Even though the tabloids would prefer otherwise, most celebrities like to keep their private lives truly private. This is particularly true when it comes to how they invest their money, as a stock purchase or ownership stake in a company can easily be interpreted as an endorsement, rather than as a savvy business move. Plenty of celebrities likely have some percentage of their portfolio in cryptocurrency, for instance, but relatively few are willing to broadcast that fact. That said, a few big-name athletes, entertainers, and other famous folks have, on occasion, let their crypto-curiosity leak into the spotlight.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at five major celebrities with serious business deals — from sponsorships to direct investments — in the cryptocurrency world.
1. Serena Williams: Much like her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, the iconic women’s tennis star is a serious cryptocurrency investor. In 2014, Williams’s Serena Ventures venture capital firm invested an undisclosed sum in cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. (The investment was likely part of Coinbase’s $75 million Series C funding round.) Williams only revealed her investment publicly in 2019.
2. Johnny Depp: In 2018, Hollywood A-lister Depp signed a content-creation deal with cryptocurrency-based social entertainment platform TaTaTu. “Johnny has the ability to conceptualize material in a way that few can, and is unburdened of conventional industry formulas that dictate the projects that get made, traditionally,” TaTaTu founder Andrea Iervolino said about the partnership. The platform raised an incredible $575 million during the ICO for its TTU token in 2018.
3. Lionel Messi: The Argentina-born soccer star made tech headlines in 2017 when he signed a sponsorship deal with Switzerland-based Sirin Labs, makers of the Finney “blockchain smartphone.” According to a post on Messi’s Instagram, his relationship with Sirin Labs goes beyond a simple sponsorship agreement, claiming that he is a “brand ambassador” for the company and its cryptocurrency-driven mission.
4. Björk: Never one to follow the cultural mainstream, the Icelandic musician decided that allowing her fans to purchase her 2017 ‘Utopia‘ album with cryptocurrency just wasn’t mold-breaking enough. Instead, she turned the tables on her audience, providing them with 100 AudioCoins (ADC) with their purchase. Shortly after the album dropped on Nov. 24 of that year, ADC’s price jumped from $0.003 to $0.04 — a 1333% increase — although it returned to its sub-penny status quo as the Björk-bump cooled off.
5. Pitbull: While he’s mostly known as a chart-topping rapper and producer, even landing a few number one hits like “Timber” and “Give Me Everything,” Armando “Pitbull” Pérez has also earned himself a solid reputation over the years as a serious entrepreneur. He’s also something of a bitcoin believer, telling CNBC that first become aware of the virtual currency around 2012. In 2019, he backed the Manhattan-based, cryptocurrency-accepting gym/bar hybrid Grit Bxng as an investor. Interestingly, Grit Bxng is also backed by major cryptocurrency investor and venture capitalist Tim Draper.