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Crypto Marketing Gets Creative Amid Ad Bans and Tighter Regulatory Scrutiny

A new Wired report finds that US companies are experimenting with new marketing channels within the crypto space, especially after recent high-profile bans on crypto-related advertising on social media channels and with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) starting to take a closer look at unregulated token sales late last year.

This has also created new opportunities for those willing to take on the challenging task of differentiating genuine startups from fraudulent ones.

An example is Sally, an executive assistant living in British Columbia, who created a 34-page beginner’s guide to crypto investing and shared it online, very quickly gaining 18,000 subscribers on YouTube and 14,000 followers on Twitter. Within a few months, she was making a living from her new-found life and eventually quit her job. She commented:

“I’m like a nobody in traditional marketing terms, but because this space is so new and it’s so crazy right now, there aren’t a lot of crypto influencers yet, and especially female ones.”

Although she has clearly made a success from the crypto space, now receiving up to ten requests a week to promote ICOs and post coin reviews, such opportunities need to be weeded out among the numerous similar sounding projects, many of them far less reputable.

A recent Wall Street Journal investigation has highlighted this problem of how to choose a bona fide opportunity amongst the numerous scam traps waiting for its next victim. The investigation found that nearly 20% of 1,450 projects were obvious frauds and increased scrutiny from the SEC has dampened entrepreneurial enthusiasm.

This requires that projects need to be far more innovative, particularly in the light of recent advertising bans by Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Bing. Startup fundraising was largely superseded by ICOs as an effective way of raising funds, but now ICOs are looking far less secure among the confusing mix of promoters, scammers, spammers, and regulators.

“Scams and pump-and-dump schemes have turned off many potential investors. Meanwhile, a sustained drop in the prices of major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether has left crypto investors with less capital to risk on new tokens. Making matters worse,” writes Wired.

The market is becoming expensive as it becomes primed for growth hackers, PR agencies, telegram managers and bounty hunters. Jonas Karlberg, CEO of AmaZix, a Denmark-based firm that manages Telegram communities, explains that bounty programs give products a voice and are also time-friendly, but they have a downside. He warns that numerous mindless social media shares create little value for the project. “These bounty hunters are only doing this to get their hands on some quick reward,” he says.

A Google company spokesman has said that its ban is not operational yet. Until it does, writes Wired, crypto companies will take advantage of the lag. Searches for terms like “buy ico”, “token sale” and “invest crypto” will turn up numerous ads for cryptocurrency projects, white papers, and ICOs.

Sally’s 34-page guide may be even more useful to the uninitiated about to step into this vibrant and complex space; it may possibly help them to avoid a misguided next move and make a productive, financially rewarding decision.

 

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Barclays UK New Ventures Unit to Explore “Disruptive” Themes

British bank Barclays appears to be the latest to enter the blockchain arena, with Barclays UK announcing a new ventures unit to study “disruptive technology”.

The announcement appeared to dance closely around the blockchain topic without directly pointing to cryptocurrency, explaining its mission to innovate in pursuit of “disruptive” themes within the newly created Barclays UK Ventures unit.

According to the announcement, the unit would “accelerate the growth of new business lines… working independently of traditional units” and “develop new customer propositions around major areas of disruptive technology”.

“We intend to drive this initiative by building a strong team of technologists, developers and entrepreneurs within BUKV, mandated to operate independently of, but in partnership with, our core operations,” explained Ben Davey,  CEO of Barclays UK Ventures.

Notably missing from the announcement were key terms connected to cryptocurrency, although a sheepish reference to startup operations was unsurprising. It could have been a cautious move, given that it was only two years ago when legal charges were brought against the bank after failing to deliver on hefty claims on a separate venture.

Allegations that the Barclays company had rigged the stock market, committed market manipulation and price tampering, were silenced with a USD 70 million settlement paid by Barclays to the state of New York and to the Securities Exchange Commission.

Even with the existing controversy surrounding the technology, banks will be keen to get a foot in the door in the cryptocurrency space, especially when financial leaders like Mastercard recently began a blockchain exploration initiative.

 

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