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Best 5 Bitcoin & Crypto IRAs for 2024: Which Wins?

Bitcoin IRAs have exploded in popularity. This guide breaks down the most popular Bitcoin IRAs and crypto IRAs in 2024 and will help you pick the best one for your goals and situation.

Drew
Drew
Mar 16, 2024March 16, 202414 min read14 minutes read

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 Bitcoin and crypto IRAs has given way to many specialized companies helping investors add Bitcoin and crypto assets to their retirement portfolios.

In this article, we’ll explore the best 6 companies that offer Bitcoin and crypto IRAs, their main features, fees, security measures, and overall reputation in 2024.

You’ll also get valuable insights and best practices to align your financial goals and preferences with the Bitcoin or crypto IRA provider and product that best aligns with your financial goals.

Crypto IRA vs. Bitcoin IRA

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 — any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. These digital asset are often funded through presale token agreements and usually don’t have clear legal definitions.

Altcoins are highly speculative and carry numerous unique risks!

When investing in any crypto IRA product, 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.


1. Swan Bitcoin

Best Overall and for Bitcoin-only IRA

Account Minimum: No minimum balance requirements
Investment Options: Bitcoin-only
Fees: 0.99% funded from IRA funds
Custody Provider: BitGo Trust Company
Trustpilot Rating: 4.5/5 from 1,018 reviews
Apple App Store: 4.8/5 from 965 reviews
Google Play Store: 4.7/5 from 415 reviews, +50,000 downloads

Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Swan Bitcoin has made buying and owning Bitcoin a breeze. Swan 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.

Bitcoin IRA options

Swan is Bitcoin-only. Unlike the other crypto IRA providers on this list, Swan DOES NOT offer any altcoin crypto IRAs, Bitcoin Cash or other Bitcoin hard fork investment products.

Swan Bitcoin IRAs are held in a legal, regulated trust account maintained by a qualified custodian authorized to manage assets on clients' behalf.

Custody provider

Swan Bitcoin holds Bitcoin in a custodial legal trust account with registered and regulated U.S.-chartered trust BitGo. 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 all 50 U.S. states and most international countries.

For international clients, please contact Swan’s advisors at ira@swanbitcoin.com to learn more.

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.

Pricing and fees

Setting up a Bitcoin IRA with Swan is easy. The IRA onboarding can be completed in just one business day. The account opening and transfer process is very streamlined and straightforward, with no minimum balance requirements and low fees.

Swan IRA Fee Overview

** 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.

Recent developments

Swan recently launched Swan Vault, a seamless self-custody solution:

  • Best-in-class user experience for secure self-custody.

  • Secure key backup to minimize the risk of loss.

  • Concierge onboarding available.

  • Inheritance planning for Swan Private clients.

  • Built on Bitcoin Core and Specter, a fully open-source stack.

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.


2. Unchained Capital

Best for Secure and Encrypted IRA Investments

Account Minimum: $6,000
Investment Options: Bitcoin-only
Fees: 0.5%, plus a $995 setup fee
Custody Provider: Solera National Bank
Trustpilot Rating: 3.2/5 from 2 reviews
Apple App Store: None
Google Play Store: None

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.

  • Utilizes a multi-signature cold storage vault option.

  • Employs a "collaborative custody" approach.

    • This leverages a fundamental feature of Bitcoin technology that enables multiple parties to jointly oversee private keys and distribute control over Bitcoin holdings among themselves, Unchained Capital, or other financial institutions.

Pricing and fees

Unchained Capital offers great IRA features, but its pricing structure isn’t the best.

Unchained IRA Fees

Unchained

  • Setup fee: $995 (includes the first-year account fee).

  • Annual account fee: $250.

  • Concierge onboarding is available optionally at $250, which offers personalized assistance with setting up the IRA multisig vault​.

  • Bitcoin purchases and sales: 0.50% fee.

  • No fees for personal vaults, including account fees, deposits, and withdrawals.

  • A $125 fee per cosignature for collaborative withdrawals, which is part of their enhanced security measures.

  • 0.50% fee for Bitcoin purchases and sales.

Unchained Capital’s setup may take up to 5 business days. Swan Bitcoin IRA offers a swift one-day account setup process.

Custody Provider

Unchained Capital recently announced it has raised $60 million in fresh funding to expand its financial self-custody collaborative services.


3. Alto Crypto IRA

Best for Low Investment Minimums

Account Minimum: $10
Investment Options: 200+ cryptocurrencies
Fees: 1% on all sized trade (No account monthly custody fees)
Custody Provider: Alto Trust Co.
Trustpilot Rating: 4.4/5 from 1,228 reviews
Apple App Store: 4.9/5 from 11 reviews
Google Play Store: 2.0/5 from 17 reviews, +1,000 downloads

Alto Crypto IRA is another popular crypto IRA offering options for Roth, SEP, traditional Bitcoin and crypto IRAs.

Pricing and fees

  • 1% trade fee.

  • $50 account closure fee.

  • $25 outbound wire transfer fee

  • Investors choose between a $10/month or an annual $100 account fee (including two free months).

Alto Crypto customers rely on Coinbase to secure their digital assets and retirement fund accounts. All cash held by Alto Crypto for the benefit of your IRA is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000.

Recently, the SEC filed lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase. In the suit, the SEC names at least (67) alternative cryptocurrencies it believes are unregistered securities—many of these tokens are included in Alto’s Crypto IRA products.

Check out our in-depth Alto Crypto IRA review here.


4. BitcoinIRA

Best for a Saver IRA

Account Mminimum: $3,000
Investment Options: +60 cryptocurrencies
Fees: 2% plus 5.99% setup fee + 0.08% monthly fee with a $100 minimum
Custody Provider: BitGo Trust
Trustpilot Rating: 4.3/5 from 26 reviews
Apple App Store: 4.5/5 from 940 reviews
Google Play Store: 4.4/5 from 1,930 reviews, +100,000 downloads

BitcoinIRA introduced a self-directed cryptocurrency IRA in 2019. Besides a BitcoinIRA and Bitcoin 401k, it offers a Roth Bitcoin IRA, various crypto IRAs, and a Saver IRA selection to suit different investment preferences. It also offers IRA rollovers for Roth, SEP, Employer Plan 401(k)s and new or existing Traditional IRAs.

Pricing and fees

If you’re looking to invest in a Saver IRA, BitcoinIRA might be worth considering. However, it has some several downsides, most notably exorbitant fees, including:

  • High initial deposit setup fee of 5.99%.

  • Other hidden fees.

  • 2% trading fee is twice that of other crypto IRAs.

  • 0.08% monthly account fee.

Although BitcoinIRA markets itself as a “Bitcoin” IRA company, it promotes and platforms over 60 altcoins on its crypto IRA platform.

Recently, the SEC filed lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase. In the suit, the SEC names at least (67) alternative cryptocurrencies it believes are unregistered securities — many of these tokens are included in BitcoinIRA’s product.


5. Coin IRA

Best for Precious Metal IRA Investments 

Account Minimum: $20,000 self-directed IRA account, $3,500 non-IRA account
Investment Options: 16 cryptocurrencies, 3 precious metal options
Fees: One-time $50 setup fee, $80 annual maintenance fee, $100 storage fee.
Custody Provider: Fireblocks
Trustpilot Rating: 3.7/5 from 1 review
Apple App Store: None
Google Play Store: None

Coin IRA was founded in 2017 by Goldco, a well-known Gold IRA company. Its primary aim was to meet the increasing demand from valued customers who wanted to include Bitcoin and other crypto alternative assets in their retirement accounts. Coin IRA offers to transfer existing IRA funds or make a contribution. It can also rollover existing 401k, 457, 403(b), TSP, pension, and more. It offers 16 altcoin options. It also allows investors to purchase fractional precious metal accounts.

Pricing and fees

  • 1.25% on buy trades.

  • 1% on sell orders.

  • 2.25% on assisted transactions.

  • Investors pay a $10 minimum trade amount but no monthly or storage fees.

The SEC filed lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase. In the suit, the SEC names at least (67) alternative cryptocurrencies it believes are unregistered securities — many of these tokens are included in CoinIRA’s product.


Why invest in a Bitcoin or crypto IRA?

Bitcoin and 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. 

  • Unrealized 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
    Bitcoin and 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.

Why invest in a Bitcoin-only IRA > crypto IRA?

First-time Bitcoin investors often decide to put their money in proxy-Bitcoin investments like Grayscale (GBTC) or BITO 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 Bitcoin IRA gives you peace of mind that your investment is securely stored and managed.

Asset Class Total Returns

As the regulatory landscape shifts, it’s wise for investors to consider safeguarding their holdings by moving them from Coinbase into secure cold storage. Unlike alternative cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin was launched without a pre-sale, and the core development team cannot directly control the direction of the protocol alone. 

While some have characterized Bitcoin as a Ponzi scheme, if you spend enough time studying the properties of the network, you’ll come to understand why Bitcoin is not a Ponzi.

What to look for in a crypto IRA provider

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 Bitcoin or crypto IRA provider that prioritizes strict security measures.

  • Transparent and reasonable fees
    Carefully review and compare the crypto IRA 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 crypto IRA 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.

  • Regulations
    Stay informed of new regulations or legal developments affecting your crypto IRA investment.

How to invest in a crypto IRA

  • Choose a reputable custodian that offers crypto IRA services.

  • Open an account by completing the necessary paperwork and meeting all the specific requirements.

  • 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.

What are the fees for crypto IRA trading?

The fees associated with crypto IRA trading can vary depending on the custodian and the specific services offered. The most common fees include:

  • Account setup fees.

  • Transaction fees for buying, selling, or transferring within the crypto IRA account.

  • Annual maintenance fees for ongoing account administration.

Is a crypto IRA tax-free?

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.

Consult a tax or financial advisor familiar with your country’s tax laws to understand a crypto IRA’s tax implications.

Is a crypto IRA safe?

Reputable custodians use advanced security protocols like secure storage, encryption, and multi-factor authentication to protect your Bitcoin and crypto IRA assets.

Some custodians offer insurance to protect against losses. 

What about a SEP IRA instead of a Traditional or Roth?

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.

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 limits
    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 2024.

  • 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.


Invest with Swan Bitcoin

Take control of your financial future with a Swan Bitcoin IRA. Learn more about our IRA product and invest with Swan today.

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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