Every so often, the worlds of cryptocurrency, celebrity, and social media collide. When a celebrity endorses a new cryptocurrency, most often in the marketing build-up to an ICO, it’s not always clear that they even understand what it is they’re posting to their millions of followers. Other times, there’s a clear personal or professional connection to the project, or even an ownership stake. In any case, when celebrities endorse ICOs and other crypto projects, things can quickly become very strange.
Here are five of the weirdest celebrity-endorsed ICOs.
1. Jerome Flynn and VeganCoin: Best known for his role as the morally flexible mercenary Bronn on HBO’s Game of Thrones, in his offscreen life Flynn is a vocal advocate for the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. In May of 2019, Flynn joined the board of advisors for VeganCoin, an Israel-based cryptocurrency project aimed at establishing a “vegan economy” by verifying vegan and cruelty-free products in the marketplace.
2. Floyd Mayweather and Hubiits: Shortly before his painfully one-sided bout with Conor McGregor in 2017, boxing icon Mayweather took to Instagram to promote the Norway-based cryptocurrency startup Hubii in advance of their ICO. The post was actually Mayweather’s second venture into cryptocurrency endorsement, having hyped the Stox.com ICO a few months before. Although he posted that fans could now call him “Crypto” instead of his more familiar “Money” nickname, this ICO endorsement appears to have been his last.
3. Jamie Foxx and Cobinhood: When an Oscar-winning actor endorses an obscure ICO from a Taiwanese startup, people pay attention. Shortly after Foxx tweeted about the ICO, however, things at Cobinhood started to unravel, with multiple allegations of shady business practices surfacing. A month after Foxx’s tweet, Cobinhood founder and CEO Popo Chen released a 4-minute video apologizing to investors about how the ICO was handled. Foxx has kept quiet about ICOs since.
4. Paris Hilton and LydianCoin: Heiress, socialite, and reality TV star Paris Hilton surprised many of her followers in 2017 by posting about her involvement in the LydianCoin ICO. Hilton even went so far as to use the #ThisIsNotAnAd hashtag to demonstrate her legitimate involvement in the launch. Hilton quickly distanced herself from the project a few months later, when LydianCoin founder Gurbasksh Chahal was arrested for domestic violence.
5. Ghostface Killah and Cream Cash: Unlike the other celebrities on this list, Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah (aka Dennis Coles) had a little more skin in the game in his endorsement of the Cream Cash ICO. Killah was a co-founder of Cream Capital, which hoped to use funds raised from their ICO to launch a network of cryptocurrency ATMs. While definitely on-brand for Wu-Tang — CREAM being one of their hit songs, and an acronym for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” — the Cream Cash ICO failed to gain much traction.