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Crypto, Super Bowl LVII and why this year won't be another 'Crypto Bowl'

ESPN commercial during last year’s Super Bowl featured LeBron James and a 2003 version of himself sitting down for a heart-to-heart, with the younger James asking the elder: Is the hype too much? Am I ready? To which the elder replies: I can’t tell you everything, but if you want to make history, you’ve got to call your own shots.

The commercial, along with those from FTX (Larry David as a costumed pitch man), Coinbase (floating QR code) and eToro, marked notable investments by cryptocurrency companies seeking to go mainstream and join the big, traditional Super Bowl ad categories, leading some industry watchers to refer to last year’s game as the “Crypto Bowl.”

The crypto ads were hot. This year, not so much.

Since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009, the industry has spawned thousands of different cryptocurrencies that can be purchased and traded in exchanges like and Coinbase. They usually have a high risk and high reward. In November 2021, the cryptocurrency market hit its peak and was briefly valued at more than $3 trillion, ushering in what would become crypto’s golden age in early 2022.

Companies latched onto sports as one way to reach mainstream consumers, buying naming rights to sports venues, forging sponsorship deals with leagues and celebrities and star athletes like Aaron RodgersJoel EmbiidNaomi Osaka and Tom Brady — and spending upwards of $6.5 million for a 30-second ad seeking to reach more than 100 million viewers of the Super Bowl.

But this past year has seen crypto come crashing down, with some companies awash in bankruptcy, lawsuits or investigations, with critics saying some celebrity boosters led investors without highlighting potential risks. As a result, the commercials set for Super Bowl LVII between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, broadcast by Fox on Sunday, won’t be memorable for crypto. Here are some key questions and answers about crypto and its role in Super Bowl LVII‘s commercials.