‘To the Moon’
For all the risk, there’s evidence the crypto market could see mass adoption, thanks to Musk and celebrities like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Lil Yachty and Mark Cuban actively promoting it. Also spurring the market is the rise of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which are bought and sold using crypto. Brands like Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have jumped on the NFT craze as a marketing tool. A new survey from cryptocurrency exchange Gemini found that 14% of the U.S. population now invests in cryptocurrency, with two-thirds of U.S. adults who don’t yet own crypto identifying as “crypto-curious.” Even smaller “altcoins,” like DigiByte, VeChain and SafeMoon, have taken off.
Although Tesla has jumped off the crypto wagon for now, other brands like PayPal, AT&T, Expedia, Microsoft and Overstock now accept crypto as a form of payment. Last week, The Influencer Marketing Factory, which creates TikTok influencer campaigns for brands like Dunkin’ and Sony Music, became one of the first agencies to accept payments in Bitcoin and other major digital currencies.
“Companies, especially in the Crypto space, prefer to pay in crypto compared to USD and since the value of 1 [Bitcoin] and [Ethereum] is going up day by day, it would be a wasted opportunity for our agency from a business perspective,” says Alessandro Bogliari, co-founder and CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory, who also describes crypto payments as faster than wire transfers and easily tracked. Still, the agency is limiting the amount it will accept every year because of the risk involved.
Publications have also sprung up around crypto craze. Last month, TheStreet launched a new paid newsletter for investors called Crypto Investor, and mainstream news organizations like Bloomberg and Reuters have ramped up coverage. “We're learning as we go, just like everyone else in this space. It's what's so intoxicating about covering crypto,” says Crypto Investor Editor-in-Chief Michael Bodley.
As use cases have skyrocketed, so too have crypto brands’ investment in their advertising, especially on social platforms like Instagram. Coinbase went from spending around $34,000 on Instagram ads in the second quarter of 2020 to spending $3.4 million in the first quarter of 2021. Crypto.com, a crypto exchange based out of Hong Kong, went from spending $178,000 on Instagram ads in the second quarter of 2020 to $2.7 million in the first quarter of 2021, according to social media data analytics firm Pathmatics.
TV, out-of-home and social platforms like Instagram and Twitter are preferred channels. But some platforms, like Google, Facebook and YouTube, are still proving difficult to work with. In 2018, Google reversed part of its ban on cryptocurrency advertising and Facebook began allowing some types of ads, but crypto brands say there are still restrictions in place and policies have not kept up with the speed of the sector.