Crypto Ads Stayed on the Sidelines for Super Bowl 2024, Again

Crypto Ads Stayed on the Sidelines for Super Bowl 2024, Again

Published: February 12, 2024

Super Bowl LVIII has finally ended, and while people are busy celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs’ historical back-to-back win (or lamenting the San Francisco 49ers’ loss), many noticed the absence of crypto ads during Game Day.

This is the second year that crypto firms have chosen not to take part in one of the biggest annual marketing events in the U.S.

This absence is questionable for many because the industry is showing significant recovery after the “crypto winter” brought on by several exchanges’ collapse in 2022.

The FTX Fiasco

Of course, the one that had the most major impact on the decline of the crypto market is the fall of FTX, which ironically created buzz with its Super Bowl ad debut in 2022 featuring comedian and writer Larry David.

The full minute-long commercial featured David hilariously reenacting historical scenarios where influential inventions were presented.

In each scene, David portrays a skeptical character rejecting groundbreaking ideas like the wheel, the fork, and even the electric light bulb.

This comical portrayal extends to the modern era, where he remains unconvinced by the presenter's pitch for cryptocurrency.

The commercial concludes with David declaring, "Nah, I don't think so. And I'm never wrong about this stuff. Ever."

While the ad was indeed witty and buzz-worthy, it was also the last time FTX would grace Super Bowl advertising — and several months later, any kind of advertising at all.

In November 2022, a leaked balance sheet exposed potential financial irregularities at FTX, including its affiliated trading firm Alameda Research holding a large amount of its own token (FTT).

What followed was a series of events that eventually led to FTX filing for bankruptcy, unable to meet withdrawal demands as its customers pulled their money and investments from the exchange.

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of FTX, was arrested in the Bahamas on charges including wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. He has since been convicted of seven charges, awaiting sentencing in March.

What was most shocking was that celebrities who starred in FTX commercials, including David, Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, and then-wife Gisele Bündchen, were also sued for endorsing the crypto exchange.

This entire fiasco has most probably created a long-term trauma that prevents crypto firms from advertising during the Super Bowl.

Recovering from Crypto Winter

FTX investigators disclosed they found a discrepancy of $8.9 billion in the exchange, and although reports stated an estimated $7 billion has been recovered, the once-popular crypto’s collapse plunged the crypto market to a two-year low of $796 billion.

According to Statista, the crypto market cap was valued at $2.5 trillion in March 2022, and it continued to drop at an alarming rate from $1.31 trillion in May 2022 to just $826.51 billion before the year ended.

Although last year still saw some dips in the crypto market cap, the trend was generally upwards, with the first week of 2024 showing a figure of $1.81 trillion. This is largely due to the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) approval of Bitcoin ETFs.

Following the SEC approval, digital asset firms trading BTC ETFs like BlackRock and Grayscale have created aggressive marketing campaigns.

However, they also didn't advertise in this year’s Super Bowl.

On top of the Super Bowl advertising trauma inflicted by FTX, a major reason for this absence is the fact that ad slots were sold out as early as November last year, while Bitcoin ETFs were approved just this January.

Crypto Regulations and Legal Battles

While the Super Bowl does offer a great avenue for marketing, crypto companies are more focused on navigating pending and current crypto regulations.

For instance, leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which also previously advertised in the 2022 Super Bowl, has shifted its focus to political advocacy in 2024. This involves lobbying Congress for legislation regulating digital assets and contributing to campaigns of crypto-friendly politicians.

Coinbase is also embroiled in an SEC lawsuit, alleging the exchange is operating as an unregistered securities platform and offering unregistered securities as digital assets.

Kraken, the second largest crypto exchange in the U.S., is also facing similar charges from the SEC.

And so, crypto firms may just have more important matters on their plates this year; and Super Bowl advertising is just not on the budget.

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