored for young traders.


  • No KYC Requirements: Ideal for minors, no identity checks.
  • Anonymity: Keep your transactions private.
  • Flexibility: Set your own trade terms.
  • Variety of Payment Methods: From bank transfers to gift cards.


  • Risk of Scams: Lack of regulation means higher fraud risk.
  • Limited User Base: Fewer users can mean less liquidity.
  • Due Diligence Required: You're responsible for vetting trade partners.

P2P platforms offer minors a gateway to the crypto world, but they come with their own set of challenges. Exercise caution and do your research to make the most of these platforms.

Have You Thought About Bitcoin ATMs?

btc atm map.webp
Bitcoin ATM map. Source: CoinATMRadar

If you're under 18 and pondering where to buy crypto, Bitcoin ATMs could be your answer. These are not your typical ATMs; they're specialized kiosks that let you buy crypto with cash. Just scan your wallet's QR code, insert cash, and you're a crypto owner. Simple, right?


  • Ease of Use: Ideal for those who find crypto exchanges intimidating.
  • Quick Transactions: Your crypto lands in your wallet almost instantly.
  • Accessibility: With over 32,500 global locations as of October 9, 2023, you're likely near one.


  • High Fees: You could pay up to 10% more than the market crypto price.
  • Transaction Limits: There's a cap on how much you can buy or sell.
  • Regulatory Hurdles: U.S. ATMs require FinCEN registration, adding a layer of complexity.

So, Bitcoin ATMs offer a quick but costly route into the crypto world for minors.

How Can You Earn Crypto Instead of Buying?

Teen playing a game on how to get crypto under 18.webp

As a teenager under 18, buying crypto isn't an option? No worries! There are some pretty cool ways to earn crypto without even touching your wallet. Let's explore some of these avenues, shall we?

1. Freelancing in Crypto: The Gajesh Naik Case Study

Meet Gajesh Naik, a 13-year-old DeFi whiz kid from India. He kicked off his crypto journey with a YouTube channel on coding and swiftly pivoted to smart contract consulting. His DeFi protocol, PolyGaj, handles nearly a cool million bucks. Impressive, right?


  • Young minds like Naik soak up new info like a sponge.
  • The crypto realm is a level playing field; all you need is Wi-Fi.


  • Naik can't legally ink contracts, limiting big-name investments.
  • Ethical and safety concerns arise, given his age and the funds he manages.

Tips and Precautions for Online Freelancing Platforms

  • Secure Your Account: Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication.
  • Verify Your Client: Before accepting any job, make sure to verify the client's identity and payment methods.
  • Use Platform's Payment System: Always use the freelancing platform's payment system to avoid scams.
  • Read the Terms: Make sure you read and understand the terms of service of the freelancing platform and the job you're taking.
  • Keep Records: Always keep records of your communications and transactions.

2. Airdrops: The Free Money Race

Remember the days when crypto faucets were a thing? Airdrops are the new faucets, offering free tokens for simple tasks. 

I recall growing up in a traditional Asian family where investing my own money was a no-go. At that time, airdrops for testnet users - which means no need for real money - and crypto faucets were my ticket to the crypto express, and I’m grateful for it.

You can still rake in decent earnings from crypto airdrops with minimal investment. Take the Arbitrum airdrop, for instance. I bridged just $7 of ETH to Arbitrum One and scored. Often, it's about transaction volume, not size. So, with $100, you can make 10 transactions, hit a $1,000 volume, and keep the cycle going. The key point here is that you want to be, and take actions to be, their loyal community members.


  • Easy-peasy participation.
  • Usually low investment needed.


  • Risk of token devaluation.
  • Ethical concerns about system exploitation.

Tips and Precautions for Participating in Airdrops

  • Do Your Homework: Always research the project and its team before participating in an airdrop. Make sure it's legitimate and has a solid roadmap.
  • Use a Separate Wallet: Don't use your main crypto wallet for airdrops. Create a separate one to minimize risks.
  • Be Cautious with Personal Information: Never share sensitive personal information unless you're sure about the project's legitimacy.
  • Check Community Feedback: Look for reviews or feedback from the crypto community to gauge the project's reputation.

3. Play-to-Earn Games, NFTs, and Decentralized Social Media

From play-to-earn games to NFTs and decentralized social media, these platforms are the new crypto goldmines. Just play a game or tweet, and voila, you earn crypto!


  • A fun and engaging way to earn.
  • Can be a solid income source.


  • Tax woes that even your parents should know.
  • Risk of losses due to market downturns or hacks.

From freelancing to airdrops and play-to-earn platforms, the crypto world offers a buffet of opportunities to earn, even if you're under 18. Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Stay safe out there, young crypto enthusiasts!

How to Cash Out Your Crypto?

As a young crypto enthusiast, you've managed to accumulate some digital assets. Awesome! But what happens when you want to turn those digital coins into cold, hard cash? Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of how to trade crypto as a minor, focusing on the unique challenges you might face and how to overcome them.

Challenges Minors Face

  • Age Restrictions: The big names in crypto, think Coinbase or Binance, usually have a strict 18+ policy. So, you can't just waltz in and cash out.
  • ID Verification: Ever heard of KYC (Know Your Customer)? It's a process where you have to prove you are who you say you are. For minors, this is a stumbling block.
  • Legal Concerns: While you're not breaking the law by owning crypto, the lack of clear regulations can make things dicey.
  • Limited Payment Options: No credit card? That's a problem when most platforms only accept card payments.

Case Study: Overcoming the Obstacles

Meet Tim, a 17-year-old crypto enthusiast. He faced all these challenges but found ways to navigate them:

  1. No-KYC Exchanges: Tim used platforms like BitForex and MEXC, which don't require ID verification.
  2. Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs): He also explored DEXs like dYdX and Uniswap, which allow anonymous sign-ups.
  3. MetaMask Feature: Tim used MetaMask's new feature to convert his crypto to USD, GBP, and EUR.
  4. VPN: For platforms that were location-specific, Tim used a VPN to bypass these restrictions.
  5. Parental Guidance: Before making any moves, Tim consulted with his parents, ensuring he was making informed decisions.

If you're a minor looking to cash out your crypto, know that it's not impossible. You've just got to be a bit more creative and cautious. Always remember, consult with an adult you trust before making any financial moves.

How to Keep Your Investments Safe?

Teen and parent with custodial crypto account for minor.webp

How do you make sure your crypto stays safe? Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of crypto safety, especially for minors.

Secure Wallets: The Fort Knox of Crypto

First off, let's talk about hardware wallets. These little gadgets are like the Fort Knox for your crypto. They keep your private keys offline, making them virtually hack-proof. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Lose your recovery seed, and you might as well say goodbye to your assets.

Two-Factor Authentication: Your Digital Bodyguard

Next up is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Think of it as your digital bodyguard that asks for a secret handshake after you've entered the door. It's a must-have for online or mobile wallets, adding that extra layer of security.

Other Safety Measures: The Full Armor

  • Unique Passwords: Don't be lazy; create a robust, unique password for each crypto account.
  • VPN: Mask your IP with a VPN, making it harder for anyone to trace your transactions.
  • Public Wi-Fi: Just don't. It's like leaving your wallet at a bus stop.
  • Software Updates: Keep your wallet software fresh to benefit from the latest security patches.

The Don'ts: Crypto Safety No-Nos

  • Private Keys: These are your treasure keys. Share them, and you're handing over your treasure.
  • Recipient Wallet: Double-check it. A typo can send your crypto to digital oblivion.
  • Too Good to Be True: If someone promises to double your crypto, run the other way.

By taking these steps, you're not just locking the door; you're installing a full-blown security system around your digital assets. So, go ahead, invest, but do it like a pro—safely and securely.

FAQs About How to Buy Crypto Under 18

1. Is it legal for teens under 18 to buy crypto?

Yes, it's possible but with caveats. Most crypto exchanges have an 18+ age requirement, but minors can invest in crypto with parental consent through a custodial account. Always be aware of tax implications and consult with your parents to stay on the right side of the law.

2. What are some alternative ways to buy crypto if you're under 18?

You've got options like Bitcoin ATMs, P2P exchanges, and decentralized exchanges (DEXs). Parental assistance can also come in handy, as can crypto gift cards. Each method has its pros and cons, so choose wisely.

3. Can you earn crypto instead of buying it?

Absolutely! From freelancing in the crypto space to participating in airdrops and play-to-earn games, there are various ways to earn crypto. Just remember to exercise caution and do your due diligence to avoid scams.

4. How can minors cash out their crypto investments?

Cashing out can be tricky due to age restrictions and KYC requirements on most platforms. However, you can use No-KYC exchanges, decentralized exchanges, or MetaMask features to convert your crypto to fiat. Always consult with an adult before making any financial moves.

5. What are the best practices for keeping my crypto investments safe?

Use hardware wallets for top-notch security and enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for online or mobile wallets. Keep your software updated, and never share your private keys or use public Wi-Fi for transactions. Safety first!

Conclusion: What's Next for Young Crypto Buffs?

You've navigated the maze of how to buy crypto under 18, but remember, the crypto world is not a playground. It's a financial ecosystem that demands responsible behavior. Your age might limit you, but it doesn't define your ability to make smart choices. 

As you step into this exciting yet volatile world, never stop learning. Keep tabs on crypto price, stay updated with cryptocurrency charts, and most importantly, educate yourself continually. Your journey has just begun, and the crypto universe is vast. Explore responsibly!

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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