Tennis Australia sold non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, for the first time at this year’s Australian Open, while Cricket Australia has been discussing its own NFT platform for months.
Singapore-based Crypto.com has embarked on a massive global campaign to become the world’s best-known crypto exchange. Last year, the app paid more than $700 million (A$931 million) to get the name of the Los Angeles arena formerly known as Staples Center.
It was one of several crypto exchanges to shell out millions on US Superbowl ads in February, while the app was one of four main sponsors of last week’s Oscars. Actor Matt Damon is the face of their TV and social ads and they have signed major deals with Formula 1, UFC and NBA.
Next week’s grand prix is the app’s latest foray into the Australian sports arena, following the company’s January announcement of a major five-year partnership agreement with the AFL.
The $25 million deal includes on-field advertising and sponsorship of five specific teams: Richmond Tigers, Gold Coast Suns, Adelaide Crows, Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Fremantle Dockers.
The company wouldn’t be attracted to the other sporting codes it watches, but the fact that it is opening an Australian headquarters in Melbourne this year suggests plans for more expansion.
Consumer Action Law Center chief executive Gerard Brody said he is concerned about how companies are trying to appeal to a mainstream audience that may have little understanding of cryptocurrency.
“It’s pretty irresponsible,” he said. “We would expect any type of product or investment firm to ensure that its investors understand the risks appropriate to the product.”
University of Technology Sydney finance professor Talis Putnins said there are many legitimate investment opportunities with cryptocurrency, but warned consumers should be well aware of currency volatility and its vulnerability to hacking, theft, fraud and scams.
“Bitcoins [for example] is five times more volatile than the Australian stock market [ASX 200],” he said. “Besides, bitcoin isn’t even the most volatile cryptocurrency – many newer, smaller coins are even more volatile.”
Reverend Tim Costello of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, who previously called the AFL’s partnership with crypto.com ‘corrupting and undermining the sport’said his organization believes trading apps are similar to sports betting apps.
“Speculation in a currency that is not backed by any physical asset that jumps around with great volatility is quite parallel to addiction to gambling, gambling apps and advertisements,” he said.
However, Crypto.com’s Mr. Kalifowitz dismissed the analogy.
“We are a financial services company – nothing in crypto is like gambling other than the perception of those not in the market,” he said.
Nevertheless, governments around the world have begun to regulate and restrict cryptocurrency trading advertising.
Britain’s advertising regulator this month set more than 50 companies that promoted cryptocurrencies on notice ahead of an impending crackdown on “misleading and irresponsible crypto ads.” In January Spain has decided to curb advertisingespecially from influencers promoting specific actions.
There are currently no specific rules in Australia on where and how cryptocurrency businesses can advertise, in addition to general rules against misleading and misleading behavior.
The federal government is in the process of establishing new regulations that will affect digital exchanges and other crypto businesses by introducing market licenses similar to those imposed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Mr. Kalifowitz said his company wholeheartedly welcomes the regulation.
“We want the industry to be regulated because we believe it will bring more clarity to everyone,” he said.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation, which is responsible for organizing the Melbourne F1 race, reports to Tourism and Major Events Minister Martin Pakula.
Asked about the appropriateness of such publicity at a state government-sponsored event, a spokesperson for the Minister said: “The placement of signage at the Grand Prix is at the discretion of the Australian Grand Corporate Award.”
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