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eTrade is one of the oldest and most popular investment platforms on the market.

The company was founded in 1982 and has been helping users invest in a variety of products for 40 years. While its popularity has not diminished over time, it is often asked whether the platform offers crypto for users to invest in. The simple answer is no, they do not, at least not directly.

While you cannot buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or your favorite altcoin on eTrade, there are still ways to gain exposure to the crypto sector. We will look at your options on eTrade before giving you some alternative platforms to use if you do want to buy crypto directly, rather than through the options available through eTrade.

What Does eTrade Offer for Crypto?

The main way to get exposure to crypto on eTrade is through crypto focused stocks, such as mining companies, and through ETFs, which are available for both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Below is a list of some of the crypto investment options available through eTrade:

  • Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC)
  • Riot Blockchain, Inc. (RIOT)
  • Overstock.com, Inc. (OSTK)
  • MicroStrategy Incorporated (MSTR)
  • Osprey Bitcoin Trust (OBTC)
  • Marathon Digital Holdings, Inc. (MARA)
  • Paypal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL)
  • Grascale Ethereum Trust (ETHE)
  • Coinbase Global, Inc. (COIN)
  • Grayscale Horizen Trust (HZEN)
  • Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK)
  • ProShares Trust – ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO)
  • Grayscale Ethereum Classic Trust (ETCG)

What is an ETF?

An ETF, or exchange traded fund is a type of security that tracks an index, sector, commodity, or other asset. They can be purchased or sold on a stock exchange the same way a regular stock is. ETFs are available for all types of assets and are tools that can help the average person invest in a complex position that they would not normally. Crypto ETFs were launched in late 2021 to much excitement. They allow investors to gain exposure to the crypto sector without having to buy the assets directly.

When investing in an ETF you’re not buying the asset itself but buying a stake in a conglomerate that holds positions in the asset or group of assets themselves. So, in the case of a crypto ETF, you are not actually buying units of the BTC or ETH, but instead buying shares in a company that mirrors the performance of the crypto of interest.

If you bought an asset such as BITO on eTrade, you wouldn’t actually be buying Bitcoin. However, your account balance would reflect any upwards or downwards movement by the token, as BITO is an ETF that directly track Bitcoin’s performance.

Benefits and Downsides of ETFs or Stocks

There are two main benefits to investing in an ETF or stock rather than directly investing in a digital asset. The main benefit is that it is easier to exit a position for cash, as the ETF or stock is solely bought and sold for fiat. This means that when the profit is appealing an investor can easily cash out and can easily use a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) to do so without having to pay tax. The other benefit is that you do not need any knowledge on how to send cryptocurrency transactions or use a crypto wallet. This helps in making ETFs a low technological barrier of entry for new investors.

There are also two main downsides to investing in an ETF or stock. The main downside is that you aren’t directly buying the underlying asset, but instead a stake in the company who owns it. If Bitcoin or Ethereum explode in value, the ETF or stock share is likely to go up, but the profit margin is likely lower than if you bought the asset directly. The other downside is that you do not get the utility of the crypto asset, meaning you cannot use it as a currency. If you have $20,000 in a Bitcoin ETF you will not be able to buy something that costs $20k in BTC without first selling your position and then buying Bitcoin to make the purchase. Both of which will incur fees and reduce overall profits.

Will eTrade Ever Offer Crypto?

While eTrade has not stated whether they will offer cryptocurrencies for direct purchase in the future, it seems possible that it will. This is because the crypto sector is growing, and eTrade would prefer that users did not go to another platform to make an investment that eTrade could simply add support for.

In the meantime, ETFs and stocks are the only options on eTrade.

Alternatives to eTrade That Offer Crypto

Fortunately there are a number of Questrade alternatives that do offer crypto exposure in addition to traditional stocks and bonds. Here’s a look at some of the most popular platforms that offer crypto and stocks:

WeBull

Webull is a crypto and stocks trading platform that targets a new crop of millennial traders who are looking for a mix of convenience and functionality. Founded in 2017 by Fumi Technology, Webull boasts of a zero-commission model that compares competitively with brokerage platforms like Robinhood and Wealthsimple. More suited for beginners than eTrade, though you cannot withdraw crypto purchased through WeBull at this time.

Webull logo

WeBull

  • Online broker with support for stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrencies
  • Buy cryptocurrency for as little as $1
  • Commission-free trading
  • Free stock for signing up
Cryptocurrencies Supported BTC, ETH and more
Fees Commission-free trading

Coinbase

Coinbase is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with trading volume only beaten by Binance and a great reputation for industry-leading security. It is considered one of the best ways to buy Bitcoin, especially for Americans. Coinbase is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in existence, having been in operation since 2012. Completely different from eTrade as they offer solely crypto services and not stocks or ETFS.

Coinbase logo new

Coinbase

  • Beginner-friendly UI make it easy to make quick buys
  • One of the oldest and most reliable exchanges
  • Earn $200 in free crypto after completing sign-up process. Terms apply.
  • Variety of products including exchange, staking, wallet
  • Advanced Trading options for experienced traders
Funding Methods Debit & Credit Bank, PayPal, ACH, Bank Transfer, e-Transfer
Cryptocurrencies 100+
Countries 100+

Crypto.com

One of the fastest growing crypto exchanges in the industry, the company has gained mainstream attention through media deals such as buying the naming rights to Staples Center in LA. With a wide array of digital assets available, and a good mobile platform, it is a great alternative to eTrade for those looking to directly buy crypto assets.

SoFi Logo

SoFi Crypto

  • Receive $10 when you start trading crypto assets
  • Only available in the United States
  • Completely custodial platform
  • Supports BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH & ETC
Cryptocurrencies Supported 22+ (Bitcoin, Ether, LTC)
Fees 1.25%
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About the Author

Evan Jones

Evan Jones was introduced to cryptocurrency by fellow CryptoVantage contributor Keegan Francis in 2017 and was immediately intrigued by the use cases of many Ethereum-based cryptos. He bought his first hardware wallet shortly thereafter. He has a keen and vested interest in cryptos involving decentralized backend exchanges, payment processing, and power-sharing.

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