Crypto Roundup: Hall of Fame
The impact of cryptocurrencies in capturing markets and building on a socioeconomic revolution has flourished since its days of inception. From a public image that was initially fabricated around skepticism, these digital currencies today are basking in the glow of influence and viral meme quotient, making giant leaps to not only gain recognition in the eyes of people of affairs and digital natives, but also paving their way into the investment portfolios of celebrities and commoners.
The craze of owning crypto assets has these mega-stars taking several initiatives to promote the notion of cryptocurrencies, including public endorsements, raising awareness through various projects, or launching their versions of crypto tokens. This has changed the narrative towards widening the crypto horizon into different verticals globally – from technology and entrepreneurship to that of the world of sports, music, and cinema alike.
One name that outshines in this sea of crypto stardom is that of Elon Musk, whose far-famed tweets are known for being as volatile as the crypto market itself with regards to his takes on cryptocurrencies. Muskonomics seems to be driving the cryptocurrency charts for quite some time now.
“Shark” investor Mark Cuban is also a household name, known for betting big on decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The Dallas Mavericks’ owner recently began issuing the Mavs – a new token system that rewards the fans of the NBA team with digital collectibles for attending games. Founder of Reddit and decentralized social media-supporter Alexis Ohanian, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, and MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor are amongst other entrepreneurs who’ve got their bags full with personal investments in several digital coins.
It wasn’t long before these digital game-changers were being adopted by the games themselves. Former professional boxer and present-day social media sensation Mike Tyson was one of the first among sports celebrities to recognize Bitcoin's potential. His various collaborations include those with Bitcoin ATM manufacturers, and later also with Bitcoin Direct to launch a mobile BTC wallet.
Furthermore, the idea of being paid in digital currency seemed like a far-fetched notion until 2020 – when NFL tackle Russell Okung made headlines for being the first professional athlete to be paid in Bitcoin. The trend has evolved to professional athletes now being paid in crypto fan tokens that are used by fans to avail of various membership-related perks. In August 2021, the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) fan token saw a $1.2 billion rise in trading volume as world-renown footballer Messi joined the club and received PSG tokens as a signing-on bonus.
Professional tennis champion Serena Williams is another example of athletes who have invested in decentralized finance, having backed Bitcoin rewards startup, Lolli, through Serena Ventures.
It wasn’t just these players who were singing the tunes of crypto – artists such as Snoop Dogg, Pitbull, 50 Cent, and Mel B lost no time in coming over to the crypto realm.
Snoop began his Bitcoin journey back in 2012 when the coin was still in its infancy and was quick to make his albums available for purchase at 0.3 BTC each in a partnership with CoinDesk. In his own words, he described his feelings for crypto as: "I am excited about it, ya dig?" He also revealed himself as NFT whale Cozomo de' Medici who owns NFTs worth $17 million.
A similar anecdote follows rapper 50 Cent who realized he was a Bitcoin millionaire in 2019 based upon a portion of his album sales against Bitcoin in 2014 when the cryptocurrency was valued at $662. That's certainly a feeling of walking into a candy shop, isn't it?
Pop sensation Madonna is equally noted for her partnership with enterprise blockchain company Ripple to raise funds for vulnerable children in Malawi on the occasion of her sixtieth birthday.
The embracing of digital currencies by the big screen moguls was initiated by actor Ashton Kutcher, who has been claimed to be investing in Bitcoin since 2013, along with his actress wife, Mila Kunis. Kutcher has left a significant mark as a tech investor and blockchain supporter by being quite vocal on Twitter about cryptocurrencies and hence has been looked upon as a role model within the community. Most recently, the Hollywood duo also roped in Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin in a video to promote Kunis' new animated series and NFT collection Stoner Cats.
Other Hollywood hot-shots that make it to the list include Johnny Depp, who’s a partner at blockchain startup TaTaTu, and actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who’s known as the face of Bitcoin wallet Abra. This trend in adoption went far and wide, with Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan also joining the crypto league through the launch of his own NFTs – a unique collection of limited artifacts around him.
Crypto Is Hot, But So Are Its Effects On Planet Earth!
Cryptocurrencies and digital assets like NFTs slowly entering into the mainstream media certainly comes with its pros and cons. While on one hand this exposes the larger population towards cryptos as an asset class and decentralized finance use cases to an extent, it also brings with it the risk of misinformation due to the lack of adequate consumer education. Celebrities and influencers, through social media, can play a vital role in bridging this gap in a unique way.
While the promise dwells on decentralization of powers and global inclusion, the effects of the technology in the current form do pose significant challenges to the sustainability efforts for the planet. Mainstream popularity of crypto assets opens up an avenue for consumer advocacy regarding the sustainability of the underlying blockchain technology. As the tech becomes more energy-efficient, we sincerely hope to reap the benefits of this earth-shattering revolution without actually shattering the Earth.