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Coinbase’s New Ad Highlights Potential of Blockchain to Revitalize Pennies

Hassan Shittu
Last updated: | 3 min read
Coinbase's New Ad Highlights Potential of Blockchain to Revitalize Pennies
Source: Dalle-3

Coinbase, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, has unveiled a new television ad that playfully mocks traditional United States fiat currency, depicting it as a penny coin.

In the ad, the penny is humorously tossed into a bin and vacuumed, symbolizing the need for a digital upgrade to replace outdated physical currency.

The crypto community swiftly reacted to the ad, emphasizing the necessity of transitioning to digital currency to keep pace with modern financial systems.

Coinbase’s Humorous Ad Campaign Advocates for Digitizing the U.S. Penny

In an X post on February 12, Coinbase stated that $1.2 million worth of pennies are lost annually, and it costs nearly three times as much to manufacture a penny’s value.

Coinbase’s new ad campaign suggests that moving the United States dollar to a “well-designed blockchain” could breathe new life into billions of “clunky” pennies in the country. 

The advertisement, launched by the cryptocurrency exchange, adopts a humorous approach toward the abundance of U.S. pennies discarded annually despite their status as legal tender.

In the campaign, Coinbase argues that stablecoins can help “move money forward” and alleviate the costs associated with legacy fiat systems for individuals and small businesses. 

The one-minute ad features an animated former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, featured on the penny coin, comically advocating to be removed from the physical form and transitioned into digital currency, exclaiming:

“Get me off this scrap piece of metal. Make me digital; let me soar!”

Lincoln laments the current state of the penny and advocates for its conversion into digital form. Lincoln humorously describes the penny as “useless barter for petty wishes tossed out like common garbage” and expresses a desire to be valuable as money again, suggesting that digitalization is the solution.

The animated penny, Lincoln said, got sucked up by a vacuum machine.

“Being on the penny used to mean something […] now it’s useless barter for petty wishes tossed out like common garbage 120 million times a year even though it’s still technically money. Imagine me actually paying for stuff. Among the people, instantly traveling the globe without fees or friction. Old Abe just wants to be good at being money again.” 

The campaign coincides with National Lost Penny Day on February 12th, which celebrates the creation of the penny and encourages Americans to find lost pennies around their homes. Despite efforts to discontinue penny production, the U.S. Mint will continue to produce pennies in 2024, with an estimated 150 billion pennies worth $1.5 billion in circulation as of 2017.

Coinbase’s Innovative Advertising Strategy Earns Praise from Crypto Industry Leaders

Prominent figures in the crypto industry lauded Coinbase’s innovative advertising strategy. David Marcus, CEO and co-founder of Lightspark, commended the ad’s quality, noting that Coinbase’s marketing efforts continue to improve with each release.

Notably, Austin Campbell, founder of Zero Knowledge Consulting, highlighted the potential benefits of stablecoins for merchants, emphasizing instant settlement and low-cost payments. He noted that even small improvements in cost structures can have a meaningful impact on businesses with narrow profit margins.

However, technical and logistical challenges remain in transitioning fiat currency onto the blockchain, particularly in terms of interfacing between traditional banking systems and 24/7 blockchain networks.

Campbell, who describes himself as a “stablecoin philosopher,” acknowledges the complexities involved in moving fiat currency onto the blockchain but emphasizes the potential benefits of improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial transactions.

 Campbell explains;

“The hard part is the interface between a system that is open in terms of calendar hours about 25% of the week and settles on a one-day or two-day forward basis, matched up with a 24/7 live blockchain that I need to get money in and out of.”

Coinbase has a history of releasing advertisements that challenge traditional societal norms. In May 2023, they released an ad explaining why crypto is crucial for updating the financial system, aiming to debunk misconceptions surrounding cryptocurrency being solely a speculative asset or associated with reckless trading.