Blockchain, DAOs, Web 3.0 and other “Star Wars stuff” with crypto financial advisor Ryan Firth

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You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of volatility. Welcome to the crypto zone. In this interview with Ryan Firth, an hourly financial planner and CPA, we’ll discuss being a crypto financial advisor, Blockchain, DAOs, Web 3.0, and other Star Wars stuff.

Questions answered will include:

  • What is crypto?
  • What is blockchain?
  • What is Web 3.0?
  • What is a DAO?
  • The benefits and drawbacks of being an hourly financial planner
  • How to become a crypto financial advisor
  • The tax implications of investing in crypto

Before we get into it, for those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and financial advisor marketing consultant. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe!.

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors.

Welcome to the crypto zone

Our country should always be one that is a great place for people to experiment. We are built on the notion that it’s okay if things fail, because from that failure come lessons for how to build something new and better. And so while people may scoff at some of these initial experiments in crypto, those are going to be the roots, I think, of things that really end up transforming society in the long run.

-SEC Commissions Hester Peirce in CoinDesk interview

You may not agree with all this Star Wars stuff, but your clients may be into it. Know the basics of DeFi, or decentralized finance, at the very least.

What is crypto?

Bitcoin was the first mass adopted cryptocurrency. It’s been mined since 2009. It can get pretty technical, so here’s the hip hop version. We’ll use this as an example.

The way it works is:

  • There are these blocks. This is called blockchain technology, and it’s what most cryptocurrencies are based on.
  • The blocks are linked through a hash.
  • There is an incentive mechanism called a bitcoin that is created for each block that is generated. A block is mined every 10 minutes.
  • Bitcoin miners are going through computations, trying to figure out what the answer to the mathematical problem is. This is called hashing.
  • The first miner to guess the right combination of letters and numbers wins the block reward.

Bitcoin is believed to eliminate the issue of double spend. If you send a certain amount to Rahul, you can’t send that same bitcoin to Xiomara. The token you sent was recorded on a ledger.

What is a DAO?

A DAO is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization. These entities are designed for a specific purpose, consisting of like-minded people.

Let’s use Steve Larsen’s PlannerDao as an example (which by the way you should check out). Financial planners join this DAO. You can help out with projects, for example their conference coming up, for which you receive tokens which become more valuable as more people join the DAO. There is no head person; the idea is that it is decentralized. The tokenholders are like shareholders.

What is Web 3.0?

Web 1.0 was static web pages. Only certain users could write pages.

Web 2.0 is where we are now. You can enter a search and sort through information, you can comment on threaded conversations and engage with other users, etc. Individuals can read-write pages.

Web 3.0 is still largely undefined, but it is believed that it will be tokenized and more focused on the individuals. AI will play a larger role.

Being a crypto financial advisor

Here are the major questions financial advisors tend to have if they are considering managing crypto assets for their clients.


Ryan is an hourly planner and does not manage assets directly. Being an hourly planner is advantageous in this scenario, as he is not paid a fee for managing assets directly anyways. His role as a crypto financial advisor involves advising clients on how they should manage their exposure to cryptocurrency.

Clients hold crypto assets in a retail account as a “held away asset” that is not with any of the major custody houses. Coinbase is an example of such a custodian.

There are solutions that do allow clients to get their clients exposure directly to crypto. BITRIA was recently purchased by Gemini, for example.

Liability and insurance

The issue that financial advisors who manage crypto assets are having is the question of whether or not their liability insurance will cover this activity.


Crypto when held as capital assets (investments) are taxed as assets, capital gains tax is applied. There is a net investment income tax on top of that. If you are using it as personal property or as a collectible, such as NFTs, that is a different ballgame. Taxes get a bit trickier.

You should always consult a tax advisor for specifics that may apply to your situation.

You may not want to manage crypto assets for your clients, but at least have an opinion about it. But if you do decide to go that route, you should at least be involved with crypto yourself in your personal portfolio. You should think about getting a crypto financial advisor designation as well.

If you don’t want anything at all to do with crypto but somebody comes to you and asks you to advise them on crypto but you don’t want to get involved, contact a crypto financial advisor such as Ryan Firth.

Sara’s upshot

What’d ya think? Useful?

If yes…

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Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation.

See you in the next one!

-Sara G



Grillo Investment Management, LLC does not guarantee any specific level of performance, the success of any strategy that Grillo Investment Management, LLC may use or mention in any of its content, or the success of any program it may mention in any of its content.

Grillo Investment Management, LLC will strive to maintain current information however it may become out of date. Grillo Investment Management, LLC is under no obligation to advise users of subsequent changes to statements or information contained herein. This information is general in nature; for specific advice applicable to your current situation please contact a consultant or advisor.

Also, nothing in this podcast or blog can be interpreted as legal or compliance advice. For advise on such matters, contact a legal or compliance advisor.

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