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The Rise of Crypto.com: From College Blog to Home of the Los Angeles Lakers

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Crypto.com was originally the blog of University of Pennsylvania professor Matt Blaze, who sold the name to Monaco, a little-known cryptocurrency and credit card startup, for an undisclosed price in 2018.

Monaco, now a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Singapore, changed its name to Crypto.com, just agreed to pay 700 million U.S. dollars to show the title of this blog on the Los Angeles Arena for 20 years, which is synonymous with the championship Lakers basketball team. It is also the concert venue for Taylor Swift artists to Paul McCartney.

The huge amount of money invested in the Staples Center proves how the rapid rise of Bitcoin is reshaping the corporate landscape and how newly established cryptocurrency giants are willing to pay to win new retail customers.

For companies, sports sponsorship is a long-established way to gain popularity through fan loyalty.

In June, the Bahamas-based exchange FTX purchased the naming rights for the basketball team’s home stadium of the Miami Heat. In the same month, it became the official cryptocurrency platform of Major League Baseball and seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady.

AEG, the company that owns and operates the Staples Center, hopes that the cryptocurrency renaming will be two-way. Todd Goldstein, AEG’s chief revenue officer, stated that it is actively seeking Crypto.com as a naming partner because they want to attract “a part of their population”-that is, younger, more tech-savvy consumers By.

Goldstein told the British “Financial Times”: “When the shock subsides a bit, someone will understand its benefits to the arena and partners.”

The move to turn Staples Center into a Crypto.com arena starting on Christmas Day will also attract more rigorous scrutiny of this little-known company and question its ability to raise the hundreds of millions needed U.S. dollars to pay for the name change.

CEO and majority shareholder Kris Marszalek said this is a “direct cash transaction.”

Marszalek said that even without brand awareness, the 5-year-old private company has 3,000 employees worldwide and generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in the second quarter of this year.

Artist rendering of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which will be renamed the Crypto.com Center
Artist image of the renamed stadium exterior

The owner of Crypto.com told the Financial Times: “In the second quarter, we achieved about a quarter of Coinbase’s revenue, and we have achieved profitability since the beginning of the year.” “The crypto field is very popular. Revenue has increased 20 times.”

Coinbase-which became the only publicly listed cryptocurrency exchange earlier this year, valued at US$76 billion, close to the valuation of BNP Paribas-generated a net income of US$2 billion between April and June. Exceeded the 1.6 billion US dollars in the previous quarter.

The soaring Bitcoin price has transformed a few companies such as Coinbase into multi-billion-dollar businesses, relying on the influx of new investors and the high profit margins they can charge to surf.

Competitor exchange FTX recently achieved a valuation of US$25 billion in a round of financing, while its valuation in February last year was only US$1 billion. Gemini, a crypto company owned by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, has just completed a round of financing, with a price of $7.1 billion on the exchange.

The bar chart shows Coinbase's revenue growth (millions of dollars)

Unlike traditional markets where profit margins are compressed to a very low level, Crypto.com and its peers can charge a 0.4% fee for live transactions, and higher fees if transactions are conducted on the company’s mobile application.

According to data from CryptoCompare, a digital asset expert analysis company, Crypto.com processes billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency transactions every day. Since March last year, its exchanges have processed more than 415 billion U.S. dollars in transactions.

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Using an average fee of 0.3%, this can translate into $1.2 billion in revenue, but that number does not include transactions through the app, where the exchange charges two to three times that of its main venue. According to the company, the volume of such transactions has not been disclosed, so the British “Financial Times” estimates that the company’s revenue is low.

Cryptocurrency exchanges generally charge investors more for transactions, the less fees they charge. This incentivizes retail traders to bet on Bitcoin and other Bitcoins to take greater risks, because in addition to depositing more and more funds into their accounts, they may also use leverage to exaggerate their transactions. The exchange can also make money from its own digital currency and lending business.

Skateboarders outside Staples Center
Commentators say the stadium will be nicknamed “The Crypt” ©Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

As far as Crypto.com is concerned, it has a rapidly growing portfolio of sports assets, including Paris Saint-Germain and Italian football’s Serie A, Formula One racing, UFC professional combat and basketball’s Philadelphia 76ers, all of which are signed this year as endorsements. .

Marszalek said it is also “considering” raising funds in extremely favorable markets. Venture capital investors agree. Greg Carson, managing partner of XBTO Humla Ventures, stated that companies focused on digital assets are attracting premiums because of their “explosive” growth and the high profit margins they can charge.

Cryptocurrency skeptics point out that the transaction to rename the stadium shows that we are close to the top of the market, but many in the industry scoffed at this suggestion.

But even if encryption itself is at the center of disagreement, there does not seem to be a preferred nickname for the arena. “You would call it the Crypt,” sports commentator Dan Patrick said. “Not Crypto.com or anything else.”

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