6 Best Bitcoin & Crypto IRAs for October 2023: Which Wins?
This guide breaks down the most popular Bitcoin IRAs and Crypto IRAs of 2023 and shows you how to pick the best one for your goals and situation.
Want to stay ahead of the investment curve?
Consider a Bitcoin or crypto individual retirement account (IRA). The rising demand for self-directed, tax-advantaged IRAs has given way to many specialized companies helping investors add crypto assets to their retirement portfolios.
However, among all the options available, choosing the right IRA provider is crucial as it directly impacts your investment’s security, flexibility, and potential return.
In this article, you’ll explore companies that offer crypto IRAs, their main features, fees, security measures, and overall reputation. You’ll also get valuable insights and best practices to align your financial goals and preferences with the crypto IRA provider of your choice.
Let’s start by understanding the difference between Bitcoin-only IRAs and crypto IRAs. Getting the nuances right will enable you to make the most informed investment decision and select the right provider for your investment goals.
A crypto IRA is a type of individual retirement account that allows you to invest in altcoins (non-Bitcoin) as part of your retirement savings strategy. Altcoins refer to alternative cryptocurrencies that are not Bitcoin. These digital asset are often funded through presale token agreements and may not have clear legal definitions.
Bitcoin has been the best performing asset of the last 14 years. Altcoins are highly speculative and carry numerous unique risks. When investing in an alternative crypto IRA, understand that the development team typically retains a guaranteed token stake at launch, similar to how an initial public offering (IPO) operates in the traditional stock market.
Additionally, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been proactively investigating, filing lawsuits and regulating certain altcoin investments to protect investors and maintain the long-term viability of altcoins as investment assets.
** UPDATE: It was reported n July 31st, ahead of initiating legal proceedings against the exchange, the US Securities and Exchange Commission instructed Coinbase to halt trading in all cryptocurrencies except for Bitcoin. This move indicates the agency’s intention to exert regulatory jurisdiction over a broader section of the market.
According to Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, the SEC provided this recommendation before taking legal action against the company, which is listed on Nasdaq, for its failure to register as a broker.
As the regulatory landscape shifts, it’s wise for investors to consider safeguarding their holdings by moving them from Coinbase into secure cold storage. Converting altcoins to Bitcoin and opening an account with a Bitcoin-only company will likely prove to be a strategic move in light of these changes.
With these new developments in mind, here are the six best alternatives to Coinbase to diversify your exchange usage, spread the risks, and adapt to the evolving cryptocurrency landscape.
Bitcoin IRAs, on the other hand, focus solely on Bitcoin. Bitcoin IRA companies hold and manage Bitcoin investments as part of a traditional IRA, Roth or SEP IRA.
Bitcoin is a fully decentralized, legally recognized commodity with no central authority, issuer, or single point of failure. Unlike alternative cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin was launched without a pre-sale, and the core development team cannot directly control the direction of the protocol alone.
Here are the top 6 crypto IRAs shaping the retirement investment landscape in 2023.
1. Swan Bitcoin — Best overall and for Bitcoin-only IRA
2. iTrustCapital — Best for altcoin IRA investments
3. Unchained Capital — Best for secure and encrypted IRA investments
4. Alto IRA — Best for low investment minimums
5. Bitcoin IRA — Best for a Saver IRA
6. Coin IRA — Best for gold and silver IRA investments
Best overall and for Bitcoin-only IRA
Account minimum: No minimum balance requirements
Investment options: Bitcoin
Fees: 0.99% funded from IRA funds
Custody provider: BitGo Trust Company
Trustpilot rating: 4.6 out of 5
Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Swan Bitcoin has made buying and owning Bitcoin a breeze. The platform offers an easy and safe way to profit from Bitcoin as a long-term investment. Swan removes the complexity and confusion surrounding Bitcoin IRA investing and is accessible to a broader audience for low fees.
Unlike other crypto IRA providers on this list, Swan doesn’t offer Bitcoin Cash (BTC) or other Bitcoin hard fork investment products. It’s Bitcoin-only and helps you invest in self-managed IRAs.
With Swan, you’ll hold Bitcoin in a legal, regulated trust account maintained by a qualified custodian authorized to hold and manage assets on clients' behalf. Swan’s expert custodians ensure asset protection, regulatory compliance, and independent oversight to prevent fraud and unauthorized fun usage.
Some Swan Private clients can also use Solo 401k, a Checkbook IRA LLC, or IRA financial trust options.
A SEP IRA is a retirement account designed for long-term savings. If you believe in the long-term potential of Bitcoin and are comfortable with its volatility, holding it in a tax-advantaged retirement account like a SEP IRA could allow you to benefit from any future appreciation while deferring taxes on gains until withdrawal.
Setting up a Bitcoin IRA with Swan is easy. Swan’s IRA onboarding can be completed in just one business day. The account opening and transfer process is fairly streamlined and straightforward, with no minimum balance requirements and low fees.
Swan IRA accounts incur a flat monthly administration fee of $20 until the balance is $100,000. Above $100,000, the monthly management fee is 0.02083% of the balance at the end of the month (0.25% annually).
Per IRS regulations, Swan’s fees for buy and sell transactions are 0.99% and funded from IRA funds. All management fees are calculated monthly outside of the IRA balance.
Swan Bitcoin holds Bitcoin in a custodial legal trust account with registered and regulated US-chartered trust companies on the beneficiary’s behalf. It’s one of the best providers allowing U.S. residents or taxpayers to hold Bitcoin in a self-directed, tax-advantaged way.
Swan Bitcoin is available in 46 states and most international countries. Although Swan products are available in international countries, Swan IRA won’t be available to international customers at launch.
For international clients and US residents in New York (N.Y.), Texas (TX), South Dakota (S.D.), or Hawaii (HI), please contact Swan’s advisors at email@example.com to learn more.
We advocate a long-time horizon investment planning strategy with a Bitcoin-only approach. Take control of your financial future and join the Bitcoin revolution today with Swan Bitcoin IRA.
Best for altcoin IRA investments
Account minimum: $1,000 at set up
Investment options: 36 cryptocurrencies
Fees: 1% with a $1,000 account minimum + $500 additional contribution minimum
Custody provider: Fortress Trust (Qualified custodian), Fireblocks, BitGo (Institutional cold wallet custody)
Trustpilot rating: 4.6 out of 5
To invest in alternative cryptocurrencies for your retirement savings, try iTrustCapital. It offers multiple IRA options, such as Traditional, Roth, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs.
While iTrustCapital has no setup or monthly fees and low transaction and trading fees set at 1%, you need an account minimum of $1,000 and an additional contribution minimum of $500. iTrustCapital doesn’t support credit card options for transactions.
Custodian: iTrustCapital FAQ page lists: iTrust’s clients' digital assets are secured with BitGo and Fireblocks. The platform uses Signature Bank, an FDIC-insured bank, to deposit its customers' USD,
Their platform still provides access to seven alternative cryptocurrencies considered securities by the recent SEC lawsuit mentioned above.
Best for secure and encrypted IRA investments
Account minimum: $6,000
Investment options: Bitcoin
Fees: .5% plus a $995 setup fee
Custody provider: Solera National Bank
Trustpilot rating: 3.2 out of 5
Unchained Capital is a leading financial services company offering Bitcoin-focused solutions, particularly an innovative Bitcoin-only IRA. Unchained Capital doesn’t offer Bitcoin Cash or other hard fork products as part of its IRA class. Utilizing a multi-signature cold storage vault protected by robust layers of encryption and authentication, Unchained ensures the highest level of protection for investor assets.
While Unchained Capital offers great IRA features, its pricing structure isn’t the best. The IRA product has a flat annual fee of $150 for account management and storage and a $995 setup fee. You need a minimum of $6,000 to get started, comparatively more than other crypto IRAs like Swan IRA, which require no setup fees, and investors can open IRA accounts with a lower minimum. Unchained also doesn’t provide any credit card purchase options.
Unchained Capital’s setup may take up to 5 business days, while Swan Bitcoin IRA offers a swift one-day account setup process.
Best for low investment minimums
Account minimum: $10 (We listed: No Investment Minimums)
Investment options: 200+ cryptocurrencies
Fees: Account Fees: 1% on Trade — No account monthly fee (We listed $10/month fee)
Custody provider: Alto Trust Co.
Trustpilot rating: 4.4 out of 5
Alto IRA is another popular crypto IRA offering options for Roth, SEP, Traditional Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency IRA. With a vast array of altcoin IRA options, industry-competitive rates and fees, and low minimum investment requirements, Alto IRA is a compelling choice for investors looking to embark on their crypto retirement journey.
Alto charges a 1% trade fee, a $50 account closure, and a $25 outbound wire transfer fee. To maintain an Alto IRA account, investors can choose between a $10/month or an annual $100 account fee (including two free months).
Alto customers rely on Coinbase to secure their digital assets and retirement fund accounts.
All cash held by Alto for the benefit of your IRA is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000. In addition, they maintain fidelity bonds and crime insurance to protect against breach of duty by personnel.
Best for a Saver IRA
Account minimum: $5,000
Investment options: 60+ cryptocurrencies
Fees: 2% plus 5.99% setup fee with a $100 minimum
Custody provider: BitGo Trust
Trustpilot rating: 2.7 out of 5
Bitcoin IRA introduced a self-directed cryptocurrency IRA in 2019. Besides a Bitcoin IRA and Bitcoin 401k, it offers a Bitcoin Roth IRA, various crypto IRAs, and a Saver IRA selection to suit different investment preferences.
If you’re looking to invest in a Saver IRA, Bitcoin IRA might be worth considering. However, it has some several downsides, most notably exorbitant fees, including a high initial deposit setup fee of 5.99% and other hidden fees. Its 2% trading fee is twice that of other crypto IRAs. Customers also need to pay a 0.08% monthly account fee.
Another key concern with Bitcoin IRA is its marketing practices. Although Bitcoin IRA markets itself as a Bitcoin IRA company, it promotes over 60 cryptocurrencies and alternative assets on its crypto IRA platform. This raises doubts about its integrity and genuine commitment to Bitcoin.
Best for silver and gold IRA investments
Account minimum: $5,000
Investment options: 20+ cryptocurrencies and gold and silver options
Fees: 1.25% + $5,000 account minimum
Custody provider: Free, Multi-Layered, Insured Crypto Storage by Fireblocks
Trustpilot rating: 3.7 out of 5
The platform now offers individual IRAs and more than 20 alternative crypto assets. Coin IRA allows investors to purchase fractional gold and silver accounts, providing further flexibility and investment options.
Coin IRA charges 1.25% on buy trades, a trading fee of 1% on sell orders, and 2.25% on assisted transactions—some of the lowest in the industry. Investors pay a $10 minimum trade amount but no monthly or storage fees.
Crypto IRAs offer tax benefits, investment flexibility, and the potential for compound growth. They complement other retirement savings like 401(k)s or pensions and are popular, low-risk investments for several reasons.
Diversification: Achieve a well-rounded investment portfolio by allocating funds across diverse assets such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
Loss Control: Minimize the risk of substantial losses ensuring that potential gains in one area offset potential losses in another.
Regulatory Protection: IRAs are subject to government regulations, providing investors with a layer of security. These regulations maintain the integrity and fairness of the retirement savings system.
Professional Expertise: Entrust your IRA investments to experienced financial professionals to make informed investment decisions and effectively manage risks.
Long-term Investment Horizon: IRAs facilitate long-term savings, typically requiring a minimum holding period of several years. This helps investors minimize the impact of short-term market volatility on their retirement savings.
Tax Benefits: Crypto IRAs offer distinct tax benefits that reduce the overall risk of financial loss. Traditional IRAs provide tax-deferred growth, allowing investments to grow without immediate tax obligations. Roth IRAs permit tax-free withdrawals during retirement, offering valuable protection against future tax uncertainties.
First-time Bitcoin investors often decide to put their money in proxy-Bitcoin investments like Grayscale (GBTC) shares, Marathon Holdings, and RIOT Blockchain mining stock, or publicly traded stocks like Microstrategy (MSTR), Coinbase (COIN), Tesla (TSLA), and Square (S.Q.).
While these are great starting points for many, buying Bitcoin and owning the private keys is the best way to invest in the crypto network. Investing in a Bitcoin-only IRA like Swan gives you peace of mind that your investment is securely stored and managed. Swan’s Bitcoin-only IRA diversifies your retirement portfolio with an exclusive focus on Bitcoin.
While some have characterized Bitcoin as a Ponzi scheme, if you spend enough time studying the properties of the network, you’ll know why Bitcoin is not a Ponzi but other cryptocurrencies and alternative assets are.
Consider the following features to integrate cryptocurrencies into your retirement plan for a safe, reliable, and efficient crypto IRA experience.
Robust Security: Given the vulnerability of digital assets to hacking and theft, you should choose a crypto IRA provider that prioritizes strict security measures.
Transparent and Reasonable Fees: Carefully review and compare the fees charged by different custodians and providers. Watch out for hidden or excessive fees that can eat away your returns over time.
Custodian Reputation: Research the custodian’s reputation when entrusting your assets to a custodian. Ensure they have a trustworthy track record and are well-regarded within the industry.
Tax Implications: Familiarize yourself with the tax implications before making investment decisions. For example, gains from Bitcoin investments held within an IRA may be subject to tax when you withdraw the funds. A tax advisor can help you navigate the investment landscape more effectively.
Regulations: Stay informed of new regulations or legal developments affecting your crypto IRA investment. Keeping current with the latest developments will help you make informed decisions and comply with relevant rules and regulations.
Crypto’s volatile nature presents both opportunities and risks, making it essential to know a few things and navigate this new investment landscape before starting.
Choose a reputable custodian that offers crypto IRA services.
Open an account by completing the necessary paperwork and meeting all the specific requirements.
Fund it by depositing funds in fiat currency or transferring existing cryptocurrencies from an external wallet.
Choose the investments you want from the options available from your custodian.
Actively monitor and manage your crypto IRA to optimize your returns over time.
The fees associated with crypto IRA trading can vary depending on the custodian and the specific services offered. Common fees include account setup fees, transaction fees for buying, selling, or transferring cryptocurrencies within the IRA account, and annual maintenance fees for ongoing account administration. Carefully review the fee structure of your chosen custodian to understand the costs associated with trading and storing cryptocurrencies within your crypto IRA.
Whether a crypto IRA is tax-free depends on your jurisdiction’s specific tax rules. In some cases, contributions to a crypto IRA may be tax deductible, similar to traditional IRAs. However, the tax treatment of income and withdrawals from a crypto IRA may vary. Consult a tax or financial advisor familiar with your country’s tax laws to understand a crypto IRA’s tax implications.
The security of a crypto IRA depends on the custodian’s security measures and your own practices. Reputable custodians use advanced security protocols like secure storage, encryption, and multi-factor authentication to protect your crypto assets. Some custodians also offer insurance to protect against losses.
Even very popular exchanges like Coinbase may not be as safe upon further examination.
Coinbase has halted new user sign-ups for its exchange in India while affirming its commitment to the country. This decision follows recent emails to some Indian customers stating that exchange operations would cease after September 25, 2023, affecting only those who didn’t meet updated standards.
“Please note that you will be able to access Coinbase.com or Coinbase app until September 25, 2023, and should withdraw funds held in your account by such date.”
Coinbase has faced challenges with local authorities since its launch in India over a year ago, citing informal pressure from the Reserve Bank of India as a reason for halting trading services. Indian authorities have maintained a cautious stance on cryptocurrencies, emphasizing the need for international cooperation in regulating digital assets.
Remember that cryptocurrencies are inherently volatile and subject to hacking or other risks. It’s crucial to choose a trustworthy custodian, employ suitable security measures like strong passwords and two-factor authentication, and stay informed about potential risks in the crypto space to securely invest in a crypto IRA.
A SEP IRA, or Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Account, is a type of retirement savings account that allows small business owners and self-employed individuals to contribute to their own retirement savings and provide retirement benefits to their employees. It’s a tax-advantaged retirement plan that offers contributions from both the employer and the employee, similar to a traditional IRA.
Here’s how a SEP IRA typically works:
Employee Eligibility: Employees must meet certain criteria to be eligible for participation. Typically, employees must be at least 21 years old, have worked for the employer in at least three of the last five years, and have received at least $600 in compensation for the year.
Employer Contribution Limit: As the employer, you can contribute up to 25% of each eligible employee’s compensation, up to a maximum annual limit. The maximum limit changes annually based on IRS guidelines. The maximum employer contribution limit was $66,000 for the tax year 2023.
Tax Benefits: Contributions made by the employer to a SEP IRA are tax-deductible as a business expense. The contributions grow tax-deferred until withdrawn in retirement; at this point, they are subject to ordinary income tax rates. Early withdrawals before age 59½ may also be subject to a penalty.
Distribution Rules: Similar to traditional IRAs, distributions from a SEP IRA are required to begin by April 1 of the year following the year the account holder reaches age 72 (age 70½ if you reached 70½ before January 1, 2020). These distributions are called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) and are subject to income tax.
Uniform Contribution Percentage: If you choose to contribute for yourself, the same percentage of compensation you contribute for eligible employees must be contributed for yourself as the business owner.
Deadline for Contributions: For a SEP IRA, contributions must be made by the due date (including extensions) of your business’s tax return for the year. This provides flexibility to adjust contributions based on your business’s financial situation for that year.
Investing in the future of finance is easy with Swan Bitcoin. Our platform offers complete control over your investment portfolio and tax benefits to ensure a secure financial future for you and your loved ones. Our team of Bitcoin experts makes the process smooth.
Take control of your financial future with a Swan Bitcoin IRA. Learn more about our IRA product and speak with a Swan today.
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