Week of Feb 15, 2022

Exchanges Spent Over $40 Million in Super Bowl Ads

Busy Fed Week Ahead. Some NFTs Are Green in a Sea of Red.

💬 Market Commentary


Four (4) U.S. exchanges presented Super Bowl advertisements on Sunday evening, for a total advertising spend of at least $40 Million based on public reports and estimates.

Super Bowl ads cost an estimated $6.5 Million for a 30-second spot. The same ads typically cost between $1-2 million to produce - the number could be much more or less, depending on complexity and cost of talent. 

This weekend’s crypto ads highlight a few things. For one, it shows just how fiercely competitive the U.S. market is becoming for crypto exchanges. 

Interestingly, none of the advertisements mentioned the word “Bitcoin” - most used “crypto”. There was also no mention of the problem bitcoin or crypto solve, only that they are “the future”. 

Most ads had a general theme around “not missing out” - one referenced “taking your own shots”, and another one even mentioned “to the moon”.  

Considering that the advertisers were exchanges that list dozens (if not hundreds) of crypto assets, it makes sense for exchanges to encourage this type of behaviour.

The ads had very high production value and brought on A-list celebrities and athletes. It was a signal that crypto companies now have the budgets to fight with the “big boys” of advertising. 

While there is certainly a lot of money to be made from Americans trading in and out of crypto assets, it would be very refreshing (and encouraging) to see some of the budgets going towards celebrities, athletes, and super bowls directed at education as to why bitcoin and other digital assets have gone up in value. 

Over the long-run, investing in education should have an exponentially higher return on investment to the companies, and to the societies in which they operate.

Looking at some forward-looking Bitcoin market indicators, we see that funding rates are no longer in negative territory and close to 0%. This is an encouraging sign that leveraged investors are in a more balanced position, which typically helps reduce volatility in the near term.

Additionally, we see that the futures curve shows “flat” prices until after the end of March.

This means that the future price of bitcoin for March delivery is trading very close to the current prices.

Looking at the options markets - we see some consistent positioning. 

As you can see, historically, bitcoin option contracts have a higher level of call contracts open, than puts. (Notice how all bars after March 25 expiry have much more calls than puts open).

However, if we look at the February expirations, we see a disproportionately high number of put contracts open. This means that investors are trying to protect against volatility to the downside until the end of February. 

S&P 500

Equity markets have remained under pressure over the last 14 days with two main headwinds. 

U.S. inflation has once again taken centre stage after the consumer price index reached 7.5% last week. It is the highest level in 40 years, and it has prompted calls for the Fed to act. 

Yields on treasury notes were quick to react to the news, with the yield curve “flattening” even more.

The blue line is the current shape of the treasury yield curve. The black line represents January 2022 (one month ago), and the green line represents January 2021 (just over a year ago). 

As you can see, the curve has been getting much steeper at the front end, and it starts tapering or “flattening” at the top.  We can also see that if and when the Fed raises the overnight rate, the curve will become much “flatter”. 

The meeting minutes from the last Fed meeting will be released this week, and there are many Fed officials scheduled to speak this week. More on that in our What’s Ahead section.

The other headwind facing markets are the geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine. While it is anywhere you look in the media, we thought it was insightful to see how the market has reacted to geopolitical events historically.

Looking at the data from LPL research, we see that since 1941 only 4 geopolitical events have caused double-digit drawdowns in the S&P 500. In most other cases, the average drawdown was less than 5%. 

Something to keep in mind as headlines continue to soar throughout the week. 

The big thing to keep in mind is the possible inversion of the U.S. yield curve. That is to say, when the interest rate on the 2-year treasury bond matches or becomes higher than the interest rate on the 10-year note. Historically, when this happens, an economic recession typically follows.

As mentioned above, there are a series of Fed speakers on cue this week, as well as economic data and earnings that we’ll cover in our What’s Ahead section. 


A run for the safe-haven asset, sparked by mounting tension between Russia and the U.S., brought the bullion's price to its third consecutive week of gains. Gold went up by almost 3% to close at ˜$1,859.00 last week.

When looking at gold's chart, there's not much resistance left above current prices, −1,878.00 at the time of writing. After having moved sideways for over a year, post its COVID highs, the yellow metal could retake all-time-highs if it manages to keep its current momentum going.

When war fears permeate markets, investors tend to add exposure to gold. However, as we've covered in past BEC issues, gold prices are inversely-correlated to yields, and as the Fed gets ready to tighten its easing policy in early March, such an event might function as a catalyst to pause gold's current price action.

For one, Dan Tapiero, 10T's CEO, is leaning bullish on gold  this year. 



It was a pretty rough week in terms of prices for the DeFi index, dropping over -13% in the week. Ethereum finished the week down just -6%.

While DeFi token prices continue their downtrend since November, there are a few bright spots in the crypto asset world.

As per the above image, the Bitwise Blue-Chip NFT Collections Index has a positive 1-month return of 4.99%, and a year-to-date performance of 9.11%. 

Looking at search trends on Google, we see that the search term “NFT” has continued growing in popularity since the summer of 2020, and it is nearing the same levels as the search interest for “Bitcoin”.

It is important to notice these types of divergences in down markets. 

The fact that even a segment of the NFT space is delivering positive results in the current environment is an encouraging sign that the high-quality projects continue to attract investor interest.

The positive returns that these assets have experienced in the current environment will likely act as a siren call to new investors into the space. 


On the mining-side of things, perhaps, the most followed piece of news was the launch of Valkyrie's Bitcoin mining ETF on the Nasdaq, under the ticker WGMI. Valkyrie Funds is an investment manager focused on the digital asset space. 

The ETF saw strong interest in its first week of trading. The ETF's five largest holdings include Argo, Bitfarm, CleanSpark, Hive and Stronghold. Something important to note is that 80% of holdings are mining companies using at least 50% of renewable energy on their mining operations.

Over a dozen mining companies are already publicly traded in the markets. So, although we have seen several Bitcoin spot ETF applications having been rejected by the SEC, it was easier for a mining ETF to get approval since its underlying holdings had been already OKed to trade on stock exchanges.

On the other hand, in relation to hardware headlines, Intel disclosed that later this year they will ship their energy-efficient mining chip to its waitlist customer. Which include Block (formerly Square) and two mining companies, Argo Blockchain and Griid Infrastructure.

It looks like Intel will introduce the first North-American ASIC chip, rivaling the long-time mining-semiconductors dominant player of the industry; Bitmain.

What's Ahead

It’s an action-packed week filled with Fed speakers, economic data, and a very fluid geopolitical environment. 

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine could continue to make headlines. Geopolitical tensions typically make energy prices rise as countries try to secure their energy independence. This has made Europe’s inflationary woes worse during an already cold winter. This could keep markets unpredictable for the near term.

There are 7 Fed speeches in the week ahead. Many of them were scheduled last week. This signals that the Fed is making a push to appease and answer questions. Investors will be reading the tea leaves to see if they plan to accelerate their plans. 

The CME Group's FedWatch tool showed investors were pricing in a 99% chance that the Fed will raise rates by 50 basis points in March as of Friday. This represents a jump of 24% from the probability reflected just two days earlier.

With the March FOMC meeting just 4 weeks away, and the Fed has 4 meetings on the calendar until the end of July.

Fed members have expressed that they would like to see the overnight rate higher by 100 basis points by July. This means the Fed could still increase rates by just 25 basis points in every meeting from now until July. 

We hope you enjoyed reading and as always, we wrap up with a summary of the upcoming economic data and earnings reports for the week:


2.30 PM EST - Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes. 


11.00 AM EST - St. Louis Fed President James Bukkard speaks

5.00 PM EST - Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speaks



All-day event -Chicago Booth School - New York Fed meetings

10.00 AM EST - Existing Home Sales in the U.S. 

10.15 AM EST - Fed Governor Christopher Wallace speaks 

It's a big week coming up, and as always, we'll keep you posted on any relevant news throughout the week right here and from our Twitter account.


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About the author

Mauricio Di Bartolomeo

Mauricio is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Ledn.io. He grew up in Venezuela where he and his family learned about Bitcoin. Now based in Canada, Mauricio holds HBA and MBA degrees from the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario in Canada.