The crypto market has absolutely exploded in value over the past few years. There are now more than 9,500 cryptocurrencies available to buy, and the wider market is currently valued at a combined $2trn.
While not all cryptocurrencies are alike and can be volatile, they can be a desirable investment for people with high risk tolerance. So, it only makes sense to transfer a fast-rising asset like that to kids with long time horizons, who can generally wait out market swings.
It’s important to note that there are technically no age restrictions involved in mining, trading, or owning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. However, many established crypto exchanges and payment service providers like Coinbase or Paypal require users to be at least 18 years old to set up a digital wallet.
Because you generally need an account with a crypto exchange to buy or sell cryptocurrencies, it’s hard to gift crypto to kids until they’re over 18. It is possible to both gift crypto or transfer crypto to a child — it’s just a fairly involved process.
How to Transfer Crypto to a Child
There are a few different ways you can transfer crypto to a child, and the right transfer route for you and the kids in your life will depend a lot on their age and financial literacy skills.
But to give you an idea, let’s quickly explore the three most common ways you can transfer cryptocurrency to someone under 18.
We’ve already mentioned that it’s impossible to set up a digital wallet for children with most exchanges or brokerages. Fortunately, there is a new crypto gifting solution you may want to consider: EarlyBird Crypto.
Similar to gifting stock or other financial securities into a child’s UGMA custodial account, EarlyBird Crypto will let you gift an asset (in this case crypto) to a child. That asset then becomes their legal property — but because they’re under the age of majority, you’re responsible for managing those crypto assets until the child comes of age. Currently, the full functionality of EarlyBird Crypto is still in development.
Give them a hardware wallet
Another way you can transfer crypto for kids before they reach the age of 18 is by purchasing crypto on their behalf and then storing it on a hardware cryptocurrency wallet.
You’ll probably hear people refer to a hardware wallet interchangeably as a “cold wallet.” In its most basic form, a cold wallet is a piece of equipment that’s not connected to the internet. If you’re having trouble imagining a hardware wallet, it’s basically a really fancy (and very important) USB stick.
Unlike a digital wallet (also referred to as a “hot wallet”), you need to download crypto coins onto a hardware wallet. That asset is then 100% offline, and you can physically store it in a safe place. When you want to resell your crypto back onto the network and cash in for fiat currency like USD or GBP, you upload the contents of your cold wallet back onto the web.
Because a child doesn’t need to be 18 years old to own crypto, an adult can invest in crypto and place it on a hardware wallet for a child. From there, the adult can simply hold onto the wallet for the child or pass the wallet to the child’s legal guardian along with any relevant security credentials required to use the wallet.
The child will then be able to access the crypto and spend it however they want — but only when they come of age.
Because a hardware wallet is a physical item you can store or place on a shelf, it’s really important that you educate the recipient on what it is and how to keep it safe once they come of age. That’s where financial literacy comes into play.
Before the child comes of age, you need to make sure the child understands what crypto assets are. Explain how digital wallets work, what a hardware wallet is, and how crypto assets can be bought or sold when they come of age. Without a financial crash course in crypto, you’re going to run the risk of the child tossing it into a desk drawer and totally forgetting about it.
Give them a paper wallet
A paper wallet is another type of cold wallet. A paper wallet is the most affordable way to store crypto offline. It’s a lot like a receipt for a transaction and is basically a piece of paper that includes all the private and public keys or QR codes required to facilitate a future crypto transaction.
After investing in a crypto coin, you can deposit it into a paper wallet and then print that wallet out. From there, it’s possible to transfer crypto to a child by handing them the paper wallet. Just like a hardware wallet, you should hold onto the paper wallet for the child until they come of age.
After hitting age 18, the child can then upload the contents of a paper wallet onto a more flexible digital wallet — or redeem the contents of the paper wallet by selling it on an exchange.
Just like a hardware wallet, the key to transferring a paper wallet to a child is to make sure they know what it is and how important it is. If you give someone a paper wallet and they lose it, the crypto investment you made is going to disappear along with it.
While there are a few different options for transferring crypto to a minor, it’s important to understand your needs in terms of flexibility, security, and how investments are managed until the child in your life comes of age.
Although cold wallets like hardware wallets and paper wallets can be super secure, your best bet when it comes to transferring crypto to a child is through a secure account like EarlyBird Crypto.
After all, only EarlyBird allows you to open a child’s crypto wallet right alongside a traditional custodial investment account and a rich time capsule of memories that will last a lifetime.
Ready to start transferring crypto to the children in your life? Download the EarlyBird app now.
This page contains general information and does not contain financial advice. All investments involve risk. Any hypothetical performance shown is for illustrative purposes only. Actual investment performance may be different for many reasons, including, but not limited to, market fluctuations, time horizon, taxes, and fees. Please consult a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional for investment guidance.