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Buying Cardano with a Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k)

Buying Cardano in an IRA

Why Use Retirement Funds to Buy Cardano?

There are three main reasons to consider investing in Cardano with your retirement funds: taxes, diversification and getting into an emerging asset class.

Key Points
  • Using retirement funds is the smart way to invest in Cardano
  • The top three benefits are tax treatment, diversification and investing in an emerging asset class
  • You must invest with an LLC and can buy Cardano on Coinbase

Tax Benefits of Buying Cardano

Back in 2014, the IRS issued IRS Notice 2014-21, which classified cryptocurrencies, including Cardano, as property, like stocks and real estate. This subjects them to the capital gains tax regime. When you use a Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k) plan to invest, you don’t need to worry about taxes.

When using personal funds to invest, you need to know the details of every Cardano transaction you make. This includes the date you bought it, how much you paid for it, the date and price when you sold it, and how long each crypto was held. At the time of sale, you will either owe short-term capital gains (held less than 12 months) or long-term capital gains (held greater than 12 months).

When you use retirement funds to invest, you don’t have to worry about these details every time you transact with Cardano. Why? Because, retirement plans are tax-advantaged, meaning you do not pay taxes on the investments held inside of them. IRAs and 401(k) plans can either be pretax or after-tax.

Pretax or Traditional IRA or 401(k) – Traditional retirement plans are funded with pretax money, meaning you will receive an upfront tax break. You don’t owe taxes on any funds you contribute to the plan each year. The taxes are deferred until you start distributing funds during retirement.

Roth IRA or 401(k) – Roth contributions are made with after-tax money. Because of this, there is no immediate tax break. The benefit of these plans comes on the back end. All qualified Roth distributions are tax free! To be qualified, you must be at least age 59 1/2 and have a Roth plan open for at least five years.


Any financial advisor or retirement specialist will tell you that you must properly diversify your holdings. As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It makes good financial sense to spread across your investments, whether it be stocks, bonds and mutual funds, or alternative investments, such as real estate, metals and Cardano.

If you are fully invested in the stock market and it takes a dive, guess what? So does your entire portfolio. Proper diversification allows one to ride through down periods with certain investments. For this same reason, you shouldn’t put all of your money into Cardano. Cryptos have had a tumultuous ride since the start. Dramatic swings in the price can affect your bottom line if you are too invested.

Emerging Asset Class

Don’t miss out on the latest, emerging asset class. Imagine if you can go back in time and invest in Amazon, Tesla or Microsoft when they first went public? The cryptocurrency market, including Cardano, is still in it’s relative infancy. The Blockchain technology behind them is improving all the time, so why not take a chance?

Of course, investing in Cardano is not for everyone. There is an inherit risk in new asset types, especially something that not everyone is in favor of. It’s up to you, as the investor, to decide if the risk is worth the reward. Working with a financial advisor is your best bet before deciding whether or not to make a particular investment. Of course, it’s important that you do your own due diligence before investing in any emerging asset class.

Self-Directed IRA or Solo 401(k) for Cardano?

You’ve decided you want to invest in Cardano, so what plan should you choose? A lot depends on the type of income you earn. Are you self-employed or do you work for someone else? If you are self-employed, it’s a no-brainer; the Solo 401(k) is the best plan for you. For everyone else, a Self-Directed IRA is the way to go.

Solo 401(k)

In order to utilize the Solo 401(k) plan, you must have some kind of self-employment income. This can be from your own business, contract work or gig jobs, among other things. The second requirement is that you have no full-time employees, other than a spouse or business partner. The Solo 401(k) is arguably the best plan for the self-employed and features a number of benefits.

The Solo 401(k) plan offers high annual contributions limits, the ability to borrow up to $50,000, a Roth option, UBTI exemption and limitless investment opportunities. So long as your investment is not a collectible and does not involve a disqualified person, you can probably make it. This, of course, includes investing in cryptos, including Cardano.

Self-Directed IRA

Anyone with earned income can open and fund a Self-Directed IRA. In fact, if you already have a retirement plan, you can generally roll those funds into a Self-Directed IRA. Although it is not as feature-rich as the Solo 401(k), there are no restrictions for who can open one.

When you choose the right custodian, such as IRA Financial, you can invest in almost anything, including Cardano, with your retirement funds. A Self-Directed IRA can either be pretax (traditional) or after-tax (Roth). A traditional plan allows for upfront tax deductions since taxes are deferred until you withdraw from the plan. There is no immediate tax break with a Roth IRA, however, all distributions are tax free, assuming you are at least age 59 1/2 and any Roth IRA has been open for at least five years.

How Does it Work?

Although we feel our relationship with Bitstamp is the best way to invest in cryptos, not all tokens are available on the popular exchange. As of right now, Cardano is one of them. However, you can still invest with the exchange of your choosing, such as Coinbase. When you use Bitstamp, you can open up your trading account in the name of your IRA or 401(k) plan. However, in order to invest on a different exchange, you need to open an LLC. While there is an added expense, it’s the best solution if you want to trade on another exchange.

Once the LLC is created, it will be wholly owned by your self-directed retirement plan. You will then create your exchange account in the name of the LLC. The one drawback is that it’s not immediately known that the LLC is owned by a retirement plan, and thus not subject to annual taxes. If ever questioned, you simply need to tell the IRS that your LLC is owned by your plan and you should have zero tax-reporting issues. Plus, there are no third-party broker fees. Once your plan is funded, the LLC is set up and your exchange account is created, you can start buying and selling Cardano and other cryptos without worrying about taxes!

llc crypto infographic

Why Choose Cardano?

Cardano describes itself as “a blockchain platform for changemakers, innovators, and visionaries, with the tools and technologies required to create possibility for the many, as well as the few, and bring about positive global change.” It has a current supply of over 32 billion, and sits at about $1.70 as of June 2021. It reached an all time high of $2.47 earlier this year after spending most of it’s beginnings in the one to ten cent range, before the 2021 crypto boom.

Another relatively new crypto that can be grabbed far cheaper than it’s peers, Cardano is a “proof-of-stake blockchain platform.” It’s founded on peer-reviewed research looking to provide security and sustainability to decentralized networks. They bill themselves to be an “enabling force for positive change and progress.”


For a flat fee of $300, you can get started with IRA Financial to invest in Cardano. There are no asset value or transaction fees with IRA Financial. When buying Cardano, you don’t need a third-party broker. Your exchange account is opened in the name of your LLC, which is owned by your retirement plan. Your IRA Financial account is easy to set up using our app. You have complete control over the private key and can trade 24/7.

Whether you use Coinbase, Kraken or another exchange to invest with, you must be aware of their trading fees. These fees generally range from a dollar or two, up to a percentage of the amount you are trading. Be sure to check out the fee schedules to make sure you know how much it will cost to buy and sell Cardano and other cryptos.


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