Cryptocurrencies are the latest craze sweeping the world, and it’s not just average Joes dropping their life savings for a piece of the action. Some of the most popular people in the world have used their money, celebrity, and immense social media followings to invest in or endorse cryptocurrency-based businesses and services.
A lot of the celebrity support for cryptocurrencies revolves around the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) the cryptocurrency startups create. An ICO is a fundraising event where a cryptocurrency sells a percentage of that currency, in the form of tokens, to people in exchange for money to help get the cryptocurrency off the ground. A few words of praise from certain celebrities have helped numerous cryptocurrencies earn millions of dollars in funding.
Actors, musicians, athletes, and entrepreneurs have all been drawn to the allure of cryptocurrencies. These are some of the most notable celebrity endorsements.
No rapper has benefited from the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies like 50 Cent. In an effort to stay current with how his fans purchase music, 50 Cent accepted bitcoin purchases of his 2014 album Animal Ambition. He received 700 bitcoins, which were valued at $660 each, at the time, and admits he forgot about the stash. Once each bitcoin’s value exploded in 2017 to a record high of $19,850 in mid-December, his forgotten stash rose in value to as high as nearly $14 million. When 50 celebrated his new fortune in January, the value had dropped to $10,000 per bitcoin, enough for a nearly $8 million haul.
Nas was a celebrity endorsing cryptocurrency before it became a fad. He invested in bitcoin digital wallet Coinbase in early 2014. Months later in a August 2014 interview, Nas proclaimed that bitcoin had the potential to be “as big, if not bigger, than the Internet.” A few months later, the Illmatic rapper informed his millions of fans on Facebook that he would be rewarding bitcoins to those with the highest scores on his Nas trivia contest at The Rap Test website. At the time of the August 2014 interview, the legendary lyricist claimed he and his team had been collecting bitcoins for over a year, when the price of a bitcoin hovered between $100-$1,000. At the time of press, each bitcoin is worth roughly $8,000, which would net the multi-millionaire rapper a hefty sum of money if he kept a large enough number of bitcoins in his stash.
Richard Branson, the Virgin Group founder trying to make commercial space flights a reality, rarely does anything less than epic. His love of cryptocurrency is no different. He invested $30 million into bitcoin startup Bitpay in 2014. Before that, he announced he would accept bitcoins as a form of payment for tickets on his upcoming commercial space travel service Virgin Galactic, in late 2013. Branson received six bitcoin purchases for tickets only a few months after that announcement. Later in 2014, the multi-billionaire voiced his immense satisfaction in Bitcoin’s future in a September 2014 interview. His cryptocurrency support hasn’t wavered over the years, with Branson investing in bitcoin service provider Blockchain last year.
The That 70s Show star has had a complicated, but profitable relationship with technology over the last decade. He portrayed Steve Jobs in a film, and was an early investor in Airbnb and Uber. One of his early hits was in cryptocurrency, and it’s starting to pay off. Kutcher is one of the earliest celebrities to the cryptocurrency craze, tweeting about Ethereum in May 2014, more than a year before its initial release in July 2015. Ethereum is now one of the biggest cryptocurrencies in the world, with one Ethereum valued at more than $830, at the time of press. Kutcher also invested in Bitcoin processing service Bitbay, and regularly updates his 19 million Twitter followers about the latest Bitcoin news.
Back in November 2017, Katy Perry shared with her more than 68 million Instagram followers how she got some cryptocurrency advice from one of the best people to get any financial advice from: Warren Buffett. It wasn’t long after her meeting with Buffett that Perry became a cryptocurrency supporter. In January, she posted on Instagram what may be the prettiest advertisement for cryptocurrency to date, embroidering her nails with the logos of five cryptocurrencies. Tweeting about how much you love bitcoin is one thing. Decorating your nails with the logos of five of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world is a different level of crypto dedication.
Floyd Mayweather is synonymous with two things – money, and winning. Now, he may be one of the most active celebrity endorsers in the cryptocurrency market. In July 2017, Mayweather endorsed the ICO for blockchain prediction platform Stox.com. A month later in August 2017, the undefeated pugilist promoted the ICO for a blockchain-based content marketplace known as Hubii Network. Then, in September 2017, Mayweather signed on to being the brand ambassador for cryptocurrency platform Centra. Mayweather’s endorsement is as good as his right jab, with Centra raising more than $30 million weeks after Mayweather’s endorsement. No wonder the revered boxer has referred to himself as “Crypto Mayweather.”
DJ Khaled’s greatest talent is promotion. He can make any mundane meetings feel like the Super Bowl with his boisterous personality and grandiose descriptions of everything. Just like Mayweather, Khaled used his social media promotional prowess to endorse the potential of cryptocurrency platform Centra. In September 2017, Khaled bragged to his more than 12 million followers on Twitter and Instagram about having a “titanium centra debit card” from Centra. A month later in October 2017, he posted a video on his Instagram page showing off the features of Centra Wallet app on his iPhone, a few weeks after the app hit the Apple Store.
Unlike most celebrities whose cryptocurrency endorsements don’t extend beyond a few social media posts, Tyson tied Bitcoin directly to his brand. In late 2015, Tyson partnered with Bitcoin Direct to release Bitcoin ATMs branded with the fighter’s ferocious image. Months later in January 2016, Tyson and Bitcoin Direct announced the former heavyweight champ would get his own digital Bitcoin wallet where people can buy and exchange cryptocurrency directly form the app.
Jamie Foxx has given a few technology endorsements over the years, including a backpack with built-in speakers, and Verizon Wireless. So, it’s not a big surprise that the 50-year old comedian has got in on the cryptocurrency craze. Foxx promoted his participation in the ICO of cryptocurrency exchange platform Cobinhood to his more than four million followers on Twitter in September 2017. Cobinhood raised nearly $10 million mere weeks after Foxx’s endorsement. Not bad for a few minutes of typing a tweet.