Crypto and the Stars: Unveiling the Celebrity Connection to Bitcoin, Scandals, and Fortunes

Tanzeel Akhtar
Last updated: | 5 min read


What do Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, Floyd Mayweather, Jake Paul and Matt Damon all have in common? They are just a handful of celebrities who have promoted cryptocurrency projects and faced the wrath of the regulators in the United States.

There are many reasons why an increasing number of celebrities have been getting involved in the cryptocurrency space and the most obvious is due to the lucrative financial opportunities.

Another popular reason is publicity and branding which play a crucial role in a celebrity being relevant in today’s society. Over the years, crypto and non-fungible tokens have experienced growth and just by associating themselves with cryptocurrencies can increase a celebrity’s visibility and appeal to a younger audience interested in digital assets.

Celebrity Cryptocurrency Scandals

This year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed civil charges against eight celebrities, alleging they illegally promoted two cryptocurrencies without disclosing that they were paid to do so, in a news release, the SEC unveiled charges against celebrities who promoted cryptocurrencies Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT), which were sold by crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun. The celebrities involved in this scandal included Lindsay Lohan, internet personality Jake Paul, musician Soulja Boy, singer Austin Mahone, porn actress Kendra Lust, rapper Lil Yachty, musician Ne-Yo, and Senegalese-American singer Akon. The celebrities involved in this scheme, apart from Soulja Boy and Mahone, paid a combined total of more than $400,000 to settle the charges without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings.

Celebrities Who Own Bitcoin

Despite the lack of regulation around the space and the risk involved in holding crypto many notable people are dabbling. Well-known celebrities who have publicly disclosed their ownership of Bitcoin and this list includes: Elon Musk the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight boxing champion, Snoop Dogg, a rapper and entertainer, Paris Hilton, a well known Hollywood socialite and businesswoman, Ashton Kutcher, an actor and entrepreneur as well as Gwyneth Paltrow, an actress and founder of Goop.

Over the years, Musk who has been in trouble with the SEC numerous times – admitted that he owns bitcoin, ethereum and dogecoin, and has previously added the dogecoin Ð symbol to his X account. Musk will also openly engage with dogecoin developers.

Kim Kardashian Charged by the SEC 

One high profile case involves the socialite and celebrity Kim Kardashian who paid over $1.2 million to the SEC for unlawfully touting a crypto security offered and sold by EthereumMax without disclosing the payment she received for the promotion on social media.

Kim Kardashian agreed to settle the charges, pay $1.26 million in penalties, disgorgement, and interest, and cooperate with the Commission’s ongoing investigation, they said. “This case is a reminder that, when celebrities / influencers endorse investment opps, including crypto asset securities, it doesn’t mean those investment products are right for all investors,” SEC Char Gary Gensler tweeted.

Scandals and Controversies Continue 

When celebrities are fined by the SEC for involvement in crypto scams, it can have a huge impact on the crypto community and this includes the loss of trust. Incidents such as those involving Kim Kardashian and Jake Paul can erode trust in the broader crypto market. Investors might become more skeptical about endorsements and celebrity involvement in crypto projects.

The increase in the number of fines issued by the SEC can lead to more stringent regulations for the cryptocurrency industry, impacting how exchanges, projects, and even retail investors operate.

The negative publicity can sway public opinion, potentially deterring newcomers from entering the crypto space due to fears of scams or fraudulent activities. But  on the positive side, these incidents can raise awareness about the risks associated with crypto investments, prompting individuals to be more cautious and conduct thorough research before investing.

Overall, while the immediate impact might be negative in terms of trust and regulatory scrutiny, it can also lead to a more informed and cautious crypto community in the long run.

Celebrity-Backed Crypto Projects

Over the years, there have been several celebrity-backed crypto projects and endorsements. Some notable examples include “Akoin: which is a project founded by singer Akon. The intentions behind this project were good – aiming to be a cryptocurrency for Africa, particularly for its underbanked population.

Other projects include “Centra” which was endorsed by celebrities like Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled, this project aimed to offer a crypto debit card. However, the founders faced legal troubles. Stellar Lumens (XLM) is another project which again was not exclusively celebrity-backed, but gained attention when Ashton Kutcher donated XLM to Ellen DeGeneres’ wildlife fund on her show.

Dogecoin is another project – although it is not founded by a celebrity, it gained significant attention and value due to endorsements from personalities like Elon Musk and Mark Cuban.

Legal Implications and Regulations

Some might argue Kim Kardashian being forced to pay $1.26 million in penalties is nothing to her. Kim, who is a billionaire is worth an estimated $1.8billion, according to Forbes – she can afford to take the hit as can Elon Musk.

But the legal implications and regulatory challenges involved in cryptocurrency activities cannot be ignored. Many jurisdictions have specific regulations governing the promotion and sale of securities, including cryptocurrencies. If celebrities don’t comply with these regulations, they can face penalties from regulatory bodies like the SEC or equivalent agencies in other countries such as the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.

In many cases, celebrities have failed to disclose that they are being compensated for their endorsements, which is a violation of advertising standards and can lead to legal consequences. If a celebrity makes false or misleading statements about a cryptocurrency or related product, they can be held liable for deceptive advertising practices.

Given these risks, celebrities should be more cautious and consult with legal advisors before getting involved in any cryptocurrency-related activities or endorsements.

Impact on Cryptocurrency Popularity

There is no doubt that associating with a cryptocurrency or platform that turns out to be fraudulent or involved in illegal activities can damage a celebrity’s reputation.

Any interest and involvement of celebrities in Bitcoin can influence its perception and adoption by the general public. It’s essential to approach celebrity-backed projects with caution, as endorsements do not guarantee a project’s legitimacy or success. Always do thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency or project.

It’s also important for today’s tech savvy investors and consumers to conduct thorough due diligence and be skeptical of endorsements that seem too good to be true.