The director of a multi-million dollar ad campaign for a bitcoin exchange has said he has “no idea how cryptocurrency works” after being questioned about the recent market crash.
FTX’s Super Bowl commercial featured the comedian Larry David, who played different characters throughout history dismissing revolutionary technologies like the wheel and the light bulb.
It was one of several high-profile adverts featuring celebrity endorsements over the past year, broadcast amid record-breaking price rallies and billions of dollars pouring into the space from both institutional and retail investors.
Since peaking in November, there has been a major downturn that has wiped more than $1.7 trillion from the overall crypto market, including more than $600 billion from bitcoin.
The capitulation was compounded last week after a leading cryptocurrency completely collapsed, wiping more than 99 per cent from its value.
Celebrities who promoted cryptocurrencies are now facing criticism for not properly highlighting the risks for investors.
The New York Times reached out to many of the famous backers, including actors Matt Damon, Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as basketball star LeBron James, however few responded. Those that did either refused to comment or claimed to not know anything about the technology.
“Unfortunately I don’t think we’d have anything to add as we have no idea how cryptocurrency works (even after having it explained to us repeatedly), don’t own it, and don’t follow its market,” Jeff Schaffer, who directed the FTX ad, wrote in an email to the publication.
“We just set out to make a funny commercial.”
FTX did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before the time of publication, though its founder recently spoke to the Financial Times about the perceived limitations of bitcoin.
Sam Bankman-Fried, who also serves as the firm’s CEO, said he did not believe the world’s most popular cryptocurrency could serve as a mainstream form of payment, despite both El Salvador and Central African Republic adopting it as an official currency.
“The bitcoin network is not a payments network, and it is not a scaling network,” he said.
“Things that you’re doing millions of transactions a second with have to be extremely efficient and lightweight, and lower energy cost.”
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