Why fans love how the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB are starting to sell tickets
Ric Edelman: It's Friday, May 19th. Sports Illustrated is now selling tickets to sporting events, concerts and theater as NFTs non-fungible tokens. They're using the Polygon platform, which sits on the Ethereum blockchain by selling NFTs. The tickets have features like special access photos and videos, collectibles, personal messages from players, actors and concert performers, promotional offers and loyalty rewards. You can get this content before, during and after the event, and you do all of this without having to understand how blockchain works or even needing a crypto wallet. Sports Illustrated is not alone in this.
Ticketmaster is also selling NFT tickets and so is Box Office. You can easily send tickets to a friend or sell them. Box office lists a quarter of a million events. In fact, it's not just these outfits. You know who else is selling NFTs the NFL major League Baseball, hockey, basketball. They're all selling NFTs. This is just illustrating the continuing growth and engagement of the field of crypto. When you've got major organizations using this technology to improve what it is they do to make the products better, to make them cheaper, to provide greater levels of security, to allow you to get benefits that you weren't otherwise getting before.
I mean, when you buy a concert ticket, you get to go to the concert. But now through an NFT, you get all of these other features and benefits. This is really pretty cool and this is why there is so much excitement about crypto and why you need to make sure you're learning a lot about it.
Oh, and hey, here's an opportunity for you. We're doing a webinar on Tuesday, May 23rd. It's this coming week, 2:00 pm Eastern. I'm hosting a webinar for one hour called Crypto and Self-Custody. It's the future of wealth and asset management. This event is targeted to financial advisors, but you're welcome to attend as well. It's free. You can register at DACFP Webinars.com.
Exclusive interview: Don Friedman, President of DACFP
An inside look at the leading organization teaching financial professionals and investors about digital assets
Yes, this is the truth about your future. The TAYF, that's one of the companies that I own. There's another one that I have created called DACFP, the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals. I formed this company back in 2016 to teach financial advisors about the digital asset space and the world of blockchain, because most in the financial services industry don't know a whole lot about this. And I've gotten questions from time to time from folks asking me about DACFP. So I thought, why not bring on the president of DACFP to talk about it? So, Don Friedman, welcome to the program.
Don Friedman: Good to talk with you, Ric.
Ric Edelman: So Don and I have been together for a number of years. Don, your background is from the ETF world. And even prior to that, talk about your background and your journey down the rabbit hole into digital assets.
Don Friedman: Happy to. As a matter of fact, I look at a hockey terminology or expression, which is I'm going for the hat trick. And so to back up in 2002, I started actually producing events that focused on private equity, institutional real estate and hedge funds. And that went really, really well at a time when those strategies were out of favor. So I was there from 2002 to 2007, and from 2007 to 2014 is when I joined Etf.com as the Chief Operating Officer and also the co-founder of their entire events division. So imagine back in 2007, ETFs were definitely not the flavor of the day. As a matter of fact, people shunned us when we even talked about ETFs that mutual funds own the day and ETFs would never survive. Well, obviously fast-forwarding, we see how that was wrong. So that was number two of the hat trick. And number three is after I left Etf.com in 2014, I created my own company, JV Events Group, in which I did several different asset focused conferences for institutions only. And one of the conferences I came up with was called the Digital Asset Strategy Summit, which is how you and I got reunited because I knew you from my days at Etf.com. And so that's the hat trick where I'm hopeful that in in the case of alternative investments, ETFs and now with digital assets, that this has a similar result as what happened in the prior two scenarios.
Ric Edelman: So as you can see, Don's been in the advisory industry for more than 20 years, but never as an advisor. He's been the guy who has helped advisors get together and learn the latest about what's going on in the different aspects of the investment management world. The Inside ETFs conference became the world’s largest ETF event. It became a must-go-to event, thousands, I think what, 7000 advisors and others, would be at this event annually. I spoke at it many times and that event still exists. And back then, as Don noted, ETFs were like, you know, this young upstart thing. Today, of course, they hold trillions of dollars in assets and are far favored over mutual funds and Don and I have been working together for a number of years in developing digital asset education for advisors, and we decided to get together. So that was, what, three years ago, I guess, that you decided to join me formally. So we merged the two companies and Don has taken over as President of DACFP, the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals. How would you, Don describe the work of DACFP and what we do?
Don Friedman: Well, there's really nobody else out there quite like us. There's a lot of organizations that cover news, but what we do differently is we're an educational source, not a news source. And what we're doing is we're providing blockchain and digital assets education to financial professionals. So we also are educating folks in the crypto industry, people who create products. We're helping educate them as well, and now we're educating consumers as well.
Ric Edelman: And that's the most exciting part from my perspective. As Don mentioned, we've always provided focused education for advisors and their firms, independent advisors, as well as wirehouses, banks, insurance companies and such. But now we have expanded our certificate program. The Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets was created for financial advisors. We have now broadened that course. We not only now have a financial advisor track, we also have a financial professional track for Home Office personnel, a crypto professional track for the crypto industry, as Don said. And what I'm most excited about, a separate track for investors, consumers and students. Don, describe the experience of somebody going through the certificate program.
Don Friedman: The first part is the tech. What is Bitcoin and what is blockchain? And the second half of the program focuses on practice management. So the investment thesis portfolio, constructions rules, regulations, taxes.
Ric Edelman: So one of the things I'm really excited about is that we are broadening the course and helping everybody who is crypto curious, who is trying to figure out the role of crypto in a portfolio to understand how to invest the investment opportunities that exist, how much to invest, the taxation of crypto which nobody knows anything about. We have a complete two-hour module within our course explaining crypto taxation, so there's really nothing like it. The course has been endorsed by pretty much everybody in the financial services industry the Money Management Institute, the Investment Advisors Association, the Financial Planning Association, XY Planning Network, the National Association of Professional Financial Advisors. The list goes on and on and on. We're also the official crypto education partner for Schwab and for Fidelity and a number of other organizations. Some make the course mandatory for their personnel to get the crypto knowledge they need to be able to perform their jobs, serve clients and manage assets. So we're really excited about this. We've got thousands of people who've gone through the course from 35 countries and that's why we're excited about the expansion that we've just launched in March. You can learn a lot more about this at DACFP.com and we've got the link in our show notes today. But Don, we do a lot more than just the certificate program. Describe some of the other ways that we educate advisors.
Don Friedman: Sure. We educate advisors through events. So whether it's webinars in-person one on one meetings as well as virtual roundtables, but kind of our crown jewel is our VISION Conference, which takes place annually in Austin, Texas. It'll be in June again this year. So a huge distinguishing factor for this event compared to anything else out there is Ric alluded to earlier how I worked at Etf.com and created Inside ETFs. Inside ETFs is the world’s largest ETF industry event in the world. The beauty of what we do with VISION is that it's not an industry event, it's for allocators only. When I say allocators, I'm referring to financial advisors, endowments, foundations, family offices, pension plans and accredited investors. So they're the only people that are allowed to attend the event. And the event is focused on portfolio construction and practice management. So these are real world issues with important speakers that are going to help advisors in terms of understanding the asset class and potentially allocating to the asset class as well.
Ric Edelman: Last year we took everybody to a bitcoin mining farm, which was really very cool. Tens of thousands of computers lined up in a set of warehouses, the length of two football fields. This year we're going to be teaching all of the attendees how to mint your own NFTs Actually, all you need is a smartphone and you'll create your own non-fungible tokens right there in the conference room. So it's going to be an awful lot of fun. And the information about vision is also in your show notes today. We have found, Don, that there's still a lot of misinformation, a lot of confusion about crypto, blockchain, bitcoin, digital assets. What do you discover? Because you're out at conferences all the time. You're a sought-after speaker in your own right. You create a lot of the content with me at DACFP. What is it you're hearing from advisors and consumers? What are the big misconceptions you're hearing lately?
Don Friedman: Well, more than misconceptions, I think you touched on it earlier, is taxes. We also hear a lot about custody. We're not telling you to invest in it but get yourself educated on it. As over 80% of clients are asking questions about digital assets and over 60% will leave their advisor if they're not able to talk about it.
Ric Edelman: Yeah, I think you're right about all of that. The fact that fundamentally I think the reason that DACFP has become so popular within the advisory community is that we're not championing the fact that you ought to be buying bitcoin. That's not the point. The point is you need to become knowledgeable about bitcoin because this is a revolutionary new technology that isn't going away, that is becoming more and more a fundamental element of commerce on a global scale, and people need to become familiar with it, just like you need to be familiar with annuities. I don't care whether you like annuities or hate them. I don't care whether you sell them or don't recommend them. You need to understand how they work because they're a fundamental element within the financial services industry. You have to understand how these products are created, who sponsors them? You have to understand the fees and the taxes and the liquidity issues so that you can do your job as an investment advisor or as an investor yourself to decide whether you want to buy this kind of a thing.
Crypto is the same thing. I don't care whether you buy bitcoin or not, but to ignore it is simply foolish and it goes back to diversification. If you believe in a diversified portfolio, you already own assets you don't like, you own them because they're part of diversification. Crypto is really no different at all.
So let's bring your background in the ETF world together with your current involvement in crypto. The one thing everybody says they want; this is 80% of financial advisors and an equal percentage of investors. Everybody says they want a Bitcoin ETF. There isn't one yet. The SEC has continually rejected every application from the fund industry asking for permission to bring a Bitcoin ETF to the marketplace. It's gotten to the point where one fund provider, Grayscale, is suing the SEC because the SEC won't say yes. Talk about all of this from your perspective, having been in the ETF industry for so long.
Don Friedman: It appears that the SEC feels that the market can still be manipulated.
Ric Edelman: But isn't that ironic because the SEC has said yes to a Bitcoin Futures ETF, but they won't say okay to a Bitcoin ETF. So maybe you should explain for us what's the difference between the two?
Don Friedman: It's definitely highly ironic because a future is a derivative of a product. So a good example is if you buy $100 worth of bitcoin in the futures market, you could get a $1,000 worth of bitcoin. So the volatility is just inherently much more. There's far greater volatility inherently.
Ric Edelman: But that's the crazy part, Don, is that the SEC said yes to that. The SEC has permitted Bitcoin Futures ETFs onto the market and there are several of them now, but they won't say yes to the Bitcoin ETF itself. That just strikes a lot of people as incredibly backwards.
Don Friedman: There's no doubt. And we'll see what happens in the in the Grayscale appeals process here. It'll be very interesting to see how this turns out.
Ric Edelman: What else are you hearing from advisors?
Don Friedman: You know, what we also hear a lot from advisors is how they can get access to the asset class without owning the coins directly. And so what we do is we walk them through the traditional methods in which they can do that. They can buy picks and shovels, ETFs. They can buy bitcoin mining stocks, they can buy SMAs, they can buy private placements. So just to clarify, this is not the actual coin themselves, but it's a proxy which helps represent the direction of which way bitcoin or Ethereum or whatever else is moving.
Ric Edelman: So you mentioned a couple of things there. I want us to elaborate on. One, crypto ETFs. We just finished talking about the fact that there are no Bitcoin ETFs, but now you're saying there are crypto ETFs. So what exactly is that?
Don Friedman: So what that means is there's picks and shovels play. So think about in the gold mine rush, there were people picking for gold and then there was Levi Strauss making the jeans. So these are these are companies that are helping to build the infrastructure of the digital assets ecosphere.
Ric Edelman: And so they're just buying stocks of companies. They're not buying bitcoin itself. And the neat thing is these are ETFs that the SEC has allowed to come onto the market, dozens of them that allow you to do an ETF inside your portfolio alongside all of your other ETFs. No big deal. You also mentioned SMAs. Imagine an ETF where you're the only client, you're the only one who owns it. That's what a separately managed account is, and that allows customization that you can't get in an ETF. And this is why separately managed accounts SMAs are increasingly popular with financial advisors because it allows them to provide a greater level of service and unique money management control that you can't do with an ETF portfolio. And yes, there are now, as Don says, crypto ETFs that allow you to buy directly digital assets via this structure. So it's illustrative of the fact that there are so many different ways to invest and many advisors are unfamiliar with these opportunities and if they are unfamiliar with them, they can't possibly use them in their practice management, meaning their clients are getting excluded. And that's what our education is all about.
We don't care whether you invest or how you invest, we just want you to know how all this stuff works. That is the beginning of your decision making. So it's an illustration of the fact that there's a lot of complexity to what's going on in the world of blockchain and digital assets. There's a wide variety of products available on the market now. Some of them have greater level of risk than others and what is inherently a risky environment in the first place. And that's what we simply try to do. At DACFP, the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals teach financial advisors about all this so they can provide better level of advice and guidance to their clients. And now we're providing that level of information and education for you as well with our new Investor/Consumer/Student Track in our Certificate of Blockchain and Digital Assets. You can learn all about this by going to DACFP.com. The web links are in the show notes today. That's Don Friedman, the president of DACFP. Don, thanks for joining me on the show.
Don Friedman: Happy to be on the show with you. Thanks for having me.
Ric Edelman: You know, every week my wife, Jean, produces her own podcast and it's available on her website. Self Care with Jean.com. Go check out her videocast and podcast at Self Care with Jean.com. Jean's really passionate about sharing her knowledge and insights with you on self-care, mindfulness and overall wellness. I know she wants to hear from you and you can sign up for her free email updates and subscribe to her on her own social media channels. Her word of the week is Dream. Head over there right now.
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