With inflation on the rise, you might be looking for alternative investments for your retirement versus the usual mix of stocks, bonds, and ETFs.
And if you want a bit of crypto flavor in your IRA or 401(k), companies like BitIRA are up your alley. This company helps you invest in crypto in tax-advantaged retirement accounts, letting you stay compliant with IRA rules while diversifying with crypto.
However, there are numerous crypto IRA companies out there, each with different fees and setup processes. That’s why our BitIRA review is covering how this company works and compares to the competition so you can pick the right provider.
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Pros & Cons
BitIRA began in 2017 and operates out of Burbank, California. It claims it’s the world’s most secure digital currency IRA, which is definitely a bold claim. But with numerous security measures and a robust insurance policy, BitIRA is certainly working to back up this claim.
It’s still one of the smaller players in the crypto IRA space. But if you want to invest in major cryptos and have peace of mind, it could be one of your best options.
What It Offers
BitIRA makes investing in crypto with retirement accounts quite simple. It handles account setup, and you invest through its partner crypto exchange Genesis. This means you don’t need a third-party exchange or your own crypto wallet and can invest directly through BitIRA, even if you’re brand-new to crypto.
There’s a $5,000 minimum deposit requirement, so keep this in mind when deciding if BitIRA is right for you.
Multiple IRA Account Types
BitIRA supports several account types, letting you enjoy potential tax-benefits while adding crypto to your portfolio. Available account types include:
- Traditional IRA
- Roth IRA
- SEP IRA
You can also rollover other retirement accounts, like a 401(k).
Invest In Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrency selection is a downside of BitIRA, and competitors like Alto support 130+ coins. There’s also a noticeable lack of certain major cryptos, like Cardano and Solana.
However, for basic crypto IRA investing, BitIRA has everything you need.
Cold Storage Wallet
Crypto you invest in is held in a cold wallet. BitIRA maintains the private keys for this wallet, so you don’t have to worry about managing your own keys and security.
The fact assets are held in cold storage is also great news in terms of security. Hot wallets are connected to the internet to make it easier to trade crypto. In contrast, cold wallets are disconnected and are far less vulnerable to hacks.
Pricing & Fees
Unfortunately, BitIRA doesn’t disclose trading fees or other pricing information on its website. The company partners with Equity Trust Company as its custodian, stating it has some of the most competitive fees in the industry. But ultimately, BitIRA says “fees vary for every account vay so it’s impossible for us to tell you what fees will be.”
In one Reddit thread, an alleged BitIRA employee shares more information when other users are asking about account fees. This user states:
“As part of our full service solution (which offers the best security measures and insurance on the market), our team coordinates with custodians to help customers move funds from existing retirement accounts to a self-directed IRA. Sometimes this process is relatively straightforward. Sometimes it's quite labor intensive. Therefore we have chosen to speak to potential customers before providing a quote.”
As for other fees, BitIRA charges:
- Storage Fees: 0.05% per month.
- Account Set-Up Fees: $50.
BitIRA stresses security, and the company provides an all-in-one solution for crypto IRA investing. However, the low number of crypto assets it supports is a downside. And the fact you need to call customer support before figuring out pricing might irritate some customers.
Other crypto IRA companies are much easier to understand and have a more streamlined process. And many competitors support far more assets as well.
Here’s how BitIRA compares to Alto and BitcoinIRA, two main players in the space.
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1% crypto trading fee
5.99% set-up fee, 2% crypto trading fee, and a 0.08% monthly fee
We prefer Alto due to the simple fee structure and extensive list of supported cryptos. It also lets you invest in other alternative assets through its main IRA product, which may be attractive to some investors.
As for BitcoinIRA, it’s on the pricier side for crypto IRA providers. But it’s incredibly beginner-friendly, and it also has an Earn product that lets you earn up to 6% APY with your crypto. In contrast, BitIRA and Alto don’t offer any staking rewards or passive income options.
Ultimately, BitIRA’s lack of pricing information and non-user friendly website are two downsides we don’t like. And the low number of available cryptos is also worth noting.
Account Opening Process
You open a BitIRA account by visiting its website and downloading a free copy of “The Essential Guide to Digital IRAs.” You provide your phone number, name, and email to get this guide. If you want to open an account, you have to call a BitIRA customer service representative to talk about pricing and getting the process started.
BitIRA also notes that different factors influence how long it takes to set up an account. For example, rollovers can take more time than regular account setups. Equity Trust Company also takes time for due diligence.
All-in-all, it takes one to three weeks to open most BitIRA accounts.
Safety & Security
As mentioned, BitIRA stresses it’s the most secure crypto IRA provider in the world. And considering the low number of available cryptos and lack of pricing information, security is really the competitive advantage you should consider when picking a crypto IRA.
Here are some of the main security features you get as a BitIRA customer:
- Multi-layer encryption and multi-factor authentication to encode and secure transactions
- Assets are held in cold storage and are completely offline
- You don’t have to manage your own private keys so you can’t lose them or get hacked for your crypto
- Level 2 CryptoCurrency Security Standards (CCSS) compliance
One perk of BitIRA is that it also has end-to-end insurance of up to $100 million from a range of London insurance companies. And end-to-end covers digital assets from events like hacks, theft, physical loss, and damage or destruction.
Finally, any cash that’s in your account benefits from Equity Capital Trust and is FDIC-insured up to $3.75 million.
If you have questions about fees or setting up your account, you can contact BitIRA by emailing [email protected]. You can also call 800-299-1567, Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 5pm PST. There aren’t weekend business hours for customer support.
BitIRA also provides “dedicated IRA specialists” during onboarding to help you set up your new account and to answer any questions you have. However, the main reason you have to call the company in the first place is to get pricing information, which other competitors openly disclose.
The Bottom Line
The crypto IRA investing market is becoming more saturated. This is good news for investors because more competition leads to better services and lower fees.
Right now, BitIRA feels a bit behind the competition in terms of supported assets and ease-of-use. The website doesn’t feel easy to navigate, and the lack of pricing information is a downside. I’m also unsure why there’s no obvious sign-up button on the website to get in touch but rather an ebook lead magnet.
If you want transparent fees and more investment options, Alto is clearly superior. But if you value security and want more peace of mind, BitIRA is still worth considering. After all, it has a robust insurance policy and numerous security protocols in place.
We still prefer Alto’s CryptoIRA for most investors, but you should weigh your options and decide which features are most important for you.
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Multi-layer encryption and cold storage
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Tom Blake is a personal finance writer with a passion for making money online, cryptocurrency and NFTs, investing, and the gig economy.