In a somewhat surprising move, top cryptocurrency exchanges in India have collectively decided not to advertise their services during the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. During the IPL 2021, CoinDCX, WazirX, and CoinSwitch Kuber, amongst several others, have spent around INR 90 crore on TV advertising alone.
In his statement, Nischal Shetty, Chief Executive of Crypto Exchange at WazirX, said in his direct message on Twitter, “All the crypto exchanges have decided to not advertise in the IPL.” He continued, “As an industry, we are working to ensure we have strict guidelines for responsible advertisements before we get into the IPL ads again.”
After more than two dozen crypto exchanges and crypto-related companies voted at the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), this verdict was reached. BACC has all these companies as their members, and it is also a part of the Internet and Mobile Association of India. Statistics suggest that in IPL 2021, crypto exchanges spent over 40 crores on TV ads.
Crypto exchanges boosted digital exchanges by four times in 2021
Quite honestly, crypto exchanges experienced a rapid surge in their volumes of digital exchanges, swelling up to 4 times with their rampant advertising efforts during the IPL 2021 and the cricket World Cup 2021. This also made cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum a household name among crypto investors. However, the advertising campaigns run during these big sporting events came under the scrutiny of regulators and government agencies.
Currently, the government is also working on drafting a bill that will enforce stringent centre regulations on the crypto market. In a rather discouraging move, the government has also announced the taxation policies of 30% over every crypto asset.
“Yes, we are not doing it (advertising in IPL this year),” said another top crypto exchange executive. “The reason is we are at a point when regulations are coming; the government is working on a Bill, and we don’t want to go out and make a huge noise there.”
ASCI rules for VDA advertisements to be applicable from April 1 this year
As of now, neither CoinSwitch Kuber and CoinDCX haven’t commented on the same, nor has Star Sports, the official TV and broadcast partner of the IPL. The IPL is returning to India after a two-year Covid-19 hiatus with two new teams competing in the tournament- Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants.
Sam Balsara, chairman of diversified media and advertising group Madison World, said, “Given the current situation, it may be better for crypto exchanges to stay low-profile in their advertising on the IPL since the T20 tournament has such huge and high-profile appeal and reach. Besides, IPL has enough advertisers already.”
In February 2022, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) issued guidelines for the marketing promotion of virtual digital assets (VDA), NFTs and VDA services. These guidelines were applicable to crypto and non-fungible token (NFT) products. ASCI also mentioned that these rules would apply to all virtual digital asset-related ads released on and after April 1, 2022.