In 2018, cryptocurrency enthusiasts discussed the headlines revolving around hip-hop star Curtis Jackson III, also known as 50 Cent, who accepted bitcoin for his 2014 album. According to reports, 50 Cent’s album called “Animal Ambition” made around 700 BTC ($6.7 million USD at today’s exchange rate) from sales.
The album made it to Number 4 on Billboard’s charts and sold a total of 124,000 copies, which was far less than Jackson’s prior album sales.
Many celebrities have mentioned the benefits of bitcoin and leveraged the asset for certain projects. For instance, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and Talib Kweli all sold albums for BTC, but when cryptocurrency prices skyrocketed, 50 Cent told the public he sold his coins as soon as he got them.
Many other celebrities from Hollywood and the music industry have used digital assets to help bolster their marketing efforts.
50 Cent: ‘All Money Is Money’
50 Cent sold his album “Animal Ambition” for bitcoin and other currencies in 2014. The recording artist allegedly acquired 700 BTC from the sales and bragged about forgetting about the investment in 2018. However, during his bankruptcy court hearing, 50 Cent claimed he sold the BTC for U.S. dollars immediately after the albums were purchased. No one truly knows if 50 Cent was telling the truth and the assets would be worth $6.7 million at today’s exchange rate, but he did tell a court of law that he sold.
Years later, when BTC was priced at around $11,000 per coin, 50 Cent shared an Instagram picture of a TMZ article that reported on the artist’s 700 BTC in sales. “Not Bad for a kid from South Side, I’m so proud of me”, the rapper said. “I’m a keep it real. I forgot I did that s-.” When he sold the album in 2014 he explained “all money is money”, when people asked the rapper why he accepted bitcoin. However, when 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy he told the court and the public an entirely different story. The hip-hop artist explained that he didn’t feel he needed to disclose that he had sold the BTC immediately after the albums were purchased. 50 Cent then claimed he was just stating that he had forgotten about the investment.
“When I first became aware of the press reports on this matter, I made social media posts stating that ‘I forgot I did that’ because I had in fact forgotten that I was one of the first recording artists to accept bitcoin for online transactions”, the recording artist wrote in 2018. He further stated:
I did not publicly deny the reports that I held bitcoins because the press coverage was favorable and suggested that I had made millions of dollars as a result of my good business decision to accept bitcoin payments.
From Talib Kweli to Nas, Are Celebrities Bitcoin Rich or Just Using Crypto for Marketing?
50 Cent says he was one of the first rappers to accept BTC payments for album sales and a few others followed suit shortly after. In November of 2015, the now-defunct Coinbase application Zapchain sold the recording artist Talib Kweli’s album for BTC.
@TalibKweli I bought your album in 2015 w/ bitcoin on Nov 6. My Indie 500 is now worth $645. Hope you kept all the #BTC from that album ?
— Jamie Redman (@jamieCrypto) December 18, 2017
“Buy my new album for bitcoin on Zapchain – plus first 1,000 people get 1 track free”, Kweli tweeted at the time. No one has ever followed up with the number of BTC he accrued when he sold “Indie 500, featuring 9th Wonder.” But news.Bitcoin.com did remind Kweli about the album sales during the bull market in December 2017.
Rapper and activist Talib Kweli sold his album “Indie 500, featuring 9th Wonder” for BTC in 2015 through the now-defunct Coinbase application Zapchain. In 2017, News.Bitcoin.com’s Jamie Redman tweeted to Kweli and mentioned BTC from the album sales, but Kweli did not respond.
In fact, there’s a lot of popular musicians and Hollywood actors who have used cryptocurrency to further market themselves. Another prolific rapper, Nas, used BTC to reward 100 scores in a contest hosted by theraptest.com. Nas also told Coindesk in 2014 that he was an investor in Coinbase. “Bitcoin will evolve into an industry as big, if not bigger, than the Internet. My man Ben Horowitz really opened my eyes to that point. This isn’t of the Internet age, bitcoin is its own age”, Nas explained to reporter Peter Rizzo at the time. The rap star added:
Obviously challenges will arise from a security and privacy perspective, but the Internet was the same way 20 years ago.
The prolific MC Nas told former Coindesk reporter Pete Rizzo in 2014 that “Bitcoin will evolve into an industry as big, if not bigger, than the Internet.” Nas also said he was a Coinbase investor. No one knows if Nas is a Bitcoin millionaire or not, but he very well could be.
Many other celebrities have used cryptocurrency to push their marketing to another level in recent years, and a number of them have leveraged the initial coin offering (ICO) route. Famous people like Paris Hilton, DJ Khalid, Akon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher have all mentioned digital currencies in some form or another. For instance, Paltrow is an advisor to the cryptocurrency firm Abra, and Snoop Dogg claims he beat 50 Cent to the punch when he sold album copies for BTC in 2013. No one knows how much BTC Snoop Dogg obtained from album sales, but he was selling copies for 0.3 BTC in 2013. “The future is here and Snoop is your captain, taking you to the moon (that’s a bitcoin thing) — My next record available in bitcoin n delivered in a drone”, Snoop tweeted at the time. Although, one BTC address suggests Snoop Dogg only got around 0.01245982 BTC from the sales, which is only $102 worth of crypto today.
BitPay investor Ashton Kutcher dropped by our office this week to talk to our team share insights on taking #bitcoin payments mainstream. pic.twitter.com/2Lgsmoufhe
— BitPay (@BitPay) June 9, 2017
The truth is, no one actually knows if these celebrities are crypto millionaires, but they very well could be. Besides the musicians, actresses, and actors mentioned above, there’s a ton of other socialites who could be bitcoin rich from past investments. This includes people like Hugh Laurie, Mike Tyson, Pitbull, Mel B, Lionel Messi, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Johnny Depp, and Madonna, all of whom could have significant stashes of crypto.