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How to invest bitcoin in IRAs for retirement

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Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via Getty Images

To Matthew Roed, social security looks a lot less promising than the money he hid in his BitcoinIRA.

Roed is a registered nurse who lives in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and says he spent 16,000 hours researching everything related to Bitcoin. His conclusion? Investing in the cryptocurrency is key to a good retirement, and the best way to do it is with a tax-free, self-managed individual retirement account, or IRA.

“With Bitcoin legally classified as owned by the US government and my crypto being inside an IRA, I knew I would greatly reduce my taxable expenses due to the exponential growth,” said Roed.

At today’s prices, the risk has so far been worth it.

The MBA graduate, father and husband initially invested $ 30,000 in his BitcoinIRA. Right now he says his retirement portfolio is up to $ 250,000,

Even though it fell below its high of $ 500,000, Roed still feels vindicated in his belief that Bitcoin is the future.

“Nobody wanted to listen to me back then, not even my own family,” he said. “I got withdrawn and used my frustration to push more and more to get involved in this market.”

RN Matthew Roed of the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Golden Valley, Minnesota.

Matthew Roed

BitcoinIRA

BitcoinIRA was launched in May 2016 and offers investors the tax benefits of an IRA as well as the returns of a risky and rewarding alternative asset class. It is similar in nature to other IRAs, except that it is funded not by gold, cash, and bonds, but rather by Bitcoin.

The company has more than 100,000 individual account holders, including customers who are only 18 years old. But Chief Operating Officer Chris Kline tells CNBC that 75% of account holders are 45 and older. “It’s not a game for young children anymore,” he said.

BitcoinIRA doesn’t just trade in Bitcoin. It now has a long list of cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum and Litecoin.

Campbell Harvey at Duke University believes diversification is the right decision.

“Having a portfolio that is exposed to a single crypto like Bitcoin doesn’t make sense because while Bitcoin is currently the most important, its share of the total capitalization of cryptos has decreased over time. There are so many other tokens out there, “Harvey said.

When CNBC first profile BitcoinIRA in 2017, it was serving $ 6 million in transactions for 700 account holders. This month it exceeded $ 1.5 billion in all-time transactions.

There were also far fewer crypto-retired players. The market is now inundated with options.

A recent survey of financial advisors shows a clear shift towards cryptocurrencies. Of the 500+ financial advisors included in the report, 14% said they use or recommend cryptocurrencies to their clients now, up from less than 1% in 2019 and 2020.

The IRA custodian Kingdom Trust offers users the ability to diversify into 20 different cryptocurrencies. CEO Ryan Radloff tells CNBC that $ 2 billion of the $ 17 billion it holds for customers is now in cryptocurrency. That’s $ 350 million a year ago.

“The number of people interested in adding Bitcoin to their retirement plans is growing exponentially,” said Radloff. “People don’t want zombie retirement accounts that only allow you to invest in three target funds. They want more choice in what to do with their hard-earned money, and they want access to hard assets that will increase “in value over the long term.”

IRA vs. Roth IRA vs. 401 (k)

Crypto-backed retirement portfolios may grow in popularity quickly, but there are still some major limitations.

For one, while there are several ways to invest your savings for retirement – be it an employer-sponsored 401 (k) or a Roth IRA – very few of these vehicles actually allow for an alternative asset like gold or crypto.

Because of this, self-directed IRAs are the primary retirement tool for holding crypto, explains Shehan Chandrasekera, CPA and head of tax strategy at crypto tax software company CoinTracker.io.

As the name suggests, you open an account with a custodian, make all investment decisions and your income is tax-exempt until you retire. Kingdom Trust and BitcoinIRA both follow this model.

“When it comes to retirement accounts, it is currently Bitcoin IRAs, IRAs, IRAs,” said Tyrone Ross, CEO of Onramp Invest. Onramp sells software that helps financial advisors track clients’ cryptocurrency investments.

“Because it’s considered property by the IRS … that’s why you see the IRA self-directed space explode,” Ross continued. “There are a lot of regulations that have to be met before you get into the 401 (k) room.”

There are exceptions. A small 401 (k) provider called ForUsAll announced last month that it is now allowing attendees to split up to 5% of their retirement savings into 50 different crypto assets, including Bitcoin, that will be held and managed by Coinbase.

Companies like BitWage and Digital Asset Investment Management are also trying to incorporate crypto into traditional employer retirement plans.

But Chandrasekera says that “in general, 99% of the 401 (k) plans don’t offer bitcoin services,” so there is still a way to go before bitcoin hits mainstream retiree platforms.

For example, Fidelity tells its clients that retail brokers cannot buy or sell cryptocurrencies on Fidelity, although theoretically they can get into Bitcoin trading through crypto-related companies that trade in the public markets. The same goes for Charles Schwab.

Read more about cryptocurrencies from CNBC Pro

Volatility risk versus tax savings

Roed spoke to CNBC after completing a 14-hour night shift. In those hours after work, the rehabilitation staff nurse spends most of her time researching ways to invest in cryptocurrencies.

One reason he chose BitcoinIRA had to do with the company’s staking program. Roed lends his bitcoins to third parties in exchange for an annual percentage rate of return (APR) for the risk. “That’s about 2% a year,” he said.

This helps offset the $ 240 annual account fee plus the average transaction fees of 1% to sell and 5.5% to buy.

Kline says customers can see up to 6% annual percentage return on cash and cryptocurrencies, which helps offset fees.

Another important consideration? Bitcoin’s volatility.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency trades at around half its value in April.

“We don’t see this volatility in the stock market, for example,” said Harvey.

“It is naive to believe that Bitcoin will just keep rising. There will be a limit and people need to think about that carefully, ”he said.

In addition to the risks of volatility, the Securities and Exchange Commission has also warned of the risk of fraud in participating in self-directed IRAs that trade in cryptos.

But Kline remains optimistic. He led CNBC through a case study of a customer who bought about $ 1.5 million worth of bitcoin in April 2020 when the token was trading at about $ 7,335. At today’s value, his investment is worth well over $ 6 million.

BitcoinIRA case study

date quantity Unit price Total bought Current unit value Current total value
April 9, 2020 193,295 BTC $ 7,335 $ 1,417,859 32,416 6,265,850

But ultimately, Kline says it’s the tax break that makes BitcoinIRA a slam dunk for those looking to trade cryptos.

If an average income taxpayer were to sell his Bitcoin today, he would not pay any taxes on the crypto held in his BitcoinIRA. If it were in a Coinbase account, the same person would pay a short-term capital gains tax of 22% or a long-term stake of 15%.

“Pretty straightforward quantitative reasoning for placing an asset like Bitcoin in an IRA environment,” said Kline.

FIX: This article has been updated to show that nurse Matthew Roed spent 16,000 hours researching cryptocurrencies, not 160,000 hours. It also clarifies that 75% of BitcoinIRA account holders are 45 years or older.

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Cryptocurrency

Coal to cryptocurrency: An answer to grid volatility?

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A Midwestern utility company is testing a new tool to cope with variability on the web: mining bitcoins.

St. Louis-based Ameren Missouri, the state’s largest utility company with 1.2 million customers, began mining cryptocurrency in April. When demand is low and electricity is cheap, computers in a 20-foot metal container on site at the Portage Des Sioux coal-fired power station in Ameren race to “mint” a digital coin by looping through complex mathematical calculations.

Ameren Missouri executives see the initiative as research and development rather than a speculative bet on Bitcoin, the price of which has fluctuated sharply this year. It is seen as a pilot project designed to help meet electricity demand with an intermittent energy supply as more and more wind and solar projects go online.

Electric utilities around the world are increasingly tied to the energy-hungry cryptocurrency industry. In the US, however, Ameren is unique among investor-owned utility companies as it is directly involved in mining bitcoins.

Critics argue that the industry is a lifeline for aging fossil fuel power plants at a time when the deepening climate crisis calls for a quick switch to carbon-free energy sources (Energywire, June 24). The fact that Ameren mines bitcoins on-site at a giant coal-fired power plant – one of four that encircle the St. Louis metropolitan area – will almost certainly be scrutinized.

Ameren Missouri, based in St. Louis, says the effort could help reduce its carbon footprint. The utility has to respond to more fluctuating wind and solar power on the regional grid and is looking for ways to avoid having its power plants ramp up and down to meet demand as this is inefficient and can increase emissions.

Warren Wood, vice president of regulatory and legislative affairs for the utility, likened it to using cruise control on the freeway to driving in stop-and-go traffic in the city.

“We have pretty dramatic load changes from minute to minute, sometimes from second to second,” Wood said in an interview. “We need something that can ramp up and down really quickly to be a really effective tool for balancing.”

He is quick to point out that the pilot is initially funded by the utility shareholders and is free to Missouri fee payers.

Ameren initially tried to include $ 8,000 in electricity bills for 309,000 kilowatt hours of bitcoin mining-related energy use in its fuel reimbursement formula, but withdrew the application to the Public Service Commission after the state’s consumer advocate had questioned him earlier this year.

“If Ameren Missouri wants to get into speculative commodities like virtual currencies, it should be done as an unregulated service where installment payers are not faced with their economics,” said Geoff Marke, chief economist for the Missouri Office of the Public Counsel, said on a file . “This endeavor goes beyond the scope of intended regulation of utility companies and, if allowed, creates a slippery slope that could ask fee payers to provide capital for virtually anything.”

However, executives said the initiative could benefit customers if the concept works. And they are encouraged after the first four months.

The pilot has also piqued the interest of Missouri’s top energy regulator, Public Services Commission Chairman Ryan Silvey, who said he was interested in convening a technical workshop on the matter before he even learned about the Ameren project.

Silvey, a former Republican senator, told E&E News that he has a personal interest in digital currency. And a recent piece of news about an aging hydropower dam in New York state being used to mine bitcoins made him think further about the potential of cryptocurrency as a network asset.

Silvey said it was appropriate for Ameren to take all risk of the project at this point as it has not been reviewed in front of the PSC and other parties. But Missouri law allows utility companies to run pilot programs and look for alternative sources of income that could be used to lower tariffs.

“When a company offers us a program that presents little or no risk for consumers to benefit from, I find it exciting,” said Silvey.

But can Bitcoin mining bring value to the web?

Joshua Rhodes, a research fellow at the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin, has researched the impact of Bitcoin mining in Texas and changed his mind about the potential benefits. Texas has become a global hub for cryptocurrency mining after China announced a series of restrictions on digital currencies in May, some of which are aimed at curbing carbon emissions.

“I think that [miners] can add great value, especially how fast they can move up and down, ”said Rhodes. “They can move up and down faster than some traditional generators, which is of value … especially if they are able to monetize the crypto assets.”

According to Ameren, the mining operations at the Sioux plant initially only consume half a megawatt and, depending on grid conditions, can be started up within a minute and shut down again within 20 seconds.

“We talk for a minute or less to turn it on or off,” said Wood. “You really have a good mechanism to try to get a better balance of the grid between your generating resources and the load.”

Questions about coal

Bitcoin mining has been widely criticized for its enormous power consumption – more than 121 terawatt hours worldwide – an amount that exceeds the power consumption of countries like the Netherlands and Argentina, according to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance.

But industry defenders, including Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, claim that bitcoin mining can advance the energy transition and enable the development of renewable energy and energy storage by helping break down barriers to their disruption and lack of transmission are connected.

“Bitcoin miners as a flexible charging option could potentially help solve much of these disruption and congestion problems so that the grids can use significantly more renewable energy,” said Dorsey’s other company Square and shareholder Ark Invest in an April white paper.

Among the skeptics is Andy Knott, deputy regional director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

The Sierra Club recently began research into bitcoin mining and its impact on the power grid after news reports of bitcoin mining operations powered by coal waste, natural gas and nuclear power plants, Knott said.

These projects include a cryptocurrency miner in northwest Pennsylvania that plans to run its operations on waste coal.

“It clearly generates electricity demand, and what will it cover besides the existing electricity generation on the grid?” Said Knott.

However, Ameren officials said just because the pilot is physically housed at the Sioux plant doesn’t mean bitcoin mining is coal-tied. The aim of the project is initially to validate the concept.

Alex Rojas, director of distributed technologies at Ameren, said that because the mining operation is modular, it can be relocated to other locations on the utility’s grid, be it an underutilized substation or a wind or solar farm.

“Renewable energies that cannot be shipped, such as wind and solar energy, urgently need this capability,” he said. “Putting this technology in one place would be of great help.”

Rhodes didn’t reject the idea that mining bitcoins to balance electricity supply and demand can be a net benefit in terms of carbon emissions. But he said it depends on how this affects the shipping of different power plants.

“It can have a positive impact on emissions when operated properly,” he said. “It can also increase emissions when it doesn’t.”

Ameren’s executives did not specify how long the pilot would last or how its success would be defined.

However, Rojas, who leads Ameren’s research and development work, said the results so far are promising and he sees the potential to use bitcoin mining modules for grid balancing on the same scale as energy storage in California with 20 to 80 megawatts per location .

“Something similar could happen with that,” he said. “It’s that scalable.”

For now, the utility is content with keeping the project running unchanged.

So far, Ameren has mined about 20 “coins” and produces a new one about every 15 days.

The utility said it doesn’t care about the volatility of Bitcoin, which peaked above $ 63,000 in April and has hovered around $ 44,000 in recent weeks. That is still over 300% more than last year.

Rather, it sees the mining process itself as the primary value that is being created and bitcoins as a by-product.

“The goal is not to mine crypto,” said Wood. “It’s really running a data center that happens to be producing crypto.”

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US Senator Calls On SEC Chairman To Provide Regulatory Clarity On Cryptocurrencies – Regulation Bitcoin News

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A US senator has asked the chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, to provide clear guidance on cryptocurrency regulation. The Senator stated that in many enforcement actions, “the SEC has failed to identify the securities involved or the reasons for their status as securities, which would have provided much-needed public regulatory clarity.”

US Senator wants the SEC to provide clear guidelines on crypto regulation

Senator Pat Toomey, ranked member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Development, wrote a letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler on Friday regarding the regulation of cryptocurrencies.

His letter followed Gensler’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee last week. Toomey began:

I’m writing to address the concerns I raised at the hearing about the need for regulatory clarity around emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies, including stablecoins.

“In order for investors to benefit from a fair and competitive market, regulators must proactively provide rules on how to get to industry,” the Senator said that the SEC “has instead adopted a strategy of regulation through enforcement in this area.” To date, the commission has launched more than 75 enforcement actions against the crypto industry, fines and penalties totaling more than $ 2.5 billion against crypto companies and individuals.

At the Senate hearing, Gensler extolled “the SEC’s success in pursuing crypto-related enforcement measures.” Toomey noted, however, that “in many of these enforcement actions, the SEC failed to identify the securities involved or the reasons for their status as securities, which would have provided much-needed public regulatory clarity.”

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce is also concerned about the SEC’s approach to crypto regulation. She criticized her own agency in August for taking an enforcement-oriented approach to crypto regulation.

The Senator from Pennsylvania noted that the SEC’s approach was tied to Gensler’s belief that “the likelihood is pretty slim” that a given cryptocurrency platform has no securities. For example, Gensler told Senator Elizabeth Warren at the hearing that the Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange Coinbase (Nasdaq: COIN) could have dozens of tokens, which could be securities.

Recently, Coinbase was forced to abandon its plan to launch a loan product after the SEC threatened legal action and the company alleged it had received no explanation from the regulator. In the meantime, the security guard is in an ongoing proceeding with Ripple Labs and its executives as to whether XRP is a security.

Senator Toomey emphasized:

The SEC has a responsibility to do more than just provide probabilistic estimates.

The Senator concluded his letter with a list of questions for Gensler to answer for additional guidance on crypto regulation.

What do you think of Senator Toomey asking SEC Chairman Gensler to provide clear guidance on crypto regulation? Let us know in the comment section below.

Photo credit: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer of Liability: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation to make an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any product, service, or company. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author are directly or indirectly responsible for any damage or loss caused or allegedly caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Cryptocurrency

Crypto plunge a wake-up call — and tax opportunity — for investors

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A detail of the statue of Satoshi Nakamoto, a presumed pseudonym of the inventor of Bitcoin, in Budapest, Hungary.

Janos Sorrow | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The price of popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum fell on Friday after Chinese officials stepped up crackdown and essentially ruled crypto illegal.

Government intervention, while substantial, does not necessarily mean that financial advisers believe investors should run into the mountains. But it’s another reminder that crypto holdings are subject to wild fluctuations in price, they said.

“I wouldn’t call this the end of the world,” said Leon LaBrecque, accountant and certified financial planner with Sequoia Financial Group, based in Akron, Ohio. “It’s just a wake-up call.”

“This should be in recognition of the fact that it is a volatile asset and that all the ups and downs are a match,” he said.

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This volatility opens up opportunities for tax planning that may only be a few months away, advisors said, depending on the Democrats’ final compromise on federal tax law.

Bitcoin prices had fallen 6% to around $ 42,000 at 3 p.m. ET Friday afternoon. Ether, the second largest digital currency, fell more than 8% to around $ 2,890.

The People’s Bank of China terrified investors after declaring all crypto-related activity illegal. These activities include, for example, trading services and foreign exchanges. This is the latest move in the country’s wider crackdown on digital currencies.

The ban on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be of concern for current and prospective investors as the government limits buyers for a significant segment of the world’s population, advisors said. And other governments are likely to have additional regulations as well, they said.

But these can’t make much of a difference in terms of long-term prices. A daily slump in crypto costs, which may feel significant at this point, is likely just part of a longer-term price correction towards an average price, advisors said.

“Will government regulation make cryptocurrencies volatile? Yes,” said Wayne Wilbanks, managing principal and chief investment officer at Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management in Norfolk, Virginia. “Will it make crypto redundant? No.

“I don’t think China’s regulation, or even US regulations, will make that much of a difference in the long run,” he added.

Bitcoin, for example, is still up around 40% year-over-year despite the slump on Friday. (It’s far from its April high of around $ 63,000, however.)

To this day, volatility is a signature of cryptocurrencies. This year, for example, prices have fluctuated sharply after tweets from Tesla co-founder and crypto enthusiast Elon Musk.

Advisors usually recommend that investors allocate a small portion of their portfolio (anything that they would lose entirely) because of the risk involved.

Tax advantage

Investors can take advantage of recent volatility, according to Jeffrey Levine, CFP, Accountant and Chief Planning Officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners in Long Island, New York.

Equity, crypto and other investors can “reap” investment losses for a tax advantage. Basically, you can sell a lost investment (e.g. Bitcoin) and use the loss to destroy the gain on a winning investment elsewhere in your portfolio.

This “tax loss harvesting” reduces (or eliminates) the capital gains tax owed on the estimated value of an investment sold.

However, unlike stock investors, crypto investors who are sold out can quickly buy back into the same or similar digital currency. As a result, if the volatile asset price recovers shortly thereafter, they can receive the above tax benefit as well as a portfolio benefit.

House Democrats proposed closing this crypto loophole after this year to reform tax law.

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