Axios Pro: Fintech Deals

February 14, 2022

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Happy Valentine's Day, Fintech Deals readers! We hope you are recovering well from any Super Bowl hangover on this lovely Monday morning.

🚨 Situational awareness: The SEC ratcheted up its crypto crackdown, laying a $100 million penalty on BlockFi, which was recently valued by VCs at $4.75 billion. Ryan and Axios' Hope King have the details.

1 big thing: The fintech bowl

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

In addition to the usual beer and car commercials, Super Bowl LVI was punctuated by an influx of fintech ads, with a whole lot of crypto.

Why it matters: The Super Bowl is one of the biggest national showcases for introducing mainstream viewers to new apps and services, and crypto exchanges were out in force.

Details: Four crypto companies bought airtime during the Super Bowl this year, with first-time advertisers including Coinbase,, eToro, and FTX.

  • They weren't the only financial companies with ads to run during the big game. Old standby E-Trade brought back the baby, and Intuit had two ads — one for Quickbooks & Mailchimp, and another for TurboTax.
  • One notable new entrant was Greenlight, which offers a banking and debit card service for kids.

Viewer response was mixed, according to USA Today's ad meter. FTX's spot, focused around a skeptical Larry David, ranked pretty well, but Coinbase's floating QR code failed to capture viewers' imagination.

  • That said, the ads seem to have worked: Coinbase shot up to #2 on the App Store rankings, with FTX and eToro also receiving a big bump in downloads.
  • The Coinbase ad might have even worked too well. The service crashed in response to high demand, causing shares in the publicly-traded company to decline.

Yes, but: Dot-com companies ate up ad space during the 2000 Super Bowl, when the price of a 30-second slot averaged around $2.2 million. And we all know how that went.

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