Scott Bartnick
Scott Bartnick

2021 was a huge year for cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, the market’s biggest coin, surpassed the $1 trillion mark. In El Salvador, Bitcoin was adopted as a form of legal tender, and the first futures-based crypto ETF appeared on the New York Stock Exchange.

Still, it may be too early to say that crypto has gone mainstream. As 2022 began, less than 5 percent of the global population held any form of crypto. Crypto-related fraud and a lack of regulations to address it continue to keep many hesitant from buying in. For those who want to get involved, problems with usability are often a barrier that seems insurmountable.

As crypto companies seek to address these issues and grow their communities and their value, many are finding that public relations firms have the experience and connections necessary to open the doors to mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. By leveraging media relations and advanced PR tactics, public relations can increase exposure, establish credibility, and educate potential users on the benefits of using crypto.

“An effective PR media strategy separates the credible from the incredible,” says Mark Kaley, a publicist with Otter PR. “And that is very important for crypto, blockchain, and NFT companies.”

Mark has more than 15 years of experience assisting businesses of all sizes with the public relations process. Otter PR is experienced with crypto and blockchain companies.

“When crypto and other blockchain companies launch their first project, they often have a lot of passion and a lot of expectations. What they lack is credibility,” explains Mark. “Public relations specialize in helping brands establish credibility.”

Identifying sound investments in crypto markets can feel overwhelming for those who are just getting started. As of March 2022, investors have more than 18,000 crypto brands from which to choose, and a recent count identified nearly 1,700 of them as dead coins. In addition, finding information about the founders of coins and their tokenomics can often be impossible.

“It is important that any PR or media efforts not focus on the currency or token itself,” Mark says. “To be effective, the campaign must focus on educating the public about the project as a whole, building the brand, and establishing the founders or owner operators as authorities in the field. Brands that have a philanthropic mission, for example, should look to establish their execs as experts on the topic of philanthropy as well as crypto or blockchain.”

One brand that Mark has helped is AXIA Coin. By positioning the project’s founder as a thought leader in the industry who could discuss not just crypto but also data privacy and internet security risks, Mark was able to secure more than 300 media placements for AXIA that reached an estimated 1.4 billion online readers.

For brands that have a token with utility, highlighting that utility is critical for attracting and growing a supportive community around the project. The concept of token utility, which crypto insiders know to be a key component of the technology, has received little attention outside of industry-related publications and sites.

Credibility for both brands and the crypto movement at large can also be established when the people behind the brand make themselves known and share their vision. While many are drawn to crypto because of its lack of transparency, mainstream adoption will benefit from providing the curious with adequate information.

“So many crypto projects focus on building community through social media, discord servers, or other communication channels. Providing information about founders or owners as well as information about the project is a great way to build that community,” says Mark. “An active community promotes engagement, and more engagement means more sharing and likes, resulting in additional exposure for the token.”

As long as the majority of news about crypto is news about volatility, scams, and bans, crypto brands can expect resistance from those with even the smallest degree of skepticism. Real progress toward mainstream adoption will only be made when brands are willing to put the industry as a whole in front of their brands.

“Crypto founders need to realize the token will take care of itself,” Mark says. “The business has to be viable for the token to have any worth. It's like a traditional equity based company: a high market cap means nothing if the company can't support that with revenues and some appropriate multiples in the business. Companies built on a house of cards will crumble. Build your business on a solid foundation and effectively use PR to demonstrate that the business and the concept behind it are solid.”


Scott Bartnick is the co-founder of Otter PR. He is an eCommerce expert and author of The Five Day Startup and has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, IBTimes and Yahoo.