Charles Schwab Bitcoin

Charles Schwab Bitcoin and Crypto Buying (2022)


Charles Schwab cryptocurrency investing account. Can you buy Stellar, Shiba Inu, Cardano, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, alt coins cryptocurrencies, Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), and Dogecoin on Charles Schwab?


Cryptocurrencies at Charles Schwab


Charles Schwab offers several ways to tap into the pioneering cryptocurrency market. We’re going to explore these methods and suggest an alternative direction to buy crypto directly as well. Here we go.


Crypto Funds at Schwab


Several exchange-traded funds are available today that are connected to the cryptocurrency market one way or another. And because Charles Schwab offers trading in ETFs, this is an easy way to gain exposure to the crypto space.

One popular crypto ETF right now is BITO, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy Fund. This exchange-traded product invests in cash-settled, front-month Bitcoin futures contracts. Except for a cash position, the ETF has no other holdings (like bonds or stocks). Because BITO buys and sells bitcoin contracts, the fund pretty closely tracks the spot price of the digital currency, although we did find some variation during our research.


Can I buy crypto in Schwab


BITO has an expense ratio of 0.95%, which is a little high by today’s standards. But it is an actively-managed fund, which is required for the buying and selling of futures contracts. The ETF has an average daily volume of over 7 million shares, which helps to keep the bid-ask spread tolerable.

Another crypto ETF available for trading at Schwab is BLOK, the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF. Unlike BITO, this fund invests in stocks (over 40 of them) that are connected one way or another to blockchain technology. This is the advanced software necessary to record and store cryptocurrency transactions around the world.

Examples of companies that are part of BLOK’s portfolio include NVIDIA Corp, Coinbase, and PayPal. BLOK does not hold any futures contracts.

On Schwab’s website, we found a Morningstar rating of 3 stars for BLOK, a return rating of above average, and a risk rating of high.

Although it may be possible to find these and other crypto ETFs using Schwab’s fund screener, the search tool does not have a search feature specifically for crypto ETFs. You may need to conduct your own crypto fund research and compile your own list of ticker symbols.

Trades of ETFs at Schwab carry zero commissions, making crypto fund trades very low cost.


Futures Contracts on Digital Currencies at Schwab


A second method to participate in the crypto market at Schwab is through futures contracts. Schwab is one of the few securities brokers that offers futures trading. Because some (but not all) cryptocurrencies now have futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, this is a viable alternative to trading ETFs.

The first step at Schwab to begin trading futures contracts is to open a futures account. This will be a discrete account with its own number.

Once you have signed the necessary paperwork, it’s off to the races. Futures contracts are traded on StreetSmart Central at Schwab. This is the broker-dealer’s browser platform. To launch it, click on the Trading Hub link in the top-right corner of the website and then select Central from the drop-down window.

On Schwab’s browser platform, there are a few futures research tools. One of these is a list of futures contracts available for trading at Schwab. The cryptocurrency group only includes Bitcoin contracts. During our investigation, we did not find Ether contracts, micro Bitcoin contracts, or options on standard Bitcoin futures, although these do trade on the CME.


Can You buy crypto in Schwab


To place a trade for a Bitcoin contract on StreetSmart Central, you first need to enter the ticker symbol in the appropriate field and select futures as the strategy. Bitcoin’s ticker symbol is BTC. For futures trading, you’ll also need to specify the expiration month and year. For example, BTCH2 is the contract that expires in March (H) of 2022.

Besides StreetSmart Central, futures trading is also possible on its mobile cousin StreetSmart Mobile (but not on the regular Schwab app).

Unfortunately, Schwab doesn’t offer zero-commission trading in futures, one of the major downsides in this category. The brokerage firm charges $2.25 per contract, per side for futures trades.


Crypto Stocks at Schwab


If futures trading looks too complicated for you, there is always the simplicity of old-school stock trading. Although there is no crypto stock per se, there are several companies today that are investing heavily into the crypto world. Combined with $0 stock commissions, this is definitely a sublime method of tapping into the cryptocurrency space.

Although Sublime the band is no longer around, the riot continues with Riot Blockchain, Inc. Trading on the Nasdaq with ticker symbol RIOT, this company mines Bitcoin. That means it is one of the groups actually creating digital coins. Riot has multiple mining locations throughout the United States.

The current market cap of Riot is just $1.9 billion, so this is not a large company. There is no dividend, although Riot has had some positive earnings quarters.

The one risk we see with this small-cap stock is the ratings available on Schwab’s website and mobile app. The Schwab Equity Rating is an F, which corresponds to strongly underperform.


How to buy crypto in Schwab


Better ratings will be found with Mastercard. This mega-cap company has invested heavily in cryptocurrency payment technologies and partnerships around the world. The stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange with ticker symbol MA. This one does pay a dividend.


Direct Crypto Trading at Webull


If all of the indirect methods discussed in this article to get into the cryptos on Charles Schwab don’t quite appeal to you, there is always the direct buying and selling of coins themselves. Although this is not possible with a Charles Schwab account, it is possible with a Webull account.

Currently, Webull offers direct trading in more than 20 cryptocurrencies. Besides really popular ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum, the brokerage firm has some exotics. Here is the full list:

  • Algorand (ALGOUSD)
  • Avalanche (AVAUSD)
  • BAT (BATUSD)
  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Chainlink (LINKUSD)
  • Cosmos (ATOMUSD)
  • Curve DAO (CRVUSD)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Decentraland (MANAUSD)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • Fantom (FTMUSD)
  • LINK (LINKUSD)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Loopring (LRCUSD)
  • Polygon (MATICUSD)
  • REN (RENUSD)
  • SHIB (SHIBUSD)
  • Solana (SOLUSD)
  • Sushi (SUSHUSD)
  • Stella Lumens (XLM)
  • Terra (LUNAUSD)
  • The Graph (GRTUSD)
  • UNI (UNIUSD)
  • XLM (XLMUSD)
  • Zcash (ZEC)

Orders for cryptocurrencies can easily be placed on any of Webull’s platforms. There are three of them: mobile app, browser platform, and desktop program. Simply enter a coin’s ticker symbol (each coin has one just like a stock or fund) and enter a whole-coin amount or whole-dollar amount.

During our probing of this system, we were quite impressed with Webull’s software. The desktop platform has a lot of great tools. For example, the mobile app has a community forum where it’s easy to chat with other Webull customers about crypto trades and other investment topics.


How to buy crypto


Price action for coins can be charted on Webull’s trading platforms just like stocks and funds. It’s easy to get an order ticket populated. Just right click on a graph and select the trade link from the drop-down menu. Webull’s platforms use real-time data for coins.

Either market or limit can be selected for the order type. Limit orders automatically default to day orders, while market orders are IOC (immediate or cancel). It’s easy to toggle between buy and sell on the order form.

Although Webull’s trading programs do include a simulated mode, cryptocurrencies cannot be traded in it.

As with equities and funds, coins at Webull can be added to a watchlist. Alerts can be created for them, and it’s possible to save notes on them as well. As already alluded to, there are lively cryptocurrency discussions on Webull’s mobile app.

Webull provides limited research tools for cryptocurrencies. There is no screener. A coin’s profile includes news articles from multiple sources, including Dow Jones and Benzinga.

A discrete crypto account is required to start trading digital currencies at Webull. If you already have a securities account, it’s simple to open a crypto account. Using the mobile app, tap on the bull icon at the bottom. Next, tap on More, and then select Crypto Trading.

In line with its low-cost investment philosophy, Webull charges no commissions on crypto trades, although buy and sell prices do have a 100 basis-point spread baked into them.

Learn more about Webull cryptocurrencies trading.


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Options on Crypto Stocks and ETFs


If you want to add some leverage to your crypto securities trading routine, Schwab offers options on both stocks and ETFs. During our probing, we found thousands of contracts on many of the crypto securities out there today, including on the ones mentioned in this article. For example, BITO has thousands of available contracts just in the front month alone.

It’s easy to find options on Schwab’s website. On a stock or fund’s profile, just click on the Options tab that appears in the horizontal row of choices at the top of the screen. On StreetSmart Edge, the desktop platform, click on the Option Chains tab that appears on the stock order form.

Schwab has no base charge for option trades that are placed online, although it does charge 65¢ per contract.


Trading Crypto Products on Foreign Exchanges at Schwab


In case all of the American investments mentioned thus far don’t quite deliver what you’re looking for, Schwab has an international trading service that opens up many more possibilities.

Among the many global stock exchanges available to Schwab customers is the Toronto Stock Exchange. Trading on this northern exchange is BTCC, the Purpose Bitcoin ETF.

This is the real deal. This fund actually holds real bitcoin, not futures or options or stocks. BTCC currently holds nearly 31,000 bitcoins. That’s quite a lot.

BTCC is eligible for Canadian retirement accounts (both TFSA and RRSP), and there is a US dollar version.

A digital wallet is not required to own shares of BTCC. It trades on the Toronto exchange like any other ETF.

The major downside of Schwab’s foreign asset trading service is that it is rather pricey. That $0 commission schedule you have grown to love is not available, not even for stocks and ETFs. An online trade in the Euro zone, for example, is €19, and using a live agent is much more expensive.


Advantages of Direct Crypto Trading Over Other Methods


There are several reasons why you may want to go with direct trading instead of other methods to trade crypto. First is the simple fact that with direct trading, you’re actually buying and selling coins rather than an investment linked to the price of coins. Mastercard stock, for example, is influenced by many issues, not just the price of cryptocurrency.

Second, crypto trading may be cheaper than other forms of crypto investing. Trading mutual funds, futures, or securities on foreign exchanges may come with higher commissions than Webull’s crypto spread, for example.

Another common reason investors prefer trading cryptocurrencies directly is that the coins trade 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Webull does shut down its trading service from 5:30 pm, EST, to 6:30 pm each day for software maintenance.)

Direct crypto trades usually have very low minimums. Webull, for example, has a $1 minimum transaction amount. This is a much lower trade minimum than most asset classes at Schwab will have.

A final advantage of direct crypto trading is that it offers faster settlement. Crypto trades at Webull settle one day after trade date, and proceeds from a sale can be used immediately to buy other coins. By comparison, stock and ETF trades take two business days to settle.


Charles Schwab Crypto Judgment


A brokerage account with Charles Schwab does open up the possibility of multiple crypto trading methods. But one is still missing, and this one may be the best experience.


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Updated on 2/8/2022.

About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.