One of the hottest endorsements for celebrities has been promoting cryptocurrency. In addition to the high payment they are probably receiving for partnering up with bitcoin companies, some big names are almost acting like financial advisors to their fanbase. That can be a risky move for the average person, who might not be able to weather an investment that isn’t FDIC insured.
With crypto prices dramatically dropping in value over the last few weeks, there is also a lot of discussion over whether it is an investment in the future or a total Ponzi scheme. If you listened to A-list stars like Gwyneth Paltrow or Matt Damon, you might think that if it’s good enough for them, then why not give it a try. But we have to remember that many celebs are sitting on a mound of cash and can afford to wait out the downturn in the market.
The only actor you might want to listen to is former OC star Ben McKenzie, who has an economics degree from the University of Virginia and is co-writing a book with journalist Jacob Silverman that criticizes the world of crypto. He has no issues with calling Damon out for his commercial with Crypto.com saying he’s “disappointed” that the Oscar winner is “taking money to do something like this.” McKenzie explained to Slate, “If you talk to a financial expert, is this the advice they’re giving you? To shill for these companies? And is it worth it? From the celebrities’ standpoint, I just think we need to reflect upon what we’re doing. We do have some obligation, and wouldn’t you feel bad if your fans lost money because you gave them bad financial advice?”
Damon isn’t the only celeb to take a public hit for promoting the financial technology, so find out who else has found themselves on the receiving end of criticism — and who is just skating by (we are looking at you, Jamie Foxx).
Reese Witherspoon started promoting cryptocurrency at the beginning of 2022 with messages that ruffled a few feathers. “In the (near) future, every person will have a parallel digital identity. Avatars, crypto wallets, digital goods will be the norm,” she wrote on Twitter. “Are you planning for this?”
Followers chimed in with responses, “This is more embarrassing for you than doing late night infomercials” and warning that “this whole thing is a giant scam.”
Kim Kardashian casually threw out a question on her Instagram Story in the summer of 2021, asking, “Are you guys into crypto????” Of course, it was a veiled ad that encouraged people to check out EthereumMax, even though she claimed it wasn’t. “This is not financial advice but sharing what my friends tell me about the EthereumMax token,” her post said, via Yahoo Finance.
She’s now involved with a California lawsuit that alleges, that the “company’s executives, collaborating with several celebrity promotors” made “false or misleading statements to investors about EthereumMax, through social-media advertisements and other promotional activities,” per the court documents obtained by BBC. The lawsuit is saying that the company engaged in a pump-and-dump scheme to get unwitting investors to purchase the cryptocurrency at an inflated price.
Tom Brady has been leaning into cryptocurrency, not only on his social media pages but he and wife Gisele Bündchen starred in a commercial for startup FTX, in which they now have an equity stake.
“I’m a big believer in [crypto], he said at the Consensus 2021 conference, via CoinDesk. “In my understanding, it was really a vote of confidence to really get into the conversation as I’m such a big believer in crypto, and where things are heading in the world.”
Serena Williams’ mission has been “to expand bitcoin to women and people of color,” so she’s been vocal about promoting cryptocurrency on her social media platforms. The tennis star has also paired up with CashApp as its global ambassador to create more accessiblity.
“I like to look at it like that and decide, ‘ok well, this is a super solid investment across all cryptocurrencies.’ And it’s something we really wanted to lean on and that,” she said at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in April, via Investing.com. “There is a lot going on in the cryptocurrency world and of course, I think, everything is driven by bitcoin.”
Like Reese Witherspoon, Matt Damon was heavily criticized for doing an ad for Crypto.com, which targeted younger investors into the high-risk financial strategy. The commercial enticed people with inspiring moments in history, including the moon landing and Mount Everest explorers, but viewers found it tone-deaf to compare investing in cryptocurrency to acts of bravery.
“I’ve never done an endorsement like this,” Damon said in a Bloomberg interview. “We’re hoping this is the beginning of a great long-term collaboration.”
Add Gwyneth Paltrow to the list of celebrities teaming up with CashApp to promote bitcoin with a $500,000-holiday giveaway last December. The Goop founder has not only leaned into investing in the sustainable bitcoin mining company, Terawulf, cryptocurrency has been a hot topic on her website.
“[I’ve been] getting really interested in the space in a lot of ways and trying to bring everybody [in], but [mainly] women to the table as well, because when I started to talk about it with my women friends, they didn’t feel empowered to ask the questions or understand,” she told Elle. “We’re all learning at the same time, essentially.”
Jamie Foxx was an early adopter of investing in cryptocurrency — you can even find tweets going back to 2017. He promoted the sale of Cobinhood, a free cryptocurrency trading exchange. “Looking forward to participating in the new @cobinhood Token! ZERO fee trading,” he tweeted. Unlike Matt Damon and Reese Witherspoon, there’s been very little criticism for Foxx for promoting bitcoin to his followers.
Mila Kunis is happy to talk about her initial hesitation about investing in bitcoin, something she did openly in an April 2021 interview with Stephen Colbert. She was initially concerned because it was an investment that wasn’t FDIC insured, and she was worried about the risk — but husband Ashton Kutcher talked her into it.
“He’ll bring me companies and be like, ‘Here’s a company we’re thinking of investing in,’” she explained. “The best part about him is he’s really smart about including me in everything and making sure I’m aware of everything that’s happening. He’s also really smart at knowing sometimes you shouldn’t listen to your wife.”
Paris Hilton’s association with cryptocurrency goes back to 2016, making her another pioneer in this financial space. She told CNBC that she continues to be “very, very excited” about bitcoin and believes that “it’s definitely the future.”
Hilton even went as far as to endorse California congressional candidate Aarika Rhodes for her beliefs in the investment strategy. “You have my support @AarikaRhodes! Appreciate your support of the technologies like web 3, crypto and blockchain that will be the future,” she tweeted.
Mike Tyson is another early adopter in the cryptocurrency space going back to 2015 when he partnered up with Bitcoin Direct to launch a Bitcoin wallet. He continues to promote the technology even though he does not “profess to be any kind of bitcoin currency guru.” OK, take that investment advice with a grain of salt.
“People don’t really understand a currency based on numerical equations. I personally still don’t … but I’m grateful to be a part of the revolution and hoping that my participation in this space will lead to more conversations and help increase knowledge and awareness,” he said at the bitcoin ATM in Las Vegas in 2015 to CoinDesk.
“In no way do I profess to be any kind of bitcoin currency guru. It just seems very interesting and I’m intrigued with the possibilities
TikTok star Charlie D’Amelio has been on the crypto promotional train because companies obviously want to get Gen Y involved early on. The dancer posted on Instagram about her bitcoin birthday present from the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and revealed it was a paid partnership. “We are learning more about cryptocurrency as a family, thank you @gemini for Charli’s birthday gift. #GeminiPartner,” wrote the D’Amelio family.
Yes, even reality stars are getting in on the action like The Bachelor‘s Matt James. He dates, he waltzes on Dancing With the Stars and he’s a crypto investor. He tries to stay clear of giving any financial advice, though, he promises he’s just on the education side of the technology.
“I’m never instructing people to buy,” he told Yahoo Finance Live. “I’m giving them information about why I’m doing the things I’m doing and why I have strong convictions, in particular, from a scarcity standpoint in bitcoin.”
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