(Photo: AP)

Equity Trust is now added to the growing number of custodian firms that offer customers the ability to invest in cryptocurrencies for their IRAs. The custodial firm just launched a digital asset platform for those who want to purchase several types of cryptocurrencies.

The mid-tier custodian with $25 billion in assets under management had a key reason for adding cryptocurrencies to its platform.

“It was customer interest, mainly,” Dave Allen, chief operating officer of Equity Trust, told ThinkAdvisor. “Our customers are interested in alternative investments and this extends our current market base.”

The IRA custodian already offers other alternative investments to retail and institutional customers, including real estate, private equity and precious metals. Digital currency was a natural extension, Allen said.

“Equity Trust sought to simplify access to this emerging asset,” Allen said.

The firm now allows customers to use its Equity Trust Digital Asset Platform to buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin and Ripple. Sale transaction cash will be available the next day. The currency orders are done through a digital currency liquidity provider or exchange.

Once the digital currency is purchased, it will be held in “cold storage,” which basically means it is not connected to the Internet.

Equity Trust is another custodian in addition to others like Kingdom Trust and New Direction IRA that offer digital currencies on their platform.

According to Equity Trust, as long as the IRS guidelines are followed, gains from digital currencies in an IRA can be tax-deferred, which no doubt is a benefit to investors considering the volatility of the digital currency market.

To open an account, there is a minimum investment of $10,000, plus a $500 nonrefundable digital asset platform establishment fee. Today’s price of Bitcoin is around $7,400, Ethereum at $415 and Ripple at $0.44.

— Check out SEC’s New Crypto Czar Wants Coin Industry to Step Out of Shadows on ThinkAdvisor.