Last Sunday, over one hundred million viewers tuned into Super Bowl LVI, and in the process were exposed to cryptocurrency and the blockchain hitting the public consciousness in a very big way. Most notably were the crypto ads starring sports and entertainment celebrities from LeBron James to Larry David.
In fact, it would have been very difficult to even passively watch the game–while actively gorging on your favorite super bowl chip n’ dip–and not at least have cryptocurrency enter your unconscious mind several times during the game (think the “drink Coca-Cola” subliminal ads of the 1950s in movie theaters.)
My personal favorite crypto commercials were from FTX featuring Larry David https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut3m9OK1c7Y and the BitBuy ad featuring Kyle Lowry https://youtu.be/aI3LNq_lres. Both ads cleverly played on the premise of missed opportunity. More sophisticated investors may speculate that when celebrities and athletes are pitching a meme, that signals the top of the market and it’s time to sell.
But don’t despair, we’re still very early in the crypto revolution. Granted, not all of the crypto exchanges, services, and currency flavors they’re hawking will stand the test of time, nor
be the next big thing that promises life changing wealth, if you get in early.
Much more thoughtful consideration needs to be done before you make the leap, in terms of what you buy and more importantly what you hold. What’s inherently different from these commercials and the dotcom superbowl ads of twenty years ago is that each one of these companies' business models is based on high velocity volume trading. Not on the utility or function of the underlying crypto. It doesn’t really matter what crypto you're buying and selling as long as you’re trading.
The idea of buying and taking custody of a completely new asset class such as Bitcoin (that in my humble opinion will be the final settlement layer of everything) is not exactly in these particular exchanges' best interest. Their business success is based on velocity and volume of trading.
The good news is that you can just buy Bitcoin and take ownership of the asset yourself, and hang on to it. I see similarities in the difference between owning a car and leasing a car. When you own a car you own an asset which in today's economic times is actually going up. Leasing is temporary, based on a period of time, when the lease expires, you return the asset to its original owner (the dealership.) Note that your attitude about the asset is also reflected in how you take care of the vehicle. When you own Bitcoin and take custody of your cryptocurrency, this asset, if held and nurtured (e.g. dollar cost averaging), will likely go up in the long run so that you can later leverage the financial gains for yourself or a loved one's benefit.
Full disclosure: I personally accumulate Bitcoin on an ongoing, daily basis while keeping a keen eye out, and making very small “bets” on the crypto and blockchain technologies that I believe will solve problems and enable more innovation.
As someone who has been on the cutting edge and sometimes bleeding edge of tech media for 30 years, it's exciting but I also know it's a marathon and not a sprint. If we see one solitary ad for a crypto company that features a product or service other than merely trading on top of the blockchain–be it a wallet or some sort of “smart contract–in next year's Super Bowl, I will view it as a breakthrough milestone. At this point the odds are about as likely as my beloved San Francisco 49ers making it to next year's Super Bowl, it's definitely possible but a tough road with intense competition to get there.
Just as twenty years ago with the dotcom frenzy, it’s truly exciting times, the early days, the wild west, as far as the next stage of innovation with startups popping up daily, running on top of the blockchain. Just as Web1.0, Web2.0, and mobile computing spurred innovation, made fortunes for myriad companies, and changed our lives as consumers, so shall crypto.
One thing is for certain: it will not be the same this time around.
All the best,