If you tuned into the Super Bowl in 2022, you would’ve seen Larry David in an ad for crypto exchange FTX, in which he played a crypto skeptic who wasn’t sure that the platform would ever take off. As it turns out, he was right.
In November, FTX filed for bankruptcy and former chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried is currently under house arrest with his parents in Palo Alto, Calif. after charges for fraud. But it isn’t just an FTX ad that won’t air at the Super Bowl this year. No crypto ads will, according to a report by the AP published earlier this week.
Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles takes place on Sunday, and nearly a 100 million people typically tune in to the national football championship. Advertising spending is high, with some companies laying out around $7 million for a 30-second spot.
Last year’s game was dubbed the “Crypto Bowl” after four large crypto companies -FTX, Coinbase, Crypto.com, and eToro – had purchased ad spots. At the time, crypto companies were trying to break into the mainstream. FTX’s celebrity endorsers in 2022 included Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, Stephen Curry, Naomi Osaka, and Kevin O’Leary. Bankman-Fried was regarded as a white knight in crypto, appearing in front of the U.S. Congress to advocate for some regulation in the industry, and publicly discussed effective altruism and his philanthropic efforts in interviews.
That was until November 2022, when FTX filed for bankruptcy, and Bankman-Fried wiped out his $16 billion fortune in less than a week.
Recently, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has been cracking down on crypto exchanges. This week, Kraken was fined $30 million for failing to register the offer and sale of their crypto asset staking-as-a-service program. In August, Coinbase was under investigation by federal regulators over crypto yield and staking products. In 2022, victims lost over $3 billion from crypto hacks and scams, and crypto lawsuits increased by 46% in 2022 according to a recent analysis by HedgeWithCrypto, a crypto research firm.
All this has contributed to skepticism toward the industry, with one report stating that 72% of institutional traders have no plans to trade crypto this year.
Two crypto advertisers had booked commercials and two others were going to book, said Mark Evans, executive vice president of ad sales for Fox Sports to the AP. But once the FTX news broke, those deals were not completed. This year, you’ll see beer ads instead, with Anheuser-Busch remaining the biggest spender.