In Crypto ‘Arms Race’ For Mass Adoption, Companies Ink Sports Deals Worth Hundreds Of Millions

As cryptocurrency companies seek to reach mainstream audiences, some platforms are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to sponsor sports teams, stadiums and even leagues in a bid to woo new fans.

On Sept. 22, Crypto.com struck an eight-figure deal with the Philadelphia 76ers to sponsor the jersey patch and have visibility in the arena. The crypto trading app will also work with team management to develop non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and create a way for fans to use cryptocurrency to pay for tickets and other products. The Hong Kong-based company will also show up elsewhere alongside the NBA franchise—including on TV broadcasts and various other digital platforms.

Crypto.com Chief Marketing Officer Steven Kalifowitz recognizes that in order to build the brand, he has to also educate consumers about this new asset class.

“Crypto is not just another shoe,” he says. “It’s not a commodity thing or a suitcase or something. Getting into crypto is very much a cultural thing.”

Flush with money from eager investors, a growing number of crypto brands are spending big to reach a mass audience through sports sponsorships and mainstream events. Other deals this month include the cryptofinance company XBTO sponsoring the Major League Soccer team Inter Miami, the cryptocurrency exchange FTX sponsoring Mercedes-AMG’s Formula 1 team and the nonprofit Learncrypto.com sponsoring the English Premier League team, Southampton F.C.

Perhaps sports arenas are not a bad way to go when it comes to finding new fans for a new—and still largely unregulated—asset class that some critics dismiss as gambling and proponents say is the future of the internet as well as the economy. And in a fast-growing and cluttered market, the fight is to get not just recognition but market share.

“To me it looks like an arms race for user acquisition,” says Keith Soljacich, VP/GD of Experiential Tech at Digitas, a leading digital advertising agency. “It’s kind of like if you have a crypto wallet on a platform, it’s a lot like holding a Visa card, too.”

The 76ers deal is just one of many that Crypto.com has landed in the past year while it’s on an aggressive sponsorship spree totaling more than $400 million in deals. Earlier this month, the company became the first official crypto platform partner for the famous French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain. Crypto.com is also a sponsor of a wide range of teams including the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, Fox Sports’ college football midday coverage, UFC, and Aston Martin’s Formula One team—just to name a few. Each of these also includes various other integrations far beyond a logo.

Chris Heck, president of business operations for the 76ers, says the team had been looking for a new jersey patch partner for a couple of years and spoken with hundreds of companies. And because the jersey patch is the most important partnership a team has, it requires brands and teams to be “completely aligned.”

“As the world woke up to the crypto space a little over a year ago, we got a chance to venture down that road,” Heck says. “Think about it this way: Sports are entering into the crypto era world, and we get to the at the front of the line with Crypto.com. These are folks that are partnering with gold-standard brands like UFC, F1, PSG, and we get to be their brand and their of choice in the United States with major sports teams and that’s pretty cool.”

All this to go beyond the current crypto user base to reach the masses: A study Crypto.com conducted in July found that total global crypto users have doubled year-over-year from 106 million to 221 million. However, just a fraction of those are currently the company’s customers.

Earlier in September, FTX—a two-year-old startup that just moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to The Bahamas—announced a $20 million ad campaign starring football legend Tom Brady and his wife, the model and businesswoman Gisele Bündchen. And like Crypto.com, FTX is sponsoring a wide range of teams and leagues in rapid succession including a five-year deal with the Major League Baseball announced this summer.

“If we just stop at one deal and we’ll wait and see how it does and wait to see how that does before doing another one, the best opportunities might be gone,” says FTX.US President Brett Harrison.

According to Harrison, FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried asked for ideas of how do something “that’s big.” Someone then came up with the idea to buy the naming rights for a stadium, and a few months later they won the rights to rename the Miami Heat’s arena FTX Arena in a $135 million deal approved in March.

“There is a group of tech companies that know it in their bones that if they don’t become brands quickly, there is a time in the future where there will be just a few left,” says Jamie Shuttlesworth, chief strategy officer of Dentsu Americas, which became FTX’s agency of record in June.

Traditional advertising methods are important for building trust in crypto brands, according to Harrison—especially since it deals with something like taking care of people’s money.

“When’s the last time you saw an ad for maybe a bank pop up on the top of your Google search and said, ‘Time to move all my money from my Chase account or Citi account?’”

Major stadium and team sponsorships are often held by brands that are already well known, but the crypto sector’s aggressive land-grab feels in some ways like strategies in games like “Risk” or “Monopoly”—where people can either wait for the right properties or buy everything they can as fast as possible.

When asked about the Monopoly metaphor, Harrison joked that “we’re trying plant our pieces on as many Park Places as possible.”

There’s plenty incentive for sports organizations to team up with crypto companies. Mike Proulx, a Forester analyst and marketing expert, said many sports leagues want—and need—to attract the next generation of fans.

“These kinds of deals look to tap into crypto companies’ young skewing userbase with NFTs that are, in a way, a modern/virtual take on old school baseball cards,” he says. “And the benefit to crypto companies is, of course, getting to leverage the league IP that legitimizes their platform with trusted brands while also growing their users.”

The crypto industry has exhausted its original market, says to R.A. Farrokhnia, a professor at Columbia Business School professor and Executive Director of the Columbia Fintech Initiative. However, blockchain technology isn’t something that’s easily explained to the average person—it involves cryptography, complex networks, and other concepts—and also still aren’t to a point where users can easily navigate.

According to Farrokhnia, there are still questions about whether the foundations and interfaces are advanced enough to warrant the aggressive push toward mass adoption. Or, he asks, “are we putting the proverbial cart before the horse?”

“These are all the moving parts in this ecosystem and it seems the pace for innovation has accelerated,” he said. “But are we doing things in the right sequence?”

Farrokhnia also points out the irony that despite all of cryptocurrency’s new innovations, the companies are still using classic marketing models. However, he adds that little for athletes to market unregulated digital economies than to pitch things like CPG products or other brand categories.

“What kind of reputation risk could this have for teams or sports figures or influencers or actors who are engaging in this kind of marketing campaign or activity? Most likely they have good lawyers that would protect them against such things, but you never know.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a Forbes staff writer and editor of the Forbes CMO Network, leading coverage of marketing, advertising and technology with a specific focus on chief marketing

Source: In Crypto ‘Arms Race’ For Mass Adoption, Companies Ink Sports Deals Worth Hundreds Of Millions

.

More Contents:

Wary of Bitcoin? A guide to some other crypto currencies

Consistency of Proof-of-Stake Blockchains with Concurrent Honest Slot Leaders

Gridcoin: Crypto-Currency using Berkeley Open Infrastructure Network Computing Grid as a Proof Of Work

Vertcoin: The Soaring Cryptocurrency Set to Surpass Bitcoin

Out in the Open: Teenage Hacker Transforms Web Into One Giant Bitcoin Network

Exclusive: Grayscale launches digital-currency fund backed by Silver Lake’s co-founder Hutchins

Crypto social network BitClout arrives with a bevy of high-profile investors — and skeptics

Kodak CEO: Blockchain Significant, Though Not a Doubling in Stock Price

Zcoin Moves Against ASIC Monopoly With Merkle Tree Proof”. Finance Magnates

Big-name investors back effort to build a better Bitcoin

Hundreds Of Billions Lost As Major Cryptocurrencies Including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Cardano Tumble In Crypto Crash

Hundreds of billions has been wiped from the cryptocurrency market Tuesday amid a market-wide crash that has seen the prices of major cryptocurrencies—including bitcoin, ethereum, cardano and solana—plummet and fall sharply from near record highs this week.

The price of bitcoin plummeted to around $60,500 Tuesday morning, down 8% from 24 hours before, according to CoinGecko.

Most major tokens—including ethereum, XRP, cardano, solana and dogecoin—experienced similarly steep drops over the last 24 hours, falling between 7% and 10%.

Of the four most valuable cryptocurrencies by market capitalization—excluding the biggest, bitcoin, and tether, a stablecoin pegged to USD—ether fell 9.6% to around $4,300, Binance’s BNB 8.9% to $590, solana 7.5% to $225 and cardano 9% to $1.90.

XRP, polkadot, dogecoin and shiba inu coin—the next largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, excluding another stablecoin, USD Coin—fell 9.3%, 12.4%, 8.8% and 6%, respectively.

The losses come as part of a wider rout in the cryptocurrency market, which is now worth some $2.76 trillion, according to CoinGecko, down 8.6% from the day before.

The crash comes less than a week after bitcoin hit a new record high, jumping just above $69,000. This came as part of a wider rally following a market crash earlier this year, a response to an intensifying regulatory crackdown in China and growing concerns over bitcoin’s environmental impact.

The crash wiped many of the gains made throughout the pandemic, when the volatile market thrived due to numerous factors including an influx of retail investors, more options to trade digital currencies and the popularity of meme stocks and tokens driven by online forums on sites like Reddit and celebrity endorsement.

It’s not clear why the cryptocurrency market is crashing, though there are several factors that could contribute. Chinese authorities renewed efforts to crackdown on cryptocurrency mining Tuesday, slamming the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the process. China’s earlier crackdown on mining saw cryptocurrency miners flee the country en masse, many of whom landed in the U.S. Another possible reason could be responses to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, which includes provisions for potentially regulating and taxing cryptocurrency.

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I am a London-based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news. Previously, I have worked as a reporter for a specialist legal publication covering big data

Source: Hundreds Of Billions Lost As Major Cryptocurrencies—Including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Cardano—Tumble In Crypto Crash

.

More Contents:

Bitcoin Hits First Record High In More Than Six Months After Historic Fund Debut (Forbes)

Elon Musk Shows How Crypto May Start Ruining Stock Traders’ Weekends (Bloomberg)

U.S. Claims Top Spot For Bitcoin Mining As Miners Flee China Crackdown — Here Are The World’s Biggest Mining Hubs (Forbes)

Costelloe, Kevin (November 29, 2017). “Bitcoin ‘Ought to

“Central banker takes stab at bitcoin ‘bubble

Silcoff, Sean (February 13, 2018). “OMERS-affiliated Ethereum Capital offering pinched, but not pulled, following choppy markets and cryptocrash”. The Globe and Mail. The Woodbridge Company.

Google’s Pivot Away From Bank Accounts Shows Why Finance Is A Tough Industry For Tech Giants

At least one tech giant has decided it’s better to serve banks rather than taking them head on. Google is shuttering its bank account product nearly two years after announcing ambitious plans to take on the retail finance industry. One key factor: The new head of the business, Bill Ready, decided that he’d rather develop a digital banking and payments ecosystem instead of competing with banks, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

For the past few years, bank executives and investors have shuddered whenever a tech giant disclosed plans to break into finance. With good reason: Tech giants have access to hundreds of millions of users and their data and a track record for transforming industries like media and advertising.

But the reality has proven less disruptive so far. While Amazon was reportedly exploring bank accounts in 2018, the project has yet to materialize. Uber reined in its fintech ambitions last year. Facebook was forced to rebrand its crypto project amid a series of setbacks.

“We’re updating our approach to focus primarily on delivering digital enablement for banks and other financial services providers rather than us serving as the provider of these services,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

Google, which is owned by parent company Alphabet, could help banks provide more secure ways for consumers to make online purchases like via virtual cards or single-use tokens. That’s according to the person with knowledge of the company who declined to be identified speaking about business strategy. Those methods cut down on fraud by protecting users’ credit-card numbers.

Google may have ultimately decided it wasn’t worth antagonizing current and prospective customers for its various businesses, including cloud computing, according to a Friday research note from Wells Fargo banking analyst Mike Mayo.

In recent years, Google has funneled more resources to its cloud business, which still lags behind Amazon and Microsoft in market share. However, it has made steady gains under cloud boss Thomas Kurian, who, along with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, has repeatedly touted financial services as a target in terms of customers they hope to attract.

“Banks are worried about disintermediation, and I think it’s likely that Google executives were getting signals that banks weren’t on board with what Google was going to do,” said Peter Wannemacher, a Forrester Research analyst who advises banks on digital efforts. “They made the bet that there was a greater gain in selling to banks rather than selling to customers.”

Being the customer-facing entity for banks may have risked inviting greater regulatory and Congressional scrutiny, he said. As it is, the public has already become suspicious of technology firms’ reach, he added.

“Financial services is a difficult space to get into,” Wannemacher said. “Everyone knows that, but it’s often more vexing and knotty than people expect.”

By: Hugh Son & Jennifer Elias

Source: Google’s pivot away from bank accounts shows why finance is a tough industry for tech giants

Related Contents:

SEC Signs Deal To Investigate DeFi Transactions

Blockchain analytics firm AnChain.AI has signed a deal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help monitor and regulate the turbulent decentralized finance (DeFi) industry, according to a company spokesperson. The initial value of the contract is $125,000, with five separate one-year $125,000 option years for a total of $625,000.

According to CEO and co-founder Victor Fang, “The SEC is very keen on understanding what is happening in the world of smart contract-based digital assets…so we are providing them with technology to analyze and trace smart contracts.”

AnChain.AI is a San Jose-based artificial intelligence and machine learning blockchain startup that focuses on tracking illicit activity across crypto exchanges, DeFi protocols, and traditional financial institutions. In revealing the SEC contract, which started in May 2021, the company also announced today a $10 million Series A round of funding led by an affiliate of Susquehanna Group, SIG Asia Investments LLP, at an undisclosed valuation.

The deal comes on the heels of the SEC taking further interest in DeFi as it rapidly matures and grows in size. The industry currently manages more than $82 billion, and the largest decentralized exchange, Uniswap, processed over $1.8 billion worth of transactions in the last 24 hours, many of which included tokens that could be determined to be securities by the SEC.

Additionally, these platforms are becoming increasingly complex. Fang noted that the Uniswap platform is actually an amalgam of 30,000 separate smart contracts that execute the actual exchange of tokens.

The SEC’s first major action against the DeFi space came in 2018, when it shut down EtherDelta, a ‘DeFi’ exchange that it deemed to be operating illegally.

In an August interview with The Wall Street Journal, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler warned that DeFi operations are not immune from oversight because they use the word decentralized, and that “There’s still a core group of folks that are not only writing the software, like the open source software, but they often have governance and fees…There’s some incentive structure for those promoters and sponsors in the middle of this.”

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce echoed this sentiment in a March interview with Forbes, but perhaps in an acknowledgement of the potential in DeFi asked these projects to come forward and be pro-active with the regulator, “When you start to look at the tokens themselves and try to figure out whether they’re securities, it does get kind of confusing.

In particular, it’s so hard in the DeFi landscape because there’s such variety. This is why I encourage individual projects to come in and talk to the SEC because it really does require a look at the very particular facts and circumstances.”

In addition to cataloguing and monitoring known wallets tied to illicit actors, AnChain.AI has built a predictive engine that can be used to identify unknown addresses and transactions that could be suspicious. This is all part of Fang’s goal to move beyond doing “post-incident investigations” to move the “defense all the way up to the upstream” and make it “preventive”.

Aside from government clients, AnChain.AI’s technology is also being used by centralized cryptocurrency exchanges and traditional financial institutions. In a press release, Ye Li, Investment Manager at SIG said of the investment, “AnChain.AI has made great progress in developing its market-leading crypto security technology to meet its customers’ broad demand in regulatory compliance and transaction intelligence.”

The SEC declined to comment.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website. Send me a secure tip.

I am director of research for digital assets at Forbes. I was recently the Social Media/Copy Lead at Kraken, a cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States.

Source: SEC Signs Deal To Investigate DeFi Transactions

.

Related Contents:

DeFi’ movement promises high interest but high risk

Decentralized Finance: On Blockchain- and Smart Contract-Based Financial Markets

The Maker Protocol: MakerDAO’s Multi-Collateral Dai (MCD) System

What’s ‘Yield Farming’? (And How Do You Grow Crypto?)

DeFiance: billion dollar finance, million dollar hacks, and very little value

fidentiaX: The Tradable Insurance Marketplace on Blockchain

Digital Assets and Blockchain Technology: US Law and Regulation

Why ‘DeFi’ Utopia Would Be Finance Without Financiers: QuickTake

Coders Flock Back to Crypto Projects With Prices Surging Again

Crypto wallet MetaMask finally launches on iOS and Android, and it supports Apple Pay

Crypto Exchange Gets Millions After Copy-Paste of a Rival’s Code

Flash Loans Are Providing Instant Cash to Crypto Speculators

Boom or bust? Welcome to the freewheeling world of crypto lending

Crypto Is Beating Gold as 2020’s Top Asset So Far

 

Crypto Investors Get Ready for More Taxes But Clearer Rules

Sure, you might have to actually pay U.S. taxes on those crypto trades. But at least it will be easier to figure out how much you owe.

A new push by Congress to require crypto brokers to report transactions to the Internal Revenue Service could create some unwelcome tax bills but could clarify rules for traders and users of Bitcoin and other digital tokens, potentially strengthening the system in the long run, people in the industry say.

The new rules — a last-minute addition to the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package now being considered by the U.S. Senate — would also force businesses to disclose trades of digital assets of more than $10,000. The provisions are designed to raise $28 billion.

The measures add to increased scrutiny the IRS has recently applied to traders of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets. The agency has promised it will issue new rules that clarify how those virtual currencies should be taxed.

People who trade digital currencies must pay income taxes on any gains, even if some crypto investors have been ignoring their tax obligations. But even for those who want to follow the law, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s owed.

Filing taxes on crypto trades can create huge headaches, especially for those who conduct multiple transactions each year. While traditional stock brokerages are already required to send detailed tax forms to clients, crypto exchanges aren’t. Even if firms wanted to help their clients file taxes, it’s not always clear how to do that under the current regulations.

In addition, tax obligations can pop up in surprising places. People who use digital currencies to pay for things — like, say, a Tesla, or a pizza — are supposed to pay taxes on any increase in value of the crypto they spend. It’s a key difference between using digital “currencies” and actual, fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar to conduct commerce.

Andrew Johnson, a project manager at a large national bank, has invested tens of thousands in crypto and uses a dedicated service to figure out what he owes in taxes. He’s been using CoinTracker, which he learned about though a YouTube channel that he trusts.

“Most would benefit from a tracking service to help with taxes,” he said. “For me, I decided it was worth the cost to not have to manually track all the trades I did — which could take hours or days.”

Read more from Bloomberg Opinion: How Can I Lower My Taxes on Bitcoin?

Cryptocurrency exchanges and others in the industry have raised concerns that the U.S. Senate is rushing the rules into effect without consulting them first.

Some wondered whether the new rules and regulatory attention would encourage mainstream investors to join the space — or hurt the appeal of cryptocurrencies by killing its anything-goes ethos.

“Some portion of crypto investors may start to have second thoughts about the tax consequences,” said Michael Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners. “It’s almost like crypto is a really fun party, but it’s getting late and a few people are starting to look at their watches as they think about the next morning.”

For years, the IRS has been warning taxpayers to report cryptocurrency transactions on their tax returns. More recently, the agency has made clear that fighting tax evasion through digital currencies is a top priority.

The IRS has started collecting vast amounts of data on blockchain transactions, has subpoenaed crypto exchanges and worked on coordinating enforcement with foreign governments. Last year, the IRS added a yes-or-no question to the front page of the 1040 income tax form asking whether filers had sold or exchanged virtual currencies.

The jurisdiction of U.S. law enforcement only reaches so far, and crypto traders who prize secrecy could flee to offshore exchanges, or take other measures to avoid being spotted by the IRS. However, the U.S. has already shown it can crack down on foreign tax evasion by, for example, forcing banks in Switzerland and elsewhere to divulge details on American clients.

Even if parts of the crypto universe remain hidden, it may be difficult to move those assets onshore and turn them into legitimate wealth.

“If a U.S. taxpayer is into crypto for the ability to underreport income from sales or transfers, chances are someone in a chain somewhere may have to disclose it,” said Julio Jimenez, an attorney who is principal in the tax services group at Marks Paneth LLP.

All this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for law-abiding investors in digital assets if they end up with clearer rules and easier-to-understand annual statements from crypto firms.

“I think it will have a positive effect on the industry,” said Brett Cotler, an attorney at Seward and Kissel LLP in New York who specializes in blockchain and cryptocurrency. While exchanges and fintech firms that deal in digital currencies may have to spend money upgrading reporting and compliance systems, it will improve customer service, he said.

Johnson, the crypto trader, said he thinks the new rules will help legitimize the crypto ecosystem and foster international growth.

“While at its heart, crypto assets have been a means of moving value outside of government-controlled rails, I still understand the need for regulation in the crypto space in order for wider adoption to take place,” he said.

— With assistance by Natasha Abellard, and Laura Davison

By ,  , and

Source: Bitcoin (BTC): What Is Impact of Government Plan to Tax Crypto Trades? – Bloomberg

Most Read

The Covid-19 Outbreak Has a New Epicenter in the U.S.

Fauci Says Shots Work Despite Cases Among Fully Vaccinated

Are Covid Shots Working? What the Real World Tells Us

Fauci Backs Vaccines; Chicago Praises Lollapalooza: Virus Update

In Provincetown, Covid Hits 14 Friends in Show of Delta’s Might

%d bloggers like this: