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Ric Edelman is the founder of Edelman Financial Engines, an independent financial advisory firm. He has been named the No. 1 independent financial advisor three times by Barron’s. ETF.com recently spoke with Edelman to learn more about his new organization, the RIA Digital Assets Council. The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
ETF.com: What is the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals (DACFP), and why did you create it?
Ric Edelman: I was introduced to bitcoin in 2012. I was intrigued, but I didn't understand it. I realized, though, that there was something to it, so I spent much of 2013 researching it and began investing in it in 2014.
In the years since, I have concluded two primary facts. First, that blockchain technology and digital assets represent the most profound innovation for global commerce since the invention of the internet. And second, most financial advisors are not aware of this.
Three years ago, I created DACFP to serve as an educational forum to teach financial advisors and their firms about this new emerging asset class and to help them understand how to incorporate it into their investment management, so they can help their clients while also increasing their assets under management.
ETF.com: Tell us about the Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets program.
Edelman: We discovered that nobody in the financial services sector was providing educational content in the field of blockchain and digital assets. That’s why we developed the certificate to make up for that omission.
The certificate in blockchain and digital assets is created for financial professionals. It's an 11-module online self-study, self-paced course that has 13 CE credits and a world-class faculty. For example, Scott Stornetta, the co-inventor of blockchain technology, is on our faculty.
There are no product sponsors; it’s purely educational. Academics and industry experts comprise our faculty. There’s simply no course like it. You can binge it in a weekend, or you can take the modules more slowly at your convenience. You obtain the certificate when you complete the course.
Holding the certificate qualifies you for membership in the Digital Assets Council, where we offer a wide variety of additional education tools and client-facing materials to help you explain digital assets to your clients.
We also offer the DACFP Advisor Directory, and only certificate holders are eligible to be included in the directory. The directory helps connect investors with advisors who are knowledgeable about digital assets.
The certificate course is only $549, but there are a number of organizations that provide discounts. We're the official education partner for the Financial Planning Association, the Money Management Institute, the Investment Advisors Association, the CFP Board and other organizations. We're working closely with leaders throughout the financial industry to help advisors become fluent in this new subject.
ETF.com: What we can expect in 2022 that’s new?
Edelman: We’re expanding our education center, which is the portal that advisors use to take the certificate program. We're going to be adding half a dozen new courses to the program in 2022 that will feature the latest developments in the field, including taxation, NFTs and DeFi.
We're also staging Vision 2022 in June in Austin. This is a two-day event available only to advisors and financial professionals, and will include a bitcoin mining tour. Riot Blockchain has a bitcoin mining farm nearby and we're going to take everybody to go tour a Bitcoin mining facility.
We're also going to be doing one-on-one events in Miami and Phoenix, where advisors will be able to meet privately and in very small groups with some of the leading firms in the digital asset field to help them with their due diligence process, to learn about investment opportunities, and evaluate the product offerings in the field.
And finally, I'm launching my new media company, The Truth About Your Future with Ric Edelman on Jan. 1. I'm also launching a new radio show that will debut in 25 markets around the country. We'll be doing podcasts, videocasts, a new monthly newsletter.
My 11th book will be released in May, called The Truth About Crypto. We’ll be putting out a lot of content for the investment community, with a lot of discussion about financial firms, crypto companies, exponential technologies, retirement security, and health and wellness.