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Author Topic: Self-Directed IRA investing in Bitcoin  (Read 6174 times)
jork
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December 14, 2012, 02:13:39 PM
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I'm interested in investing a portion of my IRA in bitcoin. The only way to do that would be to put the bitcoin investment into a Self-Directed IRA.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self_directed_ira

It seems that an investment in bitcoin should be seen as an appropriate alternative, or non-traditional IRA investment. You could make a good argument that it should be a permitted investment, but I'm concerned that it would really take some convincing to get the IRA trustee to consider hosting the account.

Since investing in bitcoin doesn't fall in the category of "self-dealing", the trustee would probably question whether bitcoin is a "prohibited asset".

Regulations aren't clear on a virtual commodity that has real-world value but I couldn't find anything specific that would prohibit investing in something like bitcoin.

IRS regulations prohibit; Collectibles such as gems, stamps, baseball cards, coins--except coins minted by the US Treasury, life insurance, sub-chapter S corporation stock, you can't invest in family members....

IRS regulation permit; foreign currency, some collectibles such as artwork, antiques, some metals, real estate, foreign stock, cattle, commodities, royalty rights.

I think bitcoin is similar to a foreign currency for this purpose.

I would only consider using an offline wallet such as Armory for an investment like this which the trustee could use to verify the balance.

Anyone have any experience with this--or thoughts--ideas?
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mcgravier
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December 14, 2012, 09:24:58 PM
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Bitcoin is still in early stage of development and adoption. Despite major steps forward IMO it is still to early to put in it money that you cannot afford to lose. On the other hand this could make you insanely rich.

Too much risk, to much to lose in my opinion.
But do as you like, it may be epic win after all Smiley
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December 15, 2012, 03:35:20 PM
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Never heard of anyone putting their IRA in BTC. Keep us posted.

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BTC4Victory
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January 28, 2013, 08:00:46 PM
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Jork: Just wondering if you've looked into this at all and found a reputable custodian willing and able to handle an investment in BTC, as I'm about to be moving jobs and likely rolling my current-employer 401(k) into an IRA -- and the idea of diverting a portion of that into an aggressive investment in BTCs via a self-directed IRA has a lot of appeal to me... Smiley
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January 28, 2013, 08:12:57 PM
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I think whoever has the foresight and resources to create a bitcoin-backed ETF will open the floodgates for traditional investors, will see bitcoin rise in value 10x to 100x, and will become very wealthy in a short amount of time.

Now, who do we know who both believes in bitcoin and has the money/contacts to get such a thing up and running?

One of the very early adopters with 10k+ bitcoins sitting in cold storage would be a good candidate...
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January 28, 2013, 08:40:09 PM
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I think whoever has the foresight and resources to create a bitcoin-backed ETF will open the floodgates for traditional investors, will see bitcoin rise in value 10x to 100x, and will become very wealthy in a short amount of time.

Now, who do we know who both believes in bitcoin and has the money/contacts to get such a thing up and running?

One of the very early adopters with 10k+ bitcoins sitting in cold storage would be a good candidate...

I have the ability to make this happen, what I don't have is the coins to back the ETF or the funds to go through all the proper red-tape that is necessary to get it to where the general populace can easily access it. Believe you me, if I had the resources it would be done in a heartbeat.
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January 29, 2013, 04:27:35 AM
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Quote
I have the ability to make this happen, what I don't have is the coins to back the ETF or the funds to go through all the proper red-tape that is necessary to get it to where the general populace can easily access it. Believe you me, if I had the resources it would be done in a heartbeat.

Not to be a dick, but how exactly do you have the ability based on what you just said?
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January 29, 2013, 02:51:43 PM
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Quote
I have the ability to make this happen, what I don't have is the coins to back the ETF or the funds to go through all the proper red-tape that is necessary to get it to where the general populace can easily access it. Believe you me, if I had the resources it would be done in a heartbeat.

Not to be a dick, but how exactly do you have the ability based on what you just said?

Someone can have the ability to be the best baseball player in the world, but be without a bat and a mitt, can't he?

Having ability != Having resources.
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March 09, 2013, 09:44:29 PM
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I have had a couple of people I know want to put their IRA money into bitcoin and ask me for help.  Unfortunately I am unable to help them. If anyone knows a good way to deal with this, please offer some guidance.

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lukestokes
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March 10, 2013, 08:51:35 PM
 #10

I had this exact thought over the weekend. With the stock market at an all-time high (being driven up before the big guys cash out and it crashes???), I'm not sure I want to put 2012 IRA funds into it (we still have until April 15th). Is there no current option for this? I'm not talking about putting in a huge amount.

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jork
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March 10, 2013, 09:05:50 PM
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I did discover this company which looks like one of the bigger players regarding self-directed IRAs...
www.pensco.com
But it is expensive to have them "manage" your self-directed IRA. Managing it on their end is simply generating annual paperwork that meets IRA regulations. I didn't think this was worth the cost.

So, I ended up withdrawing some IRA funds early and avoiding the penalty because I also paid college bills this year. See IRS publication 590 for details on that method. (still had to pay income tax on the IRA withdrawal)

So, I've now got a retirement wallet funded with bitcoins.
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May 07, 2013, 04:42:37 AM
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I am researching self-directed IRAs.  One trust company indicates the Bitcoins *must* be owned by them held for my benefit -- just like you can't have physical gold in a closet in your house in a self-directed IRA.  Their legal and IT departments are researching the viability and fees.  I have offered to host a virtual room to show them how to create a wallet and back it up, etc.  If/when it works out then I will report here.
David Rabahy
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May 20, 2013, 02:35:55 PM
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I am researching self-directed IRAs.  One trust company indicates the Bitcoins *must* be owned by them held for my benefit -- just like you can't have physical gold in a closet in your house in a self-directed IRA.  Their legal and IT departments are researching the viability and fees.  I have offered to host a virtual room to show them how to create a wallet and back it up, etc.  If/when it works out then I will report here.

The one trust company I've been researching self-directed IRAs through wants to wait until the IRS clarifies their position on Bitcoin as a collectable or not.

How does one pose a question to the IRS?
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May 20, 2013, 02:37:09 PM
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The one trust company I've been researching self-directed IRAs through wants to wait until the IRS clarifies their position on Bitcoin as a collectable or not.

How does one pose a question to the IRS?

Besides researching through other trust companies, how does one go about creating a trust company?
wormbog
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May 20, 2013, 03:02:36 PM
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What we're all waiting for is an ETF that holds bitcoins as its asset. This would be done by an existing financial services company that already has the infrastructure in place (Vanguard, iShares, etc.)

Then keeping bitcoins in an IRA would be as simple as buying the ETF with funds in your IRA account.
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May 20, 2013, 03:24:55 PM
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US Trust indicates that one must have $3,000,000 in order to open a trust account with them that *might* be able to get us into Bitcoin.  So, we keep looking.
David Rabahy
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May 22, 2013, 06:14:14 PM
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US Trust indicates that one must have $3,000,000 in order to open a trust account with them that *might* be able to get us into Bitcoin.  So, we keep looking.

My Merrill Lynch rep indicates he is aware of Bitcoin but checked and reports Merrill Lynch is not doing anything at all with it yet.  What's needed is the IRS position; is it an investment just like foreign currencies *or* is it a collectable?
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May 24, 2013, 07:46:33 PM
 #18

My CPA is checking into the procedure for creating our own custodian dedicated to Bitcoin.  We will need a lawyer familiar with SEC rules, etc.  If I manage to get a custodian created then it could be the custodian for everyone else's IRAs but not my own (maybe).  I need someone else to get a custodian created too for me and then we could compete.

With just one custodian a 2 of 2 multisig would work ok.  The custodian would be one of the signers and of course the IRA owner would be the other; neither could transact without both.  The risk is the custodian might fail.  To address this an IRA owner could choice a premium arrangement with two custodians.  In that case 3 of 4 multisig would be perfect; if one custodian fails then at least the owner and the remaining custodian could transact.

I might need more funding than I can afford by myself.

This idea (my efforts/work) to date is utterly free for the taking.  If/when things get more valuable, e.g. legal documents, etc., then I *might* want to keep it private but I'm hoping not.  Zillions of custodians just seems like the Bitcoin way to me.
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May 30, 2013, 03:24:02 PM
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My lawyer pointed me at Equity Trust and Pensco but just like US Trust and Provident, neither of them are handling Bitcoin at this time.  Their legal departments need the IRS to state their position; just like any other currency investment or collectable.  Collectables cannot be held by a custodian in trust for a self-directed IRA.

Apparently it can be costly and time consuming to get an IRA Letter of Determination.  We need a Bitcoin Angel http://venturebeat.com/2013/05/28/60-angel-investors-rally-forces-and-raise-6-7m-for-bitcoin-startups/ to step up.
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May 30, 2013, 07:44:43 PM
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http://www.thehardmoneypros.com/self_directed_ira_custodians.shtm working this list now.
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