The fascinating space of cryptocurrencies has attracted many investors and technology enthusiats over the last few years, enticed either by monetary gains, the potential this disruptive technology brings or simply to be a apart of something revolutionary. It comes as no surprise that among them are some of the most well-known people in the world, who have either publicly endorsed cryptocurrency and blockchain projects, invested in such projects, created their own or sold their creations for cryptocurrencies.
Celebrities entering the cryptocurrency space can be regarded as a positive thing in the long run, however we should not forget that many celebrities simply endorse a product because they are paid to do so. This is not the case for all celebrities, as some are genuinely interested and invested in startups with big potential to actually have an impact in our daily lives.
Here's the rundown, in no particular order
Back in 2014, Bill Gates expressed a cautiously positive opinion on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, stating that "Bitcoin is better than any currenccy in that you don't have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient". His views were more focused on the potential of moving value seamlessly and effortlessly, without the hassle that traditional financial institutions put you through in order to do. Recently, his views changed and expressed concerns over the many ponzi schemes and wild volatility of the space, stating in May 2018 that we would "short Bitcoin if I could".
Despite being mostly known for his career as an actor and one-time Calvin Klein Model, Ashton Kutcher launched his own venture capital firm, A-Grade Investments, who focuses on finding profitable tech startups. He invested an undisclosed sum in BitPay, a crypto transaction processor, back in 2013, and his firm participated in a $12 million funding round for BitGo, a blockchain cybrsecurity company, back in June 2014.
Recently, tennis champion Serena Williams revealed that created an investment company, Serena Ventures, back in 2014. Among the projects her company invested in is Coinbase, one of the industry's biggest players. The invested sum is not known, however judging by the fact that she has earned over $90 million over her career in tournament prizes alone, and not counting the substantial amount she her endorsements bring every year, her investment in Coinbase could be well worth noting indeed.
The rapper "Nas" has been a venture capitalist for some time now, using his own firm QueensBridge Venture Partners (QBVP) to invest in many stocks or commodities over the years. The firm's most well-known crypto investment is the participation in the $20 million Series A investment round of BitFury Group. Among crypto related investments are BlockCypher, Robinhood and Coinbase, and Nas has even stated that "Bitcoin will evolve into an industry as big, if not bigger, than the internet."
In 2014, 50 Cent allowed his fans to purchase his album Animal Ambition using Bitcoin back when it was valued at around $662. In the meantime, he forgot about his account and only in 2017, when Bitcoin's price skyrocketed, he remembered and checked his earnings, totalling up to a staggering $8 million. While not a stalwart supporter of crypto, his decision of selling the album for Bitcoin turned him into a Bitcoin millionaire. Good thing he remembered his login info.
Ghostface Killah created his own cryptocurrency firm , Cream Capital, and even launched a $30 million Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Investors could purchase "Cream Dividend" tokens , which could be exchanged for Ether. The company planned for the tokens to be used in any store or vendors and would have it's own dedicated credit card. Cream Capital launched cryptocurrency ATMs in North America, with plans to capture "more than half of the global cryptocurrency ATM market" by 2020. Recently, the value of the token has plunged more than 96% from the initial ICO price.
"Changing the way we get change" was the slogan of the new cryptocurrency ATM business that Mike Tyson launched back in 2015. The ATMs would focus on converting cash to Bitcoin and vice-versa in as little time as possible. The ATMs would be branded with Mike Tyson's iconic face tattoo, and claimd they would finish transcations in less than 30 seconds, refferencing Tyson's quickest knock out in the ring of 30 seconds. In 2016 he even launched his own Bitcoin wallet, in collaboration with Bitcoin Direct, the same company behind his ATM service.
Twitter's CEO, Jack Dorsey, is a well known crypto enthusiats and promoter and has been seen many times endorsing the advantages that Bitcoin brings to the table compared to the traditional fiat currencies and even stating that Bitcoin could "likely" become the internet's first native currency. He has gone on record saying that he spend $10,000 on Bitcoin every week. He has created Square Crypto, with plans to help the development process of Bitcoin and has recently hired blockchain and tech programmers and developers.
Footbal star Lionel Messi has become the global brand ambassador of Sirin Labs back in 2017. Sirin Labs is known the for developing the Finney blockchain phone and is working on creating a blockchain powered PC. The exact sum of the deal was not revealed to the public, however it is known that for social media posts Messi usually earns around $500,000 for each post, so one could only guess the total sum this endorsement has brought Messi.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been involved in promotion the Centra ICO, which claimed it would have its own crypto debit card that could be used in stores and online at multiple vendors. The project raised over $32 million during its ICO round, only for the three co-founders to be indicted six months later for securities and wire fraud. On his Instagram channel, Mayweather has also posted prices supporting Stox.com, a Bitcoin price prediction platform, and Hubii network, a decentralized marketplace.
Celebrities involved in crypto are a mixed bag. On one hand you have those that are genuinely interested the space, and that promote its potential either by investing in crypto projects or creating their own, and on the other hand you have those that use their public image to promote such projects, for better or for worse. "Any publicity is good publicity" as the word goes, and these celebrities endorsing and talking about crypto could be a step towards increased adoption and improve awareness of cryptocurrencies.