Reviews

Choice IRA Review (by Kingdom Trust): Pros, Cons, Fees and More

Choice Bitcoin IRA
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Choice IRA by Kingdom Trust has burst onto the crypto scene with a zero-fee, self-directed IRA. In this Choice IRA review, we’ll go over the basics of the account, explain the details of how it works, outline why Choice is able to offer such a low-cost option and much more.

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Choice IRA by Kingdom Trust stands out for its low fees for digital assets in the self-directed IRA space. The company has a limited track record, but has grown fast thanks to partnerships with top crypto influencers. Their free plan has no setup or monthly fees, and the maximum trading fee for digital assets over $100 is 1.49%. Any interest earned on your digital assets, which Choice keeps, offsets the cost of custody on their free plan. You can also invest in traditional assets like stocks and ETFs.

Pros:
  • A low-fee, self-directed IRA.
  • Invest in traditional assets and cryptocurrencies with a single account.
  • Offers a wide range of cryptos (not just Bitcoin).
Cons:
  • The company has a limited track record.
  • On the free plan, Choice earns interest on your holdings, which it keeps to offset its costs. Your funds, however, are not insured, which opens them up to the various risks within the crypto lending space.
  • The free plan does not have insurance.

7 Things to Know About Choice IRA Before Signing Up

  1. You can roll over an existing IRA or fund an IRA from scratch, keeping in mind that there are both income and contribution limits for IRA accounts. You cannot roll over existing crypto holdings without liquidating them to cash. 
  2. You can invest in both traditional and alternative asset classes with Choice IRA. For traditional assets, like stocks and ETFs, you’ll place trades through Interactive Brokers. Cryptocurrencies are traded through Kraken.
  3. Not every coin on Kraken is available. Kraken offers nearly 200 coins, but only 25 of those are currently offered through Choice.
  4. You cannot earn interest on your crypto. This is a feature that’s anticipated, but which has not yet been released.
  5. The no-annual-fee “In Motion” plan is not covered by Kingdom Trust insurance. This is a reason to go with one of the higher-priced plans, which incur a 1% annual fee for enhanced security. 
  6. If you’re on the free plan, Choice makes money by lending out your digital assets. CoinShares manages the funds for Choice. If you’re not comfortable with the risks associated with that practice, you have the option of holding your private keys.

Choice IRA: Company Overview

Choice is a financial services provider that works with you to establish a self-directed IRA.

Normal IRAs — such as those issued by major financial institutions like Vanguard — generally exclude alternative asset classes and limit you to investing in traditional assets like stocks, bonds, cash and mutual funds. With a self-directed IRA from Choice, you can branch into alternative investments like cryptocurrencies.

Since their inception a little more than a decade ago, cryptocurrencies have proven to be a volatile asset class. So at first, it seems like they would be a poor choice for a retirement account. However, that volatility can also run to the upside and generate huge returns over time.

As long as the rest of your retirement portfolio is properly allocated, mixing in a limited amount of cryptocurrency may offer an opportunity to capitalize on significant price movements without risking the rest of your retirement savings.

Note: My personal rule is that no more than 10% of my investable assets can be in risky assets, including individual stocks. 

You get the same tax benefits with an SDIRA as with a traditional IRA: contributions are tax-deductible and withdrawals during retirement are taxed as ordinary income. You can also open a Roth SDIRA, where you contribute after-tax dollars. However, with this type of account, qualified withdrawals in retirement are tax-free. 

IRAs have income limits (which vary depending on your tax filing status, but start at $144,000 for single tax filers) and contribution limits ($6,000 if you’re under 50). You can learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of different account types in my guide to the difference between Roth and traditional IRAs.

Note: When investing in risky assets within my retirement plan, my preference is a Roth account, because it will allow me to avoid a huge tax bill should those assets surge in value. 

History of Choice IRA and Kingdom Trust

Kingdom Trust is a financial asset custodian specializing in self-directed IRAs. Some of the asset types Kingdom Trust works with include private real estate holdings, precious metals and private companies. The firm has been around since 2009 and holds over 10 billion client assets. 

This means they hold on to these alternative assets for safekeeping on behalf of investors. They are a “qualified custodian” as defined by the SEC.

In 2020, Kingdom Trust launched the Choice brand, to provide individuals an easier way to own cryptocurrencies inside a self-directed IRA. In 2021, Kingdom Trust decided to rebrand its entire business to the Choice brand. As of August 2022, that rebrand is still in progress. Legally, Choice is still Kingdom Trust Company, and all assets are titled under this name. 

At the time of publication, Kingdom Trust’s CEO is Ryan Radloff. Radloff also co-founded and led CoinShares, a digital asset investment strategy firm. CoinShares is the firm that manages the crypto lending side for Choice. 

How Choice IRAs Work

Choice IRAs can include a mix of traditional assets and alternative investments, such as mutual fund and ETF shares, cryptocurrencies, precious metals and stocks. 

Cryptocurrency trading occurs through Kraken. Currently, Kraken has nearly 200 cryptocurrencies available to buy and trade. However, just because the coin is available on Kraken doesn’t mean it’s available to trade on Choice. 

Here’s the official list of cryptocurrencies available:

SymbolAsset
AAVEAave
ADACardano
ATOMCosmos
BTCBitcoin
BATBasic Attention Token
BCHBitcoin Cash
DASHDash
DOGEDogecoin
DOTPolkadot
EOSEOS
ETHEthereum
ICXIcon
LINKChainlink
LTCLitecoin
MKRMaker
XMRMonero
NEONeo
SOLSolana
UNIUniswap
XLMStellar
XTZTezos
YFIYearn.Finance
ZECZCash

Setting Up a Choice IRA Account

It took me 15 minutes from start to finish to open an account with Choice (without making a deposit). 

Once you enter your email address and create a password, you’ll be asked to enable two-factor authentication. Then, you’ll need to enter basic contact information, your Social Security number and your driver’s license number, and upload a picture of your license. 

The Choice IRA sign-up process.
The Choice IRA sign-up process.

Once you’re finished setting up your account, you’ll get access to your investment dashboard.

The Choice IRA investing dashboard.
The Choice IRA investing dashboard.

There are two options for getting funds into your account: you can make a direct cash contribution or roll over an existing IRA or 401(k). 

Choice IRAs Fees

Every Choice IRA plan charges a tiered fee schedule on digital asset trades.

Trade SizeFee (Per Trade)
Under $50$0.99
$50 – $99.99$1.49
$100 – $249,999.991.49%
$250,000 – $499,999.991.25%
$500,000+1.00%

Traditional asset trades, such as individual stocks, are executed through Interactive Brokers. Choice does not charge fees when you trade assets through that platform, but you will pay a very small fee to Interactive Brokers of $0.005 per share with a $1 minimum per trade.

Choice IRA Account Types

Choice lets you open a self-directed traditional or Roth IRA. 

A traditional IRA lets you deduct contributions from your taxes. The Roth does not, but withdrawals in retirement are tax-free.

Choice IRA Pricing

Choice offers three subscription tiers for IRA clients, which are categorized by how you’d prefer to store your digital assets. 

  • No Annual Fee: Your digital assets are “in motion,” which means Choice lends them out to earn money (for itself).
  • Cold Storage: Your digital assets are more securely stored with Fidelity Digital Assets.
  • Hold Your Keys: You hold your own digital assets using a multi-signature cold storage solution powered by Casa.

Here are the features and benefits of each plan:

No Annual FeeCold StorageHold Your Keys
Minimum balance:$0$0$0
Setup fee:$0$0$625
Annual account fee:$01%$160
Deposit fees:$0$0$0
Traditional asset custody:$0$0$0
Traditional asset trading fee (Choice):$0$0$0
Interactive Brokers’ trading fee:$0.005 per share ($1 minimum).$0.005 per share ($1 minimum).$0.005 per share ($1 minimum).
Location:In motion.Choice’s cold storage.Your personal cold storage.

These fees are good compared to other crypto IRAs. As you’ll see below, the alternatives tend to be much more expensive. 

Choice IRA by Kingdom Trust vs. Alternatives

Here’s how Choice stacks up against some of its main competitors.

Choice IRA vs. Bitcoin IRA

Choice IRA’s low fees are what distinguishes it from Bitcoin IRA, the most well-known alternative.

For starters, Bitcoin IRA charges an up-front 12.5% fee to move assets into an account and minimums start at $3,000. This includes both cash and rollovers.

That fee decreases to 10% if you’re transferring more than $50,000, and to 7.5% when transferring more than $100,000.

Any additional buy orders (after the initial fee) cost 5%, and there’s a 1% fee for sell orders.

Those fees are astronomical and a deal-killer for me.

In the past, Bitcoin IRA allowed you to earn interest on your holdings through its “Interest EARN” program, but this feature is temporarily on hold for both new and existing clients. 

Choice IRA vs. Rocket Dollar

Rocket Dollar (read our Rocket Dollar review), is another large self-directed IRA custodian that helps you invest crypto inside of a retirement plan. It operates its plans differently than Choice.

With RocketDollar you must first set up an LLC. Your IRA LLC then holds your assets. 

The benefit of this arrangement is that you can invest in anything on any platform (as long as the IRS doesn’t prohibit it). That opens up the option to have alternatives such as private equity deals and commodities like timber, as there’s surprisingly very little the IRS restricts you from holding in an IRA.

There’s a one-time $360 set-up fee, as well as a $15 per month maintenance fee.

Choice IRA vs. Alto IRA

An option that’s more similar to Choice is Alto, which you can learn more about in our Alto IRA review. Alto offers a wider range of investment opportunities but does not allow you to own equities.

Related: Learn more about these and other alternatives in our list of the best crypto IRA accounts.

Where Is Your Crypto Held?

With Choice IRA, custody depends on the plan you choose.

The No Annual Fee plan puts your crypto “in motion.” This means Choice lends your assets to other institutions, similar to how a bank lends out your deposits to make money.

The Cold Storage plan puts your Bitcoin into (as the name suggests) “cold storage.” This means that your Bitcoin is entirely offline and not accessible from the internet in any way. This makes it extremely difficult for cyber criminals to try and steal your assets. 

In practice, cold storage means storing your cryptocurrency in a paper wallet or hardware wallet. Neither of these is connected to the internet. You can learn more about how cold storage works here.

The Hold Your Keys plan lets you store your Bitcoin in your own cold storage. That means you can get your own paper or hardware wallet and keep your digital retirement assets wherever you’d like.

Pros and Cons of a Self-Directed IRA

Regular IRAs — both traditional and Roth — are known for offering more investment flexibility than employer-sponsored plans like 401(k)s. However, IRAs generally limit you to traditional types of investments, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs.

Self-directed IRAs — which come in both traditional and Roth formats — expand your options by letting you choose alternative investments such as precious metals, real estate, private stock, and now cryptocurrency.

Self Directed IRA Pros:

  • More control: SDIRAs expand your investment options to include many unique types of investments.
  • More retirement diversification: Retirees (and those soon to retire) may want additional diversification if their main retirement investments see volatility. SDIRAs let them expand into other investment types to possibly hedge against downturns in their regular retirement accounts.
  • Tax benefits: SDIRAs can offer the same tax-deferred or tax-free benefits as traditional or Roth IRAs. Thus, if you can make large gains on crypto investments, you could potentially add a healthy amount to your tax-advantaged retirement savings.

Self Directed IRA Cons:

  • Riskier investments: Alternative investments like cryptocurrency tend to offer higher reward potential, but also higher risk — both in terms of price movements and liquidity. Additionally, SDIRA custodians are generally not responsible for investigating an alternative investment’s legitimacy or quality.
  • Complexity: Many rules surrounding IRAs are easier to break with a traditional IRA. For instance, you can’t buy a property for personal use in an SDIRA. If you buy a rental property and you or any of your relatives spend a night in it, you might face tax consequences. You may also have to funnel your income and expenses associated with the property through the IRA.
  • Additional fees: Some investments may come with additional fees that more mainstream investments don’t have. For example, if you buy gold in an SDIRA, you may need to pay for its storage and insurance.

Choice IRA Review: Final Thoughts

Overall, Choice IRA can be a good option for retirement investors looking to diversify their holdings and potentially add to their savings with the large gains some crypto traders see. 

The company stands out with its low fees, and gives customers the ability to pay a reasonable fee for a more secure storage solution. 

Personally, considering the 2022 “stablecoin crash,” I’d pass on the free option and only consider Choice’s cold storage or hold your own keys option. 

Visit the Choice IRA Website.

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

36 Comments

  1. Sounds like a great program..
    Are there any staking benefits?
    Also, do you offer any referral or affiliate programs?

    1. Hey Vince.

      No staking benefits, unfortunately, although that’s a feature that they’re looking to add.

      They do not have a referral program.

  2. Can you compare these iras to ITrustCapitol?

    1. I’ll add it to the list. ( :

      Alto IRA is another one I’ve heard mentioned a few times, in which I’m looking into more.

      1. Hey R.J., thanks for the great review.

        Have you been able to take a look at itrust capital yet?

        I’m curious to know which one you’d recommend between choice, Alto, and itrust. Thanks!

      2. Hey Jack. Finally got around to learning more about iTrust. Liked what I saw. Doing a more in-depth review soon, gave some initial thoughts here: https://www.thewaystowealth.com/investing/best-crypto-ira-accounts/

    2. I would also love to see how this stacks up to irafinancialtrust.com

      1. Here’s the Alto IRA review: https://www.thewaystowealth.com/reviews/alto-ira-review/

        I’ll take a look at the others. Thanks

    3. Did you do the comparison to itrust capital?

      1. Not yet, but on the list!

  3. Does a Choice SD Traditional IRA allow you to invest in Pre-Ipos or transfer common shares held in a trust company from a Pre-Ipo investment into the Choice SD Traditional IRA?

  4. If I set up a crypto Roth IRA, how are taxes paid on BTC deposited there?

    1. Are you looking to deposit BTC you currently hold outside of an IRA? My understanding of current tax laws is that the IRS requires cash deposits to IRAs to be done with US dollars.

      Selling your current holdings and depositing the cash into an IRA (to only then rebuy BTC), would then be a taxable event.

  5. If someone has over 1m in crypto, does one IRA make more sense than the others? In the article it seems some charge less when depositing more. Also I imagine the fees could be offset by the IRAs that provide interest on BTC? Thank you

    1. Sorry, I’m a bit confused. Are you asking whether a Traditional or Roth IRA makes more sense? Or, does a certain self-directed IRA provider make more sense?

      If your crypto is currently in a taxable account, e.g. Coinbase or private wallet, you’re subject to contribution limits with IRA. Pending your income/age, you’re only allowed to contribute so much, so you couldn’t just transfer the entire portfolio into an IRA (only $6,000 or so a year).

      Unfortunately, no self-directed IRA provider that I’m aware allows you to earn interest.

  6. Hello – Wondering if I can fund a new Choice ROTH SDIRA with cash (USD) from an
    Existing ROTH IRA, thus avoiding taxes on the transfer, as opposed to funding
    it by transferring the (USD) cash from an Exisiting Traditional IRA, which would
    incur taxes.

    Thanks, Paul W.

    1. Either way, there’s no taxable event. All you’re doing is transferring from one IRA to another IRA. This is true for both a Roth and Traditional IRA.

      See: https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/rollovers-of-retirement-plan-and-ira-distributions

  7. It doesn’t seem like connection between Kingdom Trust/Choice offerings and Kraken offerings is as full as you wrote – although it does look like Choice app went through a lot of changes this last year. I discovered this when I tried to add Algorand [$ALGO] to my watchlist, but found it was missing. After doing more digging, it looks like Kingdom Trust/Choice have restricted trading to the following:

    AAVE / ADA / ATOM / BTC / BAT / BCH / DASH / DOGE / DOT / EOS / ETH

    ICX / LINK / LTC / MKR / XMR / NEO / SOL / UNI / XLM / XTZ / YFI / ZEC

    Can you confirm? Now at the beginning of 2022 (and after all your research in 2021), is there a different IRA provider you would go with?

    Thanks in advanced m8

    1. Good insight. I can confirm that not all coins on Kraken are on Choice. A few more available coins on Kraken which were not available on Choice were COMP, MANA, MINA and AXS.

      Alto IRA allows you to trade on Coinbase (https://www.thewaystowealth.com/reviews/alto-ira-review/)

      Rocket Dollar is unique in that you’re free to trade wherever (https://www.thewaystowealth.com/reviews/rocket-dollar-review/)…the downside is it’s fees are higher for smaller balances.

      Edit: We’ve updated the article with available coins.

  8. I live in the US, specifically in Texas. I tried signing up with Binance and Kraken and couldn’t because of Texas regulatory issues. So I am very limited in my choices. So if I sign up for Choice IRA, will I even be able to use Kracken to do trades through the IRA?

    1. I would imagine so because you’re not opening an account directly with Kraken, it’s only that your trades are executed through Kraken.

      That said, I would reach out to their support first.

  9. Hi, thanks for the detailed article. Just signed up a little while ago and had a question: does Kingdom Trust support HEX coin or have any plans to compete with their trustless interest staking portal? I assume many holders would want to move their HEX into the IRA if possible to lock portions up of it long term.

    1. You’re welcome. Kingdom Trust doesn’t list HEX.

      Check out Rocket Dollar (https://www.thewaystowealth.com/reviews/rocket-dollar-review/). With their setup, you open an LLC that allows you to invest in anything that’s not restricted. As such, you could manage funds via a private wallet and move around as you please.

      Most other options, you’re still going through a centralized exchange, which will limit your options with regards to what you can purchase and what you can do with the money.

  10. Hey R.J. have you looked into the cloud mining option Choice and Compass Mining are offering?
    I’d like to get your opinions on the matter,
    -Upfront cost
    -How much Bitcoin you can earn on a monthly/yearly basis
    -What effects halving can have
    -Are there any cost associated with repair, maintenance, damage to your rig
    -Can this be done with a traditional and or ROTH
    -Can you split the cost of a rig with another family or friend who opens an account
    -And any other input or thoughts you may have

    If you search for “Choice and Compass Mining offer tax-efficient bitcoin mining.” it will lead you to the article I am referencing.
    Thanks

    1. I have not. Read through the article. Interesting option. I don’t see any information within the platform or on their site. I’ve reached out to my contact and will let you know what I find out.

  11. I have both a traditional and Roth IRA with Chas. Schwab. Can I transfer some cash from my traditional IRA with Schwab into a Choice IRA account for BTC? Also, if I were to use that cash from the traditional IRA to open a Roth with Choice, that would incur a taxable event, correct? Thanks for the information.

    1. You can transfer cash to a Traditional IRA directly to Choice.

      Transferring a Traditional to a Roth would be a conversion and would indeed be a taxable event.

  12. I recently opened a BTC account with Coinbase. Can I convert this account into a Coice Roth IRA, and would that incur a taxable event? Thanks.

    1. You can’t transfer crypto to Choice, only cash. So, yes, you’d need to sell, which would be a taxable event, and then transfer the gains.

  13. Look, I’ve had an account at Kingdom Trust for a number of years — they are just a custodian of some private equity investments in my self directed Roth IRA. I have been thoroughly frustrated with my relationship with them and now they are forcing me over to this Choice app. I have no interest in Bitcoin and it’s like they are cramming it down my throat. I can’t get to speak to anyone at KT anymore. You mentioned they lend our investments out while they have them. Heck have they always done that? I really don’t like feeling like I’m being herded into something. I do like change, but change for the better and KT can start with improving customer service. From what you have said in this article it sounds like I have to set up an LLC in order to continue to hold my private equity investments with this company. I clearly need to do more research but even though I’m normally open-minded to change for the better, this just doesn’t come off that way.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Susie.

      To clarify, this was a review of Choice’s Crypto IRA, not Kingdom Trust as a whole, which at the time of the review was separate.

      So when I was referring to lending out assets, was referring to potentially lending out your Bitcoin/Eth.

  14. I recently rolled over a traditional and Roth 401(k) onto Choice’s platform and am having some remorse for not fully understanding their service.

    The main reason I rolled over was that I had parted ways with my previous employer and wanted to keep my retirement growing while I searched for a new job. I was sold on a podcast ad for Choice touting “no capital gains on crypto!”, even though I have not had to pay any capital gains taxes on my crypto so far since I bought before the laws were written and have been by and large just HODLing/staking.

    I am now realizing that I did not do my due diligence. The fact that Choice is ENTIRELY self-directed means I essentially deposited cash into a brokerage account that charges 1.26% for crypto trades. My return on investment would be significantly higher if I had just bought and staked crypto on other platforms while delaying capital gains taxes until I sold my positions.

    Having already paid the processing fee for the rollover, incurring the taxable event which I’ll probably owe in 2023, and realizing that Choice does not actively invest my assets whatsoever, I am really regretting what I thought would be not only a safe harbor but a growth vessel for my nest egg until I found new work. Hopefully, this makes others here think about some of the same factors I overlooked before choosing Choice for their retirement needs.

    1. Hey Chase,

      I’d speak with a tax advisor on this one.

      A rollover from a Traditional 401K to a Traditional Self-Directed IRA isn’t a taxable event. Neither is a rollover from a Roth 401k To Self-Directed Roth IRA. They would be subject to the same withdrawal/penalties as any IRA from a brokerage account.

      A conversion from a Traditional 401(k) to a Self-Directed Roth IRA would be a taxable event. But that’s treated as income, not capital gains.

      You also mention your existing crypto holdings. Did you transfer these to Choice? If so, selling would indeed be a taxable event, although it’s considered an IRA contribution, and therefore, subject to this year’s limits ($6,000).

  15. Thanks for all the info. I was looking into rolling over my sep IRA into a choice account so I could hold the key. It looks like they only support traditional and Roth IRA so does that mean I can’t roll my sep over to it. I currently have a Roth IRA through vanguard. I guess I’m just not sure if I can do a rollover from a sep into a crypto Roth IRA. Thanks for any info you can give me!

    1. If you’re looking to rollover a SEP, in which case the SEP would no longer exist, that is allowed. You’d then just open up either a Traditional or Roth account (or both) with Choice and roll the funds into the corresponding IRA account.

      Choice IRA does support SEP IRAs accounts. Check with their support, but I believe what you’d have to do is first open a SEP IRA with them, then roll the funds over. This would allow you to still contribute to the SEP IRA.

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