The ability to hold crypto inside your IRA finally went mainstream in 2021. Before this, the fees were astronomical. In fact, when I first looked into investing in a Bitcoin IRA (back in 2020), I was quoted a 12.5% front-end fee by one of the top-ranked companies operating in the space.
Today, there are many companies that make adding digital currency to your retirement portfolio as easy and as low-cost as investing in traditional assets like stocks and bonds.
What Is a Crypto IRA?
The IRS doesn’t recognize the term “crypto IRA.” So what we’re talking about when we use that term is a self-directed IRA in which the custodian of the account makes it easy and affordable to hold digital currency.
Self-directed IRAs have been around for decades, and they allow investors to hold a broader range of assets than stocks and bonds, such as physical real estate, precious metals and startups.
Most IRA providers do not provide access to cryptocurrencies, even if they offer a self-directed IRA option. Or if they do offer that access, it’s limited to publicly-traded assets like the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.
With a self-directed IRA provider specializing in crypto, you can manage your account similarly to how you would manage, say, a Coinbase account, trading the available crypto on your own, whenever and however you want.
The Best Crypto IRAs: Our Ranking Criteria
We prioritized crypto IRAs with low trading and account fees. In addition, our rankings take into account the number and variety of coins offered, as well as the platform’s overall user experience.
#1. Alto IRA
|Cryptocurrencies available:||Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Polkadot and 150 more.|
|Account types:||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA.|
When you open an Alto crypto IRA, Alto provides the account management features (such as IRS reporting) while Coinbase provides the crypto exchange and custodial services.
Alto’s partnership with Coinbase means you have access to the same wide selection of coins available on the Coinbase exchange (more than 150 at the time of publication).
Alto’s fee structure is one of the most straightforward among the crypto IRA providers on this list. The company doesn’t charge any maintenance fees, nor does it have a minimum investment requirement. Alto only charges a 1% cryptocurrency trading fee (which includes the Coinbase fee).
Note that one downside is that Alto’s crypto IRA can only hold crypto — not other assets, like real estate, mutual funds and stocks. While you can invest in alternative assets with the company, you would need to open a separate IRA account to do so and pay a minimum $10 per month fee.
Alto IRA Pros:
- Alto is a low-fee Bitcoin IRA company with no maintenance or custodial costs.
- All cryptocurrency trading and custodial services happen through Coinbase.
- The platform gives you access to 150+ cryptocurrencies.
- It has a user-friendly interface with a quick onboarding process.
Alto IRA Cons:
- Alto’s crypto IRA can’t hold any type of alternative investment asset other than digital currencies.
- The company is a newcomer to the industry.
To learn more, check out our Alto IRA review.
#2. Rocket Dollar
|Setup fee:||$360-$600, depending on the plan you select.|
|Maintenance fee:||$15-$30 per month, depending on the plan you select.|
|Trading fee:||Varies depending on where you choose to trade.|
|Cryptocurrencies available:||All cryptocurrencies supported.|
|Account types:||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, solo 401(k).|
Rocket Dollar is a self-directed retirement account provider for individual investors who want to diversify their portfolios with alternative assets.
Unlike most other self-directed IRA providers, Rocket Dollar doesn’t have predefined investment options. Instead, the firm sets up an LLC on your behalf so that you can invest in any asset that’s legally allowed within a retirement savings plan.
In other words, you can use your Rocket Dollar account to invest in cryptocurrencies, real estate and start-up companies (just to name a few alternative investment strategies).
If you wanted to use your Rocket Dollar account for crypto, you could invest your funds at an exchange of your choice. You can use any exchange, but that exchange must allow you to properly title the account to your Rocket Dollar IRA LLC.
This setup gives you nearly complete control, as you can buy coins that you can’t access with other cryptocurrency IRAs.
Rocket Dollar gives you a choice between two account plans: Silver and Gold. Silver accounts come with lower fees than Gold accounts, but you have to file your IRS Form 5500 on your own.
Due to the amount of independence that Rocket Dollar gives you in selecting your crypto asset allocation, it’s a good IRA company to consider for hands-on investors. At the same time, Rocket Dollar’s management fees are higher than many other providers, so it’s better-suited for those with large account balances.
Rocket Dollar Pros:
- Lets you set up an LLC so you can invest in nearly any alternative or digital asset.
- Supports independent crypto asset trading through the cryptocurrency exchanges of your choice.
- Its flat-rate annual fees are ideal for high-value accounts.
- Has a wide selection of retirement savings account types available.
Rocket Dollar Cons:
- Charges high fees that are cost-prohibitive for investors with lower account balances.
- Requires more hands-on work to manage your assets.
To learn more, read our Rocket Dollar Review.
Visit Rocket Dollar’s website.
|Account types:||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA.|
iTrustCapital is a self-directed IRA provider specializing in cryptocurrencies and precious metals.
iTrustCapital customers can set up traditional, Roth and SEP IRA accounts. iTrustCapital also has an IRA rollover function that lets you transfer crypto you currently hold within an IRA to minimize transfer time; they’re the only provider we identified that offers this feature.
As far as crypto trading goes, iTrustCapital supports more than 25 digital currencies, with custodial services provided by Coinbase. The platform’s transaction fees are competitive, as you’ll pay 1% on each trade.
Unlike most of the self-directed IRA companies on our list, there is a $1,000 minimum investment requirement. Additionally, iTrustCapital doesn’t support asset classes outside of crypto and precious metals.
iTrustCapital is best suited for crypto-focused investors willing to meet the minimum investment requirement in exchange for lower transaction fees. It’s also a worthwhile platform to consider if you’re looking to change crypto IRA providers and don’t want to sell, as you can transfer from another account through the rollover function.
- Does not charge account maintenance or custody fees.
- Features crypto custody provided by Coinbase, which secures assets with segregated cold storage and carries insurance up to $320 million.
- Offers the option to roll over a crypto IRA from another provider.
- Has competitive transaction fees for crypto trades.
- $1,000 account minimum investment requirement.
- Does not support stocks or other traditional assets, nor does it support alternative assets besides crypto and metals.
- A limited number of cryptocurrencies are available on the platform.
Visit the iTrustCapital website.
|Maintenance fee:||$100 per year.|
|Trading fee:||$1 + 0.50%|
|Cryptocurrencies available:||Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, US Dollar Coin.|
|Account types:||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA.|
TradeStation is an online brokerage that also offers crypto trading and retirement investing.
For crypto investors, TradeStation offers a self-directed IRA through which you can buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, US Dollar Coin and Litecoin.
Customers can choose between a traditional, Roth, SEP and SIMPLE IRA. There’s no account minimum to get started, and TradeStation has low trading fees of $1 + 0.50% per transaction.
TradeStation only gives you access to the five cryptocurrencies listed in the table above, which is significantly fewer than the other options on this list. However, these five are the major coins that most investors would be looking for, making it a good option for those who primarily want to buy and hold blue chip digital assets — like Bitcoin and Ethereum — for an extended period of time.
Another notable downside to TradeStation is that the company charges a $100 annual maintenance fee. TradeStation does make up for this higher maintenance fee, however, with a below average trading fee of 0.50%.
Combined with their best-in-class investment platform, this makes TradeStation viable for someone who wants to frequently trade the limited cryptocurrencies they offer.
- Charges low transaction fees for crypto trades.
- Supports the major blue chip digital assets, like Bitcoin and Etherum.
- Offers traditional, Roth, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs.
- Also offers standard IRA accounts for investing in traditional assets like stocks and bonds.
- Features a very limited selection of coins.
- Charges a $100 annual maintenance fee.
Learn more in our TradeStation review and visit TradeStation’s website to sign up.
#5. Choice by Kingdom Trust
|Maintenance fee:||(1) No annual fee plan = $0. (2) Cold storage plan = 1% annually. (3) Hold Your Keys plan = $500 the first year, then $245 annually thereafter.|
|Trading fee:||Up to 1.26%|
|Account types:||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA.|
Choice IRA is a self-directed individual retirement account custodian service from Kingdom Trust. It’s a low-fee platform specializing in crypto IRAs, but it also supports investments in traditional assets like stocks and ETFs.
With Choice IRA, you can open a traditional or Roth IRA that you can use to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through Kraken’s digital asset exchange. Retirement accounts at Choice can invest in 25 different coins, with low fees that max out at 1.26%.
Customers can select from one of three account plans: No Annual Fee, Cold Storage and Hold Your Keys. The main difference between these plans is where your Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are held.
- For No Annual Fee subscribers, your cryptocurrencies are loaned out to earn revenue for the company (this revenue isn’t shared with you but does provide you the ability to trade for free).
- Assets in Cold Storage retirement accounts are held securely by Fidelity Digital Assets.
- Hold Your Keys account holders can manage their own coins through a cold storage solution provided by Casa.
Choice is an attractive platform for those looking for a low-fee cryptocurrency IRA provider with different asset custody options.
Choice IRA Pros:
- Provides different custody options for the digital currencies in your cryptocurrency IRA, including self-custody.
- Competitive fee structure with low costs for account maintenance and trading.
- Cryptocurrency investing provided by Kraken.
- Choice retirement accounts can also invest in stocks and ETFs.
Choice IRA Cons:
- Choice IRA is a young company with a limited track record.
- Customer support is only available via chatbot.
- With the free account, your assets are loaned out to earn revenue for the company. No insurance is provided on these loans.
Read our Choice IRA Review.
Best Cryptocurrency IRA Company: FAQs
A crypto IRA can be a good idea, but only as part of a broader and well-diversified retirement portfolio. The benefit of a crypto IRA is that it lets you invest in this rapidly growing asset class. Cryptocurrencies are highly speculative and carry significant risk, but research from Yale has shown that a 1-6% allocation of crypto in your retirement portfolio can help increase returns while reducing overall risk.
No, you can’t transfer crypto directly into an IRA. According to the IRS, contributions (except for rollover contributions from a different crypto IRA) to an IRA must be made in cash. Since the IRS views cryptocurrencies as property (not cash), you can’t use them to directly fund a retirement account.
Coinbase doesn’t directly offer an IRA. But a crypto IRA account from Alto lets you trade crypto through Coinbase’s exchange, giving you access to 150+ coins and tokens.
Great article! Thanks! I’m wondering if the recent issues in the crypto space (insolvencies, bad lending, etc.) has led you to change the weights of your factors in these analyses? For example, if I’m considering Choice vs Unchained or iTrust, I’m now going to focus on who is doing the custody services for those companies (Casa, Solera, and Curv, respectively). I’m also going to dig more into the founders and company managers.
I feel that’s certainly a good strategy on your end.
While I never liked the “free” crypto option from Choice, it’s something I’d stay far away from with the recent events.
I have never heard of Unchained. Will check them out.
THanks for the reply! I agree about the free version dangers from Choice. I think I’ll sign up though just for the free sats in the Blinko game lol
There you go! ( :