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Can you buy Bitcoin on Interactive Brokers?

Yes, you can buy Bitcoin and some other cyptocurrencies at Interactive Brokers (IBKR).

Interactive Brokers started offering crypto to its clients in September 2021. However, the number of coins available is limited and cryptocurrency trading is possible only to clients from certain countries, such as the US.

Cryptocurrency trading at IBKR is provided through its partnership with Paxos Trust Company.

Interactive Brokers also offers trading in Bitcoin and Ether futures and ETNs, and a number of stocks and ETFs associated with cryptocurrencies.

Visit Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers crypto
Available coins

Depending on the type of trading permission you have, you can trade either 4 or 8 different cryptocurrency coins at IBKR.

For the Crypto Basic trading permission, the following 4 coins are available: 

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)

If you sign up for the Crypto Plus trading permission, you will gain access to 4 additional coins:

  • Chainlink (LINK)
  • Polygon (MATIC)
  • Uniswap (UNI)
  • Aave (AAVE)

List of cryptocurrencies available on IBKR as seen using the search function of the web client portal

 

Interactive Brokers crypto
Requirements and limitations

Before your first trade

In order to start trading crypto, you need to sign a special amendment to your IBKR agreement called a trading permission, and sign the contract with Paxos, an external crypto trading provider. This should be approved by IBKR within 24 hours.

Because of this, expect that you might not be able to execute your very first trade right away. However, after you have the above agreements signed and approved, your subsequent orders will be executed normally.

Here's what you'll see when you first try to trade crypto: 

Before your first cryptocurrency trade on IBKR you need to request trading permissions

Trading permissions

There are two types of trading permissions you can choose for cryptocurrency trading:

  • Crypto Basic:
    • trade with 4 coins (BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC)
    • on the IBKR trading platforms
  • Crypto Plus:
    • access to 4 additional coins (LINK, MATIC, UNI, AAVE)
    • use Paxos web app
    • allows 24/7 cryptocurrency trading access
    • allows you to transfer and hold USD in your Paxos account
    • supports non-marketable buy limit orders
    • account needs to be pre-funded (This means you are required to have USD in your Paxos account to fund your crypto buy trades. You "pre-fund" your account by transferring money from your linked IBKR account within the Paxos web app.)

 

Read more about how to change trading permissions at IBKR.

Interactive Brokers crypto
Cryptocurrency trading fees

Cryptocurrency trading with Paxos at Interactive Brokers has a low commission of just 0.12% to 0.18% of trade value. Plus, there are no added spreads, markups or custody fees.

There is however a $1.75 minimum per order (capped at 1% of trade value).

Interactive Brokers crypto
Step-by-step guide

The following is a step-by-step guide to trading cryptocurrency at Interactive Brokers on the IB platform:

1. Open the Client Portal on your IB account

Can you buy Bitcoin on Interactive Brokers - Open Client Portal

2. Look for the symbol search bar and enter the product you are looking for

Can you buy Bitcoin on Interactive Brokers - Symbol search bar

3. Click on 'Buy', and select your order type, amount, and so on

Can you buy Bitcoin on Interactive Brokers? - Order panel

Interactive Brokers crypto
Interactive Brokers vs crypto exchanges

  Interactive Brokers Crypto exchanges
Regulated Yes No
Trading fees Low Usually higher
Deposit/withdrawal fees Low Much higher

There are a number of key differences between Interactive Brokers and a crypto exchange service. Just to name a few:

  • A crypto exchange service is not regulated by financial authorities, it is still a new, unregulated industry. There is a higher risk of exchanges being hacked and crypto assets stolen, which greatly decreases their safety.
  • Interactive Brokers introduced in 2021 trading in "real" coins instead of ETNs and derivatives, through a partnership with Paxos. Only a few brokers currently provide trading in real coins.
  • Crypto service exchanges usually charge higher fees than brokers like Interactive Brokers.
  • Withdrawal and deposit charges at crypto exchanges are much higher than at Interactive Brokers. Also, unused cash is not covered by investor protection at crypto exchanges.

Interactive Brokers: further reading

Interactive Brokers crypto
FAQ

Can I buy Bitcoin through Interactive Brokers?

Yes. IBKR has made available a small selection of cryptocurrencies (4 coins) to be traded directly through their platform. It's available both on desktop, mobile and web. If you choose the Crypto Plus plan, you can trade 4 additional coins using the Paxos web app.

How do I get permission to trade Bitcoin on Interactive Brokers?

You need to sign an amendment to your IBKR license agreement, which can be requested in your "trading permissions" settings after you logged in. Not all countries are supported though, so if you are not a US resident, there's a good chance you won't be able to trade. Here's the official list of available countries.

Can I buy cryptocurrencies on IBKR from the EU?

No. European Union country residents are not eligible to trade crypto at Interactive Brokers. Crypto trading is only available for a few European countries, such as Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of Moldova. Check the full list of available countries

Can I buy cryptocurrencies on IBKR from the United States?

Yes. Since 2021, after signing an amendment to the IBKR user agreement and acknowledging that your trades will be handled by a third party provider, you can trade a handful of cryptocurrencies at Interactive Brokers, including Bitcoin, directly from the IBKR platforms. 

Can IBKR be used only for crypto trading?

No. To keep your permission to trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at IBKR, the broker requires you to maintain at least half of your account activity in something other than crypto.

What accounts are eligible to trade cryptocurrencies at IBKR?

All eligible Interactive Brokers clients with individual or joint accounts can trade cryptocurrencies under either the Crypto Basic or Crypto Plus trading permission.

What trading permissions do I need to trade Bitcoin futures on IBKR?

To trade Bitcoin futures at IBKR, you need to be a US resident and request a trading permission that coveres "Futures" products. You also need to check the boxes for "United States" and "United States (Crypto)".

Which broker is best for Bitcoin?

Check our latest list of best crypto brokers to find out which broker is currently best for Bitcoin according to BrokerChooser experts. 

Author of this article

Bence András Rózsa

Author of this article

Bence András Rózsa is an experienced broker analyst. Having an MSc in international economy and finance, he focuses on equities, cryptos and newcomer financial services. He also has 2+ years of experience within the brokerage industry specializing in stock- and CFD/forex brokers, crypto providers and robo-advisors.

Bence András Rózsa

Broker Analyst

Bence András Rózsa is an experienced broker analyst. Having an MSc in international economy and finance, he focuses on equities, cryptos and newcomer financial services. He also has 2+ years of experience within the brokerage industry specializing in stock- and CFD/forex brokers, crypto providers and robo-advisors.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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