It only looked like big digital business turned against crypto in 2018.
If there is one paradigm shift many marketers don’t doubt about, it’s the prediction that in the future, everything will be tokenized. We see number of interesting projects that could in theory exist without blockchain but given the barriers in sending money across borders, practically the system would not be possible. The question which blockchain is best for instant low-fee payments is still open but once the dust settles, the world will be left with utility tokens for tasks that were never considered for monetization before.
Predictions are difficult, especially the ones regarding future, but it is undeniable there is a significant secondary industry being formed just now by business that are servicing blockchain organizations.
Token Media Agencies Abound
If you try to google phrases like
token launch marketing or
ico marketing agency, you will get a lot of Adwords links at the top of the search result feed. Apparently, there is a lively market for service providers who are willing to work in the token economy.
Image: ICO marketing has been booming along with cryptocurrencies as a whole.
So, does the storm of bans across the biggest social media platforms not affect the service business of crypto at all?
For the sakes of completeness, here are the two biggest ban deals:
Google ICO Ban Statement: In the Adwords blog, Google announced they will change their financial product restriction come June 2018. Ads “including but not limited to initial coin offerings (ICO), cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice” will not be allowed to serve.
Mailchimp ICO Ban Statement: As per their acceptable use policy Mailchimp is just putting more scrutiny on content that gets a lot of complaints. However, their very first tweet announcing the change came across as a total ban crypto-related content. They later attempted to clarify that not all cryptocurrency content is bad, it is only bad if the publisher is promoting a cryptocurrency while sharing news is still allowed.
That earned some backlash from the community for abusing semantics as it was not explained how it will be decided what is news and what is promotion. In this article at Gizmodo author sarcastically notes it still is a huge drawback because “those writing about or hyping up products in the blockchain space are investors themselves”, but that is not the main issue here.
There is an old advertising wisdom explaining the best advertising does not look like advertising, creates natural word of mouth and is rooted in facts. And generally, there is the sentiment in the community that original content coming from small accounts will be scrutinized more than content published by established media houses, even though the latter ones are more likely to have a commercial deal.
That brings us to the answer to where the token economy is most likely headed right now: One segment of Google Adwords that is projected to become even more competitive than it already is is the one that promotes token marketing services.
Image: One segment of keywords that is just now becoming highly competitive is the one that promotes marketing houses willing to promote token products.
Upon closer inspection, while one comes across names like PromoteCrypto, great many of these marketing agencies are not native to crypto.
Image: Screenshot of olshansky.org, a consultancy that started offering the ICO angle.
Apparently, VC and startup marketing houses have often started offering new angles to their service list - token launch marketing, ICO promotion, influencer marketing in the crypto space, direct ICO marketing. See for instance Foxtail Marketing - an established US-based digital marketing house that now also advertises ICOs, or 7markets - a Lithuanian media house that originally specialized in retail forex market coverage, or Belkin Marketing, the Olshansky consultancy and many more just from this list.
Other generic service providers have recently rebranded too - web development agencies, social media and SEO clerks, PR professionals.
Image: Screenshot of searched.io, a British full-stack digital agency that is now heavy on blockchain.
Last but not least, there are semi-automated platform solutions for ICOs and airdrops such as tokenget. That is probably the most budget-friendly solution, and we all know that airdrops pretty much promote themselves.
All in all, with service offers of this variety, the token economy is set to prosper no matter what. There is no doubt anyone who is able to connect crypto organizations with influencers and media will have a very profitable year in 2018. Launching a token will become vastly more expensive due to that and therefore restricted to already established business people (even a successful crowdfunding campaign must stand out of the crowd these days), but it seems a new era is coming.
There is a fine line between sharing news and creating awareness about a product, and it is likely the token economy will become a tough business relying on the support of centralized legacy institutions rather than on the community. It seems that Bitcoin will eventually emerge as the only remaining decentralized blockchain but at least for the short run, the bulk of the most visible business development will be elsewhere.
There is of course another implication. Watching how big media houses are creating factions and fighting one another to get a bigger share of the crypto-related service market, it just does not look like something that would happen in a dying industry. There is always the chance that a number of experienced people are terribly wrong, but honestly, how likely that is?
Disclosure: This article is not sponsored by anyone in any form.