May 23, 2022
Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Good morning! This weekend, Coinbase celebrated its 10th birthday with a snarky ad that took aim at crypto skeptics, reminding us all that crypto has been on life support before. Still, this time feels different … or does it? I’m Caitlin McGarry, and I have Harry Styles’ “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” on repeat.
A 30-second Coinbase ad, which aired during the Golden State Warriors game against the Mavericks on Friday, pointed out that people have been naysaying crypto in exactly the same way for the last 10 years: by declaring it dead.
Coinbase makes a good point. As far as ads go, this was successful. It might not encourage anyone to use Coinbase to buy the dip, but the historical context is useful as people contemplate crypto’s future.
But crypto really isn’t doing so hot right now. Neither is Coinbase. Two weeks ago, Coinbase executives used the company’s earnings call to double down on crypto hype in what appeared to be a total rejection of reality. It almost immediately pivoted from that optimism, announcing plans to freeze hiring, put new projects on hold and slash spending.
Crypto obviously isn’t dead quite yet. But the folks Coinbase featured in its commercial, who’ve been tweeting about crypto's coming demise, have a decade of evidence to point to. And right now, it’s not looking great.
With the recent collapse of algorithmic stablecoin UST, which was supposed to peg crypto to the dollar and make it less of a wildcard, Lagarde and other crypto skeptics have an increasingly solid case. Still, it’s hard to criticize Coinbase for running the ad. Who can deny it a little optimism on its birthday, after all.
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