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Alto Crypto IRA Review 2024: What +1.2k Trustpilot Reviews Tell Us

Alto Crypto IRA is a well-know self-directed Bitcoin and crypto IRA platform. Alto lets investors trade altcoins in their retirement account. But how does it stack against Bitcoin-only Swan IRA in June 2024?

Drew
Drew
Jun 1, 2024June 1, 202416 min read16 minutes read

In this comprehensive Alto Crypto IRA review, we will look closer at its features, fees, the pros and cons of investment, and a review of Alto Crypto’s Trustpilot reviews.

We will also compare the competitive benefits of Bitcoin-only options compared to broader crypto IRAs, providing you with the confidence to make informed investment decisions.

TL; DR: Below is a quick summary of the Alto Crypto IRA product

Alto Crypto IRA

Pros of Alto Crypto IRA

  • Low Entry Barrier: A low account minimum of just $10, making it accessible to a wide range of investors.

  • Wide Range of Options: Offers over 200 cryptocurrencies, catering to diverse investment preferences.

  • High User Ratings: Excellent ratings on Trustpilot and the Apple App Store reflect strong customer satisfaction.

  • FDIC Insurance: The FDIC insures cash held in accounts up to $250,000, providing an extra layer of security for fiat currency deposits.

Cons of Alto Crypto IRA

  • Mixed Reviews on Google Play: Lower ratings on the Google Play Store indicate user dissatisfaction, particularly with the app’s functionality on Android devices.

  • Legal Uncertainties: The SEC has recently sued major exchanges like Binance and Coinbase over cryptocurrencies included in Alto’s offerings, which might affect the stability or availability of these assets.

Fees

  • Trading Fee: 1% on all trades.

  • Account Fees: Options between $10 monthly or $100 annually, with two months free on the annual plan. Fee FAQ.

  • Additional Fees: $50 account closure fee, $25 for outbound wire transfers. Alto’s Fee Structure

Customer Insights from Trustpilot

  • Rating: 4.4 / 5 from 1,232 reviews Trustpilot

  • Positive Feedback: Users appreciate the low investment threshold, variety of cryptocurrency options, and the overall user experience. Scores well on the Apple App store — 4.7 / 5 from 13 ratings.

  • Negative Feedback: Some concerns about app functionality on Android devices are highlighted by lower ratings on Google Play.

Unique Solutions Offered by Alto Crypto IRA

  • Alto leverages partnerships with leading exchanges like Coinbase for asset security, combining a broad array of cryptocurrency choices with robust security measures to offer a comprehensive IRA product that includes traditional, Roth, and SEP IRA options.

Recent Developments

  • Faced with regulatory challenges as the SEC scrutinizes the crypto market, including some assets offered by Alto, which could have implications for investors. SEC Lawsuit Information

A Closer Look

Introduction to Alto Crypto

Established in 2018 and based in Nashville, Tennessee, Alto Crypto was one of the first self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA) products on the market.

The platform enables investors to leverage their tax-advantaged retirement funds to invest in various cryptocurrencies through Bitcoin IRA and crypto IRA products.

What is a Bitcoin IRA?

Unlike traditional IRAs that focus on stocks, bonds, and other conventional assets, Bitcoin IRAs and crypto IRAs allow individuals to diversify their retirement portfolios by investing in Bitcoin and other digital currencies. 

This diversification can potentially enhance portfolio growth through the dynamic and evolving landscape of digital assets.

Alto Crypto IRA Options

Alto Crypto offers a range of IRA choices to suit different investment needs:

  • Traditional IRAs: Invest before tax, pay taxes on withdrawals.

  • Roth IRAs: Invest after-tax income, enjoy tax-free withdrawals.

  • SEP IRAs: Designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners.

  • 401(k) Plans: Tailored for small business owners, offering robust retirement solutions.

Availability and Customer Base

Alto Crypto IRA serves nearly 30,000 customers across the United States, with the exception of residents in Hawaii. The platform’s inclusive approach makes it accessible to all eligible U.S.-based investors, fostering a broad and diverse investor base.

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Options

Investors on Alto Crypto can choose from over 200 cryptocurrencies, allowing for a wide range of investment options within their tax-advantaged retirement portfolios. For a detailed list of available cryptocurrencies, visit their official site at Alto Crypto’s Cryptocurrency Page.

Alto Crypto IRA’s Target Customer Base

Alto Crypto IRA specifically caters to a niche group of investors who are:

  • Risk Tolerant: Ideal for individuals who are comfortable with high-risk investments.

  • Fee-Conscious Yet Flexible: Suitable for those who understand and accept potentially higher fees associated with specialized investment opportunities.

  • Experienced with Self-Directed Accounts: Best for investors experienced in managing self-directed retirement accounts and navigating investments in unfamiliar or complex assets.

Key Advantages of Investing with Alto Crypto IRA

Alto Crypto IRA offers several compelling benefits for eligible investors:

  • Tax Advantages: Investors enjoy multiple tax-advantaged options such as Traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs, maximizing the potential tax benefits of retirement investments.

  • Diversification: Provides an opportunity to diversify retirement portfolios beyond traditional assets by including a variety of alternative cryptocurrencies.

  • 24/7 Trading Access: The platform allows investors to trade cryptocurrencies 24/7, taking advantage of market fluctuations whenever they occur.

  • User-Friendly Platform: Alto Crypto IRA’s user interface is easy to navigate, making it accessible to both experienced and novice investors.

Challenges Faced by Investors in Alto Crypto IRA

While Alto Crypto IRA has numerous benefits, there are several challenges and drawbacks to consider:

  • Market Volatility: The cryptocurrency market is known for its significant price fluctuations, which can result in substantial gains or losses.

  • Regulatory Uncertainty: The evolving regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies may impact Alto Crypto IRA’s operations and the variety of assets offered.

  • Limited Account Options: Currently, the platform does not support solo 401k or SIMPLE IRA setups, and some products are only available to accredited investors.

  • Lack of Educational Resources: Unlike Swan Bitcoin and other competitors, Alto Crypto IRA does not offer dedicated educational materials to help users understand and navigate the complexities of cryptocurrency investments.

Alto crypto IRA fees

Initial Setup and Annual Maintenance Fees

  1. Initial Setup Fee: Alto Crypto IRA requires a one-time setup fee of $250. This fee covers the cost of establishing your cryptocurrency IRA account. For more details, visit their pricing page.

  2. Annual Maintenance Fee: There is an annual maintenance charge of $360. This fee is for the ongoing administration and operation of your account throughout the year. More information can be found on their pricing page.

Transaction Fees

Alto Crypto IRA applies transaction fees when buying and selling cryptocurrencies. These fees vary depending on the specific cryptocurrency involved in the transaction. The variability of these fees reflects the different costs associated with trading diverse cryptocurrencies on the platform.

Outbound Wire Transfer Fees

  • Wire Transfer Fee: For every outbound wire transfer, Alto Crypto IRA charges a fee of $25. This fee is applicable whenever funds are transferred out of your IRA.

Understanding the fee structure is crucial for anyone considering Alto Crypto IRA for retirement savings. 

Fees include:

  • A $250 initial setup fee.

  • A $360 annual maintenance fee.

  • Variable transaction fees based on the cryptocurrency traded and a $25 fee for outbound wire transfers.

These fees are essential to planning your investment strategy with Alto Crypto IRA, ensuring that you are fully aware of the costs associated with managing and diversifying your retirement funds through cryptocurrencies.

Alto Crypto Starter Plan

Alto Crypto IRA’s Pro Plan

Alto Crypto IRA’s Pro Plan is designed for investors seeking expanded opportunities and more comprehensive access to cryptocurrency investments.

This plan not only includes everything from the Starter Plan but also offers additional investment options beyond the traditional partner network.

Key Features of the Pro Plan

  1. Extended Investment Options: With the Pro Plan, investors can access a wider array of investment opportunities, stepping outside Alto Crypto’s existing partnerships to explore a broader market.

  2. Inclusion of Starter Plan Benefits: All the benefits and features available in the Starter Plan are also included in the Pro Plan, ensuring that investors do not miss out on foundational investment opportunities.

Fee Structure of the Pro Plan

While Alto Crypto’s IRA generally boasts a competitive fee structure, highlighted by its no-custody fee policy, there are aspects that investors need to consider:

  • No Custody Fees: Alto Crypto stands out by not charging any custody fees, which can be a significant saving for investors.

  • Monthly/Annual Account Fees: Although starting costs are competitive, the Pro Plan involves monthly or annual fees that could accumulate significantly over time. These fees are essential to consider when budgeting for long-term investment growth.

  • Cost of the Pro Plan: The Pro Plan, offering broader investment opportunities, comes at a higher cost compared to the Starter Plan. Investors should weigh the benefits of expanded investment options against the increased fees.

Alto Crypto Pro Plan

Alto Crypto’s IRA fee structure appears competitive initially, especially with its no-custody fee policy. However, investors should carefully weigh the monthly or annual account fees, which can significantly increase over time.

The Pro Plan offers more investment options but comes at a higher cost.

Alto CryptoIRA Fees

Alto crypto IRA vs. Swan Bitcoin IRA 

Swan Bitcoin IRA stands out for its:

Trustpilot reviews

However, Alto Crypto IRA scores a dismal 1 out of 5 stars with the Better Business Bureau.

BBB Rating & Accreditation

Educational content comparison

Educational resources are essential for investors looking to navigate the complexities of cryptocurrency IRAs.

This comparison assesses the quality and quantity of educational content provided by Swan Bitcoin and Alto Crypto, two prominent platforms in the crypto IRA space.

Swan Bitcoin’s Educational Ecosystem

Swan Bitcoin excels in providing comprehensive educational resources for its users:

  • High-Quality Information: Swan Bitcoin’s ecosystem is rich with detailed, high-quality content to educate investors about the benefits and mechanics of investing in Bitcoin through an IRA.

  • Insightful Content from Industry Leaders: The platform offers insights from industry leaders, explaining why Bitcoin is considered the ultimate asset for retirement accounts. More information can be found on their detailed page, Why Bitcoin is the Ultimate Asset for Your IRA.

Research Materials

On April 24th, 2024 — Swan Mining released their first in-depth report on “The Current State of Bitcoin Mining“. 

It’s filled with insights, charts, and analysis that will provide useful information regardless of your experience.

The thirty-four-page report prepared by Swan Mining includes:

  • Bitcoin mining overview

  • The economics of Bitcoin mining

  • What’s happening with mining equipment makers

  • The latest developments in mining pools

  • How mining interacts with energy producers and enhances grid stability

  • … And, more!

Alto Crypto’s Educational Offerings

In contrast, Alto Crypto’s approach to educational content appears more limited:

  • Blog Activity: Despite maintaining a blog on Alto IRA’s Blog, the last post was published on December 22, 2022, indicating a significant lack of recent updates.

  • YouTube Channel: The Alto Crypto YouTube channel Invest with Alto has 138 subscribers and 32 uploads, with the latest content over a year old, indicating minimal activity and engagement.

Research Materials

Alto Crypto has published one substantial report titled “Alto’s 2022 Alternative Investing Report: How Millennials See Their Financial Future,” which can be accessed here.

However, this 17-page PDF is the sole research document listed, indicating a limited depth of research output.

Each provides some of the best insight and content from industry leaders about why Bitcoin is the ultimate asset for your IRA.

Alto Crypto does have a blog, but has not made a new post since December 22nd, 2022. They provide very little education on its website or social media accounts for its customer base.

Its YouTube channel only has 139 subscribers with 32 uploads. Their last upload happening over a year ago.

Alto Crypto’s research section is limited to only one 17-page PDF report titled Alto’s 2022 Alternative Investing Report: Alto IRA.com How Millennials See Their Financial Future.

Alto’s 2022 Alternative Investing Report

Social media presence

Swan’s YouTube channel has +109k subscribers and provides new uploads daily — with +1.8k uploads.

Alto Crypto’s Twitter page only has +4k followers, despite having an account since 2018. Although they tweet regularly — most of their posts only usually receive a small handful of likes with little to no engagement or re-tweets.

Swan has multiple Twitter handles.

All of them experience a much higher engagement rate than Alto Crypto and have a focused approach. The Swan Client Services account has 94.1k followers and the primary Swan account has more than 38.6k followers.

Compliance and risk focus

Swan prioritizes minimizing potential risks associated with investing in and holding Bitcoin in a legal trust in your name, expertly handling regulatory and compliance concerns concerning your IRA.

Tailored for Bitcoin

With Swan Bitcoin IRA, you embrace a Bitcoin-only strategy, avoiding exposure to volatile altcoin securities as seen with Alto Crypto. Alternative cryptocurrencies always carry significant regulatory and counterparty risks, exemplified by recent SEC actions.

No promotion of altcoins

Unlike Alto Crypto IRA and many other Bitcoin and crypto IRA providers, Swan does not promote alternative cryptocurrencies to encourage excessive trading activity and fees. While trading altcoins in your IRA tax-free is possible, it’s crucial to recognize that the primary beneficiary of such trading, in the long run, is likely the IRA provider.

Helpful support

The Swan Support team of Bitcoin experts is readily available, responsive, and enthusiastic about discussing everything related to Bitcoin.

What are the risks of Alto Crypto IRA?

Market comparsion

Alto Crypto IRA offers +200 alternative cryptocurrencies, presenting a diversification strategy that may seem appealing but carries inherent risks including:

  • Market volatility

  • Regulatory and legal challenges

  • Security and fraud vulnerabilities

  • Tax implications 

When considering your retirement, the primary objective should be preserving and growing your wealth over the long term.

Treating your retirement portfolio like a trading account, constantly chasing crypto market trends, is a recipe for disaster. 

Swan encourages customers to use a low-time preference mindset of recurring and smash buying the significant correction periods instead of trading. 

Important considerations when selecting an IRA provider

Bitcoin presents itself as a typical investment, with numerous advantages and promising growth potential.

Before making any investment, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and prioritize the protection of your savings while positioning yourself for long-term price appreciation in the secure asset that Bitcoin offers.

  • Mixing your Bitcoin portfolio with unregistered securities and altcoins is very risky.

  • It’s prudent to consider opting for a “Bitcoin-only” approach when choosing an IRA provider.

  • Make sure to have a clear understanding of the fees associated with the IRA and how they might impact your long-term retirement objectives.

Alto Crypto IRA FAQs — what to know before you invest

Who owns Alto Crypto IRA?

How does Alto Crypto IRA work?

The platform offers a self-directed IRA, enabling investors to integrate digital assets into their retirement portfolios. 

Can I invest my 401(k) in Bitcoin?

You have the option to initiate a new account with Alto Crypto IRA or transfer funds from an existing IRA or retirement account, like a 401(k), and allocate those funds to various cryptocurrencies.

What are some Alto Crypto IRA alternatives?

What are the investment limits for Alto Crypto IRA?

There are no maximum investment limits.

Is Alto Crypto IRA tax-exempt?

The funds and assets within your account remain tax-free as long as they stay within the IRA.

Recent developments

On November 21st, 2023 Alto Crypto announced an expanded partnership with Farmland LP. Farmland is one of the largest fund managers specializing in organic farmland. Farmland LP is making its Vital Farmland Fund III available on the Alto Marketplace, allowing accredited investors to invest in a real asset-managed farmland fund.

Advantages of option for a Bitcoin-only IRA platform vs. crypto IRA

Simplicity and focus

Bitcoin-only platforms provide a straightforward user experience, directing all their resources towards Bitcoin-related services. If your sole interest lies in investing in Bitcoin, a streamlined platform that avoids the complexities of managing multiple cryptocurrencies is the ideal choice for you.

Specialized expertise

Platforms like Swan Bitcoin possess in-depth knowledge of Bitcoin’s technology, market dynamics, and trends. Our specialized expertise allows for tailored advice, research, and support exclusively focused on Bitcoin investments.

Enhanced security

Bitcoin-only platforms prioritize and optimize security measures specifically designed for Bitcoin. This may include robust encryption, multi-signature wallets, cold storage solutions, and other security practices to safeguard Bitcoin holdings.

Access to specific Bitcoin features

These platforms grant access to unique features or services exclusive to Bitcoin. For instance, opportunities like Bitcoin lending, staking, or other specialized investment options are unavailable on broader platforms.

Lower fees

Bitcoin-only platforms often come with lower fees than broader platforms that support multiple cryptocurrencies.

By choosing a Bitcoin-only IRA platform, you can capitalize on the platform’s expertise and tailored services while focusing solely on your Bitcoin investments in a secure and cost-efficient manner to help you avoid the complex jargon and hidden fees of crypto IRAs.

Which is right for you?

Including unregistered securities and altcoins in your Bitcoin portfolio carries an exceedingly high risk.

Bitcoin-only approach when selecting a crypto IRA provider should be among your top priorities. To gain a deeper understanding of Swan Bitcoin IRA and its capacity to assist you in attaining your retirement aspirations while optimizing your savings.

Sign up for Swan today!


Swan is a leading Bitcoin financial services company with more than 120,000 clients and 170 employees, operating globally. Established in 2019, Swan helps individuals and institutions to understand and invest in Bitcoin. The Swan app simplifies Bitcoin purchases with instant and recurring buys. Swan IRA provides a tax-advantaged solution for saving Bitcoin in retirement accounts.

For HNWIs and businesses, Swan Private provides white-glove service for large purchases, treasury solutions, and employee Bitcoin benefits. With Swan Vault, clients can easily custody their own Bitcoin with peace of mind. Financial advisors trust Swan Advisor for client Bitcoin allocations, backed by world-class custody and educational content.

Swan Managed Mining provides clients with fully segregated and dedicated mining operations, catering to their unique requirements, opportunities, and strategic advantages. Swan prides itself on exceptional client service, making Bitcoin accessible to all. For more information, please visit swan.com.

For additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at ira@swanbitcoin.com.

Drew

Drew

Drew, a class of 2013 Bitcoiner, is a Research Analyst for Swan Bitcoin.

He has worked in institutional VC/PE, FinTech, and DLT consulting for over six years. He also brings over twelve years of experience working with national nonprofits and start-ups in education and software development in several leadership roles.

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