Buying bitcoin has never been easier.
The crypto ecosystem has come a long way from the days of Mt. Gox and other early exchanges, which were largely unregulated and catered to a savvier-than-average tech crowd.
Thanks to companies like Square, we can use apps like the cash app to buy bitcoin simply and easily right from your mobile device and with very reasonable fees.
But what if you just want to buy yourself some bitcoin with the minimum amount of hassle?
One platform stands out from the pack in terms of ease of use. Cash App is owned by Square, a financial services company and payment provider co-created by Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, in 2009. Cash App is used by over 15 million people, and since January 2018 has allowed users to buy bitcoin within the app.
We’ll talk a little more about Jack Dorsey’s bitcoin connections later on, but for now let’s get started on how to buy bitcoin using Cash App.
A Quick note about Cash App is that it charges 2% fees to buy bitcoin. Here are some exchanges with lower fees:
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Cash App is available on the App Store or Google Play Store.
Use a phone number or email address. Enter your name when prompted.
You can add a bank account or debit card.
Choose your unique cashtag, which is the name at which you’ll be able to receive funds. Get your referral code to earn a bonus whenever friends sign up, then continue. Congratulations, you now have Cash App!
Next, you’ll be taken to the Cash App Request/Pay screen. Along the bottom, from left to right, are tabs for Home, Cash Card, Request/Pay, Investing, and History. To buy bitcoin, you’ll first need to verify your identity. To do so, tap on the Home tab (left).
Then select Tap on “Bitcoin”, just below Deposits & Transfers (right).
You’ll be prompted to verify your identity. You’ll need to enter your full name and Social Security Number.
Cash App is required to follow FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) compliance rules and adhere to AML/KYC (Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer) regulations. This process can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a day. You will receive a notification when verification is complete.
Once approved, tap on the Investing tab. You can buy stocks on Cash App, but you’re here to invest in the future of money, so tap on bitcoin.
You’ll see a chart of bitcoin’s recent performance. To get your piece of it, click Buy (left).
For this tutorial, we’ll buy five dollars’ worth of BTC, but Cash App’s weekly purchase limit is $100,000. You can also set up recurring purchases to DCA (dollar cost average) into bitcoin (circled in green, right). Then click next (circled in red, right).
After you input your desired USD value of Bitcoin, click next (left).
You will see an overview of your order outlining the amount of BTC, the current spot price, fees to be paid, and the amount in satoshis you will receive. Tap confirm to buy your BTC (right).
Once processed, select “done” (left).
You can view your bitcoin holdings in the Home tab. Here you can also see your wallet address, which you will need to transfer any bitcoin in from an external wallet. Click on Deposit Bitcoin (right).
Finally, we will withdraw our bitcoin to an external address which is recommended with all Bitcoin purchasing - you should hold the coins yourself.
Just enter the total amount of Bitcoin you have on deposit and select “Withdraw” (right). You can also deposit bitcoin to sell back to Cash app using the deposit screen (left), but that is for another article.
From here, you will give Cash App your wallet address.
If you give cash app the wrong address, your bitcoin will be lost forever. Double and triple check that you give cash app the right address. It is best to copy and paste it from your receiving wallet to avoid any small errors.
That’s it, you’ve successfully purchased your very own BTC! Cash App’s simple, intuitive interface makes buying and selling easy.
If you want to transfer your bitcoin to an external wallet, be sure to take a look at our guide to the best bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallets.
Or pick one up here:
Note that your withdrawl won't be processed immediately. It will take some time for your transaction to be confirmed on the network, so be sure to allow enough time when sending funds out.
As we saw in Step 9, Cash App charges a fee for bitcoin purchases. Until 2019, this fee was baked into the exchange rate, but in the interest of transparency, the company announced it would display fees separately.
These fees are variable, and always visible before confirming a purchase. There is no fee schedule listed on Cash App’s website, but users have reported favorable rates compared to Coinbase, another beginner-friendly platform.
In addition to a 0.5% spread on the market rate when buying or selling crypto, Coinbase charges the greater of a 3.99% fee on debit card purchases, or a variable rate based on the amount purchased that can be up to 10% on small orders. Hey, if you want to rake in over $2B in fees, you’ve got to set your sights high.
The $5 purchase we made for this tutorial would incur a $0.99 fee on Coinbase, which is 25%. Meanwhile, Cash App charged $0.15, equal to 3%. If you’re looking to start off small, Cash App may be the best solution for you.
Another app with a clean interface and simple user experience is Robinhood. Mainly known for offering commission-free stock trading, Robinhood also allows buying and selling bitcoin. One caveat, though, you can’t actually transfer the bitcoin you purchase to an external wallet. It’s more like paper trading, where you buy and sell the underlying asset without actually owning it.
If you’re looking to jump into the deep end and explore everything the crypto world has to offer, Binance has a great mobile app. You can buy bitcoin and multiple other cryptocurrencies using a debit card, with fees around 3.5%.
When the creator of Twitter has just one word in his bio, it’s a safe bet he feels pretty strongly about it. Jack Dorsey is an outspoken bitcoin evangelist. He has called the bitcoin whitepaper “poetry,” and “one of the most seminal works of computer science in the last 20-30 years.”
He also praised the decision to release the bitcoin protocol under a pseudonym, rather than doing it anonymously or tying the invention to a specific, identifiable person or group. “I think it builds tangibility and a little bit of empathy that this was a human or a set of humans behind it,” he said. “There’s this natural identity that I can imagine.”
It’s no surprise, then, that Dorsey himself owns a significant amount of bitcoin. When asked how much that is, exactly, he enigmatically replied “it’s enough,” but has revealed that he regularly maxes out the weekly buying limit on his own Cash App. This limit was quietly lifted in early May 2020 from $10,000 to $100,000, with no announcement made regarding the increase.
Dorsey’s Square Crypto offers grants to blockchain developers to work on free, open-source projects. The initiative particularly favors ideas that will increase scalability, privacy, and user experience of bitcoin and the Lightning Network.
The organization’s Lightning Development Kit “includes an API, language bindings, demo apps, and anything else that makes integrating Lightning easy, safe, and configurable.” The goal is to bring about a future where “instant, low-fee bitcoin payments are as common as cash used to be”
But the Bitcoin support does not end there.
Square crypto has also issued grants to the likes of BTCPayServer, an open-source replacement for companies like BitPay.
It’s founder Nicolas Dorier famously proclaimed on twitter before starting the project that he would make BitPay obsolete due to BitPay’s blog post lying about Segwit.
This is lies, my trust in you is broken, I will make you obsolete— Nicolas Dorier (@NicolasDorier) August 18, 2017
Since then, BTCPay Server has come a long way and has largely made good on its promise to make BitPay pointless. Square Crypto has noticed and gave the team a $100,000 grant to continue development further.
Square has also pledged grant money to cryptographic settlement solutions company Transparent Financial Systems.
In November of 2020, Square’s stock soared as their Q3 financials reported that they had beat investor expectations by a long shot. A huge reason for that performance was that 80% of Cash Apps revenue came from Bitcoin sales.
In May of 2020, Jack Dorsey announced that CashApp would begin to allow users to make recurring Bitcoin buys.
The advantage of a feature like this is it allows purchasers to practice an investment strategy known as Dollar Cost Averaging. Using this strategy, an investor can buy into Bitcoin at multiple prices, thereby removing the risk that he “goes all in” at a top.
In early August 2020, Square released its Cash App Q2 2020 financial report. In this report, it came to light that Square’s Bitcoin profit was $17 million on a record $875,000,000 in revenue. This makes Bitcoin one of the only profitable arms of Square at the moment, giving Bitcoin a bright future at square.
Unbelievable!— Kevin Rooke (@kerooke) August 4, 2020
Square did $875 million of Bitcoin revenue during Q2 2020.
That's almost 3x the volume of Q1 2020, and 25x more than Q1 2018 when Bitcoin buying went live on the Cash App.