The buzz from the entire Bitcoin community united across the world was amazing to see, as the first major, national Bitcoin-sponsored event came to an end last night.
The promotional effort to maximize the hashtag #BitcoinBowl was beyond impressive as several major names, including Shooter Jennings, Warner Bros. Records, and Andreas Antonopoulos used @ChangeTip to reward enthusiastic comment contributors across Twitter. New users were were surprised to receive their first bitcoins from Antonopoulos himself, who tirelessly gave out tips to throughout almost the entire game, “making it rain,” as expressed by many on Twitter.
I still have lots of tips to give out for those who want to try bitcoin and learn about it. #bitcoinbowl— AndreasMAntonopoulos (@aantonop) 27th december 2014
“We want this to be people’s first experience with Bitcoin,” said Bitpay’s marketing manager Tony Sakich. “We want to show the world how easy it is to send Bitcoins over social media.”
The success of the campaign was apparent as the World Crypto Network ran live commentary in a Google hangout throughout the game. Mad Bitcoins announced the success of the Twitter campaign, when even before the end of the first quarter, #BitcoinBowl reached trending status, and tweets containing the hashtag moved over the screen so fast that readers couldn’t follow them.
BitPay made a strategic decision to use “Bitcoin” in the name of the Bowl, rather than the company name, taking a potential hit for the good of the industry. Since Bitcoin is not a company with a PR department, it is up to passionate industry leaders to promote the movement. A few Twitter users expressed confusion about Bitcoin being a company, but it was interesting to see the announcers mention both Bitcoin and BitPay during the game. The ads that were filmed for the event did a good job in separating the payment method from the payment processor.
One commercial got a chuckle out of the Bitcoin community by depicting mafia men representing bank fees, which tend to take their toll on small businesses.
There were additional ads for Bitcoin-related products such as Gyft, but the biggest message to take away from the festivities was that these positive messages may be the first official steps toward bringing Bitcoin to the world in a positive light. Harry Yeh of Binary Financial said:
“Amazing experience, BitPay and the team did an amazing job putting this whole event together.”
Bitcoin supporters who attended could not have been happier about their experiences at the event. Thousands of yBitcoin magazines were handed out to make sure that attendees walked away with a better understanding of what this new technological future is all about.
David Mondrus and Nathan Wosnack, CEO and CCO of the Blockchain Factory, went to the game and reported their reactions. According to Mondrus,
“It was wonderful to see that Bitcoin is starting to gain acceptance among the non-geek crowd. No matter what, Bitcoin is the real winner tonight, due to the mass exposure from ESPN, Fox and others [who] were there.”
“The game was phenomenal. The overwhelming BitPay and Bitcoin promotion in the advertising on the big screen, the announcements, made any Bitcoin supporter and fan cheer. I had such a sense of overwhelming happiness seeing Tony Gallippi being handed the key to the city of St. Petersburg. We all stood up and cheered Tony along and often screamed a lot of Bitcoin support, to the amusement and bewilderment of the jocks around us.”
In spite of what Antonopoulos had to say about it, there was also the football game itself.
Could someone explain #bitcoinbowl to me? The bitcoin I understand. It’s the football that has me stumped. Why are they slamming each other?— AndreasMAntonopoulos (@aantonop) December 27, 2014
North Carolina State (NC State) scored twice to end the 1st half with a 17 to 10 lead over University of Central Florida (UCF). And watching the halftime commentary with the Bitcoin logo in the background showed how far the industry has come in the last few years.
The second half was even more exciting, with NC State picking up right where they left off and taking a commanding lead at 34 to 13 early in the 4th quarter. Though UCF made the game close, finishing with two consecutive touchdowns to end the game with a final score of 34 to 27, the night belonged to the game’s MVP Jacoby Brissett.
The highly talented quarterback finished the game with 262 yards passing, 1 touchdown and no interceptions, but his game management and getting around the UCF’s defense made him stand out. The team itself had an amazing turnaround this year. With most of the best players coming back next year, there might actually be another team to challenge FSU and Clemson for a shot at winning the ACC.
Given the atmosphere and the incredible promotion for the industry, we can only imagine how the leading companies in the Bitcoin space plan to top this event in 2015. This was only the first annual Bitcoin Bowl, and two more are in the works. One thing is for sure: when it comes to technology, there are no limits to what is possible, and if someone can dream it, the genius of the blockchain will most certainly help it happen.
—Mr. Bitcoin, the Bitcoin Bowl mascot