Last Year’s Super Bowl Ads for Crypto Promised Everything and Delivered Nothing

Last Year’s Super Bowl Ads for Crypto Promised Everything and Delivered Nothing

“Crypto? Oh, that’s right, cryptocurrencies. Those fake digital coins, right? I remember seeing them at last year’s Super Bowl. Larry David was in one. I thought that commercial was pretty funny. Say, how is that whole crypto thing doing?”

Thank you for your question, random citizen. Well, to answer your question: not too well, unfortunately. Indeed, it seems the major crypto companies that made such a big splash during last year’s big game are either too bankrupt to possibly afford a multi-million dollar ad spot in today’s game of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles, or they would rather not put too much attention to themselves.

Mark Evans, Fox Sports’ VP of ad sales , told AP last week that there will be “zero representation” for crypto companies during the day of Super Bowl LVII. According to Evans, there were two crypto companies already booked for commercials this year, but after FTX collapsed and declared bankruptcy, and after its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was indicted on federal fraud charges, those two unnamed companies backed out.

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Super Bowl 2022 was nicknamed the “Crypto Bowl” for the number of crypto companies buying ads. Coinbase,, eToro, and of course FTX, all ran commercials during the big game. Other companies like Bitbuy and Binance also ran ads concurrently with last year’s Los Angeles Rams victory.’s commercial had actor Matt Damon implying that anybody who wasn’t buying into crypto was missing out, and that “fortune favours the brave.” FTX, meanwhile, got Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David acting out history’s worst curmudgeon, all while somehow equating crypto to great inventions like the wheel, or the lightbulb. That is to say, all these ads feel that much more moronic a year since they first came out, after months of crypto prices lying at the bottom of the proverbial sink.

And just a few months after Super Bowl LVI, the crypto economy had its first crash thanks to the demise of the Terra/Luna crypto ecosystem. Though it was the FTX debacle that truly gave the entire crypto community a bad name. Politicians that once supported FTX are now scrambling to save face, and other crypto exchanges like Binance have desperately tried to claim it will not end up like its erstwhile rival.

Super Bowl is chaotic enough, but there’s enough time before first kickoff for us to reflect on these “Crypto Bowl” alumni and where they are now.

Coinbase’s Silly QR Code Sweepstakes is Done, But It’s Barely Holding On

Coinbase, now the second-biggest crypto exchange after Binance since the demise of FTX, is struggling to save face after a major insider trading scandal, all while haemorrhaging employees.

During the 2022 Super Bowl, it ran an ad that was literally just a QR code bounding up and down the screen like an old screen saver. The ad took users to a page to a crypto sweepstakes where users could earn $US15 in free bitcoin and potentially win $US3 million (around $4 million). After the ad aired, the site immediately crashed from all the new traffic.

Now Coinbase would be loathe to give anything away for free. The company has been hit hard by the industry turmoil. Bank of America downgraded Coinbase’s stock, citing risk of contagion with FTX. Last month, the company laid off 20% of its staff, about 950 people.

It’s also dealing with a big PR SNAFU after a former product manager for Coinbase, Ishan Wahi, was sentenced to 10 months in prison last month after he was accused of passing along info on crypto asset listings to family, who then used the funds to buy up shares of assets just before they hit the market. The man’s brother, Nikhil, also pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges on Tuesday.

Now Coinbase is trying to position itself as just a simple exchange, nothing crazy going on here. CEO Brian Armstrong belabored that point in a tweet on Wednesday. Of course, one can’t forget the strange, bouncing QR code and its promise of get-rich-quick sweepstakes to lure people into diving deep into an incredibly volatile market, as evidenced by this past year alone. Has Cut Staff and Has Battled to Show its Ads

The crypto exchange has long had advertising on its mind. The company acquired the naming rights to the Los Angeles Staples Arena in 2021. It kept the name on the home of the LA Lakers, Kings, and Clippers throughout the turmoil of the crypto industry, but it’s still struggled to maintain its innocence compared to the likes of Terra or FTX.

During last year’s Super Bowl, released its infamous ad sporting Matt Damon claiming that “history is filled with ‘almosts’” and that “fortune favours the bold.” Damon has since been well-mocked for that speech. That commercial is no longer available on’s YouTube page. There’s also the spot ad with Lebron James telling a younger version of himself “Am I ready?”

And is still struggling, advertising-wise. Last December, the UK Advertising Standards Authority banned a Facebook ad for a NFT, saying it did not reveal the risks of investing in NFTs. It’s a similar situation to January 2022, when the same agency banned two more of the company’s ads similarly saying they were banking on users “inexperience or credulity” without notifying users that crypto investments aren’t regulated by the British government.

In June last year, the company cut 260 staff members, about 5% of their crypto firm. Then last month, announced it was slashing its workforce again by 20% due in part to the fallout from FTX. CEO Kris Marszalek wrote that his company “grew ambitiously” at the start of 2022, the latter parts of the year saw a much more negative trajectory. Despite claims it had a strong balance sheet Marszalek said “we’ve had to navigate ongoing economic headwinds and unforeseeable industry events.”

Beyond internal struggles, has tried to ensure users its reserves are backed 100%, according to a so-called “proof-of-reserves” audit conducted late last year. Unfortunately for, Mazars — the company conducting that audit — broke all agreements with crypto companies after being criticised for conducting such limited investigations of the company’s finances.

eToro Laid Off Workers and Nuked a Plan to Go Public

The Israel-based stock trading company eToro has tried to keep its head down since last year, and while other former Super Bowl advertisers have since removed their expensive ads from public view, eToro has kept the ad up, in all its strange, people-flying glory. One of those badly-CGed investors mumbles “to the moon” as they’re whisked away into the sky. If only that’s what actually happened.

Last July, eToro laid off 100 workers, about 6% of the company’s workforce. CEO Yoni Assia blamed “current market conditions” for the layoffs and promised it was an effort to “sustain long-term sustainable growth.” At the same time, the company nixed a planned special purpose acquisition company with Fintech Acquisition Corp., which would have taken the company public. EToro failed to get clearance from the Securities and Exchange Commission for its merger.

Since then, eToro has spent time gobbling up fintech companies and adding options trading on its platform, alongside stocks. Unfortunately, at the start of the new year, the company has had to deny claims that its systems were breached.

A user on the popular hacker forum Breached created a thread claiming they have a database of hacked emails, IP addresses, and deposit amounts for the eToro platform. That user has since been banned from the hacker forum, so there’s no way to verify the data inside. Still, eToro claimed its investigations “indicate that there has been no breach on eToro’s side.”

FTX’s Large-Scale Blunder Has Been Rocking the Entire Crypto Industry

In what has become perhaps the most horribly ironic example of a crypto company’s advertising, the “Don’t miss out” commercial starring famed curmudgeonly comedian Larry David showed just how “missing out” was actually the correct move all along.

Comparing crypto to the advent of democracy is one thing, but in trying to paint all the naysayers as hesitant dunces, the company, and David himself, became poster boys for just how rotten things seemed throughout the entire crypto industry.

If you still haven’t heard, FTX and its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried spent most of 2022 buying or propping up failed crypto companies and schmoozing with regulators and politicians. Then, in November, the entire house of cards fell down when reporters showed that FTX had been supporting its sister company, Alameda Research, with FTX’s native coin and with customer funds. After a run on FTX, the company halted user withdrawals and declared bankruptcy. Now Bankman-Fried is up on federal fraud and conspiracy charges, though the once-FTX founder has pleaded not guilty.

The situation at FTX has sent even more shockwaves through the already shaky crypto industry, and no company has yet to recover much of the goodwill it engendered over the past few years. FTX promoters like David, as well as Steph Curry, Tom Brady, and more have all been named in a pending class action lawsuit.

Binance Thought It Was Clever With Its Anti-Super Bowl Ad Commercial

“On Feb 13 you’re going to hear some of the biggest names telling you to get into crypto. But they don’t know you or your finances, only you do. Binance and I are here to tell you trust yourself and of course do your own research. Be on the lookout for more before the game,” said Miami Heat Basketball star Jimmy Butler in a message to users.

Watching an advertisement from a crypto exchange by a celebrity telling you to not trust celebrities promoting crypto companies is enough of a paradox you can probably open a black hole in the back of your brain if you think too hard about it.

Of course, Butler was right to point out the obvious problems with celebrity promoting volatile cryptocurrencies, but this was all before the fall of major crypto companies like Terra, Three Arrows Capital, Celsius, Genesis, and FTX. Hinting that people should “do their own research” while promoting Binance is hypocritical at best, especially considering how the company notoriously has no main base of operations. It’s reportedly being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice over breaking money laundering and sanctions laws.

Though Binance has routinely claimed it has a strong backing for assets, there’s been routine concerns for how the company has occasionally paused withdrawals, lost backing on its own stablecoin, and paused U.S. dollar transfers on the exchange.

Bitbuy Is Still Running a Super Bowl Commercial… in Canada

Last year, the Canadian crypto exchange Bitbuy ran an ad with NBA champion Miami Heat player Kyle Lowry. It involved a man making increasingly snide comments about the player’s “missed opportunities” such as all those folks who didn’t buy tech stocks or real estate 10 years ago. It then goes into how “Kyle Lowry has missed over 6,000 shots in his NBA career.”

Now it’s a year later, and all those who missed out on crypto can probably feel better about their non-investment.

But Bitbuy has another commercial planned to run during this year’s Super Bowl, this time featuring Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors. As much as last year’s ad was uncomfortable, this year Bitbuy featured a man so obsessed with trading crypto he does it during his wedding and when he’s about to take his pregnant wife to the hospital.

Bitbuy’s communications director Binu Koshy told Blockworks it’s set to appear on Canadian broadcasts of the Super Bowl on the CTV and TSN networks in the hour before kickoff.

WonderFi, which acquired Bitbuy last March, talked up its new branding with Barnes earlier this year. WonderFi interim CEO Dean Skurka said in the release, “The crypto landscape is much different in 2023 than even just a year ago when we signed Kyle Lowry to be our Brand Ambassador.” So the new tact with their commercial was to promote their company as a regulated Canadian company compared to all the other unlicensed international crypto exchanges.

So What Are We Getting Instead of Crypto Commercials?

There were a few crypto companies that had planned to be part of this year’s Super Bowl madness that eventually backed down. The crypto exchange OKX told Blockworks that while they had originally planned to buy a commercial for this year’s game, it backed out after FTX collapsed.

But who’s there to claim their spot? Well, according to AP, beer companies are ready to make this year’s Super Bowl the “Buzzed Bowl.” Anheuser-Busch is getting three full minutes of airtime. Though the Budweiser maker has had an ad exclusivity agreement with networks like Fox for ads, it ended that 30-year arrangement for this year. This year’s game will be incredibly sudsy, with Heineken, Diaeo, Remy Martin, and Molson Coors all telling people to drink like the world is ending… responsibly, of course.

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