In a Nutshell: The tentative embrace of Bitcoin and other digital assets by advisors and institutions was one of the biggest stories in financial services this year. As more professionals clear the emotional (“It’s a scam!”) and educational (“I don’t get it.”) hurdles, now we have to overcome the operational hurdles. The story of 2022 could very well be how a new wave of fintech platforms and forward-thinking leaders solve those challenges and make digital assets an essential tool in helping clients build wealth.

Guest: Steve Larsen, CPA, CFP® is a Partner at Columbia Advisory Partners where he manages financial planning and digital asset strategies. He also teaches financial planning and cryptocurrency classes at Gonzaga University and develops continuing education courses for CPAs and CFPs.

Adam Blumberg, CFP®, is the co-founder of Interaxis, a company that provides research and education to advisors and companies in the cryptocurrency, digital assets, blockchain, and DeFi space.

Steve and Adam are the Co-Founders of Planner DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization owned by financial planners.

My Key Takeaways:

  1. “This is not going away.” Adam says that clients aren’t just interested in crypto — many of them already own it. If their advisor can’t provide some practical advice and convenient service around managing digital assets, they’re going to find another advisor.
  2. “Confusion is warranted.” Bitcoin and other digital assets have their own culture and vocabulary. Steve says advisors shouldn’t feel bad if they’re overwhelmed at first. But if you let that confusion deter you from learning more, you could be putting your business at risk in the long term.
  3. “The best way to understand or to predict the future is to play.” I think that buying some Bitcoin off an exchange, perusing an NFT art gallery, or playing online games with your kids are all  great ways to broaden your understanding of how digital assets work and what they can do. Just don’t wait. The longer you put off this learning, the greater your chances of falling behind.

Also Learn:

  1. Recommendations for advisors who are just starting with crypto allocations.
  2. The nuts and bolts of integrating digital assets into portfolios, clearing compliance, and managing crypto for clients.
  3. Conversations you can have with clients who are interested in digital assets but might not understand key differences with traditional assets, such as how they’ll be taxed.

Complementary podcast: Chris King from Eaglebrook Advisors explains how his company’s digital assets SMA platform greatly simplifies the process of getting clients into crypto. Listen/read here.

Resources Featured In This Episode

Certified Digital Asset Advisor Advisors who complete Steve and Adam’s program receive a Certification in Digital Assets.