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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > SEC

Ric Edelman to Cut Ties With Bitwise

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Ric Edelman is no longer going to be an advisor to or investor in Bitwise, Edelman told ThinkAdvisor during a Wednesday interview at TD Ameritrade’s National LINC conference in San Diego. Severing his ties “is in process,” said Edelman, chairman of financial education and client experience at Edelman Financial Engines.

The reason? Because Bitwise “is planning to launch a Bitcoin ETF, and if we provide that to our clients, we don’t want that to be a conflict of interest,” Edelman said.

(Related: Ric Edelman Becomes Investor, Advisor to Crypto Firm Bitwise)

Bitwise filed to launch a Bitcoin ETF with the Securities and Exchange Commission, with the application still pending, Edelman said. “There’s no assurance that the SEC will approve it; the SEC has rejected every application [for a bitcoin ETF] so far. I’m convinced the SEC’s objections will eventually be overcome and that the agency will ultimately approve a Bitcoin ETF.”

As Edelman explained, the SEC has expressed two primary concerns with bitcoin ETFs: custody and price manipulation. “I believe both of those concerns will be resolved to their satisfaction, and probably sooner rather than later.”

Edelman, who spoke with ThinkAdvisor before conducting an educational session for advisors on understanding cryptocurrencies and blockchain, said that “many advisors are no more knowledgeable about this subject than their clients, and many of them are getting questions from clients and they are unable to answer.”

Edelman stated that his session was designed as an “introductory course on blockchain and crypto assets, to help advisors understand the technologies and help them decide whether they should be recommending crypto — whether or not crypto belongs in your portfolio.”

Generally speaking, he said, “advisors know very little about the subject and they have a knee-jerk reaction, they are equating it to Beanie Babies and tulip bulbs.

Are advisors’ fears about crypto justified? “No, it’s not justified at all,” Edelman said. “The whole reason that they’re feeling that way is because of the rapid rise in price in 2017 followed by the crash in 2018, and they’re using that as evidence to support their theory that it’s a fad or a scam. It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the technology. The mere fact that an asset rises significantly in value and crashes has nothing to do with whether that asset is legitimate or not.”

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