Gerber Kawasaki, a top wealth management firm that handles $1.8 billion for 7,500 clients, is going crypto.
The California-based RIA (registered investment advisor) will begin buying cryptocurrency on behalf of its clients through Gemini, managing their Gemini accounts like any other investment advisory account.
"If I don't offer this to my clients, in essence, I'm taking away an opportunity that could be incredibly lucrative," CEO Ross Gerber, known for his big holdings in Tesla and cannabis stocks, told Decrypt. "Just like how I go out of my way to buy these annoyingly difficult stocks to buy like cannabis right now, that trade in Canada, and I have to deal with all this crap just to buy a stock. But I know the opportunity of these companies, so I go through the headache to do it, just like I'm going through the headache now to launch a program for crypto."
Gerber says he has held Bitcoin for years (he also owns Ethereum and Binance Coin), believes in the "digital gold" investment thesis, and has watched Wall Street sentiment toward crypto change.
"I'm in cannabis, I'm in Tesla, so I'm used to negative sentiment," he told Decrypt. "I think the argument that people make that Bitcoin isn't really a store of value is because of the volatility. So, gold isn't as volatile, because it has a 5,000 year experience of having so many people own gold... But this is like Year 10 for Bitcoin. So in ten years, it's done pretty well. And it's going to be volatile. But I do think it's a store of value, relative to, for example, a dollar. But not relative to a piece of real estate."
Gerber Kawasaki aims to start buying crypto for clients—mostly Bitcoin and Ethereum—on March 28.
"So if you have, let's say, a million dollars invested with me, you might want to take $10,000 or $20,000 and have this diversification," Gerber said. "We're going to transfer it to Gemini and we're going to buy bitcoin with it, and then we're going to watch it just like we watch your Tesla stock or your Apple or anything else. And you now have diversification into this currency, just like you have a 1% to 2% position in gold."
Even as more institutions have bought into Bitcoin—from hedge funds to public companies like Tesla, Square, and MicroStrategy—Gerber doesn't love everything he's seeing in the crypto space right now. Specifically, he is no fan of the explosion in NFTs, non-fungible tokens in sports, art, and music that are on fire on various collectibles marketplaces.
"This is what kills Bitcoin," Gerber told Decrypt. "This is what kills it every time. Last time was the ICOs. Whenever things start going well for Bitcoin, the criminals just come around like flies on poop.are just another way to rip people off... All this does is eventually hurt the validity of Bitcoin, just like the ICOs did, because what's going to happen next is the SEC is going to come and shut down NFTs. I don't want another scam to cheapen the reputation of Bitcoin and Ethereum, which have worked very hard to create legitimacy. And I know there's probably three legitimate, great NFT providers, but there's probably 3,000 crooks."
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