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Matt Damon’s TV ad compares crypto investors to early explorers, mountain climbers, the Wright brothers, astronauts, and a guy about to make out with a girl in the club. It’s been airing since October, but only this week did a mass audience take notice.

And the reaction has been brutal.

At the Financial Times, crypto critic Jemima Kelly called the ad “grotesque.” The Daily Beast declared it an “embarrassing cash grab.” The Guardian columnist Carole Cadwalladr tweeted to her 600,000 followers: “There isn’t enough yuck in the world to describe Matt Damon advertising a Ponzi scheme.”

Matt Damon is hardly the first celebrity to do a paid crypto promotion. FTX has been running ads with Tom Brady for months. Copper, which does institutional crypto custody, unveiled a new ad in November featuring the actor Rebecca Ferguson (most recently Jessica in “Dune”) pulling a cube out of a waterfall and calling Copper “the unfair advantage.” Snoop Dogg, Paris Hilton, and Kim Kardashian have all done paid crypto endorsements. All of them avoided this level of vitriol.

To be fair, the ad is embarrassing. The worst part is its banal concluding catchphrase: “Fortune favors the brave.” And the Damon ad is the second recent in-your-face marketing move from—the company forked out $700 million to slap its name on the Staples Center in L.A.

But the people trashing the Damon ad the loudest already hated crypto. The ad confirms for them the beliefs they already hold: it’s a scam, it’s a fraud. Benjamin McKenzie, from “The OC” and “Gotham,” has become their pied…

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