Since cryptocurrency has become the cool new kid on the block, celebrities have been putting their weight behind their favorites to help them gain momentum on the market. For many (mostly those who have nothing else going on professionally), it’s become their sole mission to make sure these cryptocurrencies get the attention they feel they deserve.
The celebrity endorsement trend has become so popular that the US Securities and Exchange Commission created a fake ICO that has its own set of fake celebrity endorsements. If you click buy on the page, it brings you to a lecture from the SEC, warning you, “a celebrity endorsement does not mean that an investment is legitimate or that it is appropriate for all investors.”
Although the SEC has made it clear that this strategy is, for lack of a better word, dumb, it’s proven to do exactly what it was designed to do: get investors’ attention. What happens once a celebrity puts their name on a cryptocurrency, though? Let’s take a look at what’s happened to some of these endorsements.
Steven Seagal for “Bitcoiin”
Close, but no cigar. Last year, the legendary actor tied his name to “Bitcoiin”, which as it turns out is nothing like the original. In March, regulators in New Jersey sent the founders a cease-and-desist for failing to register the coin in the state, which led to its ultimate demise.
Seagal has since parted ways and “Bitcoiin” has essentially failed. The founders would like you to donate to a homeless shelter in Russia, though. So… there’s that.
Paris Hilton thought Lydian was “so hot”
A weird, very not normal tweet came from the Hilton hotel heiress that read: “Looking forward to participating in the new @LydianCoinLtd Token! #ThisIsNotAnAd #CryptoCurrency #BitCoin #ETH #BlockChain.” Not long after, and well before Lydian could gain any traction with Hilton’s followers, it was found that the currency’s CEO had pleaded guilty to domestic abuse.
Soon after the information came to light, the SEC released a statement warning investors not to follow along with celebrity endorsements without doing their research. Hilton has since been mostly mum about cryptocurrency, but her father sold a $38 million home in June and encouraged bidders to use bitcoin.
Floyd Mayweather’s endorsements got TKO’d – twice
After calling himself Floyd “Crypto” Mayweather and endorsing two separate coins, the boxer found himself failing at exactly that. Centra, one of his favorite coins, was charged with fraud by the SEC right after launch, and another, Hubii, couldn’t even raise 20% of the $50 million capital it needed to get off the ground.
Since this epic fail, Mayweather has been seen sticking to what he’s best at – posing with piles of cash and $250,000 cars. You know, normal people things.
Some celebrities, like Gwyneth Paltrow, were given stakes in cryptocurrencies like bitcoing and ethereum in exchange for their endorsements, which mostly failed to get any attention. Others like Elon Musk have misplaced their wallet keys and cannot access their cryptocurrency at all.
They’re not all bad, though. Mike Tyson and Ashton Kutcher both jumped on the bandwagon very early on and were smart about the decisions they made, mostly going for the more established cryptocurrencies. By not placing risky bets on emerging ICOs, they’ve smartly navigated away from landing in the crosshairs of the law. For now, at least.