The crypto market in India has plunged into chaos with discussions around the government's intention to ban or regulate trading in private cryptocurrencies, posing a challenge to creators of content on digital money.
"It is difficult to create content currently because it is not as clean-cut as stocks. The situation is murky because we can't take a stand,” said influencer Sayali Rai, who along with Niyati Thaker creates content on personal finance and run a channel called Fincocktail on Instagram and YouTube.
“If we tell people to invest they will question what if crypto gets banned and if we tell them not to, then all the crypto enthusiasts will say that people will be missing out on such a great asset," said Rai.
Neha Nagar, digital content creator, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of TaxationHelp.in, who creates 8-10 videos a month cryptocurrency education, shares the sentiment.
"Our audience have bet a lot on cryptocurrencies; if they hear this ban news they start panicking and turn to creators for opinions. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to transfer information as some people might take it as advice but we aren’t giving any advisory. We are just providing information and analysis."
She added, "Even if it’s ban or regulation, everyone turns to creators to blame for advocating cryptocurrencies. So it’s our responsibility to provide unbiased content."
Brand deals drop
Along with content, brand deals are also seeing an impact because of talk on regulation of cryptocurrencies in India.
Rai and Thaker, who have associated with platforms like CoinDCX and Coin Switch earlier, said that they were not seeing an uptick in queries.
"It was at its peak 4-5 months ago when a lot of platforms reached out to us for campaigns. While we have brands reaching out to us, it has died down," said Thaker.
Nagar added, "Brands are also in stress these days so they have started sending precautionary briefs to creators as to how to promote the brand amid the ban news. We are still receiving brand collaboration queries but the numbers of emails have reduced to just half. Brands aren’t starting any new campaigns yet. Some brands have even postponed their campaigns for 10-15 days."
Pranav Panpalia, founder of OpraahFx, an influencer marketing platform, said that while crypto brands were still spending on promotions via traditional ads, their influencer marketing campaigns had been put on hold for a week; spending and frequency of promotions has reduced.
The cryptocurrency category accounts for 10-15 percent share of overall marketing spending in the influencer marketing space, Panpalia estimated.
In terms of brands, Panpalia said CoinDCX, WazirX, and CoinSwitch Kubeer were the three main platforms that brought in crypto content via influencers.
"They are the few of the biggest players who are heavily investing in the promotions of crypto exchanges via influencers,” he added.
Gautam Madhavan, founder & CEO of Mad Influence, an influencer marketing agency, said that 20-25 percent of crypto platforms' marketing spending was dedicated for influencers and another 15 percent for celebrities.
Adding to this, Panpalia said: "Every month, crypto start-ups spend up to Rs 15 crore in marketing and promotional activities and close to 30 percent of the share is consumed by influencer and content marketing. During festive and seasonal campaigns, their spend cap nearly sees a two to three-fold increase in the influencer marketing space."
Talking about size of brand deals with cryptocurrency platforms, Shashank Udupa, co-founder of Scenes by Avalon and a financial expert, said crypto companies do pay a small premium compared to normal fintech companies.
Madhavan said that "the average deals we engage for crypto projects is upwards of $250,000."
Panpalia added that an influencer marketing deal on Instagram can vary between Rs. 2-20 lakh per post. "The charges further increase if the post is of video format on YouTube or Instagram," he said.
Despite less clarity on the road ahead for cryptocurrencies and crypto brands lying low, content creators are not holding back.
"It is a space that influencers are not ignoring and every finance content creator is creating content around cryptocurrency," said Thaker.
Raj Shamani, digital content creator, entrepreneur, investor and podcaster who thinks that cryptos will not be banned entirely, is not shying away from talking about his recent profits, losses and new advancements when it comes to cryptocurrency.
More responsibility on content creators
Influencer Paritosh Anand, who posts around four pieces of content on crypto in a month, said regulations and rules may come and go but the concept remains the same.
Vedant Kaushik who creates infotainment content on cryptocurrency, blockchain and investment via Instagram Reels with 1-2 pieces of content a week, said the buzz around cryptocurrency and blockchain had only been growing even with news of regulations being put in place.
“It has added more responsibility on my content to stop the spread of misinformation just in the name of sensationalising a ban that doesn’t even exist yet."
But in case of a ban, Thaker said that there will be a bit of a negative impact on content creators."We may not be able to create as much content as we do right now, but some amount of content will still be created," she said.