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Is Losing Its Hold on Los Angeles?

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The impending winter seems to have shivering.

Los Angeles remains mostly immune to the seasons – We’re talking about a “crypto winter,” the term that’s come to represent the massive downturn in the cryptocurrency industry that's erased $2 trillion in value since its peak last November.

Although month-over-month trading volumes were up 16% last month, there’s no clear sign of stability to be found and some crypto exchanges are still feeling the chill. That's especially true for, the company that paid $700 million to reskin the Staples Center (sorry, no amount of money will make this Angeleno stop calling the stadium by the name it had for over two decades) and much of Downtown Los Angeles’ L.A. Live district. saw a huge initial burst of momentum after the arena deal last December, and its marketing afterwards was bombastic to say the least. It courted stars like LeBron James and Matt Damon to do a series of ads themed around the tagline “fortune favors the brave,” encouraging people to take on financial risk in the hope of a moonshot payout. After the Staples Center deal was announced,’s CRO coin jumped 25%. But it appears to be losing momentum – in the last month, CRO is down nearly 10%.

Once a strong competitor to other crypto exchanges like FTX, Coinbase or Binance, today does not rank in the top 10 – it's currently ranked No. 18 by exchange analysts.’s most recent daily trading volume was roughly a modest $207 million – compare that to Binance, which had a global 24-hour trading volume of over $10 billion, or FTX, which topped a $1 billion trading volume today.

The digital graveyard of crypto coins and exchanges gone seemingly grows by the day. A quick glance at will show you over 1,700 crypto currencies that have failed. Now both supporters and haters of are wondering if the platform will meet its demise and put, uh, the crypt in crypto.

In June, started laying people off, and cut about 40% of its workforce. By August, dot.LA was already questioning the viability of long-term crypto sports deals, and others continued to wonder if’s big marketing bets would work. The exchange poured money into sponsorship deals it thought could be lucrative, including new L.A. women’s soccer club Angel City FC, but it later defaulted. Lawyers for the soccer team told AdAge last week reneged on the deal after refusing to pay. also became a sponsor of Twitch’s esports league, but AdAge reported it decided to end the deal. pushed back on reports it was walking back sponsorship deals.

On Monday spokesperson Al D’Agostino told dot.LA via email, “reports of any sort of pull back on our partnerships are completely inaccurate, and we have submitted requests for corrections to the story referenced. We have a strong balance sheet and will continue to invest in our industry-leading products, engineering, and brand partnerships.

One big event is set to sponsor is the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. AdAge speculated this might not go as planned, noting a former employee told the magazine that downsized the count of hospitality packages it was planning to offer. The company also reportedly dismantled an entire marketing team of 10 people within four months of hiring them; a sign it’s probably over-invested in marketing efforts that literally haven't paid off.

All this could point to—if not a downturn in’s operations—at least a restructuring. The company appears to be less dedicated to pushing new products, like its Visa cards or rewards for staking crypto.

The arena naming rights deal is a 20-year contract, so it’s entirely possible the company could fall to tatters long before that marquee is taken down. Or perhaps they’ll look to sell out their stake in the arena to another firm looking to make a splash in L.A., and cut their losses. It’s too early for anyone to predict exactly what might happen – and who knows, maybe in three months we’ll see a drastic turnaround in the market and I’ll be eating my words as crypto executives do a joyous May dance to celebrate the arrival of a market thaw. But for now, if continues on the trajectory it's been headed on, it runs the risk of losing valuable ground to crypto exchanges with way more customers. Samson Amore

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Nominate LA's Top Startups for Our 2022 Startup Awards!

Help us shine a light on the best startups and founders in Southern California - submit a nomination for the 2022 dot.LA Startup Awards! Winners in the six categories will be announced at our annual Summit on October 21st. Register for the Summit here. Browse the categories and nominate a startup or individual before entries close Friday, October 7th. Questions? Email awards@dot.LA.

What We’re Reading...

- Elon Musk wants you to know that he's spending around $100 million to send his Starlink kits to Ukraine.

- Newport Beach's Budding Technology launched Budbo, a new blockchain for the weed industry.

- Online courses have allowed California's community colleges to thrive during the pandemic.


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