In 2014, singer Lily Allen expressed the feelings of many of us kicking ourselves for not investing in bitcoin sooner, admitting that she turned down a gig paid in hundreds of thousands of bitcoins in 2009. “#idiot,” she tweeted.
— Lily (@lilyallen) January 5, 2014
If she had been offered, say, 250,000 in bitcoins back then, it would be worth $3.2 billion now based on today’s price of around $16,000 per bitcoin.
Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer digital currency that has seen its value soar with increased demand in 2017, is attracting all kinds of new investors and buzz. Coinbase, the biggest platform for buying and selling bitcoin, has added hundreds of thousands of accounts as more people hop on board the trend. But others — some of whom have names you may recognize — were there years sooner and are likely profiting from their foresight today.
In fact, with so many celebrities entering the space now — Gwyneth Paltrow was added as an adviser to bitcoin startup Abra in August 2017 — the SEC has cautioned consumers to exercise caution when making purchases based on endorsements from the rich and famous.
“Celebrities who endorse an investment often do not have sufficient expertise to ensure that the investment is appropriate and in compliance with federal securities laws,” the SEC said in a statement. “If you are relying on a particular endorsement or recommendation, learn more regarding the relationship between the promoter and the company and consider whether the recommendation is truly independent or a paid promotion.”
Here are some famous people who were early fans of crytocurrency. (Whether you should follow their investment choices is a different story.)
Mel B, the former member of the British pop group The Spice Girls, began accepting bitcoins on her website from fans who wanted to buy her Christmas single in 2014. At the time, she said in a press release that she was excited to try the new currency. “I love how new technology makes our lives easier, and to me that’s exciting,” she said. “Bitcoin unites my fans around the world using one currency. They can just pay using bitcoins!”
The rapper 50 Cent embraced bitcoin as a payment for his 2014 album “Animal Ambition,” becoming one of the first mainstream rappers to do so. His Shopify store partnered with payment processor BitPay to make the transactions.
Another rapper Snoop Dogg expressed interest in the cryptocurrency in 2013, when he tweeted — perhaps jokingly — that he wanted to make his record available for purchase in bitcoin. When bitcoin exchanges replied they could help, he tweeted that he “wanted to make it happen.” Whether he did or not is unclear. His current album is available on streaming services not payable in bitcoin.
My next record available in bitcoin n delivered in a drone.
— Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) December 2, 2013
Ashton Kutcher, who has tweeted about MarketWatch reporting on bitcoin in the past, said in 2013 that bitcoins are “becoming more and more relevant.” Speaking at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference, the actor showed he knows more than most about the basics of the cryptocurrency and how they can be applied more broadly. “The bigger thing with bitcoin is not bitcoin itself, but what does that decentralized technology really do?” Kutcher said. “The same infrastructure that built out bitcoin could be used in the security industry for mass good.”