Ethereum IRAs: Invest ETH on a crypto IRA platform
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Ethereum IRAs: Invest Your ETH With These IRA Providers

What is an Ethereum (ETH) IRA?

An Ethereum (ETH) IRA is an investment vehicle for long-term ETH investments. It’s like a retirement savings account that allows you to invest your pre/after-tax dollars in ETH and receive certain tax benefits. IRA is short for Individual Retirement Account or Individual Retirement Arrangement (as per the IRS). An ETH IRA can help you diversify your IRA portfolio and gain exposure to the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world (by market cap).

In this article, we’ll show you how an Ethereum IRA works, how and where to invest in one, and different types of IRAs. We’ll also take you through a step-by-step ETH IRA set up, and how to roll an existing IRA into it.

How Does an ETH IRA Work?

ETH IRA investments are made through IRS-approved custodians. An IRA custodian is a highly-regulated financial institution that holds your IRA investments for safekeeping. It ensures that your investments adhere to all government and IRS regulations, at all times. 

An ETH IRA functions just like any IRA, except that it contains Ethereum investments for retirement savings. The pre/after tax money you invest in an IRA is called a contribution, while withdrawals are referred to as distributions. Once you open an ETH IRA, you can withdraw your contributions and/or gains made from them before after reaching 59 ½ years of age, depending on the IRA type. These withdrawals may or may not be tax-free, again depending on the type of IRA.

How to Invest in an ETH IRA

To invest in an ETH IRA, you should first decide your IRA type (traditional, Roth, SEP, or SIMPLE) and the custodian platform for your investment. We’ll discuss the different types of IRAs further down in this article. 

Let’s first learn about some top ETH IRA custodian platforms you can use. Please note, when reviewing different custodian platforms, you may want to compare them based on factors like account minimums, fees, pricing, IRA options, and supported tokens. We’ve provided these details for some of the top ETH IRA providers below.

PlatformFees/PricingSupported tokensIRA optionsAccount minimumCustodied by
Bitcoin IRA2% trading fee and 3.99% – 5.99% initial account set-up fee. Additional security fee, custody fee, and one-time service fee charged too. Exact fee details available upon contacting Bitcoin IRA reps. 60+ tokens including ETH and BTCRoth, Traditional, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs$3,000BitGO Trust, in segregated cold storage accounts
Alto CryptoIRA1% trading fee, $50 account closure fee, and $25 per outbound wire transfer200+ tokens via Coinbase, including BTC and ETHTraditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs$10Combination of hot and cold storage at Coinbase
iTrustCapital1% transaction fee and $0 monthly account fee30, including BTC and ETHTraditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs$1,000Cold storage through Coinbase

Where to Invest ETH in an IRA

Bitcoin IRA

ETH IRA on Bitcoin IRA

Source: Bitcoin IRA

  • Account Minimum: $3,000
  • Tokens Supported: 60+ tokens including Ethereum and Bitcoin
  • IRA Options: Roth, Traditional, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs
  • Fees and Pricing: A one-time service fee is charged based on investment amount. An additional minimum custodian and security fee is charged too. The users must contact Bitcoin IRA representatives to get exact fees. The trading fee is 2%, and initial account set-up fee ranges from 3.99% to 5.99%.
  • Custodial Type: Offline, in segregated cold storage accounts at BitGO Trust. 

Why it stands out:

Bitcoin IRA was founded in 2016 as the world’s first crypto IRA platform, with the mission of helping Americans retire. You can invest in and self-trade 60+ cryptocurrencies 24/7 through the Bitcoin IRA mobile app or web portal. Its dashboard has features like live price tracking, videos, performance reports, educational content, and more. All assets are protected by custody insurance of up to $700 million, through BitGO and their insurance provider Lloyd’s.

As of writing, Bitcoin IRA has over 170,000 users. Signing up takes only a few minutes and you can roll over your existing IRA, 403(b), or 401(k) into a crypto IRA including for ETH, in three easy steps. You just need to fill out your profile information and then decide your investment amount and the funding method, and you’ll be approved to trade within four to five business days.

What to know: 

Bitcoin IRA requires a minimum $3,000 investment to begin and doesn’t have any investment caps. You can’t buy ETH or another crypto for your IRA from any other exchange or custodian. As per the IRS, all crypto investments for a crypto IRA must be done with US dollars only (per IRC Section 408(a)(1)). Transfers of existing crypto holdings into crypto IRAs aren’t permitted either. Bitcoin IRA doesn’t guarantee tokens from any future splits of the Ethereum blockchain in the event of a fork. No clear fee structure is available on the platform. The best way to learn about it is by talking to a representative. 

Alto CryptoIRA

ETH IRA on Alto CryptoIRA

Source: Alto CryptoIRA

  • Account Minimum: $10
  • Tokens Supported: 200+ tokens via Coinbase, including Bitcoin and Ethereum
  • IRA Options: Traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs
  • Fees and Pricing: 1% trading fee, $50 account closure fee, and $25 per outbound wire transfer. No fee charged for account set-up, account maintenance and crypto custody
  • Custodial Type: Combination of hot and cold storage at Coinbase

Why it stands out:

Alto CryptoIRA was founded in 2018 to help people invest their retirement money in assets that they believe will deliver good returns. Their tagline “Your retirement, on your terms” echoes this mission. 

The platform has $10 investment minimums and one of the largest crypto offerings (200+ crypto assets) through Coinbase integration. Low minimums combined with zero monthly account and  custody fee plus the free-of-cost concierge service makes Alto CryptoIRA stand out in the CryptoIRA marketplace.

You can trade crypto 24/7 through the dedicated mobile app or web browser. 

What to know: 

Some tokens and coins are available only for limit orders. Therefore, you won’t be able to place market orders for them. Additionally, you need to be at least 18 years old and a US resident (except Hawaii) to open an account. 

Please note, Alto CryptoIRA service is hosted on the AltoIRA website. While an Alto CryptoIRA account allows you to invest in 200+ cryptocurrencies as a part of your IRA, AltoIRA is meant for other alternative IRA investments. These include real estate, startups, farmland, fine art, venture capital and private equity.


ETH IRA on iTrustCapital

Source: iTrustCapital

  • Account Minimum: $1,000
  • Tokens Supported: 30, including Bitcoin and Ethereum
  • IRA Options: Traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs
  • Fees and Pricing: 1% transaction fee and $0 monthly account fee (for personal accounts)
  • Custodial Type: Cold storage through Coinbase Custody

Why it stands out:

With over 185,000 user accounts and $6 billion in transactions processed as of writing, iTrustCapital claims to be one of the top Crypto IRA platforms in the US. It was recognized as America’s #1 Crypto IRA platform in the IMA Impact 2021 Awards. You can stake supported tokens and potentially earn an APY (Annual Percentage Yield) of up to 9.5%. Besides crypto, you can also invest in silver and gold bullion through the same IRA account. iTrustCapital never lends or borrows against client assets and doesn’t let its custody providers indulge in these practices either. You can trade ETH and other cryptocurrencies from a web browser or through an iOS mobile app.

What to know: 

The platform has a fairly limited range of cryptocurrencies at the time of writing, but continues to add more. A one-time $75 conversion fee is charged for converting a traditional IRA to a Roth or SEP IRA. Please note, the conversion of a traditional IRA to Roth IRA will also trigger a taxable event, as the latter involves investments with post-tax dollars. The iTrustCapital mobile app is available for iOS users only. The company says an Android app is in the works, but hasn’t provided any specific release date.

Types of ETH IRAs

The IRS allows you to open different types of crypto IRAs, based on your investment needs and occupation. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what you do for a living or what your long-term financial goals are — you can still use an IRA to make tax-advantaged retirement investments. Some well-known IRA types are: 

Traditional IRA

An IRA type is typically defined by whether it allows you to make tax-deferred investments or not. A traditional IRA, often referred to as the “elder statesman of IRAs” allows you to invest in assets with your pre-tax dollars and reduce your taxable income. The tax due on the invested dollars is deferred and charged as per your income tax rate whenever you withdraw your contribution after crossing the 59 ½ age milestone. A traditional IRA makes sense if you believe your income tax rate will be lower than what it is now, after you retire.   

Advantages of Traditional IRA

  • Tax deductions and tax-free growth: The biggest advantage of a traditional IRA is that it allows you to reduce your taxable income by the amount of contribution (investment) you make. The returns or gains from these investments also grow tax-free until you withdraw them after reaching 59 ½ years age. 
  • Retirement savings over and above workplace savings: You’re allowed to invest in a traditional IRA even if you’re already contributing to a 401(k) or some other retirement savings plan at your workplace. However, the tax deductions may be full, partial or none, depending on your income level.
  • Catch-up option: If you start making IRA contributions late, you can make up for the lost years by contributing an extra $1,000 a year after turning 50. 
  • Eligibility: As per the IRS, anyone with earned income can make traditional IRA contributions and benefit from tax-deducted and tax-deferred growth. However, your deductions may get reduced or completely eliminated if you and/or your spouse have a workplace retirement plan and your income crosses a certain level.

Rules of Traditional IRA

  • Contribution limit: Traditional IRAs have a contribution limit of up to $6,000 in 2022 and up to $6,500 in 2023, for those below 50 years in age. People over 50 years old are allowed an extra $1,000 contribution per year.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: You’ll need to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty (apart from due tax) if you withdraw your contributions or investment gains from your traditional IRA before age 59 ½. However, there are some exceptions to this penalty. 
  • Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): You needn’t necessarily withdraw from your traditional IRA after crossing 59 ½. You can wait until 72 before making mandatory withdrawals called Required Minimum Distributions.
  • Everyone can contribute, but not everyone gets tax deductions: While anyone with earned income can contribute to a traditional IRA, not all are allowed tax deductions. Your deductions will depend on whether you and/or your spouse already have a retirement plan at work, and your income level. 


Short for Simplified Employee Pension IRA, a SEP IRA is a type of traditional IRA meant for small-business owners or self-employed individuals with few to no employees. If you have any employees, you’ll need to make an equal percentage contribution on their behalf as you make for your own SEP IRA. The employees will be allowed to own and control their SEP IRAs. Like a traditional IRA, SEP IRA contributions qualify for tax deductions (subject to conditions) for employers, with tax payment deferred until retirement. 

Advantages of a SEP IRA

  • High contribution limit: A SEP IRA has a fairly high contribution limit, almost 10 times that of a traditional IRA. You can contribute up to $61,000 in 2022 and $66,000 in 2023. That said, the contribution can’t exceed 25% of the account holder’s income. Learn more here.
  • Easy set up and administration: A SEP IRA can be set up and managed fairly easily as it doesn’t have any strict filing or reporting requirements.
  • Flexible annual contributions: A SEP IRA can be a fairly good retirement plan if you face cash flow issues in your small business. It offers flexible annual contributions as allowed by your cash flow. Additionally, you’re not obligated to contribute every year.
  • Tax deductions for employee contributions: Any contributions you make to individual employee accounts under your SEP IRA plan will be tax deductible for your business. 
  • Tax-deferred growth: The investments made for yourself and on behalf of your employees grow tax-deferred until the time gains are withdrawn after reaching 59 ½ years of age.

Rules of a SEP IRA

  • Eligibility: To be eligible for a SEP IRA, an employee, or self-employed person, must be at least 21 and should’ve worked for you for a minimum of three out of the last five years. In addition, they should’ve earned at least $650 annually as compensation during those years. 
  • No catch-up contributions: SEP IRAs don’t allow for catch-up contributions after crossing 50 years of age, unlike with a traditional IRA.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Any withdrawals made from a SEP IRA before reaching 59 ½ years age incur a 10% penalty (apart from tax). 
  • No Roth version: A SEP IRA is based on the traditional IRA model and doesn’t have a Roth version. This means that you can’t pay taxes on your contributions now and receive tax-free distributions upon retirement.
  • Mandatory RMDs: You can defer your distributions until reaching 72 years of age. You’ll need to accept required minimum distributions upon crossing that age milestone.


A SIMPLE IRA is short for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees IRA. It’s meant for small businesses with less than 100 employees. Just like traditional and SEP IRAs, the contributions can be deducted from pre-tax income. The investments and their gains remain tax-deferred until you reach 59 ½ years of age. Thereafter, you can withdraw them by paying tax as per your income tax bracket at that time. With a SIMPLE IRA, employer contributions are mandatory and employee contributions are optional. It can be set up even by someone self-employed.

Advantages of SIMPLE IRA

  • Easy to set up and manage: Many small businesses offer their employees a SIMPLE IRA instead of 401(k) as it’s easier to set up and administer. There are no filing requirements for the employer.
  • Catch-up option: Extra catch-up contributions of $3,000 and $3,500 in 2022 and 2023 respectively, for employees over 50 years old.
  • Tax deductions for both employer and employee: Both employer and employee are allowed tax deductions for contributions made to the SIMPLE IRA plan.
  • Tax-deferred gains: Any gains made from the SIMPLE IRA investments stay tax-deferred until the employee reaches 59 ½ years age. They can be withdrawn afterwards by paying tax as per their existing income tax bracket.


  • Eligibility: An employee or employer (self-employed individual) is eligible for a SIMPLE IRA if they earned a minimum of $5,000 from the business in any of the two years preceding the current calendar year, and expect to earn minimum $5,000 in the current calendar year.
  • Contribution limits: The employee contributions have an annual cap of $14,000 in 2022. People over 50 years old can contribute an additional $3,000. Employers must either make matching contributions of up to 3% of employee’s income, or 2% non-elective contribution for every eligible employee. If an employer chooses the 2% non-elective option, they must contribute even if an eligible employee doesn’t. However, this 2% contribution can be of a maximum annual compensation of $305,000 for 2022.
  • No other retirement plans: The employer isn’t allowed to have any other retirement plan if a SIMPLE IRA has been set up already.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Any withdrawals made from contributions or their gains before reaching 59 ½ years in age attract a 10% penalty (apart from tax). The penalty increases to 25% if withdrawals are made within the first couple of years of starting the SIMPLE IRA. 
  • No Roth version: A SIMPLE IRA, like a SEP IRA, is modeled after the traditional IRA and doesn’t have a Roth version. This means that you can only receive tax-deductions and defer your taxes. 
  • Required Minimum Distributions: It’s mandatory for you to start taking the required minimum distribution upon reaching 72 years of age.

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA is different from the traditional IRA as it allows you to make retirement savings with your after-tax dollars today, to receive not just tax-free withdrawals, but also tax-free gains upon reaching 59 ½ years age. You can even withdraw your contributions (but not the investment gains) earlier if the Roth IRA is a minimum of five years old. A Roth IRA is ideal for individuals who expect their income tax bracket to be higher after retirement than it is now.  

Advantages of Roth IRA

  • Tax-free withdrawals: The biggest advantage of the Roth IRA is that you get to keep not just your contributions, but also gains earned from them, tax-free, if you wait until you turn 59 ½ years old.
  • No RMDs: Unlike as in traditional IRAs, you aren’t required to take mandatory minimum distributions after turning 72. 
  • Tax-free withdrawals even for heirs: If you pass your Roth IRA to an heir, they will enjoy tax-free withdrawals provided that you had held your Roth IRA for at least five years.
  • Flexible contributions: You can make contributions at your own pace throughout the year. For instance, you could contribute $6,000 in one go at the start of the year, or split your deposits as is convenient.
  • No age-limit: There’s no age limit on when you can contribute to a Roth IRA. You’re allowed to deposit even if you have earned income after crossing 70 ½ years of age. 
  • Catch-up contributions: You can make extra contributions of up to $1,000 per year after you’ve crossed 50 years of age.
  • No employer retirement plan restrictions: Unlike traditional IRAs, your maximum annual contributions aren’t impacted by an already running retirement plan. 

Rules of a Roth IRA

  • Conditional tax-free withdrawals: You’re allowed tax-free withdrawals of your contributions only if you’ve had the Roth IRA for a minimum of five years.
  • Early withdrawal penalty: The gains made from Roth IRA investments can be withdrawn tax-free only after reaching 59 ½ years age. Else, they attract a 10% early withdrawal penalty (apart from tax).
  • Contribution limit: Roth IRAs have a contribution limit of up to $6,000 in 2022 and up to $6,500 in 2023, for individuals under 50 years in age. People above 50 can contribute an extra $1,000 a year. However, please note, your contribution limit may get reduced to zero, based on you and your spouse’s income range.

Self-Directed IRAs and ETH

An IRA can contain multiple assets including mutual funds, stocks, precious metals, real estate, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and cryptocurrencies. What you can include in your IRA will depend on whether it’s a regular or a self-directed IRA (SDIRA). 

A regular IRA houses relatively common investments like stocks, equities, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs, certificate of deposits (CDs), and real estate investment trusts (REITs). A self-directed IRA, on the other hand, gives you more control over your investments. It can include regular IRA assets, as well as others including cryptocurrencies, real estate, precious metals, and privately-held companies.

Traditional SDIRA vs. Roth SDIRA

Traditional SDIRARoth SDIRA
You invest money before paying taxes, thus reducing your taxable income.You invest money after it has already been taxed.
Any contribution withdrawals before reaching 59 ½ years of age attract a penalty, barring a few exceptions.Contributions can be withdrawn before crossing 59 ½ years of age, as long as you’ve held the Roth IRA for five years.
Withdrawals of investment gains are subjected to tax at your income tax rate in your retirement years.Withdrawals of investment gains are tax-free, provided you’ve had the Roth IRA for a minimum of five years at the withdrawal time post-retirement.
You must accept required minimum distributions after reaching 72 years age.No required minimum distributions are needed. You can withdraw your contributions any time if your Roth IRA is at least five years old.
Tax deductibility depends on your income level and current retirement plan.You invest after-tax dollars regardless of your current retirement plan. Contribution limit may get reduced depending on you and your spouse’s income.

The key difference between a traditional and Roth IRA is that while the former allows you to reduce your taxable income and receive tax benefits today, the latter lets you enjoy tax-free withdrawals in the future. The onus is on you to decide whether it would make more financial sense for you to pay taxes post-retirement or now. That said, the fact that the Roth IRA allows you to earn tax-free investment gains makes it a favorite of a large number of investors.

Risks with ETH SDIRAs

While ETH SDIRAs allow you to make Ethereum a part of your retirement savings, there are certain risks or disadvantages too. For example:

  • Volatility: As Ethereum is a cryptocurrency, its price movements are more volatile than conventional IRA assets like stocks and bonds. Therefore, you should diversify your IRA portfolio and also have a mix of stable assets and ETH IRAs.
  • Fees: Crypto SDIRAs generally involve more fees than regular IRA investments in conventional assets. You’ll need to pay a trading fee to the platform each time you trade ETH contained in your IRA portfolio. There may be other charges like custody fees, account set up fees, and annual maintenance fees too.
  • Withdrawal restrictions: ETH SDIRAs don’t offer the same amount of flexibility as available in ETH investments made directly on a crypto exchange. In an ETH SDIRA, you cannot liquidate your ETH holdings without incurring additional costs. You may need to pay income tax on your original ETH investment and the gains earned from it. There’s also a 10% penalty applicable if you’re withdrawing before reaching 59 ½ years of age.

Tax Advantages of ETH IRAs

Different ETH IRAs come with their own tax advantages. 

Traditional ETH IRA

Contributions made to a traditional ETH IRA can be deducted up to $6,000 from your pre-tax income (plus $1,000 extra if you’re over 50 years old), thus reducing your current tax burden. You’re exempt from paying taxes on these contributions and their earnings until you make withdrawals at retirement age.


Contributions to a SEP ETH IRA are tax deductible for the business or self-employed individual, but not the employees. You can deduct up to $61,000 or 25% of the compensation (whichever is less) in 2022, from the taxable income. 


Both employers and employees can receive deductions in their pre-tax income to the extent of their contributions. Employees below and over 50 years old have an annual capping of $14,000 and $17,000 respectively, in 2022. The deferred taxes will be due at the time of making withdrawals post retirement. Employers (sole proprietors, partnerships, or corporations) too can deduct contributions for themselves and for their employees, from the pre-tax income.


Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax dollars, and you’re allowed tax-free and penalty-free withdrawals after holding the Roth IRA for five years. However, the biggest benefit is that you don’t need to pay any taxes on the gains earned from Roth IRA investments if you wait until turning 59 ½ years old.

How to Set Up an ETH IRA

Let’s understand how to set up an ETH IRA by going through a step-by-step process on Alto CryptoIRA.

Step 1: Visit the Alto CryptoIRA website and click the “Sign Up” button on the top-right.

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 2: Enter your email address and set-up a password. Check the “I accept” box and click “Open my account”.

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 3: Once you’ve verified your email address, you’ll be asked to confirm your identity. Click “Begin Verification” to start the identity verification process.

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 4: Fill out your name, birth date, social security number and address, and click “Continue”.

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 5: After you’ve verified your identity, you’ll be asked to choose from an Alto IRA or Alto CryptoIRA account. Since we want to open an ETH IRA, you should click on “Open Alto CryptoIRA”’.

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 6: Input the account details including the type of IRA you’d like to open.

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 7: Review the account details, sign by typing your name next to “SIGN HERE” and click “Create my Crypto IRA” to open an Alto CryptoIRA account. 

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

How to Roll an IRA Account into an ETH IRA

The process of moving funds from an already existing retirement savings account like a 401(k) to an IRA, or from an existing IRA to another IRA, is called a “rollover”. Many people may want to roll their IRA account into an ETH IRA to invest in Ethereum for their retirement savings. Here are step-by-step instructions for how to do this on the Alto CryptoIRA platform.

Step 1: Log into your Alto CryptoIRA account and select “Transfer Funds” from the dashboard. 

Step 2: Select “Into Alto” from the dropdown menu.

Step 3: From the “Account Type” dropdown menu select the type of IRA you’d like to roll into your ETH IRA. Click “‘Continue” when done.

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 4: Select or enter the “Custodian”, “Account Number”, “Transfer Amount”, and “Delivery Method” information, followed by clicking “Continue”.

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 5: Complete and digitally sign your “Transfer of Assets” request form, followed by uploading your current account statement. These documents will be sent to your existing IRA’s custodian, so the transfer to ETH IRA can be processed. Click “Continue” once done.

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 6 (required in some cases): In some cases, the transferring custodian may ask for a “wet” signature (on a piece of paper), medallion stamp and/or physical mailing of the “Transfer of Assets” request form. For a wet signature, take a print of your “Transfer of Assets” request form and sign your name in the “Owner’s Ink Signature” box, with black ink. Once signed, scan and upload the document to the Alto CryptoIRA website. 

ETH IRAs on Alto CryptoIRA

Step 7 (required in some cases): If your custodian asks for a medallion stamp, print your “Transfer of Assets” request form and take it to a local bank. You’ll need to sign the form in front of a bank employee, who’ll then verify your identity and provide a medallion stamp. You can then scan this stamped document and upload it to the Alto CryptoIRA website.

Step 8 (required in some cases): In case your custodian wants the “Transfer of Assets” request form to be sent via physical mail, you can obtain their mailing address from Alto CryptoIRA and mail it to them.    

Final Thoughts on Ethereum IRAs

To conclude, Ethereum IRAs allow you to put your retirement money into one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world, and get tax benefits too. You can invest either your pre-tax or after-tax dollars in ETH IRA depending on your long-term financial goals and expected income tax bracket after retirement. The tax on ETH IRA gains can also be deferred or completely waived off by choosing an appropriate IRA type. That said, you should be mindful of the fees involved, Ethereum’s price volatility, and early withdrawal restrictions when you invest in an ETH IRA. 

You can open an ETH IRA with some of the top platforms like Bitcoin IRA, Alto CryptoIRA, and iTrustCapital. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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