Ric Edelman, founder, Edelman Financial Engines Ric Edelman.

The RIA Digital Assets Council, founded by Ric Edelman, has acquired JV Events Group, which owned the Digital Asset Strategy Summit. JV’s founder and CEO, Don Friedman, who’s also co-founder of Inside ETFs, has become the council’s president.

The acquisition establishes the council as the “go-to” source for financial advisors interested in learning about blockchain and digital assets such as Bitcoin, according to Edelman, who’s also the founder of Edelman Financial Engines.

Before forming JVEG, Friedman co-founded Inside ETFs, the world’s largest ETF conference.

“It’s clear that blockchain and digital assets are not going away,” Edelman told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday in an interview. “They are fast becoming mainstream, both in commerce and in the financial markets. As a result, financial advisors need to begin to understand how to incorporate these new asset classes into client portfolios.”

The company has also launched a new website and plans to hold its first virtual conference, RIADAC Vision, on March 4, 2021.

Edelman said RIADAC will also launch a certification program in the first quarter. “We’ve given presentations to thousands of financial advisors over the past several years” regarding cryptocurrency, “and we’re about to dramatically increase our activities” with the new events and certification program.

“My role is to really run the day-to-day business as well as have an eye on what the plans will be moving forward,” Friedman said in the interview.

The company will also hold webinars every other month and interview digital asset thought leaders every two weeks via RIADAC TV. The interview will be available on the website. Another event is planned for fall, Friedman added, but it’s unclear if it will be virtual.

As to the current regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrency, it remains “a little confusing,” Edelman said.

“Bitcoin is not a security according to the SEC,” he said. “The IRS considers Bitcoin to be property; the Fed says that Bitcoin is not a currency. Therefore it’s treated under tax purposes like other property,” such as rare coins or artwork.

The lack of oversight by the SEC, Edelman continued, makes the area ripe for fraudsters. “We are hopeful that the SEC will approve of a Bitcoin ETF, because that would become a regulated security that would afford the same protection to investors that other securities provide.”

Friedman added that those in the industry see the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s July decision allowing traditional banks to custody crypto as “huge.”

Said Friedman: “That just keeps moving the needle forward.”

Custody and price manipulation remain two of the SEC’s primary concerns in allowing a bitcoin ETF, Edelman noted.

— Check out The One Big Question Ric Edelman Is Hearing Now on ThinkAdvisor.