The Beginners Guide to Buying Bitcoin using the Square Cash App

Setup a Cash App account and start buying Bitcoin today!

This is the exhaustive guide for buying Bitcoin using the Square Cash app. We will go over each step and what you’ll need to do. Note, this has a know your customer (KYC) process that gets pretty involved, so be ready for that. Also, if you’re new to Bitcoin, it’s advisable that you should transfer your Bitcoin to a hardware wallet, such as a Ledger Nano X, or some other non custodial wallet. You can learn more about that with a quick google search, but this tutorial is just to get you started with buying Bitcoin so let’s get started!

(This was written as of 9/15/2019, Use this app at your own risk!)

Step 1: Download Square Cash app from App Store or Play Store

For this step, be sure you’re downloading the correct app, as of now it looks like:

Cash app iOS

Step 2: Provide Your Phone Number or email Address

Step 3: Verify The Code sent to your phone number or emial

Step 4: Add Bank Information Using Debit Card

Step 5: Enter first and last name

Step 6: Create Cashtag $

Step 7: On the welcome screen, click the icon on the top left

Step 8: (optional) Invite Friends to use Cash app

Step 9: On the Cash App accounts screen click on the BTC Bitcoin icon

(Optional) To earn $5 you can use my referral code SCLSXPK after clicking on the upper left icon, on the account screen scroll down to Referral Code and enter SCLSXPK 

Step 10: At the Cash App Bitcoin account screen click on ‘Buy’

Step 11: (optional) add Face ID

Step 12: Verify first and last name

Step 13: Add your date of birth

Step 14: add the last 4 of your SSN

Step 15: Scan your ID

Step 16: You’ll need to scan both sides of your Drivers License

Step 17: Authorize the bank you’d like to buy Bitcoin with

Step 18: Back at the Bitcoin screen, enter the amount of BTC you’d like

Step 19: Verify ID (follow prompts)

Step 20: You’ll receive a verification Text

Step 21: Verify amount and click Confirm

Step 22: You’ll see the ‘You purchased’ prompt

Step 23: Enable Bitcoin Withdraws for Cash App

Step 24: More KYC for withdraws (only need to do this once)

Step 25: Select ‘reason’ you use Bitcoin (doesn’t matter)

Step 26: Enter main source of income

Step 27: Select employment status

Step 28: Enter job title

Step 29: Enter name of employer

Step 30: Take a selfie

Step 31: You should receive this prompt

Step 32: Once Cash App verifies you, you’re able to withdraw Bitcoin!

Step 33: Go back to your Bitcoin Wallet in the Cash App

Step 34: If you choose to withdraw, you can do so now

Step 35: After selecting withdraw amount,you can send to address by scanning QR code, or copy/paste the destination address

That’s it, You can now use the Cash App to Buy/Sell Bitcoin!

Learn more about The Distillery

The Significance of Bitcoin, Part 2: Proof of Work & Immutability

What Makes Proof of Work Important?

It’s set in stone. The idiomatic expression ‘set in stone’ or ‘written in stone’ have come to signify permanence, unchangeable, absoluteness, and immutability. The best way to conceptualize Proof of Work is to look at examples from the ancient world. The most recognizable records of human history that come to mind are often massive stone architectures such as the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, the Aztec Temples at Teotihuacán, and so forth. These structures embody immutability, these structures are Proof of Work. They required massive amounts of man hours, labor, design, and engineering to complete.

These monuments go beyond great structures, they’re also systems of record. It’s no surprise they’re considered important historical artifacts. They signify the greatness of their respective cultures, and often within they contain the cultural history, etched in hieroglyphics, characters, sculptures, and depictions, carved into the edifice. Immutability of this record comes from the fact it would be nearly impossible to re-create or rewrite the history without massive proof of work or evidence of tampering.

Proof of Work in the Digital Age

So, if few things in human existence can truly be considered ‘immutable’ how does this extend to the modern era? In Bitcoin’s case, how do you create an immutable, decentralized, open, borderless, neutral system of money and economic model?

Bitcoin indeed solves this. The Bitcoin blockchain, the immutable system of record, cryptographically secured, backed by a massive distributed network of computation is a digital monument of immutability. Let’s have a quick look into how this works.

Securing the Bitcoin Network

At the heart of Bitcoin’s Proof of Work is the SHA-256 cryptographic hash function. This standard encryption method is what the miners of the Bitcoin network use to compete with each other to construct the next block in the chain by finding taking the ‘header’ of the current block, and finding the ‘nonce’ a random number that when found by a miner, produces a unique deterministic fingerprint of the next block, and the only way to do this is brute forcing SHA-256 calculations using massive computation.

To get an idea of how competitive bitcoin mining has become, there exists across the globe, massive warehouses, full of ranks and rows of specialized mining computers that do nothing but perform SHA-256 as quickly and as efficiently as possible using special ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) chips.

BTC mining
Bitcoin Mining Warehouse – Source

Transactions & Mining on Bitcoin

When a Bitcoin transaction occurs, as in moving any amount form one address to another address, regardless of who controls it, the following process as seen below in Fig. 1 occurs. First, the sender authorizes the transaction, and broadcasts it to the bitcoin network consisting of mining nodes and full nodes. Mining nodes are also full nodes, but full nodes are not always mining nodes. These transactions get added to the memory pool (mempool) and await validation from nodes. The miners then add the transaction to the candidate block they are constructing and if they find the nonce of the candidate block they create the cadidate block (with or without transactions) and broadcast to the other nodes on the network. All the other nodes confirm the transaction to verify that the consensus rules have been followed and the candidate block gets added to the blockchain.

Fig.1 Bitcoin Mining Process – Source

But, this fully doesn’t explain the security of the Bitcoin network. If miners are the validators of the transactions, then anyone owning enough miners could potentially subvert the Blockchain, also known as a 51% attack. Intuitively, Bitcoin’s Proof of Work algorithm prevents this. It is algorithmically designed so that it takes the miners, on average, 10 minutes to ‘mine’ a single block.

The massive compute power and randomness required to obtain the nonce prevents having rogue miners fully control the Bitcoin blockchain. The nonce difficulty is dynamically adjusted so that approximately every two weeks, the network checks how fast the miners have worked. If they’ve mined blocks faster (or slower) than expected, the network then automatically modifies the difficulty of the Proof of Work and increases/decreases it to keep the 10 minute block time.

Cutthroat Competition Keeps Bitcoin Secure

Due to the competitiveness of proof of work mining, if a miner finds a nonce for a block it may very well be that another miner has also found the nonce at the same time. During this ‘fickle’ time, as multiple mined blocks propagate throughout the network, only one will survive, the block with the longest chain. Furthermore as a safeguard preventing miners from quickly dumping its newly minted bitcoin before determining the longest chain, the algorithm dictates that the miner cannot spend it’s Bitcoin reward for 100 blocks, and as Andreas Antonopoulos explains:

When you earn a reward check for mining a block, you can’t spend that for 100 blocks. Why? Because for one block, history is fickle, right. After 100 blocks, if your transaction is still in the chain, it is history, right. Think about the Bitcoin blockchain as geological strata. You’re drilling a core sample in the ice in Antarctica, the top ten centimeters are slush, they come, they go, they melt, the wind blows, stuff around, you can’t tell anything. You go three meters down, you’re looking at 100 years of history and that layer hasn’t moved in 100 years. You go 300 meters down and you’re looking at the Cretaceous era and that millimeter thin layer hasn’t moved in millions of years at all. And the way that happens is because layers get deposited on top and compacted. And the deeper they are, the harder it is to change them. Bitcoins consensus algorithm creates a geological history if you like. At the top, the winds blowing and things are very fickle. You go 144 blocks down which is one-day old, the probability of a block changing after 144 confirmations is vanishingly small.

Consensus Algorithms, Blockchain Technology and Bitcoin UCL – by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Immutability as a Service

This game theoretical model is the heart of Bitcoin, this gives it it’s immutability, the effort involved to launch a 51% attack on the Bitcoin network is exceedingly difficult, and due to the cumulative mining effect, the network gets stronger with every block. Without proof of work it is impossible to modify or change data that is embedded in the Bitcoin network.

An open, global, neutral, immutable, censorship resistant, store of value is a killer application. Asset forfeiture, unlawful seizure, This goes beyond individual stores of value. Where it really gets interesting is that Bitcoin enables the ability of nation states to avoid financial and economic sanctions. This is a game changer. Powerful nations can no longer use sanctions as a weapon.

Governments will try (and fail) to Sanction Bitcoin Addresses


More than anything, the above effort was more of a symbolic gesture, to deter the use of cryptocurrency. Since state actors only can use legislation to try to stop the use, and not actually destroy Bitcoin. Without valid Proof of Work, there really is no way to stop Bitcoin, and even then, Bitcoin is more than resilient to attack, due to it’s Anti-Fragile properties. We will discuss this in an upcoming blog, so stay tuned!

Additional Information on Proof of Work

For an excellent explanation of how mining works see Chapter 6 of this guide .

The Significance of Bitcoin, Part 1: Stealing Fire from the Gods

94,504 bitcoin were moved today in a transaction. That’s $1,000,000,000 transfered[sic] for a $700 fee. No government, bank or third party had to verify the transaction, nor could they have stopped it if they wanted to. The true power of bitcoin. 🔥


Think about that for a second. In an age of financial surveillance, regulations, KYC, global trade wars, negative interest rates, and speculative bubbles, a massive and more importantly, unstoppable move of capital was conducted peer-to-peer with no intermediary, no government, no bank, and we really don’t know who or what conducted the transaction. This is the age of digital currency, this is the future of finance, this is the significance of Bitcoin.

You can view the bespoke transaction here.

In this series, we take a look at the technological significance of the Bitcoin protocol. Invented in 2008 and introduced in 2009 under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin has emerged from the fringes of the cypherpunk movement to become an unstoppable force in technology and finance.

Prometheus and the Gift of Fire

By Heinrich Füger – [1], Public Domain,

According to Greek Mythology, Prometheus took pity on man’s primitive and fragile state, and stole fire from Hephaestus’s workshop on Mt. Olympus and gifted it to mankind. Prometheus also taught man how to use this newfound technology, ushering great advances is science and metalworking.

Outraged by Prometheus’ theft, Zeus bestowed punishment by having Prometheus chained to a rock and having an eagle devour his liver, to perpetuate suffering, the liver regenerated nightly so the eagle would also return to torment Prometheus.

So how does Bitcoin fit into this? Andreas Antonopolous describes:

“Satoshi is Prometheus. He took money from the banks and gave it to man, and now there’s no taking that back. Once you have knowledge, knowledge is eternal.”

Andreas Antonopoulos – Melbourne Bitcoin Technology Center, 2016

Privacy and Disintermediation

Looking at the privacy model of Bitcoin and you’ll quickly notice efficiencies straight away. Bitcoin eliminates the need for Trusted Third Parties, and Counterparties.

Bitcoin Privacy Model “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, Satoshi Nakamoto

Rethinking the Concepts of Money

On its surface, Bitcoin appears to have many of the attributes of traditional currencies and stores of value with the obvious advantage that it has no ‘physical form’ and thus no need for storage. Digging further, you’ll notice it’s much more than this.

From a very high level, all Bitcoins are ‘stored’ in virtual addresses only accessible via private/public key keypairs. Software known as ‘wallets’ serve as the user interface for transferring value from address to address. New Bitcoins are created using a Proof of Work process called ‘mining’ where computers try to solve mathematical equations to earn whats called a ‘block reward’ where every 10 minutes new Bitcoins are created on an algorithmic schedule. These newly minted bitcoins are either held by the miner, traded for goods or services, or sold on a exchange for cash.

Now if you’re new to Bitcoin, this may seem like a lot of jargon. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it right away! The important part of this is that anyone, anywhere in the world at any time can without trust, personal identification, credit worthiness, conduct commerce or send value for any reason, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, or even sentience (addresses can belong to software programs!).

Bitcoin Clearing & Settlements

One of the most important features of Bitcoin is the manner in which it eliminates certain counterparty risks associated with monetary exchange. Bitcoin transactions are cleared in near real time on a global basis, as they are made. Until now, this was impossible with the current financial infrastructure. To do this with traditional financial instruments, the only true way to really do this is to physically trade currency for goods and services. And no, PayPal and Venmo, and other such services don’t count, as they are not technically settled instantly, nor are they final!

With the introduction of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, you’re able to create a immutable financial arrangement on a peer-to-peer basis between any two entities, anywhere in the world. You are transferring value over the internet, peer-to-peer, in a trust-less fashion, where the transfer of coins from address to address are rearranged when the transaction is confirmed on the bitcoin ledger which is known commonly as “the blockchain”.