Vanguard cryptocurrencies trading. Can you buy crypto (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin) at Vanguard?

Can You Buy Crypto on Vanguard?

Believe it or not, it’s possible to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies at Vanguard—at least indirectly. There are several ancillary methods to invest in the crypto world. Keep reading. We’ll show you how.

The First Method Is Crypto Equities

To build the infrastructure necessary for cryptocurrency creation and management, companies around the world have sprouted up. Although Vanguard doesn’t specialize in global trading, it does provide easy access to the major U.S. exchanges through its website and mobile app. Trading crypto-linked equities on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange is one way to tap into the growing crypto space.

A crypto-connected security we found using Vanguard’s stock screener (with Data processing services selected under the Industry category) is Argo Blockchain plc. This is actually an American Depository Receipt trading on the Nasdaq.

Based in the United Kingdom, Argo Blockchain specializes in the mining of cryptocurrencies, which is the creation of coins. According to Vanguard’s profile for Argo, the company does not pay a dividend. Argo currently has a market capitalization of less than $1 billion, so this is a small company.

Nevertheless, many analysts do like the stock (which trades with ticker symbol ARBK). There are currently 7 buy recommendations on Vanguard’s profile with zero holds and sells.

Be aware that ADRs sometimes do charge fees, and Vanguard passes these onto the customer. There are no commissions at Vanguard on trades of ADRs or stocks.

The Second Method Is Crypto Funds

If stocks and ADRs don’t appeal to you, there are investment companies today that invest strictly in futures contracts of cryptocurrencies. One mutual fund that does this is the Bitcoin Strategy ProFund (BTCFX). It is available for purchase at Vanguard with a minimum investment of $5,000.

The Bitcoin Strategy ProFund has a net expense ratio of 1.15%, which isn’t bad for an actively-managed fund. It does, however, have a $20 transaction fee at Vanguard.

BTCFX does a good job of tracking the spot price of bitcoin. It is a relatively new fund, starting in 2021. It has only $32 million in assets, so this is an extremely small mutual fund.

Vanguard Crypto

Because BTCFX is so new, there are no analyst ratings as of yet. Metrics like beta and peer comparisons are also unavailable on Vanguard’s site.

The Third Method Is Crypto Options

On top of the asset classes already mentioned, Vanguard also offers trading in option contracts. Many of the cryptocurrency stocks and ETFs have vibrant option activity. Mutual funds never have options, so there are no options on BTCFX.

But we did find options on ARBK. There are a few thousand contracts currently trading on the ADR. These assets will offer more return and risk due to the leverage inherent in the contracts. Remember that buying a call is a bullish trade, while buying a put is bearish.

On a security’s profile, Vanguard displays a link in the right-hand column: View options for this stock. Click on this link to see calls and puts that are available. Vanguard does not have any integrated spreads or advanced option tools.

Vanguard has no base charge on option trades but does assess a $1 per-contract fee. Customers with more than a million dollars in assets get better deals.

The Fourth Method Is OTC Crypto Securities

We’re not done yet because Vanguard has more in store for us. The broker-dealer provides access to the over-the-counter marketplace, and this will open up thousands of securities, some of which are connected to the cryptocurrency world. In fact, some of the OTC crypto funds invest in cryptocurrencies directly.

One such example is the Grayscale® Digital Large Cap Fund. Trading on the Pink Sheets with ticker symbol GDLC, this fund holds actual cryptocurrencies. There are no stocks, ADRs, or futures contracts. Besides popular currencies like bitcoin, there are some minor ones like Uniswap and Litecoin.

Vanguard cryptocurrency

GDLC started in late 2020, so there’s not a ton of information on it. It does have roughly $300 million in assets. Vanguard’s profile for the fund reports a 52-week range of $17 to $73. The current price is $18.60.

Some over-the-counter securities may not be available for trading online at Vanguard. If you know of an OTC instrument that you want to trade but don’t find it on the broker’s website, you can call in to see if it’s tradable over the phone. Clients with less than $1 million in assets have to pay a $25 surcharge for phone trades. During our research, GDLC was available for trading online.

Vanguard imposes its same commission schedule on OTC trades when they’re placed online: $0.

The Fifth Method Is Foreign Securities

Vanguard does not have a thorough global investing service, but it does offer access to a few foreign exchanges. It does not publish these exchanges and it does not offer any screeners on its platforms for international assets.

If you know of a crypto-linked stock or ETF that trades on a foreign exchange and would like to trade it, you can call Vanguard (trades of foreign assets must be placed over the phone) to see if it’s available. If it is, you’ll have to pay a $50 foreign security surcharge plus a commission, which is also unpublished.

Trade Crypto Directly

If none of the indirect methods of cryptocurrency trading meet your requirements, the only option left is direct trading in coins themselves. While this isn’t available at Vanguard, it is at Webull.

A Webull brokerage account comes with no ongoing fees and no commissions on any trades. Cryptocurrency bid and ask prices are separated by 100 basis points, and this spread compensates the brokerage firm.

Currently, Webull offers more than 30 coins for trading:

  • Algorand (ALGOUSD)
  • Avalanche (AVAUSD)
  • 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)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Loopring (LRCUSD)
  • Polygon (MATICUSD)
  • Solana (SOLUSD)
  • Sushi (SUSHUSD)
  • Stella Lumens (XLM)
  • Terra (LUNAUSD)
  • The Graph (GRTUSD)
  • Zcash (ZEC)

Webull does have a minimum trade amount, although it’s just $1.

Coins trade in very much the same way that stocks and ETFs trade. An order can be submitted in whole dollars or whole coins. Some order types available for securities are unavailable for cryptocurrencies. For example, there are no bracket orders on crypto trades.

WeBull Crypto Trading

WeBull Buy Crypto

The price history of a coin can be charted just like a security. The same graphing tools are available, and Webull provides real-time data on cryptos free of charge.

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Benefits of Direct Trading

Using indirect methods to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency market certainly will have advantages in some situations. But in many cases, indirect trading will have noteworthy upsides. For example, here are some benefits of Webull’s direct trading:

No management fees: Unlike the funds discussed in this article, coins have no expense ratios.

Around-the-clock trading: The cryptocurrency market operates 24 hours a day, every day of the week. It is non-stop, which is quite different from the securities markets. Webull does take a one-hour break each day for software maintenance.

Fast settlement: Crypto trades at Webull settle one business day after settlement, which is faster than the T+2 settlement of stocks and exchange-traded funds. Proceeds from crypto sales at Webull are available the same day for additional trading.

Day trading: Because digital currencies are classified as securities, they can be freely day traded without any PDT regulations.

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Vanguard Crypto Review

Vanguard has several avenues to get running in the world of cryptocurrencies. But one is missing, and Webull has it at very low cost.


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Updated on 3/14/2022.