Bitcoin (and the cryptocurrency space in general) has grown immensely over the last decade since its inception into the world. From its small start to its growth into the powerful network that we are able to witness today, the space has seen its fair share of opinions, both good and bad.
Slowly, mass adoption is coming, with many celebrities and famous people either holding Bitcoin themselves, endorsing other cryptocurrency projects, or even starting their own cryptocurrency projects.
The Winklevoss Twins
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of Winklevoss Capital Management, have been instrumental players in the cryptocurrency space, with Bitcoin in particular. The identical twins, first known for their legal battles with Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook (made popularized in the film, “The Social Network”), then going on to the Beijing Olympics for rowing in 2008, invested
in Bitcoin and the Bitcoin community at a very early stage.
The twins were early investors in Charlie Shrem’s company, BitInstant. Once Cameron and Tyler made their investments, they continually bought a recurring amount of Bitcoin, with the goal of owning 1% of the entire Bitcoin supply (at least 210,000 Bitcoin). Having made their initial purchases near the early $10 price mark, they have secured themselves a fortune, with recent prices having exceeded nearly 1000x the prices they originally paid.
The Winklevoss Twins’ Bitcoin story has been dramatized in Ben Mezrich’s book, Bitcoin Millionaires. The Winklevii (as they are sometimes known) have been adamant in their efforts to form a Bitcoin ETF that would allow Wall Street to find their way to Bitcoin. They currently operate the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, named after the twin, dual nature of the astrology sign. In
2018, Gemini received regulatory permission to launch their own stablecoin, GUSD, which would be pegged to the USD at a 1 GUSD-to-1 USD value.
The billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper is often considered to be one of the most important and influential people in Silicon Valley, as well as one of the most successful venture capitalists of all time. Some of his most famous investments include the early MSN email client Hotmail; Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX; as well as investments in the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
In November 2014, the Silk Road, a dark web marketplace that offered drugs and other illegal goods and services in exchange for Bitcoin, was shut down by the FBI. Following the investigation, all of the Bitcoin seized from the marketplace by the FBI went up for auction. Tim Draper purchased nearly 30,000 Bitcoin through this auction. He has also publicly wagered bets in supportive predictions of Bitcoin’s price, and is often featured in different
cryptocurrency-related media outlets.
Computer programmer and McAfee anti-virus founder, John McAfee has been an outspoken evangelist for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Having been enthralled with Bitcoin, he has made some bold price predictions, some of which have been far exceeded.
Though he is currently on the run from United States authorities due to tax-related issues, he is planning to campaign for the position of the President of the United States in 2020. While he has said he doesn’t expect to win by any means, he aims to use the national platform to discuss cryptocurrencies. He currently has an open bet (that he still claims to stand by) for a Bitcoin
price of $1,000,000 USD by the end of 2020, or else he would eat his own genitalia.
John McAfee is a semi-frequent guest on different podcasts, including The Bad Crypto Podcast, where he has been outspoken in his support for Bitcoin, as well as stating privacy coins would be the next big technology.
The retired boxer, Mike Tyson, has been a reported Bitcoin advocate for years. Tyson placed his own Bitcoin ATM on the Las Vegas strip in 2015, with more reported to be on their way. In a partnership with BitcoinDirect in 2016, Mike Tyson even launched his own Bitcoin wallet. The wallet features his iconic face tattoo.
In August 2019, it was reported that Mike Tyson was going to be involved with Fight To Fame, a project aimed at connecting athletes with their fans. Tyson has since denied any involvement with the project, stating that that he would not, and will not work with the company, and that the media outlets were wrong.
The billionaire best known for founding Virgin has also been an outspoken advocate and investor in Bitcoin. In 2014, Richard Branson said he thought Bitcoin was already working as a currency. He has even spoken out against news stories that promote fear, uncertainty, and doubt (collectively known as “FUD”). The billionaire has also reportedly invested $30 million in the
Bitcoin payment processor, BitPay.
This Argentinian entrepreneur is one of the earliest major Bitcoin adopters and
evangelists. In his early years, he helped launch Argentina’s first Internet Service Provider, as well as founding the exchange Patagon (which eventually became Santander Online). Having grown up in Argentina, Casares was no stranger to the dangers of inflation, witnessing his country face years of economic inflationary woes.
Once introduced to Bitcoin, and the technology behind it, he became captivated and dedicated his life to his work on the Bitcoin wallet provider Xapo. His outspoken support for Bitcoin within business circles of top-level CEOs has helped spark a world-wide interest in Bitcoin, having introduced the technology to many influential people, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.
It may be a surprise to know that the star actor of “Dude, Where’s My Car?,” and “That 70’s Show” (both in which he played an air-headed character) has been an early investor in the cryptocurrency scene. The actor is a co-founder of a venture capital group called A-Grade Investments, and has been an early investor in the companies BitPay, and BitGo. In 2018, Kutcher donated to Ellen DeGeneres’ Wild Life Fund, sending $4 million worth of Ripple (XRP), which he stated could then be transferred directly to the needed currency without the
need of writing a check.
Richard Sherman; Russel Okung; and Matt Barkley
NFL defensive cornerback Richard Sherman has spoken publicly about his history of Bitcoin, stating that he got into Bitcoin early, having accepted it as a payment option on his website.
NFL offensive tackle Russel Okung has recently been advocating public support of Bitcoin, demanding that he be paid his salary in Bitcoin.
Matt Barkley, the NFL quarterback, has reportedly attempted to get two teams, the San Fransisco 49ers, and the Cincinnati Bengals, to pay his salary in Bitcoin. Matt Barkley has also publicly stated that he mines cryptocurrency.
Nas, the rapper famous for the 1994 album, Illmatic, made a surprising career move in 2014, transitioning from music to technology. Having founded the venture capital firm Queensbridge Venture Partners, and investing in many projects (including a mobile phone laundry application, and the rideshare company Lyft) the rapper found his way to Bitcoin.
The rapper claims to have been buying Bitcoin and storing them in Coinbase wallets perhaps as early as 2012. Nas has stated he believes Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry will evolve to be the next dominant phase of industry.
In 2017, famous pop-star from Iceland encouraged all of her listeners to buy her album, Utopia, with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies including Litecoin, and Dash. This would make Björk the first musical artist to accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method for buying their music.
Furthermore, the Icelandic musician rewarded all customers who chose to pay through her website, or her label’s website, with 100 AudioCoin tokens. Those who received the tokens were free to choose whether to sell the tokens, or invest them into other cryptocurrencies.
During a 2017 episode of Apple’s “Planet of the Apps” show, the star actress was chosen to be an advisor to the mobile Bitcoin wallet app company, Abra. The show, styled similarly to the hit television show, “Shark Tank,” featured a panel of potential advisors, one of which Bill Barhydt (CEO of Abra) could choose to be an advisor (granted they opted to work with him) to help the project to prepare for a pitch to Lightspeed Capital.
The actress reportedly worked with Barhydt over the course of a few weeks, opening and making her network available to him. The actress also connected him with co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky.
While we are currently still very early in the cryptocurrency industry’s timetable, many famous people from investors and venture capitalists; entrepreneurs; professional athletes; musicians; and celebrity actors and actresses have found value in Bitcoin and in other cryptocurrency technologies.
As time passes on, and technology becomes not only more advanced, but more adopted on a wide scale, it will be unsurprising to see more celebrities and
other famous names stake their position on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Some of these personal stories may not only be inspiring, but help instill the hope and reassurance that your investment decisions may be based on sound reason and fact, not pure ideology. To witness complete directional shifts and transitions in the careers of well-established professionals is telling of the pure potential that Bitcoin and other blockchain based cryptocurrencies hold.
Whether for store of value; personal financial freedoms; protection from institutions and banks and the side-effects of a dated system based on fractional reserve, these celebrities have found reason to not only invest in this technology, but often to change and dedicate their lives toward it.
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