After the nearly crypto/blockchain-free Super Bowl of 2023, it appears that this year's event will also be devoid of crypto ads. Nevertheless, the crypto world has managed to capitalize on this significant occasion through predictions.
Crypto enthusiasts are currently wagering hundreds of thousands of USD on the outcomes of various Super Bowl-related events, with the primary focus being the obvious question: who will emerge victorious in this annual league championship game of the National Football League (NFL) in the US on February 11th? This event stands as one of the largest sports spectacles globally, having drawn over 110 million viewers last year.
The betting is taking place on “decentralized” prediction markets, which are renowned for their accuracy. These platforms enable users to place bets on a wide array of events, spanning not only the crypto realm but also politics, business, science, pop culture, sports, and more. To place a bet, a bettor exchanges "shares" of an event, purchasable solely with cryptocurrency.
The foremost platform among these is considered to be Polymarket, which, at the time of writing, boasts eleven Super Bowl-related predictions that have already garnered over $960,000 in bets. Over $782,000 has been invested in predicting this year's final outcome. As of the latest update, 54% of these bets anticipate the San Francisco 49ers prevailing over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.
Here, "54%" indicates that the share of this prediction is currently trading at 54 cents. If these bets prove correct and the 49ers emerge victorious, each share would be valued at $1, resulting in an 85% profit for its holders. Conversely, those who wagered on the Chiefs would find their shares rendered worthless. Nevertheless, individuals are free to trade these shares based on shifts in their confidence regarding the outcome.
While the bet on the game's outcome remains the largest, the so-called crypto degens (short for "degenerate," signifying their reckless and speculative behavior) have devised additional methods to trade Super Bowl events.
The second largest bet, totaling $51,000, is placed on the Taylor Swift Super Bowl Parlay. For the uninitiated, American pop star Taylor Swift is dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and may attend the game following her tour in Japan.
According to the conditions of this parlay, the market will resolve to "Yes" if Kelce scores a touchdown, the Chiefs emerge victorious, and Kelce and Swift share a kiss while on venue grounds (to be confirmed by picture or video). Even if a kiss on the cheek suffices, the likelihood of this series of events is currently estimated at 27%. However, given the volatile nature of the market, the odds might still increase.
In truth, 45% of the current bets are Swift-related. Additionally, four other bets pertain to whether the singer will attend the game at all (96% chance), whether Kelce will propose to Swift at the Super Bowl (5%), whether the pop star will endorse US President Joe Biden (a mere 2%), and whether she will be shown on screen more than five times (68%).
The silence of crypto ads
If Taylor Swift isn't your cup (or should we say – bowl) of tea, you can also wager on the color of the Super Bowl Gatorade shower. There's a caveat: if the shower color doesn't match any of the listed options in this group, the market will resolve to the listed option that appears the closest.
Another potential bet could involve whether we'll see any ads from the Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto world, although such ads aren't currently expected. In theory, traditional finance giants such as BlackRock and Fidelity could capitalize on this massive audience to promote their newly launched BTC ETFs (exchange-traded funds), which debuted only this January and have already amassed billions worth of BTC.
Regardless, following the spectacular multibillion-dollar collapse of the FTX crypto exchange in November 2022, crypto-related ads have all but vanished from the Super Bowl. Last year, the sole crypto-related ad featured an NFT (non-fungible token)-based game called DigiDaigaku. The developers of the game claimed they spent $6.5 million to place the ad. (According to data from Cryptoslam.io, there are currently 760 DigiDaigaku owners, and these NFTs are still trading for around $3,000 to $9,000.)
On a related note, there are also Super Bowl-themed NFT collections available.
(Additionally, someone launched the Super Bowl Token (SUPERBOWL).)
In the meantime, crypto companies were estimated to have spent around $54 million on ads during the 2022 Super Bowl. Recently, American comedian Larry David admitted to regretting his decision to feature in an FTX ad, where he urged the audience not to miss out on crypto and touted NFTs as "the next big thing."
Here's the now-infamous ad:
During the same year, three other crypto-related platforms aired their ads at the Super Bowl: eToro, Crypto.com, and Coinbase. The latter captured the audience's attention with their simple ad featuring a bouncing QR code, leading to an offer of $15 worth of BTC for new users of the platform.
However, some NFL players have previously agreed to receive a portion of their paycheck in cryptocurrency, effectively becoming promoters of this technology. For example, in 2021, Russell Okung, a former player for the Carolina Panthers, became the first NFL player to be paid in BTC as well. However, Okung has since retired but remains an active advocate for Bitcoin.
In any case, will we witness any other BTC and/or crypto-related surprises during this Super Bowl? Place your bets.
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