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5 things to know about S’pore-based Crypto.com that spent S$950m on naming rights to LA’s Staples Center

SINGAPORE — A Singapore-based cryptocurrency trading platform has boosted its global profile by reportedly paying US$700 million (S$950 million) to secure the naming rights to the Staples Center, an iconic basketball stadium in Los Angeles.

Crypto.com Arena is the new name for the Staples Center, an iconic basketball stadium in Los Angeles.

Crypto.com Arena is the new name for the Staples Center, an iconic basketball stadium in Los Angeles.

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  • Cryptocurrency trading platform Crypto.com reportedly paid US$700 million (S$950 million) on naming rights for LA’s Staples Center
  • It is said to be the biggest naming rights deal in sports history
  • Crypto.com is based in Singapore and started life as "Monaco"
  • Last month, it secured movie star Matt Damon as the public face of the firm

 

SINGAPORE — A Singapore-based cryptocurrency trading platform has boosted its global profile by reportedly paying US$700 million (S$950 million) to secure the naming rights to the Staples Center, an iconic basketball stadium in Los Angeles.

From Christmas day, the venue will be known as Crypto.com Arena, after the firm, which was founded in 2016. Spanning 20 years, it is said to be the biggest naming rights’ deal in sports history.

The 20,000-seat venue is synonymous with the National Basketball Association’s LA Lakers in the United States, whose players include superstar LeBron James.

As the once-fringe world of cryptocurrencies goes increasingly mainstream with countless rivals of market leader Bitcoin, Hollywood actor Matt Damon last month struck a deal to be the face of Crypto.com.

Here is what we know about the Singapore-based company.

FOUNDED IN 2016

In June 2016, the cryptocurrency exchange was launched as “Monaco”, with the vision of putting cryptocurrency in every wallet and the philosophy that “it is a basic human right for everyone to control their money, data and identity”.

It is a trading and services platform for exchanging Bitcoin, Ether, Dogecoin and other virtual currencies and was rebranded as Crypto.com in 2018, trading under the symbol MCO on cryptocurrency exchanges.

The company’s mission, stated on its official website, is to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency.

Crypto.com claims that it has a global user base exceeding 10 million, is supported in more than 90 countries and has more than 2,600 employees.

Its advisory board is chaired by seasoned entrepreneur and investor Antoine Blondeau, who has 25 years of experience in the technology industry, having held senior leadership positions at various technology firms.

Mr Blondeau is also the founder and managing partner of Alpha Intelligence Capital, a global venture capital fund focused on deep artificial intelligence and machine learning technology companies.

Crypto.com’s website states that it has an office in Singapore but does not disclose the address.

THE CO-FOUNDERS

The chief executive officer is Mr Kris Marszalek, one of the founders of the company in 2016.

Under his leadership, Crypto.com, known as Monaco back then, raised US$26.7 million in its first coin sale in 2017.

After rebranding as Crypto.com, it launched a new token called CRO in the same year and in 2019, launched debit and credit cards in Asia and the US.

Mr Marszalek’s LinkedIn profile states that he is based in Hong Kong, but discloses little other biographical information about him.

THE MARKETING FACE OF THE COMPANY

Besides its high-profile naming rights deal this week, Crypto.com last month announced that Damon would be the marketing face of the company, having reportedly spent more than US$100 million at that point on its marketing efforts to reach more customers.

The actor himself is an investor in Crypto.com and the company has also donated US$1 million to Damon’s non-profit organisation Water.org.

Along with Damon, Crypto.com has also enlisted the likes of mixed-martial artist Ronda Rousey, basketball star Carmelo Anthony, snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, rapper CL and astronaut Scott Kelly to boost its profile.

TIES TO SERIE A FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The cryptocurrency exchange also recently signed a multi-year deal with Italy’s main football league Serie A to serve as the presenting partner of the league’s virtual assistant referee and goal line technology.

It will also present the Lega Serie A Goal of the Month, adding to its current sponsorship of the Coppa Italia knockout competition.

Elsewhere in sports, Crypto.com also has commercial links with Formula 1, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, French football club Paris Saint-Germain, the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team and the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team.

ITS OWN CRYPTOCURRENCY

Crypto.com does more than serve as a cryptocurrency trading platform. As part of its rebranding from Monaco to Crypto.com, the company issued a new coin, CRO, in 2018.

While CRO remains far off the lofty value of fellow cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, it has attracted considerable interest from investors and speculators alike as the company continues to grow.

Following the Staples Center deal, CRO’s price went up over 24 per cent in 24 hours to rank among the top 20 cryptocurrencies being traded.

CRO was trading at about 15 US cents in early October but is now trading at about 57 US cents.

Price movements in the largely unregulated world of cryptocurrencies can be very volatile.

Related topics

cryptocurrency Crypto.com Staples Center Los Angeles Sports basketball

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