It may feel like cryptocurrencies are always hiding amongst the shadows, failing to do much more than briefly brush with the public consciousness. But the truth is, a number of high-profile individuals from a variety of sectors including entertainment, music, sports, technology, and many more are going gaga for crypto. Join us as we go over a few top-tier individuals that have given crypto a thumbs up, and not just a paid for promotion.
1. Ashton Kutcher
This actor that came to fame after his appearance on the sitcom That 70s Show has been an outspoken proponent of cryptocurrencies and the incredible amount of good this technology can provide. Way back in 2014, long before the ICO boom, Kutcher wrote on Twitter:
Kutcher also appeared on Ellen to promote his use of bitcoin to donate about $4 million to a charity.
At a TechCrunch conference, Kutcher made the following remark about our beloved financial technology:
“The notion that we could civically monitor each other in an anonymous way [with cryptocurrency] actually keeps the anonymity of the Internet. We don’t have to worry about Big Brother.”
The eccentric performance artist Bjork announced in 2017 that her latest album would be available for sale in exchange for cryptocurrencies. Specifically, in addition to bitcoin, the artist was accepting a few smaller coins including Litecoin, Dash, and AudioCoin.
A few other artists have made similar moves including rapper 50 Cent. However, in the case of 50 Cent, it was later revealed that all proceeds collected as cryptocurrency were immediately sold for fiat.
On the positive side, artists have a tendency of being on the forefront of culture. It’s unlikely that Bjork and 50 Cent will be the last top-tier artists that accept cryptocurrency payments.
3. Lionel Messi
One of the most famous people in the world and a world-class soccer player Lionel Messi became the brand ambassador for Sirin Labs, a company that creates blockchain specialized mobile phones. Their first device, the Finney, retails for $899 and runs on a custom operating system. The company describes it as a “state of the art ultra-secured blockchain smartphone” that includes an “embedded cold storage wallet” among other features.
While Messi’s comments about blockchain have been limited to his connections with Sirin Labs, due to the absurdly high profile and shockingly large fan base he commands, this announcement was a big deal. It likely introduced thousands, if not millions of people, to blockchain and cryptocurrency.
4. Jack Dorsey
The CEO and founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, has also been an extremely outspoken proponent of bitcoin. He is made comments suggesting that bitcoin will become a true global currency in the near future and that it may become the currency of the Internet.
More than just speaking on the subject, Jack’s company Square launched a feature recently within its popular Cash App that allows users to directly buy and sell bitcoin for a highly competitive fee based only on a small price spread. Buys and sells are completed effectively instantly, and bitcoin withdrawals from the app are not charged a bitcoin transaction fee.
While Jack may be a divisive figure in some circles, his support for bitcoin is a welcomed gesture.
5. Al Gore
Former US Vice President Al Gore has thrown his hat into the ring as a cryptocurrency supporter, too. According to Gore, the idea that Bitcoin could provide some of the functions of a government with decentralized technically was “cool”. Specifically, Al Gore was quoted, saying:
“When Bitcoin currency is converted from currency into cash, that interface has to remain under some regulatory safeguards. I think the fact that within the Bitcoin universe an algorithm replaces the functions of [the government] … is actually pretty cool. I am a big fan of Bitcoin.”
Bitcoin and blockchain technology could one day replace not just fiat currencies, but other important government functions such as voting and accountability.
In the last few years and particularly during the ICO boom, a number of celebrities were roped into promoting cryptocurrency projects that often failed or ended up being labeled as scams. Here are just two of the unlucky would-be celebrity endorsers, but there are many more out there.
Seagal got involved with a cryptocurrency project calling itself “Bitcoiin”, a name that seems at first glance to be intentionally deceptive. Shortly after the anonymous group held an ICO, Seagal and the Bitcoiin group parted ways.
According to a report in The Verge, allegations suggest that the individuals behind Bitcoiin were “very rich people” that had ties to other “marketing schemes.”
Athlete Floyd Mayweather found himself getting mixed up with not just one, but two failed ICO projects, Centra and Hubii.
Centra ended up drawing attention from the US SEC, with representatives of their enforcement division stating: “We allege that Centra sold investors on the promise of new digital technologies by using a sophisticated marketing campaign to spin a web of lies about their supposed partnerships with legitimate businesses.”
Hubii, on the other hand, never had a chance to get off the ground, with its ICO failing to come close to its funding goal. The project is, however, still apparently active, or at least still has a functioning website.
Celebrities are kind of a double-edged sword. Their ability to reach a large audience quickly can be invaluable when it comes to promoting something. However, a bad or obviously paid for promotion can have an opposite effect and can even damage the reputation of an industry as a whole.
When it comes to celebrities that support cryptocurrency, the good news is there are a lot of them that genuinely believe in cryptocurrency. There are also some that will take on promoting cryptocurrencies in a beneficial way — even if the relationship is somewhat shallow.
Just like celebrity endorsements for any other product, it’s important to be realistic and remember that an endorsement alone isn’t enough to validate whether or not a particular cryptocurrency project or company is worth your time. On the other hand, celebrities that stand up for completely decentralized products like bitcoin are perhaps a bit more trustworthy. That’s especially true if their actions coincide with their words.