Can You Buy Cryptocurrency in Your Roth IRA?

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A Roth IRA is a retirement account where you can save and invest for the future with a tax advantage. Roth IRA contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, meaning contributions are not tax deductible, but qualified withdrawals in the future are tax-free. Depending on your age, income, and retirement plans, a Roth IRA may be essential for your retirement.

While it is technically possible to get exposure to cryptocurrency assets in a Roth IRA, its not really straightforward. Since cryptocurrency regulations are still evolving, a lot of brokerages do not allow for investing in cryptocurrencies directly through Roth IRAs. 

Here’s a look at how to buy cryptocurrency in your Roth IRA and several potential options to facilitate crypto investments in your retirement account.

Key Takeaways

  • You may not be able to buy cryptocurrency directly in most Roth IRAs
  • You can opt for self-directed IRA to purchase cryptocurrency in Roth IRA
  • Most brokerages allow cryptocurrency exposure through funds and crypto-related stocks
  • Cryptocurrency is risky and volatile so think before investing
  • Pay close attention to fees and available currencies

Can You Hold Crypto in a Roth IRA?

Certain investments are restricted in a Roth IRA, including direct purchase of property for personal use. While the restrictions do not specifically include cryptocurrencies, the IRS treats virtual currencies as property.

That lack of clarity makes holding Bitcoin, Ether, and other popular digital currencies in your Roth account a little different and trickier compared to buying a stock in the same account.

Most mainstream brokerage firms, such as Fidelity, Schwab, E*Trade and Vanguard, don’t offer options to buy cryptocurrency directly. That means you’ll have to be creative about investing in crypto or look for alternative providers that support cryptocurrency IRAs.

Investing in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may still be prohibited in Roth IRAs, since IRS rules do not allow Roth IRAs investments into collectibles.

Also, before moving forward, it’s important to understand the risks associated with digital currencies. While crypto coins and tokens can be fun and lucrative investments, the high levels of risk make them a poor choice for retirement accounts for many investors. Only buy cryptocurrency in your retirement account if you understand how they work and the risks involved.

How To Get Cryptocurrencies in Your Roth IRA

While most brokerages do not allow you to directly invest in cryptocurrencies, there are still ways you can get exposure to cryptocurrencies through your Roth IRA.

Self-Directed Roth IRAs

Self-directed Roth IRAs are retirement accounts that allow investors to invest into assets that they typically won’t be able to with a regular Roth IRA, including cryptocurrencies. Here’s a snapshot of several providers of cryptocurrency Roth IRA accounts:

  • iTrustCapital: iTrustCapital features cryptocurrency IRA accounts, including cryptocurrency Roth IRAs, with no monthly recurring fees. It supports 28 different cryptocurrencies and requires a 1% trading fee when buying and selling crypto.
  • Alto: Alto offers a Roth IRA connected to Coinbase, making a large number of currencies available. There’s a 1% trade fee but no other recurring charges for crypto-specific IRA accounts.
  • Rocket Dollar: Rocket Dollar supports a self-directed “checkbook control” Roth IRA. With this account, you can invest in anything you can buy with a checking account, excluding certain items not permitted by the IRS for retirement accounts. Accounts require a minimum $360 setup fee and $15 per month ongoing. They also enable you to use any cryptocurrency exchange or your own cryptocurrency wallet for your Roth IRA investments.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued warnings about self-directed IRAs, including those that offer cryptocurrencies. The SEC says risks for such accounts include lack of disclosure,  liquidity and fraud.

Buy Cryptocurrency-Related Stocks

Some companies traded on the stock market are involved in cryptocurrency mining or trading. Examples include Coinbase and Riot Blockchain. There may be other companies that hold cryptocurrency as an asset, facilitate cryptocurrency transactions, or engage in the cryptocurrency ecosystem in other ways. A lot of brokerages allow exposure to cryptocurrency assets in Roth IRAs through such stocks.

Buy Cryptocurrency Funds

When searching in your brokerage account, you may encounter a growing list of cryptocurrency and blockchain ETFs. There are other options called cryptocurrency coin trusts that are similar to ETFs. Examples include Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, Grayscale Ethereum Trust, Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Fund, and Osprey Bitcoin Trust. Note that these funds charge fees to purchase and hold cryptocurrency on your behalf, which you may be able to do on your own at a lower cost.

How You Can Buy Cryptocurrency With an IRA

Follow these steps to buy cryptocurrency with an IRA:

  1. Select the type of cryptocurrency investment you want in your Roth IRA: The type of cryptocurrency exposure you opt for, will determine where you could open your Roth IRA.
  2. Choose a cryptocurrency Roth IRA provider: Focus on fees and available cryptocurrencies when picking an account.
  3. Open and fund your account: Go through the steps to complete the Roth IRA account application, including submitting your Social Security number and contact details. Next, connect your bank account and transfer funds to your Roth IRA so you can enter a trade order when you’re ready.
  4. Research and buy your favorite cryptocurrencies: Finally, research which of the available investment options you believe make a good investment for retirement. Complete your account’s form to purchase crypto or crypto-related assets for your account.

Cryptocurrency in a Roth IRA: What To Watch Out For 

Cryptocurrency laws could change quickly after government action, such as when China recently outlawed cryptocurrency mining. While you can freely buy and sell most cryptocurrencies in the United States today, that could change in the future. In March 2022, President Joe Biden published an executive order relating to cryptocurrency, so its regulation is definitely on the government’s radar.

Because cryptocurrencies are still relatively new and carry more risk than most conventional IRA investments, you may want to consider keeping cryptocurrency out of your retirement plans. However, if you believe in the long-term potential of cryptocurrency, several providers are standing by to facilitate your crypto Roth IRA investments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the best cryptocurrency Roth IRA companies?

There are many self-directed IRA companies including iTrustCapital, Alto, Rocket Dollar, Bitcoin IRA, and BitIRA, that offer crypto Roth IRAs. Before signing up and investing, it’s important to review fees, available cryptocurrencies, and the provider’s security practices. 

How do I know which cryptocurrency to buy?

The cryptocurrency markets currently feature more than 9,670 virtual currencies. One way to gauge an investment would be by market capitalization. As each offers different features, risks, and opportunities, it’s essential to research a currency’s risks and potential before investing. 

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