As the world of crypto continues to grow, an increasing number of celebrities are becoming crypto adopters. From Elon Musk, to Lindsey Lohan, a wide range of high-profile personalities are leveraging their following to promote projects. Are the A-listers simply jumping on the bandwagon or in it for the long run? Let's look at crypto's top celebrity adopters.
More than any other industry music represents and reflects culture, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that crypto is crossing over into the music industry, both from a business perspective and pure leveraging of profile.
The specific application that NFTs can provide for, artists means we may be seeing just the beginning of the potential of crypto to revolutionise how music is released and consumed..
Snoop Dogg has shown previous interest in Bitcoin and has now gone further into the crypto world, tweeting about DOGE coin, helping to send it to an ATH back in February 2021 and quickly earning him the nickname Snoop Doge.
Given that Snoop has been happy to lend his name to almost any product, this looks purely opportunistic, though his partnership with Crypto.com to promote their new NFT platform is more convincing.
"A Journey with the Dogg" brings together Snoop Dogg’s memories from his early years with art inspired by the NFT movement including an original track “NFT”.
Back in December 2020, Megan Thee Stallion - one of the hottest new female rappers in the US - gave away $1 million worth of BTC via Cash App to her fans, preaching that Bitcoin was “a really smart investment that will keep appreciating over time.” A very smart move on both accounts, Cash App is growing exponentially with millennials and Gen Z, while Mega Thee Stallion has the right mix of street credibility and talent.
How much Bitcoin was given away by Megan Thee Stallion via Cash App in December 2020
Soulja Boy released a song titled Bitcoin back in 2018, showing awareness of crypto, which has recently developed into something much more. He’s been actively tweeting about his portfolio and getting involved in NFTs.
Kings of Leon recently became the first band to utilise an NFT to release an album. Specifically, the band are releasing three tokens: one is a special album package, while a second type offers live show perks like front-row seats for life, and a third type is for exclusive audiovisual art.
This kind of move seems much more representative of where crypto and music will align, solving problems for artists and fans. NFTs give artists a new revenue stream and a low-cost way to engage with fans.
Disclosure, the English electronic duo, recently sold a new single that they had produced live on Twitch as an NFT, with the auction for the song ending at over 40 ETH. They may be benefiting from the recent NFT mania, but in today’s prices that’s equivalent to over 17 million streams on Spotify - pretty good for just one song.
Just to show that you can get into crypto at any age, Gene Simmons, of rock legends, Kiss, has been actively sharing his crypto investments, though judging by his assessment of Cardano's value, suffers from crypto unit bias.
Several famous actors have been prominent in crypto for a while now. This was particularly true during the ICO craze of 2017, where famous faces were often paid to promote certain coin offerings. For example Stephen Seagal recently settled with the SEC for failing to disclose that fact that he was being paid to promote an ICO back in 2018.
Lindsey Lohan’s Cameo commission, predicting a bull run for Bitcoin and Ethereum at the start of 2021 is now infamous.
More recently, Terry Crews, of acting and sporting acclaim, has joined the party, declaring that he has officially been “decentralized” on Twitter. The actor has recently been featured on podcasts talking about the promise of NFTs and his enthusiasm to get involved.
Famous sports personalities have also seen the benefits of crypto first hand. Back in 2019 Russel Okung declared on Twitter that he wanted to be paid in Bitcoin.
The NFL star recently announced that with the help of Strike - a new lightning based money transfer service - he had indeed, had half of his $13 million salary paid in the cryptocurrency - which considering the recent bull run seems like a very smart decision.
Okung is a good example of someone fully committed to the philosophy behind Bitcoin. This is evidenced both by his Twitter feed and his actions. It is difficult to gauge how many NFL fans this will win over to crypto, but it certainly can’t hurt
Okung appears to be inspiring other NFL starts such as Sean Culkin who has converted his entire 2021 NFL salary to Bitcoin. Culkin has gone even further still, using the 'laser eyes' on Twitter bio.
Another big NFL star that is embracing Bitcoin, and certainly learning the lingo is Vince Beigel of the Miami Dolphins, showing his commitment during the price bloodbath in May.
In the wake of Okung, Culkin and Beigel, another huge name in NFL teasing his crypto conversion is Tom Brady. If the seven time Super Bowl winner becomes a strong Bitcoin advocate there will likely be a huge reaction across the sporting world and beyond.
Other famous athletes interested in crypto include Floyd Mayweather and Serena Williams. Mayweather also had a run in with crypto during the ICO craze and, like Seagal, was fined by the SEC for failing to disclose his payment for promoting three ICOs.
Williams on the other hand, took more of a long term approach when back in 2019 it was announced that the tennis superstar had invested in Coinbase. This however, ended in 2020 during the activism row caused by the company's CEO Brian Armstrong.
The crypto industry can be seen as highly politicised, and challenging to the status quo, and so it is no surprise that there’s interest from politicians around the world. One of the biggest political fans of crypto is Francis X. Suarez, Mayor of Miami.
Mayor Francis is seeking to make Miami the new home of tech in the US, challenging the likes of Silicon Valley and Austin, and sees crypto advocacy as fundamental to that mission.
Outside of the US, a famous political example of attempted crypto adoption is Nicolás Maduro and Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency. In 2018, the Petro was launched but failed to achieve usage - the politician is still attempting to revive the currency and hopes that one day all the country’s oil payment will be taken in Petro.
The US Senate has a crypto convert in the shape of Cynthia Lummins. The Republican Senator for Wyoming is on a mission to explain bitcoin to Congress. Having an advocate within the upper house will ensure that bitcoin is part of important conversations about the future of money in the USA.
Another likely class for famous crypto evangelicals is entrepreneurs - specifically tech entrepreneurs. The most famous of these is of course Elon Musk, the tech billionaire that recently had his company Tesla purchase billions of dollars in BTC and has been a proponent of the potential of crypto for years.
Other famous entrepreneurs that are enthusiastic about the sector include Jack Dorsey of Twitter, the Winklevoss Twins, of Facebook fame, and of course, Michael Saylor., who we have profiled elsewhere. as one of bitcoin's biggest converts. All of these entrepreneurs are bullish on Bitcoin.
The Winklesvoss Twins were early investors in the currency and recently rode the bull market to become billionaires again. Saylor and Dorsey, on the other hand, are more recent converts but are equally bullish on the currency, with significant personal investments of their own.
We are probably being generous to include Paris Hilton under Entrepeneurs, but to avoid creating a section just for the socialite, we can keep her in this good company. She recently told Coindesk that she is dreaming about NFTs and having invested in both Bitcoin and Ethereum back in 2016, she can lay claim to better crypto credentials than many celebs that have recently arrived on the scene. If nothing else she'll add some glamour and click-bait to news around the sector this summer.
What about crypto beyond Bitcoin? Two key tech entrepreneurs emerging as leaders in the blockchain space are Naval Ravikant and Balaji Srinivasan. Both have been advocates of decentralisation for years, and see blockchain as a fundamental part of Web 3.0 and the next phase of the internet.
Overall it’s clear that Crypto has appeal to celebrities from all walks of life.
Some see it as a savvy investment, and a new way to get paid. Others have gone deeper into the philosophy of crypto and see the potential for wide industry disruption. It promises to change creators' abilities to publish and get paid for their work, governments abilities to foster innovation and the internet’s abilities to connect people and facilitate economic growth.
Is all press good press though? Some within crypto would question the merit of celebrity involvement and suggest that it may do more harm than good. Damage was done to crypto’s credibility with celebrities like Mayweather and Seagal promoting sometimes valueless ICO’s just to make a quick buck. Further, does something like Lindsey Lohan’s Cameo message promote crypto in a positive way, or cheapen the industry’s credibility?
It is hard to give a definitive answer to these questions with so much celebrity exposure happening in such a short time. Only time will tell. However, it would be remiss to reduce celebrity attention to just cheapening the crypto movement. Particularly when looking at the famous entrepreneurs we’ve covered, who are clearly crypto proponents sold on the long term vision and philosophy of crypto.
What’s for sure is that crypto isn’t going anytime soon. In a few years, some of these celebrities we’ve mentioned might just be seen as prophets of the new internet era.