Can You Use a Roth IRA to Invest in Crypto?

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Contributor, Benzinga
December 23, 2022

The crypto market has seen explosive growth as digital assets mature from relatively unknown to full-fledged asset classes. As a result, more investors are considering crypto investments within their Roth individual retirement accounts (IRAs). 

As it turns out, you can hold crypto in a Roth IRA. Read on for simple steps to follow and create your account.

What is a Roth IRA?

A Roth IRA allows investment of after-tax dollars into a retirement account. From there, you can direct funds toward various investments. 

Because taxes were already paid on contributions, you are generally not taxed on investment gains at retirement age, making Roth IRAs ideal for long-term savings. With that said, withdrawals before retirement may result in taxable penalties. 

Is it Possible to Invest in Crypto in a Roth IRA?

Yes, it is possible to hold crypto in a Roth IRA, but there are limitations. According to IRS rules, Roth IRA contributions must be made in cash. After the initial cash contribution, funds can be directed toward various investments. You can’t move cryptocurrencies or digital assets directly into your Roth IRA account. 

However, Roth regulations permit investors to use contributed funds to purchase and hold digital assets in their accounts. IRS rules consider Bitcoin and other cryptos to be property, which is how they are typically taxed. 

The challenge comes in finding a retirement custodian offering purchase of alternative assets like crypto within a Roth IRA. Because few traditional providers permit crypto investments, investors have increasingly turned to crypto IRAs.

Crypto IRAs are self-directed IRAs that facilitate traditional and alternative asset investing. With these accounts, you can add crypto, precious metals, and other alternative assets to your retirement plan. 

Pros and Cons of Buying Crypto in a Roth IRA

Just because a custodian allows holding crypto in a Roth IRA, it doesn’t automatically mean doing so is for everyone. While crypto offers unique and powerful growth opportunities, it’s important to weigh risk against reward when it comes to your retirement fund.  


  • Investors can increase portfolio diversification with alternative assets.
  • Roth IRAs provide substantial tax advantages on capital gains, allowing portfolios to potentially grow tax-free.
  • Historically, cryptocurrencies have demonstrated outsized returns. Should the trend continue, investors may significantly shorten the timeline to achieve their retirement goals.
  • Self-directed IRAs bring alternative and cutting-edge investments to your retirement plan.


  • Cryptocurrency investments come with extreme volatility; this may not be suitable for conservative or traditional retirement planning.
  • Crypto-specific IRAs can introduce additional fees or tax implications.
  • The risk of substantial short- or medium-term loss is not insignificant.
  • Some crypto-specific IRAs don’t offer other asset investments, so you may want to consider opening two accounts.

How to Invest in Crypto in a Roth IRA

Self-directed IRAs (SDIRAs) allow investors to include alternative assets in their retirement plans. Because crypto is a relatively new and burgeoning asset class, you’ll need to conduct due diligence first.

Find a Retirement Custodian

The first step is finding a Roth IRA provider that allows cryptocurrency investments. Some also permit crypto-related investments, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or futures. Before opening an account, consider potential fees, available investments, and account minimums. 

Open a Self-Directed Roth IRA

Self-directed Roth IRAs let investors control their own trades, rather than rely on an investment manager. When you open an account, you’ll need to provide personal information like your address, phone number, and social security number.

Fund Your Self-Directed Roth IRA

Upon opening your Roth IRA, you’ll need to fund the account with cash. You can link your bank account, or move an existing account to jump-start your investment potential. Remember that while you can open multiple IRAs at once, the total annual contribution for all IRAs is limited.  

Purchase Cryptocurrencies 

Next, it’s time to purchase your cryptocurrency (or currencies) of choice. Bear in mind that some self-directed IRAs limit your digital asset investments to major cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum,  while others permit a broader range of selection. Also consider how different cryptocurrencies might impact trading, storage, and other one-time or ongoing fees. 

Stay on Top of Your Investments

In some cases, Roth IRAs are designed as set-it-and-forget-it investments where you set investment criteria and minimize manual interaction.

Conversely, self-directed IRAs require active input to guide investment decisions. That’s important for risky assets like crypto, which can be volatile and must be monitored.

Prepare to keep up with crypto markets and evaluate your holdings, goals, and risk tolerance regularly. 

Consider How to Invest in Crypto Carefully

Over the last decade, using Roth IRAs to invest in cryptocurrency has become more common. 

However, crypto investments are relatively new, and do come with a unique risk profile; they can greatly expedite, or possibly hinder retirement goals. If you’re prepared to sufficiently research the assets you intend to invest in (and the crypto markets at large),, then these opportunities for your retirement account may make sense.



Is there a Roth IRA for cryptocurrency?


Yes. Several retirement custodians now offer crypto IRAs, which are self-directed IRAs (including Roth IRAs) that permit crypto and alternative asset purchases.


Can I put Bitcoin in a Roth IRA?


Yes. If your Roth IRA permits crypto investing, then you can buy Bitcoin from your Roth IRA. IRA providers may offer many other cryptocurrencies as well.


Can I trade crypto in my IRA?


Some IRAs do permit cryptocurrency trading within the account. The crypto will be held as property, which means it may come with different fees and tax implications.