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Crypto prices are back. So are the TV ads.

Peter Kafka   

Crypto prices are back. So are the TV ads.
  • Crypto markets are booming again.
  • Now crypto companies are advertising on TV — just like they did in the first boom.

One sign we're in a crypto revival: Crypto prices are roaring again.

Another sign: Crypto companies are advertising on TV again.

If you've been watching the NBA playoffs, then you may have noticed this ad, from

And if you haven't, the notable elements are:

  • A general tone of they hate us because they ain't us boastful defensiveness: "They ignored your potential. Dissed your achievements. Mocked your ambition. But it's not the critics who count. And you know that."
  • A narrative that suggests that crypto investors are as brave and tough and strong as UFC fighters.
  • Voiceover work by 51-year-old rapper Eminem.
  • The pointed re-emphasis of the company's "fortune favors the brave" slogan, which I last saw on a TV ad during the 2022 Super Bowl — the event that's now shorthand for crypto's overreach into popular culture. That particular ad, starring Matt Damon, has been (mostly) scrubbed from the internet, but not before it generated a South Park parody, and a halting, carefully worded interview where Damon explains why he did the ad (for charity, he says). isn't the only one pushing crypto on TV again. Coinbase, which also bought time during the 2022 Super Bowl, is back as well. Grayscale Investments has one, too. But those aren't nearly as aggressive as the Crypto one: Coinbase cheekily argues that crypto makes more sense than traditional money, and Grayscale simply says that you're better off buying crypto through funds like its ETF than buying on your own.

Crypto, meanwhile, goes right for your feelings — assuming you have the feelings of a young man who thinks the world doesn't appreciate you and your desire to get mega-rich. That is: You're the perfect target for crypto or any other thing that lets you put your money at risk in hopes of a bigtime payout. It makes perfect sense to run it side-by-side with ads telling you how fun it would be to bet on the very game you're watching (unless you're an NBA player).

All that said, the 2024 crypto revival still seems more like an echo of the last boom than a replay. I don't run into random people who confidently want to explain their meme stock strategy the way I did a few years ago. And beyond Jack Dorsey, I don't hear anyone arguing that bitcoin, or any other crypto, is going to rebuild/reorder society — just that the number could go up, so why not take a flier?

But you never know. Maybe The Onion was right, and we are experiencing an "exponentially decreasing retro gap," which means that the early 2020s are now fuzzy, sepia-toned memories some of us want to bring back.

That would explain a few different things, including this one: Roaring Kitty, the GameStop day-trading hero, is back, and so is GME stock. It's up 60% Monday.

To the moon! Again?

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