Welcome to the second installment of our Advisor Spotlight interview series, created to help financial professionals build a community of transparency and communication around the evolving world of cryptocurrencies and digital assets. This time, we’re speaking with Ryan Firth, CPA and Financial Planner.
Ryan’s story is a true example of how crypto can be a catalyst for so much more than just portfolio growth. Intrigued by the discourse surrounding bitcoin in 2015, Ryan started investing in crypto in its early stages. After taking a slow-and-steady investment approach to the market, his bitcoin investments allowed him to kickstart his advising career through his firm, Mercer Street Financial. His hands-on experience as an investor provides him with a unique perspective to share with his clients, something he’s been imparting to fellow curious investors since 2018.
Here’s our Q&A on digital assets with Ryan:
1. Why did you choose to pursue digital assets for your clients?
Ryan Firth: I find the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies (aka, digital assets) to be so fascinating– it’s a fast-paced, ever-changing space. I feel like it’s such a relatively new asset class that there aren’t many investment, tax, or legal professionals who deeply understand and follow it closely. Clients are either leading the way while the professionals try to catch up or ignoring digital assets entirely. I think it’s important to be able to meet folks wherever they’re at. So in my mind, being an early adopter of digital assets and having a good deal of investment, tax, and legal knowledge helps give one a comparative advantage over a vast majority of financial professionals; it really can be a differentiator.
2. How long have you been engaging the world of crypto?
RF: Personally, I’ve been an investor since 2015. Professionally, I’ve been advising on digital assets since 2018.
3. What’s your favorite thing about this new asset class?
RF: I like learning, and I feel like there’s always something new to be learned about cryptocurrencies. There’s never a dull moment in the world of crypto.
4. What are your thoughts about the emerging world of asset tokenization?
RF: Tokenization is an interesting concept and has been around for several years now. There are a ton of potential use cases for it (e.g., ownership and titling of physical assets), but it’s been slow to gain adoption for various reasons.
5. How are your clients talking to you about the market, and how have you talked with them about recent market movements?
RF: I think this applies to the broader market, not just the crypto market, but in a rising interest rate environment, pretty much all asset classes have seen declines since the Fed began tightening. Everything is just amplified more with crypto, so compared to equity markets, the price swings are typically deeper and higher–that is to say, there’s just a lot more volatility. Not everyone can stomach 80% drawdowns, so it can be a good conversation starter to have with clients to sort of check in and see how they’re handling the ups and (mostly) downs right now. It definitely can give you some insight into their risk tolerance in real-time.
6. What words of advice would you offer to advisors just beginning to offer digital assets to their clients?
RF: Some clients might know more about the topic than you do, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add value by helping guide them to think about how digital assets can–or whether digital assets even should–play a role in a client’s investment portfolio.
7. What are you most excited about for the future of blockchain?
RF: I’m looking forward to a day when hype meets reality. There are a bunch of potential use cases for blockchain, but they aren’t necessarily bright, shiny objects. The boring, not-so-sexy stuff is where the value lies in blockchain, in my opinion.
Stay tuned for more advisor interviews in the coming weeks. Would you or someone you know like to be featured in our Advisor Spotlight Series? You can submit for a chance to tell us your story.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. The content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. Nothing contained constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments in this or in any other jurisdiction in which such solicitation or offer would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction. All Content is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Opinions expressed are solely that of the interviewee and do not express the views or opinions of Blockforce Capital or Onramp Invest.