According to Luke Ryan, Head of Content at Australian cryptocurrency exchange CoinJar, the sponsorship of well-known sports and teams may be essential to helping the general public accept the legitimacy of the cryptocurrency business.
By collaborating with the Melbourne Demons in May 2021, the exchange became the first cryptocurrency business in Australia to sponsor an Australian Football League (AFL) team.
In an interview with Cointelegraph on September 18, Ryan noted that the AFL cooperation had altered the national conversation around cryptocurrencies and that "it provides bitcoin a bigger feeling of permanence."
It was maybe simple for many people to believe that "this cryptocurrency thing, it's going to go away, or it has already faded away," he said, "perhaps prior to this real blow into the sporting mainstream."
We sponsor this team because we want to demonstrate to the world that we are companies with consequences, with plans and long-term visions, and one way to do that is to align ourselves with a really established presence, not necessarily because "we sponsor this team, and then we got X number of new users."
Ryan thinks that partnering with sports organizations can help cryptocurrency businesses expand their user base and level of engagement.
The goal of marketing cryptocurrency and the exchange "outside of the established true believers who already have their preferred platforms," he said, was part of what motivated CoinJar to collaborate with an AFL team.
You're all basically hacking into the same market at some point, he continued.
"How do we go out beyond this 5 to 10% that we currently talk to, to the 20 to 50%, is a genuine continuing concern for cryptocurrencies as a whole, and we've started to think a bit more about what it may look like to start being more actively involved in sponsorship."
Other teams and the AFL have gained knowledge about cryptocurrencies thanks to the relationship between CoinJar and the Melbourne Demons, which, according to Ryan, has helped the commodity become more accepted inside the league.
It has given them the opportunity to inquire more, do more research, and think, "Hmm, that's quite fascinating, we could really use it to better develop a relationship with the fans."
"I think it's leading to a lot more open attitude toward things like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and how they may be harnessed. It's all still in the early stages in the AFL realm, but I certainly know that the AFL has very active debates occurring."
The speculative character of cryptocurrencies, according to Ryan, is "undeniably what has attracted a lot of people to it," but it won't make for a long-lasting business. "There has to be this shift towards actual items that people want to use at some point," he continued.
The AFL's initial 3,800-strong NFT collection from August sold out in less than 12 hours, raising at least $130,000 USD Coin (USDC). The AFL has already announced intentions to expand its cryptocurrency offering to include game-day activities, tickets, and the opportunity to interact with players in the Metaverse.