Cricket is the most-watched sport not only in India but also worldwide. Every year, the Indian Premier League (IPL) transforms into an advertising bonanza in which more and more brands want to participate. We’ve seen an increasing number of new-age brands from e-commerce, gaming, Edutech, etc. join as advertisers and sponsors over the last two years to make the most of this advertising extravaganza, and this year was no exception. The crypto investment platforms have also joined the bandwagon, to educate people about their offerings and build awareness among their target audience.
However, this year, the top cryptocurrency exchanges in India such as CoinDCX, WazirX, CoinSwitch Kuber, and many more, have collectively decided to not advertise in the forthcoming 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), three people familiar with the development said.
Nischal Shetty went on to say that the decision to not advertise during IPL was taken by the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), which has currently more than two dozen crypto exchanges and crypto-related companies as members. BACC is a part of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
Crypto ads during IPL
It’s important to note that in 2021, CoinDCX, WazirX, and CoinSwitch Kuber as well as other top crypto trading platforms, had collectively spent approximately Rs 90 crore on TV advertising for the IPL and T-20 World Cup. Out of these, a whopping Rs 40 crore was spent by Crypto exchanges in IPL 2021.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have gained a lot of traction in the last one year as a result of massive ad spending during sports events like the IPL and cricket World Cup. These advertisements have successfully increased the visibility and awareness of cryptocurrency as an asset class. According to Ashish Singhal, CEO and Co-founder, CoinSwitch Kuber, the platform’s registrations increased fourfold following the IPL campaign in 2021.
As the official title sponsor, CoinDCX has sponsored the inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final as well as several T20 cricket series, including the India-Sri Lanka T20I series. On the other hand, CoinSwitch Kuber is an associate sponsor for IPL on Disney+ Hotstar and is on SonyLiv for cricket tournaments.
Guildlines for advertising of Virtual Digital Assets
Regulators and government authorities scrutinized the ad campaigns. At present, the government is working on a Bill to regulate the cryptocurrency market in India.
“Given the current situation, it may be better for crypto exchanges to stay low- prole in their advertising on the IPL since the T20 tournament has such huge and high-prole appeal and reach,” said Sam Balsara, chairman of diversified media and advertising group Madison World.
In Budget 2022-23, the Centre has already proposed a 30% tax on income from cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, which will come into effect from April 1, 2022. In addition, the Budget proposed a 1% TDS on payments on virtual currencies exceeding Rs 10,000 in a year as well as taxation of such gifts in the hands of the recipient.
Recognizing the growing popularity of virtual digital assets (VDA) in India, particularly cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), as well as the associated risks, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) issued some guidelines on advertisements on February 23, 2022.
The guidelines will be applicable to all virtual digital asset-related advertisements released on or after April 1, 2022.
According to the guidelines, all ads for VDA products and VDA exchanges, or featuring VDAs, must carry the disclaimer that “crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions.”
In addition, these advertisements related to VDA must appear in a variety of formats, including print/static, video, audio, social media posts, and disappearing stories or posts unaccompanied by text.