Ask Ric Edelman

Hear From the Expert

Ask Ric – Thank You2022-05-05T15:28:22-04:00


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What protects crypto investors from panic selling, similar to a “run on the crypto bank” an a “run on the crypto exchange”? SIPC, NCUA, FDIC (and possibly FSLIC ) insure deposits for at least $250,000 to safeguard investor funds from ‘panic selling’. What protects investors of crypto assets from similar events among crypto institutions headquartered in the USA?
Linda | Ric responded, November 28, 2023

Nothing protects anyone from panic selling, leading to “runs” and massive declines in prices or, in the case of insured bank deposits, liquidity. Sure, bank accounts of $250,000 or less are insured by FDIC – but that doesn’t help you if the bank is closed and the ATM is empty.

SIPC does not protect against investment losses; it only replaces shares lost if the custodian collapses; the shares themselves might still be worthless.

No one should ever invest in anything because of so-called “government insurance.” If you are unwilling to risk loss of your investment, don’t invest. Period.

For those who choose to hold their own crypto wallet, what protects them from “viruses in the wild” or “zero-day viruses” (the portion of the lifespan of a computer virus, from the time it is released upon a population, until the time a protective software patch for it is released)? The response given to Deicy on (10/30/23) seems to suggest that the ‘time a virus is in the wild’ is very brief, but I think that period of time still damages a lot of victims, while we’re waiting for the software patch! The Solar Winds Hack (in DEC2020) penetrated the Dept. of Treasury, at least 8 other Federal Agencies, and at least 100 private entities, including Nvidia, VmWare, and Microsoft. I don’t think they’re viewing such breaches as inconsequential, and neither should we.
Linda | Ric responded, November 28, 2023

If yours is a cold wallet, you are immune to cyber viruses – because your wallet, by definition, is not connected to the internet. But eventually, you will connect that cold wallet to the internet (to sell or transfer your coins), and at that point, your cold wallet becomes a hot wallet – and subject to the risks you describe. There’s no way to avoid this risk, but I’d consider it to be extremely low – so low that you never hear about incidents such as those you describe. I think you’re catastrophosizing – scaring yourself by focusing on unlikely events instead of focusing on more realistic events (such as bitcoin quintupling in price). You might as well suffer insomnia by worrying about asteroids hitting Earth.

I took a loan from my TSP for $11,000 in 02/2023 and bought BITW, and this investment has grown in value to over $28,000. My TSP loan balance is now $9600. Should I sell $9600 of BITW and pay off my TSP loan? Or should I wait to sell enough of my BITW account to pay off my TSP loan, until after April 2024 when the Bitcoin halving may take place?
Joseph | Ric responded, November 28, 2023

You didn’t ask me about your strategy of borrowing from your retirement account to invest in crypto, so I can’t weigh in on what you ought to do now.

BTW and FWIW, IMHO, I would never recommend borrowing against retirement savings to invest. If you’re wrong, not only do you lose money on the investment, you incur interest expenses on the loan – and because the money came from your retirement plan, you risk losing your future financial security. Three reasons not to do what you did – which I would have said had you asked before you did it.

Just wondered about your thoughts on whether investors would move their money out of BITW and into Black Rock or other ETFs when they become approved? Wondering if that would put downward pressure on the value of BITW
Allen | Ric responded, November 28, 2023

I doubt there will be much if any selling, and even if there was, it wouldn’t be expected to alter the price of the fund.

People who bought BITW did so because they wanted a diversified portfolio of crypto. If they only wanted to own bitcoin, they could have bought GBTC or OBTC. So the new bitcoin ETFs won’t impress them – they’d have to go from owning 10 coins to owning just one. Why would any of them want to do that (and incur tax liability along the way)?

Even if large numbers of BITW owners did that, it wouldn’t likely affect the fund’s NAV. That’s because there’d be too few – relative to the crypto universe – to move the price. And since half the fund is in bitcoin in the first place, they’d merely be selling BTC from one fund to buy it in another – a zero-effect trade.

I’m going to continue holding my BITW, with no worries.

When the Bitcoin ETFs are finally approved by the SEC, will the Bitcoin ETF be available for Traditional and ROTH IRAs? Currently Bitcoin cannot be held in an IRA.
Todd | Ric responded, November 27, 2023

Yes, Todd. All ETFs are eligible for investment inside any type of IRA as as self-directed 401(k) accounts (which are available in many employer plans). You’re buying shares of an ETF, and ETFs are securities, and securities are permitted inside retirement accounts. You’re not buying bitcoin when you buy a spot bitcoin ETF. Same when you buy stock ETFs – you’re not buying shares of stock; you’re buying shares of the ETF, which is buying the stocks or the bonds or the real estate or the gold or the bitcoin or whatever. Simple, easy. This is why there’s going to be such a large asset flow into these ETFs – most people have most of their money in IRA and while they can’t easily use that money to buy bitcoin, they can use it to buy these ETFs.

Note that I said “easily.” There are actually qualified crypto IRA custodians – my favorite is Choice, where I have accounts and am an investor – that do let you buy bitcoin, Ethereum and dozens of other digital assets (as well as cows and horses, but that’s another story). Most people will start with these new spot bitcoin ETFs but they’ll soon realize that all they’re getting is bitcoin. If you want more diversification, you’ll want to look at Choice.

I’m an artist. Can I find someone in Washington DC to teach me all I need to know about NFTs? What do you think is the most lucrative way to sell my art? From: Craig Looking for a DC-based expert is silly, since you’re seeking to do something cutting edge on the internet. You should be willing to work with someone remotely, without limiting yourself to a geographic area.
Anonymous | Ric responded, November 18, 2023

I’ve asked my colleague and CBDA faculty member Jacki Roach, who’s a leading expert in NFTs for her thoughts on this. She notes that online learning platforms (Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning) have classes about NFT art (creating collections, the minting process, listing on an NFT marketplace such as OpenSea or Rarible, and business strategies for marketing NFTs.

2021 and 2022 saw a boom in NFT art activity, but the crypto winter has pretty much killed the NFT art market, at least for now. Jacki says there is no lucrative way to sell NFT art at this time. Successful artists are partnering with each other, pitching their work on Twitter Spaces, and building a community of followers on social platforms like Discord.

OpenSea, the most well-known NFT marketplace, has tutorials and resources that explains minting and creating a collection. This is a good place to start. Platforms like cater to the fine art sector and can also be helpful in gaining knowledge. Now might be the right time to start, since prices have bottomed out. The contrarian strategy says it’s best to engage when no one else wants to.

When can I use the CBDA Designation?2023-11-16T11:07:35-05:00

Once you complete one of the tracks in the CBDA program, you are entitled to use the CBDA designation.

Over the past year, we have seen the collapse (and trial) of FTX, as well as of the market and prices for NFTs and perhaps cybercurrencies themselves. Possibly, however, I haven’t read recently of blockchain-enabled purchases of artwork and other objects and services and so assume that the field is moribund, so I turn to you. Are cybercurrencies in regular use in art transactions? Are NFTs still sought-after, with prices that suggest an investment potential for them? Is the blockchain alive and kicking?
Anonymous | Ric responded, November 3, 2023

The NFT market for digital artwork – such as Bored Apes, Crypto Kitties and NBA Top Shots – has collapsed. It seems these were fads, similar to Beanie Babies. It remains to be seen whether prices for these NFTs will recover.

The price collapse of that market coincided with the crash of bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets. However, in the past year, prices for these coins has risen sharply – bitcoin is up 100% so far this year – while prices for most NFTs remains at or near lows. The common viewpoint is that attention is focused on the commercial uses for BTC, ETH and other coins – uses that hyped NFT art lack. There is also an increasing engagement in crypto by institutional investors and governments, and they are focused on primarily on BTC, ETH and stablecoins. This trend is expected to continue.

Meanwhile, there is a new level of interest in NFTs, but of a more commercial nature than the creation and sale of digital art. This is now referred to as the RWA – the tokenization of Real World Assets. Starbucks now distributes rewards to its Loyalty Program members via NFTs; Breitling gives all its watches an NFT so owners can track the provenance of its timepieces; The Norwegian Seafood Assn and Italy’s Parmigiano Reggiano are encoding their products with NFTs to combat forgeries, WalMart is encouraging lettuce growers to track their crops with blockchain technology to reduce the risks of exposure to salmonella, and the state of West Virginia is recording and distributing automobile titles as NFTs, a practice being adopted by other states. These are just a few examples of the uses of NFTs – demonstrating that this technology is alive and well and rapidly growing.

One of the biggest growth areas for NFTs in securities. Franklin Templeton has released the first-ever tokenized money market fund, and release of ETF shares as NFTs is under development by them and others. It’s projected that NFTs will begin to replace mutual fund and ETF shares this decade – a massive achievement for a $30 trillion industry, with huge implications for the financial services industry.

Given all this, will none of the Bored Ape NFTs ever again enjoy investor interest? Hard to believe, but we’ll see.

What is the CBDA Designation?2023-11-16T11:07:44-05:00

The Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets is listed as a professional designation by FINRA. This means you are entitled to use the CBDA designation – Certified in Blockchain and Digital Assets – just like other professional designations, such as CPA, CFA and CFP®. As with all designations, consult your compliance department regarding usage.

Do you think that week have a possible perfect storm in the horizon for Bitcoin, specifically in March and April 2024 when the SEC could possibly give the go ahead for Blackrock’s ETF for BITCOIN, and the four year anniversary of halving of BITCOIN ?
Anthony | Ric responded, September 13, 2023

Perfect storm? I think you mean the opposite – stars aligned. Yes, there are lots of great developments underway. You mention only two: the halving in 2024, and the spot bitcoin ETFs (which might come to market any day, not necessarily in 2024). I’d add: new legislation on stablecoins (and PayPal’s introduction of one), Ripple’s victory in its lawsuit against the SEC, the likelihood that the SEC will also lose its case agbainst Grayscale, Coinbase winning approval to trade futures…the list goes on and on. I did a podcast on the ETF situation last week and am releasing a white paper on it on Monday, too.

Based on what Per Peter Zeihan (Geopolitical Strategist) says here (click to open), is Bitcoin dead?
Bill K | Ric responded, September 13, 2023

The following by Peter Zeihan on August 31, 2023:
“With all the buzz around central banks starting digital currencies and one of these entities controlling all transactions, I think it’s about time I burst everyone’s bubble…

Fintech has blown up because it slims down the traditional money transfer process and removes some of the associated fees, meaning you can transfer money faster and cheaper. However, the Federal Reserve will wipe out most fintech startups within the next five years with their service – FedNow.

FedNow allows for the instantaneous clearing of funds when transferred using the Fed as the intermediary. Oh, and it’s functionally free. Put the hype for this or that financial product – whether crypto or otherwise – to the side for a minute and dwell on how said systems might compete with free, immediate, and from the source. Queue the gnashing of teeth.

What we’re seeing in China is different from this. They’ve married digital currency to social currency scores, making Orwell look alright. This could never happen in the US, but if China continues down this road, its entire financial space will be under the government’s thumb. Any dynamism left in the Chinese economy will be stamped out fairly quickly if this continues.”

I’m not familiar with that gentleman, and haven’t read/heard his content. I’m struggling to make sense of the clip you provided. I do agree that FedNow is an important project that will have lots of implications, but I fail to see how that has anything to do with bitcoin. Bitcoin is an asset, like stocks, gold and real estate. All of these are stores of value; people buy they because they believe that they will retain (and increase in) value. The Fed prints money, like cash. Cash and stores of value peacefully coexist; in fact, they support each other.

Many people continue to believe that bitcoin’s sole purpose is a replacement for money. It’s not. It’s a store of value, alongside all other stores of value. Saying bitcoin is dead because of FedNow suggests a basic misunderstanding of crypto.

If I have questions about the course content, can I contact the faculty?2023-03-12T14:13:56-04:00

You’re welcome to engage with DACFP via LinkedIn and Twitter. You can also send questions to

What if I have other administrative or operational questions about the DACFP Learning Center or the Certificate course?2023-03-12T14:18:49-04:00

Send your questions to

Are refunds available?2023-03-12T14:20:00-04:00

Yes. You can obtain a 100% refund within 30 days of purchase, subject to a 3% processing fee. No refund is provided if any course content has been viewed. Send refund requests to

I forgot my username or password.2023-03-14T01:41:21-04:00

If you forgot your username or password, you can reset them visiting the DACFP Learning Center and:

  1. In the top right corner, select “Login”
  2. Click “Forgot Password?”
I can’t access the videos.2023-03-12T13:59:27-04:00

Check your internet connections, and your browser and browser extensions. You may need to restart your device or perform a Windows update.

How do I receive my CE credits?2023-03-14T01:40:29-04:00

For those holding the CFP designation: To receive your CE credits, be sure to list your CFP Board ID in your User Profile. We’ll submit your CE credits to the CFP Board for you, within two weeks of your completing the course. If you don’t receive word about your CE credits from the CFP Board after two weeks, contact us

For those holding the CIMA®, CPWA®, CIMC® or RMA® designations: Upon completion of the Certificate course, you may report CE credit yourself.

Do you offer Continuing Education credits?2023-10-12T01:10:04-04:00

Yes, for the CFP®, CIMA®, CPWA®, CIMC®, and RMA® designations. Depending on the track you select, and whether you choose the Advanced or Basic programs, you’ll earn 12 to 18 CE credits for becoming certified.

Don’t need CE credits? No problem! You’ll benefits from the education you obtain regardless of whether you need CE credits.

Do you provide me with a digital badge that I can display on LinkedIn?2023-03-14T01:34:05-04:00

Yes. Immediately upon completion of the course, you will receive an email from Credly that shows how to easily post your badge on your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts.

Will I receive a physical certificate that I can display in my office?2023-10-12T12:46:10-04:00

Yes. Shortly after earning your CBDA designation, you will be able to download a PDF of your Certificate that you can print and frame. Instructions on how to download can be found HERE.

For how long can I use the CBDA Designation after I complete the course?2023-08-18T14:18:00-04:00

You can use the CBDA Designation for one year following successful completion of the course. After one year, you’ll be invited to complete an Update Course; when you complete it, you’ll get additional CE credit, continued access to all of DACFP’s content plus the right to continue using the CBDA Designation. There is a modest renewal fee for completing the Update Course.

Do I have to complete the course within a certain period?2023-03-12T13:49:16-04:00

Yes. Your enrollment expires after one year.

Will I earn college credit?2023-03-12T13:48:22-04:00


Do I have to pass a test?2023-10-12T01:06:26-04:00

Yes. You’ll take a quiz upon completion of each module, and you must score 70% or higher in order to proceed to the next module. If you don’t pass, you simply re-take the quiz. You must pass all the quizzes in order to be certified and earn your CE credits.

How long does it take to complete the course?2023-03-12T13:46:04-04:00

You can complete the entire program in a weekend if you binge, or you can take an entire year. Most people complete the program in less than two weeks.

Once I enroll, how soon can I start?2023-03-12T13:44:30-04:00


Must I complete the modules in a specific order?2023-03-12T13:43:46-04:00

No. However, for best comprehension, we recommend you take the modules in the sequence presented.

I have enrolled. How do I access the course?2023-03-12T14:32:25-04:00

You can access the modules 24/7 by visiting the DACFP Learning Center.

How do I enroll?2023-03-12T14:31:49-04:00

Select your course at the DACFP Learning Center and follow the easy online payment process.

Are the videos downloadable?2023-03-12T13:40:42-04:00

No. You must have internet access to access the course.

What devices can I use to access the course?2023-03-12T13:40:02-04:00

We recommend accessing the course via your desktop or laptop computer. You can also access the course via mobile or tablet platforms.

What web browser do you recommend for viewing the course?2023-03-12T13:39:13-04:00

You should use Chrome or Internet Explorer.

Is financial assistance available?2023-03-14T01:33:30-04:00

Scholarships are available to qualifying financial advisors.

What form of payment do you accept?2023-03-12T13:37:12-04:00

Individual enrollments are paid via credit card. Group purchases are invoiced. We don’t accept crypto because the people taking the course don’t yet know how to pay that way! 😊

Can I purchase the course as a gift?2023-03-12T14:23:11-04:00

Yes. Contact to learn more.

Do you offer a White Label Program?2023-03-12T14:24:13-04:00

Yes. We can create a customized course for your organization to fit your needs – anything from 3-minute segments to a comprehensive 18-hour program – under your brand and logo. You can use your White Label Program to train your staff or in a marketing campaign to attract new business! Contact to learn more.

Do you offer any organizational discounts?2023-10-12T01:07:14-04:00

Yes. Many organizations have discovered that they can use the designation program to get their team fluent in crypto quickly, easily and inexpensively. And we’re happy to provide a group discount.

Many firms obtain group discounts so they can provide free enrollments to advisors, creating goodwill and generating sales. Contact to learn how the Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets can help build your business.

Are discounts or scholarships available?2023-10-12T01:11:00-04:00

Yes. Dozens of organizations have arranged for their advisors, employees or members to receive a discount when you become certified. Check out the list – and if you don’t see your organization listed, ask them to contact us!

We also offer a 100% Tuition Scholarship to qualified financial advisors. See if you qualify.

What happens if I don’t finish the course?2023-10-12T01:06:08-04:00

You have one year to become certified. If you don’t finish, you would have to re-enroll and start again. The average student completed the course in less than two weeks, so it’s likely that you’ll complete the course with flying colors!

Can I purchase a single module without enrolling into the entire course?2023-10-12T01:09:34-04:00

No. The modules are only available to those enrolled in the program. However, we do offer separate courses on a variety of crypto topics that are not covered in the course you are certified in. All of these separate courses are available at no cost to those certified. If you are not enrolled, these individual classes are $299 each.

How do you distinguish between a financial advisor and a financial professional?2023-03-12T13:22:57-04:00

Financial advisors directly serve clients. Financial professionals work in the financial services industry but are not client-facing.

If I complete one track, can I later enroll in a different track and get a discount?2023-03-12T14:26:25-04:00

Yes. Your additional enrollment must use the same contact information as your original enrollment. Contact to learn more.

If I sign up for one track, can I later switch to a different track?2023-03-12T13:20:06-04:00

Yes. If you decide to switch to a different track, we will credit 75% of your tuition to the other track.

If I sign up for the Basic course, can I later switch to Advanced?2023-03-23T11:02:08-04:00

Yes. Reach out to with your request.

How do the tracks differ?2023-03-14T01:31:22-04:00

Each track is tailored to needs of four different audiences:
Financial Advisor Track – this is the track you want if you’re serving clients.
Financial Professionals Track – if you’re in the financial services industry but not client-facing, this track is for you.
Crypto Professionals Track – Have you recently been hired by a crypto company? This track will get you trained quickly so you can become productive faster!
Consumer/Investor/Student Track – this is everyone’s opportunity to learn about crypto!
And, each of the above tracks offers a Basic Course that provides foundational knowledge, and an Advanced Course if you want to learn even more. Click any of the above links to see complete course details.

Do you keep the content up-to-date?2023-10-12T01:05:44-04:00

Yes. The course debuted in 2021 and was last revised in March 2023. The next update will occur when needed. In the meantime, we publish additional online courses with new content, all of which is free for those who are certified.

When does the course start?2023-03-12T13:15:08-04:00

The course starts when you enroll. The program is online, self-study and self-paced. You can complete the entire program in a weekend if you binge, or you can take an entire year to complete the program. Most people complete the program in less than two weeks.

Are there any prerequisites to taking the course?2023-03-12T13:14:28-04:00


What are the benefits of group enrollment?2023-03-12T14:29:58-04:00

Your organization can receive a tuition discount, saving everyone money. Contact to learn more.

Can multiple members of my organization take the course together?2023-10-12T01:05:29-04:00

Group discounts are available. However, students enroll individually and become certified upon completion of the course.

Is there an application process?2023-11-16T11:10:08-05:00

No. To get started, simply choose your track and select the ADVANCED or BASIC course.

I don’t live in the U.S. Can I take the course?2023-11-16T11:09:48-05:00

Yes. An Ex-US Track is available in nine languages: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), English, French, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish. Crypto is a global technology and used worldwide. So far, individuals from 37 countries have attained their CBDA designation.

My firm does not allow us to do anything with crypto. Why should I take this course?2023-11-16T11:09:17-05:00

It doesn’t matter if your firm allows you to recommend crypto to clients. Many of your clients own crypto, and many others are curious about it. The CBDA course gives you the knowledge you need about crypto tax, estate planning and risk management issues so you can be of greater service to your clients.

By completing the course, you’ll also learn how to become aware of your clients outside investments in crypto so you can adjust your financial planning and investment recommendations accordingly. None of this has anything to do with recommending crypto; rather it’s about enabling you to be of greater value and service to your clients. It’s hard to imagine that any corporate executive would object to your desire to increase your knowledge about personal finance and investment management.

Will my firm’s compliance team approve this course?2023-11-16T11:08:57-05:00

Each organization establishes its own policies. That said, the CBDA designation is listed on the FINRA database on professional designations, and the course is endorsed by the CFP Board of Standards, Investment Adviser Association, Money Management Institute, Investments and Wealth Institute, Financial Planning Association, National Association of Professional Financial Advisors, XY Planning Network and many others. DACFP is also the official crypto education partner for Charles Schwab, Fidelity and many other financial services firms.

We are happy to talk with your Legal & Compliance team about the course. No firm would prevent you from taking the course; the only question is whether you’re allowed to publicly display the CBDA designation.

How much knowledge about crypto do I need in order to benefit from this course?2023-11-16T11:08:31-05:00

None. The CBDA program begins with introductory modules before delving into more advanced sessions. Whether you are a compliance officer holding a law degree or merely “crypto curious,” you’ll benefit from this extensive and enlightening course.

Why should I take this course?2023-11-16T11:07:28-05:00

Crypto represents the first new asset class in 170 years. (The last time an asset class was introduced was the discovery of oil in the 1850s.)

This innovative technology, widely regarded as “Internet 3.0”, is projected to impact commerce on a global scale – allowing businesses to operate faster, cheaper and safer than ever. The resulting financial planning and investment implications demand attention.

This is why you need to become fluent in crypto, and the fastest, easiest and most effective way to do so is to obtain your CBDA designation. By doing so, you’ll become knowledgeable about crypto, and displaying your Certification will let you promote your achievement with your clients and prospective clients – helping you build your career.

So, whether you’re in the financial services industry, a member of the crypto community, or among the crypto-curious, you’ll gain many benefits by learning about this new and innovative technology.

Is DACFP accredited or licensed by any organization?2023-11-16T11:07:56-05:00

DACFP’s courses, including its CBDA Designation, are approved to award Continuing Education credits by the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards, the Investments and Wealth Institute and the CFA Institute. FINRA also lists the CBDA designation in its database of professional designations.

DACFP is endorsed by the CFP Board of Standards, Investment Adviser Association, Money Management Institute, Investments and Wealth Institute, Financial Planning Association, National Association of Professional Financial Advisors, XY Planning Network, and is the official crypto education partner for Schwab, Fidelity and others.

What is the DACFP Learning Center?2023-11-16T11:03:33-05:00

The DACFP Learning Center is an online resource that helps you learn about blockchain and digital assets. It’s the home of the CBDA program – Certified in Blockchain and Digital Assets – which is listed in the FINRA database of professional designations. The DACFP Learning Center also hosts other courses and content provided by DACFP.

Do I run into regulatory compliance issues (SEC or State) running a newspaper ad; if bitcoin is specifically listed along with stocks, bonds, etc. as an investable asset available?
Jim Krebec, CFP®, President, CIC Investment Consultants | Ric Responded December 30, 2021

If you’re simply listing asset classes such as stocks and bonds, I see no issue with also mentioning digital assets (I wouldn’t mention bitcoin specifically) – just as I’d see no issue with mentioning other asset classes, such as real estate or gold. I’d have my compliance department approve any ad before using it, to make sure the proper disclosures are present; you want to be clear if you’re offering an asset or a security investing in that asset (a REIT vs real estate, or gold ETF vs gold, or GBTC vs bitcoin). And be sure you’re not violating your firm’s “selling away” rules.

Do you have an opinion on the impact of future approvals of Bitcoin ETF’s impact on GBTC, BITW, OBTC , etc.?
Lars Larsen, ChFC®, President, Heritage Financial North | Ric responded December 30, 2021

OTC products will likely be of little interest to investors after ETFs become available. That’s why all the OTC sponsors have committed to converting their OTC securities to ETFs. Makes sense. And that offers investors an arbitrage play: GBTC, for example, is trading at a discount. If it converts to an ETF, theoretically that discount would vanish – giving GBTC owners a nice little bump! Of course, this depends on the conversion occurring.

I have several clients that would like to gift BTC to their donor advised fund. Fidelity Charitable is where most client DAF’s are held. Fidelity is fine accepting BTC but requires a third party appraisal that costs around $600. This is crazy to me for asset that is liquid 24/7. I know it’s treated as property. Do you know away around this or do you have a recommendation for an organization that can do the appraisal for a reasonable fee?
Trey Barnes, Sr. Wealth Advisor, Mariner Wealth Advisors | Ric Responded December 16, 2021

The appraisal is required by the IRS, not Fidelity. This is true for any charitable donation of non-cash, non-securities of $5,000 or more. Fidelity gives you a confirmation showing the date they receive your crypto and the selling price, but the IRS won’t accept that as a legal appraisal. You have to hire an appraiser, and Fidelity can refer you to such folks (and look at our Yellow Pages for a list of appraisers – we’re adding to this list often.) Yes, an annoying aspect of making donations of crypto. I think you can get it done for less than $600.

I’ve had a hard time adding a beneficiary to my digital assets account at Coinbase. Their customer service messaging app is not easy to navigate, and I can’t get anyone in customer service to answer the phone. I know I can move the assets to a different platform. Who offers the best customer service? I’m also considering a cold wallet. Any suggestions?
Timothy Reid Bolinger, Financial Advisor, Fisher Wealth Management | Ric Responded November 18, 2021

I’m not aware that you can name a beneficiary to accounts at Coinbase. This is not uncommon, as many institutions don’t allow you to name beneficiaries on taxable accounts. Traditionally, beneficiary designations are set for retirement accounts, wills & trusts, and annuities. So, if your financial institution doesn’t allow you to name a beneficiary on the account, you’ll have to do so in your will or trust (and make sure the relevant document references or applies to the account).

Many digital asset exchanges do not permit trust registrations, or even joint registrations with spouses; they often permit only registrations featuring the name of a sole individual. This is archaic, reflecting the fact that they are not aware of, or don’t care about, the estate planning and tax planning aspects of asset ownership. This will improve over time as they mature – and as they continue to engage with the financial services industry. For now, it remains cumbersome at many exchanges. No one in the field is winning any awards for customer service yet. Soon, though, as competition grows, pricing and service will improve. The analogy: when Model T cars first got produced, there weren’t any paved roads. Just dirt trails created by horses pulling buggies. Over time, those trails were paved, and later, highways built. Service, performance and reliability all improved exponentially. In crypto, we’re still in the horse-and-buggy days. It’s a hassle, but you’re being rewarded by having profit potential that future participants might not enjoy.

Your notion of using a cold wallet won’t help you, by the way. There’s no registration at all with such a device, let alone opportunity to name a beneficiary. If you put your digital assets onto a flash drive, make sure your heir knows where you store it and how to access it.

What would you do to get in front of this seismic shift of DeFi/Blockchain?
Alex Smith, Managing Director, Individual IRA | Ric responded November 17, 2021

For sure, our Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets program is a great way to start. Beyond that, read as much as you can and attend as many events as you can. We list great news services at the DACFP Yellow Pages. And when you become fully immersed and are ready to devote full-time effort to this career-wise, the crypto community will welcome you!

Would you please enumerate what would be the likely investment options for a typical RIA client brokerage account?
James Pazderak, President, Covenant Wealth Advisors | Ric responded, November 18, 2021

That’s a big question. We cover it in detail in our DACFP Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets program – and we’re creating a new 1-hour presentation to address this specifically. Visit our Events page to register for our upcoming webinars and to watch replays of our past events. Also, you can find all the offerings at the DACFP Yellow Pages – it’s a great place to start your due diligence efforts

How can I find a digital asset savvy estate planning attorney for my clients who own and want to pass on their digital assets?
Cody Murray, Financial Planner, Bivin & Associates | Ric responded, November 9, 2021

We offer a list of estate planning attorneys with expertise in digital assets in our Yellow Pages directory.

Are you finding that RIA’s that offer digital assets to their clients are investing directly in Coins (Bitcoin/Ethereum etc.) using institutional accounts with Gemini/Coinbase, etc., through assets like Grayscale Bitcoin Trust hedge funds or some other way?
Michael Eastham, President, Fellowship Financial Group | Ric responded, October 19, 2021

It’s all over the map. RIAs are a diverse group of professionals – and as a result, their approaches to digital assets vary greatly. Thus, every company offering access to the marketplace is gaining assets.

Don’t worry about what others are doing. Explore each option that’s available. Then, using your knowledge about your clients and your practice, you’ll be able to choose the approach that’s best for you and each client.

What about using a self-directed Roth IRA?
H. William Wolfson, Wolfson Financial Advisors| Ric responded, October 19, 2021

Great idea! If gains occur as many project, placing those gains into a tax-free account is a great idea. Several firms, including Choice by Kingdom Trust, allow you to buy digital assets in IRAs and Roth IRAs.

Is there an ability to place good-til-cancelled, stop or stop-limit orders?
Zachary Hoyer, CIO, Financial Services | Ric responded, October 19, 2021

With many exchanges, yes.

Is direct asset investing available for non-qualified advisor managed accounts?
Daniel Hart, RIA, APS Management Group, Inc | Ric responded, October 19, 2021

Yes. Several firms facilitate this.

How do SEPs and Solo Ks work?
Ted Krammer, Principal, Krammer Financial | Ric responded, October 19, 2021

Same as IRAs. The paperwork is mildly different but no big deal.

Would a U.S. based CBDC be built on a public blockchain?
Karen Flynn, Retired, RIA | Ric responded, October 19, 2021

I have certainly felt that this is a given. However, Sunayna Tuteja, Chief Innovation Officer at the Federal Reserve, said at October’s DACFP VISION conference that use of a blockchain to create and operation a US CBDC is not a given. Other technology, she speculated, could be used, although she did not elaborate. My bet is still on DLT.

Can you create Roth IRAs for minors? Seems a tremendous long term growth opportunity.
Ryan Peterson, President, Copperleaf Capital| Ric responded, October 19, 2021

Sure, provided they have an earned income. I often joke with clients that they should have their babies become models, appearing in ads for baby food and kids’ clothing. Let them earn an income so they can place it into a Roth IRA! Teenagers mowing lawns and babysitting can also open Roth IRAs. Mom and Dad can hire the kids to do chores. Allowances are not eligible for IRA contributions, but income is!

Do crypto custodians hold digital assets in Omnibus accounts?
Leon Osborne, Due Diligence Consultant, MML Investor Services, | Ric responded, October 19, 2021

Those serving financial advisors do.

Does it make a difference whether the custody remains online or hardware (offline)?
Michael Eastham Advisor | Ric responded, October 19, 2021

Yes. Offline is safer (you can’t hack a filing cabinet) but doesn’t allow for instant trading. Online is convenient but exposes you to hacker risk.

Can a central bank digital currency and a private digital currency coexist in the U.S. political system?
Richard Turgeon, CIO, Wellspring Financial Advisors | Ric responded, October 19, 2021

Sure. And many think that’s exactly what will happen.

With the advent of a futures ETF, it would seem a spot ETF is not too far out. What would be a reasonable timeframe on expected ETF?
Peter Sullivan, Associate Wealth Manager, Thompson Wealth Management | Ric responded, October 19, 2021

I expect the SEC to approve a bitcoin ETF within 18 months. And I’ve been saying that for 7 years.

Please comment on stablecoins and their theoretical value. Their actual holdings seem to be very murky at best. The lack of Liquidity would likely to be an issue in another global economic event.
Thomas Yorke, Managing Director, Oceanic Capital Management | Ric responded, November 1, 2021

I have no idea what their theoretical value is. I only know their real prices.

Does rebalancing within digital assets change much if wash sale rule becomes applicable due to potential new law/rule?
Phyllis Chapman, Portfolio Manager | Ric responded, November 1, 2021

The wash sale rule applies to securities. Bitcoin is not a security; therefore, the wash sale rule does not apply to it. But other coins are considered to be securities, so the wash sale rule does apply to them. Also, OTC trusts, such as GBTC, BITW and OBTC, are securities and thus fall under the rule.

But all this is likely to be moot. The new tax bill has a provision that applies the wash sale rule to everything, whether they are securities or not.

What is the best way to educate the masses on bitcoin and digital assets?
Marcel Lewinson, Financial Professional | Ric responded, November 1, 2021

Give them a copy of new book, The Truth About Crypto, which is being released in May. You can preorder now, and if you’d like to order bulk copies at a discount, give us a shout.

What correlation do you find between the overall equity markets and the price of BTC?
Mindy Laprel, CFP | Ric responded, November 1, 2021

Zero. That’s a beauty of buying bitcoin – it helps with portfolio diversification, ala Markowitz and the Efficient Frontier.

Do “wash sale” regulations apply to digital assets?
Patricia Whitley, Advisor | Ric responded, September 22, 2021

The wash sale rule applies to securities. Bitcoin is not a security; therefore, the wash sale rule does not apply to it. But other coins are considered to be securities, so the wash sale rule does apply to them. Also, OTC trusts, such as GBTC, BITW and OBTC, are securities and thus fall under the rule.

But all this is likely to be moot. The new tax bill has a provision that applies the wash sale rule to everything, whether they are securities or not.

Is there any path to becoming a Crypto Advisor, without being an Investment Advisor?
Brendan Murray, President, Health & Wealth Inc. | Ric responded September 16, 2021

Anyone can advise anyone on anything, subject to federal and state regulation. For example, you need licenses for real estate, insurance, securities and investment management. You don’t need licenses for rare coins, wine or comic books.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are not securities. But many other digital assets are, as are the mutual funds and ETFs in this space. So, you would need licenses.

If all you’re doing is education, and not managing money for a fee, then I don’t think licenses would be needed. States often have lots of license requirements – for everyone from hairdressers to masseuses – so check on all this with a local attorney.

Are there any E&O carriers that have a policy that will cover digital assets?
Dustin Terry, Founder, Clear Harbor Wealth Management | Ric responded, September 7, 2021

Most standard E&O policies cover digital assets – when you obtain them via securities such as mutual funds and ETFs. And there’s plenty of opportunity to do that, with funds offered by Bitwise, Osprey and Grayscale, as well as Simplify, ProFunds and others. Lots of accredited funds are available, too, from Skybridge Capital, Pantera, Galaxy and more. There are also SMAs, such as Arbor Digital and Eaglebrook Advisors.

Buying bitcoin or other coins or tokens from exchanges like Coinbase or Gemini might not be covered by your E&O policy. But since you can’t manage assets for your clients in that way, I’m not sure why you’d want to.

In the training for becoming certified it notes that the last coins will be mined in 2140, how will the integrity of Bitcoin be maintained if there is no further compensation to verify the block chain?
Rick Dwyer, Chief Development Officer, Strategy Marketplace | Ric responded, Aug 13, 2021

In addition to block rewards, which is how miners receive bitcoins in exchange for solving the computational equations, users pay gas fees. These are costs to have your transaction verified ahead of other transactions. With the full 21 million coins in place, there will be lots of users, and lots of demand for transaction verification, and hence, lots of gas fees (both in number and price). Theoretically, the gas fees will be sufficient compensation to keep the miners motivated.

Give us the bear case. How would this fall apart?
Jason Cooke, Advisor, Hermann & Cooke | Ric responded, March 4, 2021

The captain of the Titanic was certain he had smooth sailing too. On that basis, that’s why you diversify.
Does that mean you should put all of your money into bitcoin? I think we can all agree that would be foolish. But to do none, out of extreme fear that something might go wrong, is equally foolish.

I think you need to look at it from a rational perspective of diversification and prudent money management. Just as you would with any asset class, especially an emerging one.

Ric responded, March 4, 2021

As RIAs, how do we handle compliance and regulation with bitcoin?
Bruce Lemley | Ric responded, February 1, 2021

I created Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals to answer questions just like this one. The DACFP Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets course provides allows advisors to demonstrate to their clients that they have attained the education and can provide advice that is in the client’s best interest.

This is an online class with 13 CE credits, taken at your own pace. The 11 modules are split into two camps. The first five modules are on blockchain and digital assets. This is the fundamental knowledge and education needed to understand digital assets and explain it to clients. The second five modules are centric to financial advisors. This half focuses on practice management elements so that advisors can actually put all of these methods to use. The certificate covers questions such as these:

  • How do you integrate this into asset allocation?
  • How do you diversify?
  • And what are the reasons for doing so?
  • How do you create the asset allocation models?
  • Where do you buy it?
  • What exchanges what?
  • What custodians do you use?
  • What are the funds that are available for purchase?
  • How do you store it and safeguard it?
  • Do you do that through hot or cold wallets?
  • How do you track it?
  • How do you provide the record keeping?
  • How do you rebalance it?
  • How do you do the tax reporting?
  • How to integrate it into rebalancing with the rest of your portfolio and as a financial advisor?
  • How do you provide or receive compensation along with the rest of your asset management services?
  • What are the tax reporting obligations?
  • The regulatory requirements?
  • What are all the issues associated to allow the advisor to do their job as an advisor while serving the client in their best interests?

Please visit our Certification in Blockchain and Digital Assets page for further details and to register.

Ric responded, February 1, 2021

>> Add Your Comment
Are we able to put Bitcoin into an IRA?
Beth Bebb, Regional Learning Specialist, Thrivent | Ric responded, February 10, 2021

There are some platforms available where you can invest your IRA into Bitcoin. These are cumbersome. They are not primary players. It raises concern by the advisor who has reputational risk, as well as the investor who has confidence risk. And it reduces the degree to which there is engagement and involvement by both advisors and their clients. These do exist, but they’re more expensive than they alternatively would be. Some folks are saying, I don’t mind paying a 3 percent fee if I’m dealing with an asset that’s growing double digits every year.

Fidelity Digital Assets is providing these services for the institutional marketplace. They will eventually roll it out for the retail marketplace. You’ve got companies like Kingdom Trust, which manages 19 billion dollars in assets. That’s a qualified custodian you can actually use to buy Bitcoin in your IRA.

Ric responded, February 10, 2021

What is the likelihood that the SEC approves an ETF, and what is the estimated timeline?
Patrick McReynolds, Investment Analyst, Merrill | Ric responded, December 15, 2020

The SEC will approve a bitcoin ETF within 18 months. I’ve been saying that for five years. Hey, at some point, I’ll be right! Until then, you should explore alternative ways to buy. There are many, and we cite lots of them at

Ric responded, December 15, 2021

What would be your advice for clients asking how much to invest in Bitcoin?
Christopher Rubio, Account Development Representative, MongoDB | Ric responded, December 15, 2020

I’m the guy who pioneered the concept, a few years ago, of a one percent asset allocation model. In traditional asset management activities, if you’re not going to put three percent or five percent of assets into an asset class then why bother doing it? It’s not going to have a material impact on the portfolio. However, with Bitcoin, you don’t need five, 10 or 20 percent, which you would likely do with stocks or bonds. Bitcoin has a lot of unknowns technologically and regulatory.

My position is that you don’t need to do 10 or 20 to have a meaningful exposure. One percent allocation is plenty and the reason for that is Bitcoin’s incredible volatility.

A one percent allocation won’t hurt you. If you’re wrong, it’ll be annoying, but not devastating. And if you’re right, that one percent allocation can have a material impact on the improvement of your client’s returns.

Therefore, it is very much worthwhile to learn about Bitcoin. I’m not saying you have to like it. I’m saying as an advisor you have an obligation to learn about it.

Ric responded, December 15, 2020

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