Global Superstar Matt Damon: Why Did He Suddenly Present Himself as a Crypto Pioneer?Photo: Cornerstone
The Hollywood star embarked on a multimillion-dollar PR campaign by Crypto.com with the slogan “Fortune Helps the Brave.” What’s behind it?
Neil Berens/T Online
A triangular logo, white on a dark blue background, is paired with writing that appears to be cryptic in the literal sense: «Crypto.com». These days mixes seem to be happening just about everywhere. On the Internet, on Facebook, on advertising banners at football matches and in Formula 1.
Crypto.com, which quickly becomes apparent when Googling, is an online exchange for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. And she’s spending a lot of money on her current marketing campaign:
For nearly a billion US dollars, the Singaporean company named a famous stadium in Los Angeles after itself and entered into partnerships with first-class teams such as Paris Saint-Germain.
Recently, global superstar Matt Damon also embodied the dream of becoming a cryptocurrency pioneer in a Hollywood blockbuster-ready trailer. With the words “Fortune Favors The Brave” he announces to the company in English: “Fortune helps the brave.”
Promotional video with Matt Damon:
But where does this almost infinite financial resources come from, why does Matt Damon promote this exchange? And above all: can users trust the exchange? Watson’s media partner T-Online explains the most important questions.
What is Crypto.com?
Behind the ad is a company that describes its product as an “excellent app”. The company is originally from Singapore and started under the name Monaco Technologies.
On the Crypto.com cryptocurrency exchange platform, users can trade more than 250 cryptocurrencies and hold them in the provider’s wallet. The company also offers – similar to the cryptocurrency exchange Binance – private cryptocurrency Outside, Her name: CRO. Crypto.com is trying to popularize this currency with different reward systems, for example via its crypto credit cards.
Crypto.com promotes its currency heavily
With these, the exchange differentiates itself from some of its competitors and attracts customers with numerous reward programs. These include up to 8 percent cash back on credit card spends, full refunds for Amazon Prime or Netflix or free access to airport lounges.
But if you really want to take advantage of these bonuses, you must first make a good down payment – and above all support the internal currency. Customers are required to purchase cards and, depending on the category of the card, keep a certain number of coins in their wallet.
350,000 euros for a credit card?
The entry card is still free, but it has no other rewards except for a one percent cash back function. For the advertised add-ons, customers have to pay at least €350 for the Ruby Card – and for that there is a Spotify subscription refundable in CRO coins.
On the other hand, if you want access to the lounge, 8 percent cash back and other additional services such as discounts from major tour operators, you have to stock up on 350 thousand euros in the internal Cro – this is the amount called “Obsedian” credit card costs.
Of course, Crypto.com is trying to monetize its services. Similar developments can also be seen on other exchanges, ”says Meinert. The company works with Visa for credit cards, but this is not a guarantee. “Other companies have already worked with Visa and later lost their license,” says the expert.
In addition to the crypto and exchange credit card, the company also offers a marketplace for NFTs. Here customers can also purchase NFTs for famous footballers like Lionel Messi in collaboration with clubs like Paris Saint-Germain.
So the company doesn’t just aim for the stars when it comes to marketing. “Crypto.com wants to create its own ecosystem for the long term,” says expert Meinert.
Why is Matt Damon promoting cryptocurrency?
Matt Damon was initially mocked for putting his face on Crypto.com. One Twitter user asked, “For God’s sake, doesn’t he already have enough money?” Several other users faced the commercial with similar derision.
Neither the company nor Damon himself has commented on advertising fees. “I’ve never endorsed anything like this,” Damon said often in a recent interview.
Donate millions to the NGO Damon Water
This form of “support” doesn’t have to come cheap: according to US news agency Bloomberg, the entire campaign reportedly cost US$100 million. How much is Matt Damon earned and how much is the Oscar-winning and commercial advertising director Walter “Wally” Pfister (“Inception”), is still unknown.
Matt Damon with wife Luciana Barroso at a movie premiere.Archive photo: Cornerstone
One thing is for sure: the actor hasn’t revealed his face for free. then Just prior to the launch of the campaign, the exchange donated $1 million to water.org A non-profit organization that provides drinking water supplies and sanitation facilities to those in need. In addition, the exchange announced its collaboration with the NGO to motivate its ten million customers to donate.
How does Crypto.com fund ads?
Campaigns cost, according to consistent reports, close to $1 billion—and that’s just the budget commitments that trickle out. According to reports, the purchase of the naming rights to the Staple Center in Los Angeles alone cost $700 million.
In addition, there is another $ 100 million for the “Fortune Favors the Brave” campaign and other cooperation and advertising contracts with other celebrities.
He says part of the money may have been funded by the stock market’s great last year Biyan Mienert, a cryptocurrency lawyer and blockchain expert. “Due to the strong increases in the cryptocurrency market in the past year, the financial resources of many digital currency exchanges have increased significantly.”
The crypto market has seen a peak in the past year
Last year, the largest cryptocurrency experienced a one-month boom with amazing all-time records. Meanwhile, the price of bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, surged to nearly €69,000 – other cryptocurrencies also benefited from the rally, many of which also reached all-time highs.
Due to the policy of low interest rates and rising inflation, the cryptocurrency market is increasingly becoming an alternative for institutional investors as well. Large financial institutions such as Blackrock have invested large sums in products based on the new asset class, prompting Bitcoin and Co. to the mainstream.
Crypto.com should also benefit from this, and this is where the company wants to start, says Mienert. “The exchange is trying to position itself prominently for newcomers to the industry with big PR campaigns, for example around the former Staple Center.”
Apparently with success: According to the company, it now has more than ten million users who buy cryptocurrency via Crypto.com or use other app products. Since the beginning of 2020, the number of users has increased almost tenfold.
Is Crypto.com legit?
Yes, the exchange is on par with other big names like Coinbase, Kraken, Binance or Bitpanda in the industry. In addition, the company has a license in Malta and therefore can also accept European clients from other European countries as clients.
However, with this licence, he is not allowed to actively solicit clients outside Malta, but only passively accepts clients, says Mienert. Binance has also been granted a license to trade cryptocurrencies in Malta, but it advertises less aggressively to clients. “Crypto.com is walking a really fine line,” says the lawyer.
However, the final decision rests with the supervisory authorities concerned. According to media reports, the company has already had to withdraw two advertisements in the UK because they mislead and hide the risks of the asset class.
The CEO’s last stop ended abruptly
Some media reports point to a mysterious past dismissal of CEO, Chris Marsalek, regarding seriousness. As the Chinese outlet “South China Morning Post” reported in June 2016, e-commerce company Beecrazy shut down overnight, leaving millions of customers and partners in limbo. According to a media report, many bills are no longer being paid.
According to his LinkedIn bio, Marszalek was a co-founder of platform “Beecrazy” from 2010-2014 and until June 2016 CEO of parent company Ensogo, which reportedly shut down the e-commerce company. Immediately afterwards, he founded Crypto.com Securities with other entrepreneurs, at that time still under the name Monaco Technologies.
Alternatives under the Bafin license
In contrast to the turbulent times for cryptocurrency, there are now more stringent regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges. “Before granting a license, the authorities check the managing directors of a company closely, for example to check current criminal records,” says expert Meinert.
Newcomers who want to feel particularly safe can also switch to cryptocurrency exchanges licensed in Germany or Austria. For example, the American exchange has also been licensed by Bafin since 2021, the Bison crypto exchange on the Stuttgart Stock Exchange offers crypto trading with some currencies, and the Bitpanda exchange has its registered office and license in Vienna.
And what about Switzerland?
The first cryptocurrency companies appeared in Switzerland around 2013, but the industry really took off four years later as bitcoin prices exploded. “There are already non-profit organizations in this country that own hundreds of millions of dollars in funding blockchain projects,” the report says.