Frozen Bitcoin IRA deposits at Genesis show crypto retirement risks – Kitco NEWS

Frozen Bitcoin IRA deposits at Genesis show crypto retirement risks – Kitco NEWS

Blockchain Crypto Market Technology
December 2, 2022 by Coinvasity
Follow us on:Follow us on:Follow us on:Kitco NewsShare this article:Editor’s Note: With so much market volatility, stay on top of daily news! Get caught up in minutes with our speedy summary of today’s must-read news and expert opinions. Sign up here! (Kitco News) – While the crypto winter has impacted all the investors in this

Follow us on:
Follow us on:
Follow us on:
Kitco News
Share this article:
Editor’s Note: With so much market volatility, stay on top of daily news! Get caught up in minutes with our speedy summary of today’s must-read news and expert opinions. Sign up here!
(Kitco News) – While the crypto winter has impacted all the investors in this newest asset class, recent disclosures from crypto firms and statements from government officials suggest that the ones entering their autumn years might be at the greatest risk.
Embattled crypto lender Genesis Trading, which earlier this month was forced to halt withdrawals and new loan originations for their customers due to the fallout from FTX, has also frozen the funds invested through them by Bitcoin IRA, which marketed crypto-based retirement accounts.
The revelation underscores what has become a particularly sore spot between the U.S. government and the crypto industry of late: retirement funds.
Even before the implosion of FTX, U.S. lawmakers and regulators were very leery about the way crypto was being marketed as a way of hedging or diversifying retirement plans. On Oct. 26, just weeks before FTX declared bankruptcy, CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero expressed her worry about what she was seeing.
“I have significant concerns about the possibility of pensions and retirement funds investing in cryptocurrencies,” she said. “Cryptocurrencies have not served as a hedge or to diversify traditional investment exposures, but instead have broadly correlated with equity markets. Crypto exposures thought to hedge against risk may unexpectedly amplify risk, heightening financial stability concerns.”
This has now proven to be true, as customers who thought they were investing in a relatively safe retirement account have now seen it frozen as a result of the opaque interconnectedness of the crypto ecosystem. They had no idea that when they invested in Bitcoin IRA, this company would put the money into Genesis, which in turn invested heavily through FTX.
Bitcoin IRA began offering its ‘IRA Earn’ retirement product in February 2021, when crypto markets were booming. IRA Earn promised annual returns of up to 6%. But unbeknownst to Bitcoin IRA customers, the company’s product was entirely dependent on Genesis, which had $2.8 billion in active loans at the end of Q3 2022.
Once Genesis halted withdrawals, customers of Bitcoin IRA discovered that this company was in fact a customer of Genesis. Now Bitcoin IRA customers could face years of waiting to retrieve their funds while Genesis undergoes restructuring or bankruptcy proceedings, if they get their money back at all.
And while the losses sustained by a small and recent company like Bitcoin IRA could seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, government officials are worried that it’s a harbinger of things to come: Just this week, investment giant Fidelity launched their new retail crypto trading accounts.
“Fidelity Crypto is your opportunity to buy and sell bitcoin and ethereum in the Fidelity Investments App,” the company wrote on their website, promising clients the ability “to trade crypto with as little as $1 while also having an integrated view of both your traditional and crypto investments.”
Fidelity manages $4.5 trillion in assets, and they are a trusted brand for retirement savings. Fidelity Crypto is already available in 35 U.S. states, including California, New York, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Fidelity’s decision to move deeper into crypto investment for retirement funds comes against considerable pushback from U.S. lawmakers. After Fidelity announced in April that it was preparing to allow 401(k) holders to allocate up to 20% of their retirement savings into Bitcoin (BTC), several high-profile lawmakers condemned the move.
On Nov. 21, Senators Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Tina Smith, D-Minn. sent a letter to Fidelity Investments CEO Abigal Johnson asking that the firm reconsider the decision to allow retirement plan participants to invest in cryptocurrency.
“Fidelity Investments has opted to expand beyond traditional finance and delve into the highly unstable and increasingly risky digital asset market,” the senators wrote. “The recent implosion of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange, has made it abundantly clear the digital asset industry has serious problems.”
The senators strongly urged Fidelity “to do what is best for plan sponsors and plan participants – seriously reconsider its decision to allow plan sponsors to offer Bitcoin exposure to plan participants.”
New York Attorney General (NYAG) Letitia James took matters further, sending a letter to members of Congress on Nov. 22, asking them to craft legislation that bans crypto investments in defined contribution plans and IRAs. James also called for Congress to reject the Retirement Savings Modernization Act and the Financial Freedom Act, both of which enable further investments in digital assets.
But these officials may have to contend with a younger generation whose appetite for crypto, including crypto-based retirement accounts, is very strong.
A recent study conducted by Charles Schwab found that young investors in the U.S. are increasingly choosing crypto over traditional 401(k)s to save for retirement. The survey found that 37% of Gen Z workers and 54% of millennials got their first investing experience through a 401(k), as compared to 61% for both Gen X and Baby Boomers.
Younger investors were more likely to also invest in crypto, real estate, annuities and small businesses than their older counterparts, with 11% of Gen Z workers indicating that their first investment was into crypto. This group also represents a growing percentage (22%) of people who got involved with investing through a mobile application.
Thirty-two percent of respondents said they wished they could invest in crypto via their 401(k), including 46% of Gen Z and 45% of millennials.
For Kitco News

Interactive Chart
We appreciate your feedback.
How can we help you? 1 877 775-4826
Drop us a line


Add a comment