The buzz around digital currency in India has gathered steam with Indian cryptocurrency exchanges collectively spending over Rs 50 crore in advertisements during the recently concluded ICC T20 World Cup.
Flushed with investor funds, crypto startups such as CoinSwitch Kuber, WazirX and CoinDCX are pumping in big money in an advertising blitzkrieg to attract users.
During the ICC T20 World Cup tournament, CoinDCX spend a total of Rs 40 crore on ads on Star Sports, sponsoring 50 advertisements per match across all channels, The Economic Times reported.
CoinSwitch Kuber spent more than Rs 10 crore on sponsorship on Disney+Hotstar, while WazirX and other exchanges spent Rs 4-6 crore on ads during the championship.
This is not the first major sports event in which cryptocurrency exchanges have unleashed such an ad blitz. TV and digital advertisements by crypto exchanges have soared in the past few months, say experts.
For the ongoing financial year, the sector is likely to spend between Rs 150-180 crore in ads, reported Financial Express.
“Cryptocurrency platforms have released high-decibel campaigns across TV and digital to educate people about digital currency and how easy it is to invest. I believe these platforms will continue to spend throughout the next year and further,” Gopa Kumar, COO, Isobar India, told Financial Express.
Most exchanges have been marketing on social media, video streaming platforms and television, though much of the ad spend is skewed towards digital. They have been sponsoring big events such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), Euro Cup and Bigg Boss.
According to data by AdEx India, ad insertions by crypto exchanges on digital platforms witnessed a 12X increase between January and July 2021 compared to the same period a year ago. Within digital spends, most ads are inclined towards video, followed by display ads and search.
“As almost 50 percent of users of our platform are below 28 years of age, it is natural that we will up our spends on digital including video over-the-top (OTT) platforms,” Sharan Nair, Chief Business Officer, CoinSwitch Kuber, told Financial Express.
India’s first crypto unicorn CoinDCX was one of the biggest sponsors of Voot’s reality show, Bigg Boss. CoinDCX is supposed to have spent Rs 8-10 crore on the show.
Similarly, WazirX partnered with SonyLIV to co-sponsor UEFA Euro 2020 and the India-Sri Lanka cricket tournament.
Platforms have also been investing on content-heavy explainer videos and are roping in influencers to drive conversations on social media.
“On a monthly basis, spends of crypto exchange platforms could go as high as Rs 15-20 crore, while a cricket-related sponsorship deal could be as high as Rs 30-40 crore.” Ashutosh Harbola, Founder of influencer marketing company Buzzoka, told Forbes India.
The Indian government does not officially recognise cryptocurrency as a financial product. It is, therefore, not regulated by bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Also read: Before bringing in legislation, we should figure out what crypto is: Ex-finance secretary SC Garg
The ad rush in the recent T20 World Cup was discussed at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 13. The meeting, which called for an end to "non-transparent and misleading" advertisements, was attended by officials from ministries and regulatory bodies like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Sources say participants discussed how unregulated crypto markets cannot be allowed to become avenues for money laundering and terror financing.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)