- The CEO of Australia’s largest cryptocurrency exchange thinks it’s time to take crypto into the Australian mainstream.
- AFL team The Western Bulldogs are partnering with cryptocurrency exchange CoinSpot for the remainder of the season, with branding on players’ jerseys and in media.
- CoinSpot CEO Russell Wilson says he wants to see a “much larger percentage of the Australian population getting involved within the space and engaging with products like ours.”
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
The joke goes something like this: When you’re seeing ads for cryptocurrency at the bus stop, it might be time to get out.
But what about on the backs of AFL players?
With the news that AFL team The Western Bulldogs — currently ranked first on the ladder and widely tipped as favourites for the premiership — have partnered with Australian cryptocurrency exchange CoinSpot to put its logo on players’ jerseys for the remainder of 2021, it’s clear crypto’s move to the mainstream is gaining momentum.
That’s exactly what CEO of CoinSpot, Russell Wilson, wants.
News of a potential snap lockdown as result of another COVID-19 outbreak pending, Wilson told Business Insider Australia that the chance to get exposure to likely “more than a million people” at the game this weekend was core to the benefits of the partnership.
“It was an opportunity that was too good to turn down,” he said.
“This partnership in particular, potentially gives us exposure to millions of customers each week.”
He said getting on board with the Bulldogs when they’re having such great success on field also didn’t hurt.
“I’ve always been pretty passionate about my footy,” Wilson said, “so to have CoinSpot in a position now where we’re able to sort of be a part of the Bulldogs and a part of participating in the code itself is really, really exciting for us.”
The crypto exchange — Australia’s largest — was founded in 2013 and is the first to engage as a ‘premier partner’ with a major sports team in Australia.
For the remainder of the 2021 season, CoinSpot will feature on the back of the Bulldogs’ jersey, as well as on its media backdrop.
Ameet Bains, CEO of the Bulldogs, said the partnership emerged from a shared sense of the two organisations as “innovative and ambitious”.
The club approached CoinSpot about the opportunity, Bains said, adding that the partnership had been positively received, “not only from our fan base but in our industry more broadly.”
Bains said the club is excited about the possibilities of the partnership into the future.
“We have seen sporting teams and leagues in North America branching out into NFTs and other similar digital assets, as one prominent example,” he said.
The news follows an announcement earlier this month that another Australian crypto exchange, CoinJar, will be promoting its services through signage and stadium branding at games hosted by the Melbourne Demons.
Amid exclusive reports provided to Business Insider Australia that the ASX is reviewing applications for a cryptocurrency-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) for later this year, and as global interest in crypto explodes, a move to market an exchange to the AFL heartland seems inevitable.
More Australians now invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin than precious metals like gold and silver, according to BTC Markets, another Australian cryptocurrency exchange.
Bringing exposure of crypto to the AFL heartland
Wilson said the company’s recent growth meant it felt confident marketing to the wider public.
The exchange has expanded its headcount to more than 200 employees, and reached its millionth customer earlier this year.
It now enables around a million-and-a-half customers to trade crypto via its platform.
“For us, bringing more positive brand awareness to the cryptocurrency industry has been a long-term goal of ours,” Wilson said.
“And now we’re in a position to be able to negotiate deals like this, that really helps to kind of strengthen our position as a leader, and then just, increase the awareness of the cryptocurrency space in general.””
‘It’s a really positive sign for the industry’
Wilson said that because it’s still an emerging space, encouraging the wider public to explore the crypto market needs to go hand-in-hand with developing regulation in the space.
“We’ve worked hard with regulatory bodies to get it to the point where it is today,” he said.
“There is still a lot of work to go. One great thing about our industry is that we’ve got a history of working really well with the regulators to push that.”
Wilson said regulation will provide more protection and frameworks for consumers.
“It’s still missing pieces just because it’s such a new industry,” he said, adding “continued adoption” was core to the exchange’s strategy into the future.
“And all the market research that we’ve done over the last couple of years indicates that there’s a really large portion of the Australian population that’s interested in cryptocurrency, but they still feel that it’s a little bit too risky,” Wilson said.
“I think we’re going to see more of those barriers being removed and a much larger percentage of the Australian population getting involved within the space and engaging with products like ours.
“It’s a really positive sign for the industry.”