‘Bitcoin dead’ Google searches hit new all-time high
Rumors and speculation about Bitcoin’s demise have long been exaggerated.

Collapsing Bitcoin (BTC) prices are reviving renewed speculation about the demise of the leading cryptocurrency, according to Google search trends.

Google searches for “Bitcoin dead” spiked in the week ending Friday, June 18, and likely reached the highest level on record. Google Trends tracks interest in search terms over time, assigning scores of 1 to 100 based on the total number of user queries. The data are anonymized, categorized by topic and aggregated based on location.

“Bitcoin dead” achieved a score of 100 for the period between June 12–18 based on preliminary data that is reflected by the dotted line. The last time the search query scored 100 was in December 2017 or thereabouts.

Global searches for “Bitcoin dead” skyrocketed over the weekend. Searches for similar keywords, such as “Bitcoin is dead,” also rose sharply but didn’t reach a new peak. Source: Google Trends.

The Google search results reflect peak anxiety for the cryptocurrency markets following weeks of relentless selloffs in asset prices. Bitcoin’s downward spiral, now in its seventh month, may have been triggered by the Federal Reserve’s massive shift in policy, which has placed downward pressure on risk assets. The implosion of the Terra ecosystem and its related contagion effects has also been a contributing factor. Adverse market conditions have also led to credible speculation that major industry players, such as Celsius and Three Arrows Capital, are facing insolvency.

Mainstream media outlets have written hundreds of Bitcoin obituaries over the years; their pundits have been cheering the latest market collapse as evidence that BTC is not a viable asset. Bitcoin supposedly “died” 45 times in 2021 alone — a year in which the digital asset reached multiple record highs.

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Crypto winter freezes sports sponsorships for digital asset firms
FTX has reportedly pulled out of talks for a sponsorship deal with the Los Angeles Angels, likely due to the dramatic pullback in crypto markets over the past several weeks.

The longer the crypto market stays in bearish territory, the more marketing deals with American sports teams are being taken off the table as crypto firms tighten their belts.

Crypto exchange FTX has been rethinking its marketing plan to plaster its name and logo across Los Angeles Angels jerseys, according to a Monday report from the NY Post. The dramatic market downturn is likely to blame for the retractions.

Another patch deal between an undisclosed crypto firm and the Washington Wizards was axed just as the crypto market began its violent tumble in recent weeks.

The crypto firm in question could have been FTX.US as the exchange’s nonfungible token (NFT) platform and the Washington, D.C.-based Wizards have an ongoing partnership. The NY Post said that the deal with the Wizards was desirable for crypto firms looking to curry favor with the D.C. political base.

Sports management professor at Columbia University Joe Favorito told the NY Post that he doesn’t believe any new sports partnerships will be announced while the market is down:

“What money hasn’t been spent already you’re going to see curtailed — just like we saw during the dot-com bubble.”

During the highs of the last crypto boom, crypto firms shelled out staggering amounts of cash for sponsorship deals. Crypto.com paid $700 million to name the LA Lakers’ home Crypto.com Arena for 20 years. FTX paid $135 to name the Miami Heat’s home arena FTX Arena in March 2021. Additionally, Tezos is paying $27 million annually to put its logo on Manchester United uniforms.

There have been dozens of other sponsorship deals between crypto firms and sports teams worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

While the sponsorships for basic brand visibility are being re-thought, the deals between real-world products and NFT firms appear to be firmly in place as they deliver more practical benefits to the parties involved.

Global beer manufacturer Budweiser partnered with the popular NFT horse racing platform Zed Run last week. Budweiser issued tokenized Clydesdales that users could mint, while Zed Run will launch a Budweiser-themed race track and a tournament with a maximum prize of $95,000 in December.

NFL superstar Tom Brady’s Autograph NFT marketplace has a partnership with the likes of ESPN to create content for the sports TV network. Autograph launched a parallel NFT collection that was launched at the same time as the Man in the Arena: Tom Brady docuseries that first aired on ESPN on April 6.

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China’s WeChat bans crypto and NFT-related accounts
The punishments handed out by WeChat for crypto and NFT accounts will depend on the severity of violations, and the accounts will be given time to rectify their activity.

The top social media platform in China, WeChat, has updated its policies to ban accounts that provide access to crypto or nonfungible token- (NFT)-related services.

Under the new guidelines, accounts involved with the issuance, trading, and financing of crypto and NFTs will be either restricted or banned and will fall under the “illegal business” category.

The policy also covers secondary NFT trading, with the firm noting that “accounts that provide services or content related to the secondary transaction of digital collections shall also be dealt with in accordance with this article.”

The move was highlighted by Hong Kong-based crypto news reporter Wu Blockchain (Colin Wu) on Monday, as he pointed out the significance of the action given that WeChat has more than 1.1 billion daily users in China.

In terms of punishments, the new policy states that “once such violations are discovered, the WeChat public platform will, according to the severity of the violations, order the violating official accounts to rectify within a time limit and restrict some functions of the account until the permanent account is banned.”

The Chinese government rolled out a phased ban on the local crypto sector between May and September last year. However, given the timing of the latest policy update on WeChat, it could suggest the platform has been letting some crypto activity go unnoticed since then.

Furthermore, there is still a regulatory gray area in the country concerning NFTs as the assets can be purchased in fiat. Still, companies and platforms generally bar secondary trading to avoid potential compliance issues over the financialization of the tech.

In general, officials have frowned upon NFTs, with the China Banking Association, the China Internet Finance Association and the Securities Association of China issuing a joint statement in April warning the public about the “hidden risks” of investing in the assets.

Popular platforms such as WeChat and Ant group-owned WhaleTalk have been distancing themselves from the tech since March after they both reportedly began removing or restricting NFT platforms from their networks over a lack of regulatory clarity and fear of a crackdown from Beijing.

Despite this, a local media report from Thursday highlighted data showing the number of digital collectible platforms in China has grown to over 500, a five-time increase since February 2022.

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This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.

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