In 2018, cryptocurrency broke onto the scene, as seemingly everyone was scrambling to get a piece of the pie as value skyrocketed overnight. But cryptocurrency has far-reaching implications for affiliate marketing and the tech industry as a whole. Below, we predict a few trends we think are likely to grow with cryptocurrency, given other markets in a similar position.
Our Cryptocurrency Predictions
1. Affiliate Marketing Will Drive Growth
Like other markets that are federally unregulated, such as marijuana, cryptocurrency faces its challenges in advertising. Initially, companies gave cryptocurrency advertising a hard pass, but recently have been giving it a second look. For example, Google initially banned cryptocurrency advertising, yet eased up in September 2018. Similarly, in January 2018 Facebook banned all cryptocurrency advertising including bitcoin and ICOs, then six months later in June 2018 reversed its stance.
Yet challenges remain. As such, affiliate marketing offers a lot of promise as an alternate route to cryptocurrency advertising. Binance, for example, is a trading platform that launched in 2017 and became the biggest trading platform for cryptocurrency in terms of traffic. Binance pays 20-40% lifetime trading commission fees for each new customer referral, allegedly enabling a few affiliates to become millionaires from its program. Other popular affiliate programs include Coinbase, CoinPayments, Changelly, LedgerWallet, and Purse.
Additionally, CryptoPet features stores that are essentially normal retailers, but allow payment in cryptocurrency. These retailers often incentivize new customer acquisitions with a referral program to help them compete with major retailers such as Amazon or Petco.
2. Early Investors and Risk-Takers Will Win
Bitcoin exploded in popularity in 2017, but it had been around for 9 years, since 2008. The people who invested early had already multiplied their investment by 17,000 times if they held out the entire time.
We’ve seen this pattern numerous times with other companies paving the way in their industry and gaining valuable positioning because of it, including Apple, Uber, Airbnb, and Postmates.
This behavior points to two things: those who are willing to take a chance before everyone else does could reap the rewards, and it pays to stick it out until something hits critical mass among the general public. Of course, cryptocurrency is also extremely volatile, so with the chance at great reward also comes great risk.
3. Brand Recognition Opportunities Will Arise
Similarly, bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, yet people often fail to recognize that there are actually more than 1,600 other cryptocurrencies. This reinforces the notion that those brands willing to dive in early are often the ones who win public recognition, even if arguably better products come along.
Affiliate marketing will make way for more cryptocurrencies to gain attention. Instead of the winner being the first to market, it could be who has the strongest affiliate marketing strategy.
4. Open Markets Will Increase Trust
One of the benefits of cryptocurrency is that it offers a decentralized structure and a single source of truth. Whereas one of the key challenges of the industry right now is being able to reconcile reporting information to see a unified view, cryptocurrency will normalize this. Transparency doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone would be able to see every detail about every transaction, as encryption protects every transaction. But it does make it easier to conduct business knowing everyone is working with the same system.
Whereas now advertisers vet publishers (and vice versa) to establish a trusting business relationship that meets both parties needs, cryptocurrency could eradicate the need for this, with trust being inherent from the beginning. This could mean less time spent verifying results and searching for fraud, and more time doing business with partners. It could also increase opportunities to create an ad channel with as much automation as Google and Facebook, allowing companies to manage more partners, with less effort, at scale.
5. Lower Costs Will Change the Game
Another interesting benefit of cryptocurrency is that it could lower transaction costs over time. One of the biggest costs of SaaS platforms and networks is processing payments and managing several currencies and conversions. With cryptocurrency, brands could pay publishers in digital change, allowing for instant payout and eliminating the 1-2% cost of processing payments today. This could increase the payouts going to publishers, and thus generate even more activity in the industry.
Currently priced at a fraction of where it captured mainstream attention last year, it remains to be seen if bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies recapture popular interest. More than anything, they point to the possibilities of a more digital, transparent, decentralized future — one in which everything is more connected, and advertisers and publishers can spend less time reconciling data, and more time doing business with their customers.
For more information, read our other article on how cryptocurrency is emerging in the performance marketing space. And tell us in the comments below — what other trends do you anticipate for cryptocurrency?
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.