Oleg Galeev

4 months ago

Is There A Legal Age To Buy Bitcoin In Canada?

Mad teen because can't buy bitcoin

There is no Canadian law that states how old you must be to invest in cryptocurrency. However, many crypto exchanges require their customers to be at least 18 years old. But if there’s no legal requirement, why do they prevent teenagers from buying? 

The OCryptoCanada team made a survey via Survey Monkey and asked almost 1000 Canadians under 18 if they would like to invest in crypto. An impressive 92% said they would like to but some factors prevented them. 

Survey pie chart about underaged Canadians who want to invest in crypto

Of the 92% who said they would like to buy crypto, 98% of them said that they haven’t yet because:

  • 13% do not know how to buy crypto in Canada
  •  26% do not have enough knowledge and want to educate themselves more
  •  14% do not have enough funds to invest in crypto
  •  47% are ready to buy their first crypto assets but they can’t due to legal age limits on popular crypto exchanges in Canada… as a result, they are forced to use shady crypto exchanges that do not ask for KYC. 

 

Many Canadians under the age of 18 email us asking how to buy cryptocurrency in Canada. Just 2% of respondents in our survey said they own crypto despite the age restrictions. In this article, we will look at some ways people can purchase crypto if they’re under 18. This information is for educational purposes only. 

When it’s a bull market, bitcoin and other crypto are all over social media, so it’s inevitable that young people want to get involved. After all, crypto is the best-performing asset in history and young people would like the chance to start investing to ensure they have a financially secure future. 

An argument can be made, however, that many of the cryptocurrencies that people under 18 would like to purchase are “meme coins” like SHIB because these are often hyped up by influencers on popular social media networks. Unfortunately, many people lose money on these types of coins because a lot of them are not legitimate projects and do not have any utility. They are “pump and dumps” and sometimes outright scams. Therefore, protecting those under 18 by not allowing them to purchase crypto can be seen as a good thing. 

On the other hand, how much money do teenagers have to lose? Perhaps it’s a good financial lesson to teach people under 18 that investing is risky and they need to research as much as possible. Additionally, many people under 18 simply wish to invest in major crypto projects such as Ethereum or bitcoin, which although still risky, are seen by many in the traditional financial world as legitimate investments. Not every teenager wants to blow their money on dog coins. 

Even though there is no defined law in Canada about how old someone must be to invest in crypto, many legit Canadian crypto exchanges set the restrictions at 18 years old. They simply don’t wish to risk getting in trouble. Crypto exchanges could come under fire should a person under 18 lose a lot of money.

Ways to Buy Crypto if You’re Under 18 in Canada

We certainly don’t encourage anybody under 18 to purchase crypto. It’s incredibly risky. However, for educational purposes only, here are some ways that individuals can circumvent the age restrictions. 

1. Ask an adult to purchase crypto for you and keep it on your own private crypto wallet such as a Ledger hardware wallet. Gifting crypto can incur taxes, however, if they gift it to you right away at the time of purchase, there won’t be much (if any) capital gain. It is probably the best way.

2. Use a crypto ATM. There are thousands of crypto ATMs all over the Canada and they do not require you to provide ID. However, fees are extremely high (could be 10%-15% compared to 0.2%-1.5% on the centralized crypto exchanges). If you have very little money to invest, it does not make financial sense to use a crypto ATM.

3. You can use ByBit crypto exchange. This exchange does not ask for ID verification. While we would usually say this is a red flag, it could be your only option to avoid proving your age. If you do use ByBit, we strongly urge you to transfer your crypto off the exchange to a private crypto wallet because ByBit does not have the best reputation.

Should Underage Canadians be Able to Buy Cryptocurrency?

It’s definitely a grey area. Underage people should be protected from crypto scams and making bad financial choices. Crypto exchanges have a responsibility to ensure their customers are protected but they also don’t want to get into legal trouble by allowing children to buy something as risky as crypto. 

Some exchanges used to allow people as young as 13 to buy crypto with parental consent, but this is not the case any longer. Perhaps there have been one too many rug pulls or forgeries of consent. It is much easier for a crypto exchange to draw a hard line and restrict buying to 18+. 

Perhaps the best way to allow underage people to invest in crypto is to ask their parents to purchase crypto for them and give it to them when they’re 18. This would be a good compromise as it would allow for a healthy discussion about investing. It would also force the underage person to HODL, which is often seen as the best way to make profit. 

It is certainly a controversial topic, but from our survey it is clear that young people are interested in buying cryptocurrency and learning more about it.

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Author

Oleg is a Canadian citizen & crypto expert who has been trading since 2016. He started out with Coinbase, Kraken and Peer-to-Peer exchanges. After some time, centralized exchanges started charging crazy fees to their users.

He decided to review different crypto exchanges that operate in Canada and start a Youtube channel in order to educate Canadians on what kinds of things are going inside each one while giving them unbiased advice. On top of that, Oleg also has experience with NFT, airdrops, and crypto staking and he is constantly checking on new crypto assets.

His writing has been featured in popular Canadian media sources such as Toronto Sun and Ottawa Citizen.