How to Buy Cryptocurrency in Hawaii

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Despite the surge in popularity of cryptocurrency, regulators are still struggling to understand the emerging asset class. This has resulted in many people having limited options when it comes to the purchasing of cryptocurrency (more specifically, residents of Hawaii). Many of our readers have been asking us about how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii, so we thought we'd create this all-encompassing step-by-step guide to help guide you through the crypto world!


How to Buy Cryptocurrency in Hawaii (Quick Guide):

Step 1: Register for BlockFi

Step 2: Fund your account

Step 3: Buy your desired cryptocurrency


Why is it so Hard to Buy Cryptocurrency in Hawaii?

how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii

Before we get into discussing how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii, we first need to understand why this is a topic of discussion in the first place. It all traces back to February 2017, and one particular organization called the Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions or the DFI. They're more or less the state-based version of the SEC, which is responsible for regulating and licensing all financial activities and companies that operate within Hawaii.

Back then, they enforced a new law that dictated that cryptocurrency companies and services such as exchanges, need to hold a cash-on-hand equal to the value of cryptos that their customers hold. For example, let's take the current market rate of $35,000 for one Bitcoin. If a native Hawaiian holds one Bitcoin in a local (Hawaii-based crypto service), then that exchange or wallet needs to have $35,000 in their reserves in case anything goes wrong. You can see why there's a problem here.

Let's say that 10% of Hawaii's current 2021 population holds just one Bitcoin – roughly 150,000 people holding 150,000 BTC in total. Then cryptocurrency companies that offer some storage services like an exchange account or a wallet need to have a combined $5.25-billion (150,000 BTC x $35,000) in their reserves. Even for large platforms or companies, that amount is far too expensive and costly for them to justify operating in Hawaii. Even large players like Coinbase pulled out.


Where You Can Buy Cryptocurrency in Hawaii

However, Hawaii appears to have become far more welcoming towards cryptocurrencies in later years. In March 2020, the state announced a new “digital currency regulatory sandbox” initiative, which has allowed 12 cryptocurrency companies to offer services without having to abide by the aforementioned 2017 rules. These companies are:

  • BlockFi
  • Apex Crypto
  • Cloud Nalu
  • Coinme
  • Flexa
  • Gemini
  • Novi
  • River Financial
  • bitFlyer
  • ErisX
  • Robinhood Crypto (no longer a part of the program as of writing)

That said, a recent update seems to have excluded Robinhood. But still, that's 11 in total to choose from when you're ready to come back into the crypto market in Hawaii. Although it is a shame that those enthusiasts and investors in Hawaii missed out on the cheap prices and market exposure over the last few years, this is proof that things are getting better with crypto. Although cryptocurrencies were never banned there in the first place, this new “sandbox” should make things easier.


How To Buy Cryptocurrency In Hawaii? (Step-by-Step Guide)

It looks like Coinbase, and some of the major exchanges that we come to recognize like Binance or Kraken are still not offering their services in Hawaii. Nevertheless, there's that 11 that we can take a pick from if you're wondering how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii, which is quite a healthy selection. You can, naturally, choose which ones you'd prefer. But for our little demonstration of how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii, we'll be using BlockFi.

The reason for this is simple – add-on services. BlockFi is in itself a fully-fledged financial platform that offers more than simple cryptocurrency buying (which is why we're here for), selling, and trading. There are interest-bearing accounts where you can earn upwards of 8% APY annually, more so than any regular fiat-based account in a regular bank would earn you, as well as being able to take up crypto-backed loans in a pinch, with rates as low as just 4.5% APR.

That's not to mention a VISA credit card, where you can spend your cryptocurrency held in a BlockFi account freely with the tens and millions of global merchants that support VISA, whether that's for buying groceries or going shopping. On top of that, you get cashback of 1.5% in Bitcoin for every purchase and a load of other perks and bonuses. Among these few extra services is where BlockFi's value really lies, as a true replacement of any traditional bank.


1. Register And Set Up An Account

The first step to getting started on BlockFi, and thus knowing how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii, is naturally trying to register and set up an account there. As with any online service, this process is very straightforward by following the on-screen prompts, from filling up your name, email address, phone number, a (strong) password, and an optional referral code. There'll be the usual verification process, where you'll need to click on a provided link sent to your email address and phone number.

Once that's done, there are a few more things than you need to do compared to a regular exchange. Being a regulated cryptocurrency services provider, BlockFi has to comply with additional rules around AML (anti-money laundering) and KYC (know your customer) compliance measures, which ordinary banks have to go through as well. This means you'll have to provide extra information like your address, social security number (SSN), and denote the source of your funds.

There are also some additional account setup processes that are optional, but we do recommend that you turn them on. The first is 2FA or 2-factor authentication. This will make sure that only you, through one-time codes created and sent to an authentication app on your phone, can authorize certain actions on your BlockFi account, such as withdrawing funds. While simple, it adds a very robust layer of security on top of your password and makes your account harder to compromise.


2. Funding Your BlockFi Account

The next step to learning how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii using BlockFi, we'll need to start funding your account in order to purchase said cryptos. Thankfully, the process of putting funds into your BlockFi account is plenty easy. There are three options for you to choose from – ACH transfer, wire transfer, or depositing cryptos from another account or wallet. The former two, of course, are best for those users who don't have spare cryptos and need some fiat currencies to start with.

The setting up process for ACH and wire transfers respectively are again, quite simple to go through. Just follow the on-screen instructions, starting from going to your “Profile Settings”, then selecting “Bank Accounts”, and later adding and linking your BlockFi account with a bank account of choice. When that's done, just click on the “Deposit” tab, and then select which currency you'd want to deposit with. In this case, let's pick “USD (as Stablecoin)” to fund your BlockFi account.

When it comes to choosing between ACH and wire transfer, the differences are quite simple. ACH is a bit slower to process and finalize the transfer, taking 3-5 days for funds to reach your account, with an arguably low daily deposit limit of just $1,000 but is cheaper in terms of fees. Wire transfers are more expensive when it comes to transfer fees, but are otherwise a lot faster, with funds taking just 1-2 days to reach your BlockFi account, and no maximum daily deposit limits.


3. Choosing Cryptocurrencies

The alternative to using fiat currencies like the dollar, you can of course continue our guide on how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii using cryptocurrencies. If you're familiar with cryptocurrency exchanges or wallets and how they work, this process will be second nature in helping you to fund your BlockFi account. Just click on that “Deposit” tab once again, and take your pick in which crypto token you'd like to deposit with. In this demo, let's say we choose “Bitcoin (BTC)”.

Once you've selected this, you're then shown a QR code and a BTC deposit address. Either scan that QR code, or manually copy+paste the Bitcoin address to deposit BTC into your BlockFi account. The only important thing to bear in mind here is info, and make sure you type in the correct address, word for word. Some tokens may require additional data for the deposit. Also, depending on which service you're withdrawing from, it might take some time for the withdrawal to be reviewed.

4. Buy Cryptocurrency On BlockFi

Once you already have some funds on your BlockFi account, the process of knowing how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii through BlockFi is very easy. Simply click on the “Trade” tab on your BlockFi dashboard, and then pick from which token you'd want to buy. Let's say you'd like to trade from your USD to BTC (Bitcoin). Once you're on the trading interface, click on “Receive”, and then “USD”. After that, click on “Pay With”, and then “BTC”.

This sets up the trading pair – you'd like to receive USD into the pair, and then exchange that into BTC. Once this is done, type in and enter the amount of USD you'd like to spend, and then click on the swap icon. This will automatically calculate the equivalent amount of BTC you will get based on that USD amount by concurrent market prices. Next, click on “Confirm Trade” to proceed, and have an overview of the trade details like the amount and pricing.

You can finalize this by clicking on “Submit Trade”, and voila, you now have cryptocurrencies in your BlockFi account, while you're sipping on some coconut water on a lovely Hawaiian beach by the sunset. Whether it's Bitcoin, Ether, or any other token, it's no longer a pain in the backside anymore if you'd like to learn how to buy cryptocurrency in Hawaii. Here's hoping it'll only get easier now once regulations around crypto tokens in Hawaii (and elsewhere in the US) mature a bit.

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How do you sell uphold?


Uphold no longer allowing purchase of certain coin in Hawaii. I’ve tried a few but can’t seem to get thru.


Great stuff but how would I get all the coins in HI. off Teeka’s list of 5coins to $5,000,000 ?
None of your suggestions won’t let me have all
these from one place or any. If you are me here bar leaving the State of HI. What do I’d do ? How can I get these coins, now.


help me please.hawaii resident as well?


For Hawaii residents, would your recommend Kraken or Uphold? If in a retirement account would buying GBTC be a viable option or still not recommended?


What other sites can I use to buy VET if I’m located in Hawaii

Melvin Takahashi

I am a señor citizen with no knowledge of cryptocurrency. I need a cryptocurrency tutor to help me set up an account and wallet with an exchange. Do you know anyone in Honolulu, HI who can help me?

Dr. Mel


Aloha Jesus,

Thank you for this wonderful article. I just downloaded uphold and got an account on local I have an account on kraken but it says you have to have experience? I’m a beginner. Can you please tell me how I buy Ripple (xrp) with local bitcoin. It looks like I can only buy and sell bitcoin?

Thank you kindly,


Thank you kindly for the informative and quick response! Best to you!

Travis Davis

Hi Jesus!

Months later I am still trying to figure this out. Idk what I was talking about in above comments. I re-read the article and now I am starting fresh with to transfer cash funds to buy XRP directly on the site. My cash transfer failed and now I am waiting to hear back from support? We will see how it all works out.
I also asked to join the FB group.


Travis Davis

Hi Jesus,

I was finally able to buy Bitcoin on Thanks! I went to Binance to buy XRP but Hawaii wasn’t on the list when I tried to Register. Just letting you know and also wondering if you have any other exchanges that might work in the state of Hawaii.



I tried to add funds to my Uphold platform as you directed but the transactions fail. I have tried from both a credit and debit card . Can you help me understand why?


Same thing happened to me. The problem may be your bank or card issuer declining the transaction due to Uphold not being a U.S. based company. Its a security precaution to protect you against potential fraud.

You will need to contact your bank and have them authorize the transaction then log back into Uphold and try again.

If the transaction is still failing then you will need to contact Uphold Support.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mike

Hi!, how can I buy Litecoins if I live in Hawaii?


Thank you!

Bradley E.

There is ATM at Ala Moana japan village walk for bitcoin. I purchased about 3.75 BTC there. Really convenient!:)

Last edited 1 year ago by Bradley E.

You bought $40,000 worth of bitcoin with USD in Japan ATM?

Kristy copp

Yes, I’ve been racking my brain for weeks and weeks, hours and hours…today from 8 am now it’s 1340… trying to make a simple bitcoin purchase…I live in hawaii

Jordon Gomez

How you doing sir??? Just had a quick question. If I purchased 100 xrp coins on Uphold, do I just leave it in there???

Uphold hidden fees rob you

Uphold is such a rip off with their bitcoin transfer charges now it’s like 20 bucks a transaction just because they greedy and charge a % of whatever bitcoin is at the time (57k currently)….. experts see bitcoin going to 400k-1m so once bitcoin gets to 100k area they gonna charge 50 bucks per transaction…. wake the hell up you greedy assholes…. and another thing lol don’t voice your concern to their “support group” because they will put your account on hold for how ever long they feel because really really that’s the only thing they can do other than that they have to ask their “specialist” on questions not of their minimum pay grade level


I am in Maui,HI. I tried to buy crypto on LocalBitcoins and this is what I got “×
Unfortunately we are not serving customers located in your current location.”
Any suggestion?
Thank you,

Matthew Spataro

Try using a VPN to switch your location to a different country (NordVPN works perfectly fine).


Thank you!




Uphold is no longer available in Hawaii!! I can’t figure out how to buy XRP, what do you suggest?


Aloha!!! Did you ever find out how to buy XRP in Hawai’i??


Aloha! Which trading platform supports dogecoin and other cryptos here in Hawaii?


Tried to create an account but it doesn’t give me the option of my state -Hawaii.


Aloha, I’m having a hard time investing (buying) Doge Coin on Kauai Hawaii. Krak demands so much.


You can buy it on Gemini.

Karen Block Russell

I live in Hawaii, and am so frustrated trying to buy both XRP, as well as Safemoon. So I registered for Uphold, but it would not allow me to use the state of Hawaii. So I said I lived in CA, as my exhusband, with whom I’m still friends, lives there. So although the registration was completed, it would not allow me to fund my account. I tried to use my credit card, but the billing address field on Uphold, would not allow me to change the default city in the drop down, from CA to HI. Someone else said to buy through Bitmart, but that didnt work either. Someone else said use Gemini, but that didn’t work either. I’m about ready to pull my hair out. SincevI habe a coinbase acvount from when I lived in CA, I tried to buy XRP there, but no go. This is a nightmare experience :((


I would like to purchase XRP and possibly XLM. what exchanges would allow me to do this today in Hawaii?

J Troples

Did you ever get a response?? I would also like to know.