This week’s summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un has an extra guest. Not former basketball star Dennis Rodman, supposed “friend” of the North Korean dictator, who is visiting the Singapore summit unofficially.

No, it’s potcoin (POT), the cryptocurrency that is sponsoring his visit to Singapore while the two leaders meet. “Thank you for sponsoring my mission,” Rodman tweeted last week.

Will Rodman see his friends Jong-Un and Donald? That doesn’t matter as far as potcoin is concerned. The Canadian cryptocurrency’s effort is already a success thanks to the free publicity from headlines across the world.

In a market where launching a blockchain endeavor may not be breaking news, companies must go to extremes to stand out.

As with other blockchain-related stunts, there may be some therethere. Potcoin aims to provide financial services to players in the cannabis industry who have trouble getting banks to do business with them. Under U.S. law, handling money from marijuana sales is considered to be money-laundering. Now, thanks to Rodman, pot players know where to turn. 

“We at PotCoin definitely believe that Dennis Rodman deserves the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with President Trump and the Marshal Kim Jong-Un,” spokesperson Shawn Perez told the Washington Post.

Really? Maybe not. But this won’t be the last time a blockchain company has pulled a headline-grabbing stunt.

(Almost) to the Moon

“Moon” has long been half-joking, half-serious slang for crypto’s potential speculative gains, as in,When moon?” So when ASKfm wanted to tout its forthcoming initial coin offering, it sought the tallest place it could find: the summit of Mount Everest.

On May 14, a team of four “crypto enthusiasts” climbed to the summit of the world’s tallest mountain to bury a half million of the social network’s ASKT tokens, where they presumably remain for the taking.

In a market “where launching a blockchain endeavor is not really a news break, companies have to stand out,” the social networking company said in a post, calling the stunt “an elegant way to boast ideological superiority to every other crypto.”

 “Think about the closest starting point to reach the moon,” the post states. “It seems so obvious, yet no one has done it.”

Unfortunately, this stunt went a bit too far: One of the Sherpa guides who helped the team get to Everest’s summit went missing during the descent and is presumed dead
Leased Lambos

“Lamborghini” is another meme-friendly term for the gains made by early crypto enthusiasts, given the purported penchant for winners to cash out and purchase the Italian supercars.

So when the blockchain community converged on midtown Manhattan for the Consensus conference last month, few were surprised to see three Lambos, which cost upwards of $200,000 a pop, parked in front of the Hilton Midtown Hotel, the site of the event.

But they didn’t belong to crypto whales. The BitMex exchange rented them for $1,000 each.

“I never made money with crypto, but I have 10 lambos,” said Broadway Supercars founder John Nouri, whose company rented out the cars. He told CNBC, “We do a lot of this for a lot of companies all the time. It’s an attention grabber.”

This year’s Consensus was the site of another stunt, the so-called “bankers against bitcoin” protest, which was orchestrated by Genesis Mining.

The Projected Writing’s on the Wall

The Swiss National Bank is in many ways the gold standard of traditional banking. So it was a bit of a surprise in April when the bitcoin (BTC) logo was projected onto the side of its headquarters in Zurich. Credit blockchain incubator Trust Square, which opened its headquarters across the street and decided to make its presence known to its more established neighbor and the world.

Meanwhile, in Slovenia, the BitStamp exchange and technology company 3fs paid for a statue of the bitcoin logo to be placed in the middle of a roundabout.

Not all stunts play out as intended, as the Sherpa guide’s death shows. In another example, a blockchain conference in China last month featured an actor portraying Mao Zedong, China’s first, revered Communist leader. The appearance caused a social media uproar, according to Reuters. Some said having a Mao impersonator was disrespectful.

Which only goes to show you can go to the moon but don’t mess with Chairman Mao.

Mark Toner
Mark Toner is a Washington, D.C., writer and editor. He has covered business, technology, media, education, and healthcare for a wide range of trade and industry publications.