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.
Now, exchanges such as Coinbase guarantee FDIC insurance on all customers’ fiat deposits, and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has promoted his company’s Secure Asset Fund for Users.
These crypto-focused platforms offer users great trading tools and access to hundreds of altcoins, along with services such as futures, options, and margin trading.
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.
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 interests 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%.
We do not promote, endorse, or earn commissions from the trading of securities of any kind, including CFDs, however, eToro requires that we provide you with the following disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 62% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
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”
Looking forward, Dorsey sees real application for some of the concepts that bitcoin has brought to the fore - including in his own business. He recently announced plans to create a decentralized Twitter.
The project - known as Blue Sky - is still in its early stages, but Dorsey aims to address issues he sees with the current state of social media. Content moderation is just one click away from censorship, and the existing incentivization model “frequently lead[s] to attention being focused on content and conversation that sparks controversy and outrage, rather than conversation which informs and promotes health.”
The possibilities for bitcoin and the concepts that lend the protocol its genius are only beginning to be realized. As it continues to evolve and grow in adoption, bitcoin can count on at least one advocate in the upper echelons of Silicon Valley.
As Dorsey puts it: “Much work to be done, but the fundamentals are there.” He’s not waiting around to put the poetry of bitcoin into motion.