As the price of Bitcoin climbed past $19,000 today and approached its all-time high, some of your clients might be wondering why you haven’t included the cryptocurrency in their portfolio, especially since this isn’t novel performance for the asset that had soared to $19,700 in December 2017.

Ric Edelman is hoping to change advisors’ reticence by offering the first-of-its kind advisor certification in blockchain and digital assets technology. The 10-course certification, which financial advisors will be able to take at their own pace, is being offered by the RIA Digital Assets Council, or RIADAC, which Edelman founded in 2018 as a go-to source of information and education for advisors.

In an interview, Edelman remarked that advisors generally haven’t made time to understand the underlying technology behind digital assets, and many of them view Bitcoin as nothing more than tulip bulbs or Beanie Babies, or perhaps wonder whether it’s all just a fad or fraud.

“Neither is true, and as result advisors are hurting their own businesses by avoiding the asset,” Edelman said, adding that advisors owe it to themselves to understand this technology so they can offer digital assets to clients in a proper and meaningful way.

Several hundred advisors have already signed up for RIADAC’s inaugural certification program, which will launch in next year’s first quarter, Edelman said. Full tuition is $449 for advisors who enroll by the end of the year, and that increases to $499 in 2021.
He added that the launch date hasn’t been announced, and RIADAC is still recruiting faculty. “The response we’ve received so far has exceeded our expectations,” he said. “We haven’t promoted it yet.” 

The program will qualify for continuing education credits. Beyond providing advisors with a granular understanding of digital currencies and their use in investment portfolios and asset allocation plans, the certification aims to help advisors discuss digital currencies with clients and teach advisor-specific regulatory and taxation information, Edelman said.

“Bitcoin and blockchain technology are two of the most profound innovations in human history,” Edelman claimed. “They’re not going away, but instead are becoming much more integral to day-to-day life.”

While the average crypto investor is relatively young (age 42), they’re not that much younger than the average investor overall (age 49), according to a recent Charles Schwab-Grayscale study.

Bitcoin’s whopping 155% price increase this year (as of Monday’s trading) is impressive, but it has been the best performing asset for the past three-, five-and 10-year periods, according to CNBC.

“Your younger clients may own Bitcoin or [are] planning to, but they’re just not talking to you about it,” said Edelman, who began studying digital currencies in 2012 and quickly concluded the vast majority of financial advisors don’t understand this space. That led him to create the RIA Digital Assets Council.

The online program “will give advisors not only the knowledge they need to incorporate these asset classes into their practice management, but allow them to demonstrate to their clients that they have obtained this knowledge and set themselves apart from other advisors giving them the opportunity to attract new clients and assets,” Edelman said.

RIADAC is also holding a webinar “Cryptocurrency: What is driving
 institutional adoption?” on December 15, and will hold its first virtual conference on March 4, 2021.