Long gone are the days that Bitcoin was an asset almost solely used by niche tech-savvy communities. Now, after more than a decade of parabolic growth, Bitcoin has gone mainstream, regularly gracing the front pages of mainstream media outlets like Bloomberg and CNBC.
With Bitcoin reaching mainstream recognition, it's no surprise celebrities are getting involved. Here are seven celebrities — in sports, technology, and Hollywood —that you may not have known are strongly interested in Bitcoin.
Believe it or not, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk is a Bitcoin investor. He made this fact known in May 2019, when a follower asked him "how much fun would it be to ride this beauty" in reference to a chart of Bitcoin's price that looked much like a skateboard ramp.
To the surprise of Bitcoin Twitter, Hawk responded. "[I've] been riding [bitcoin] for 6 years," he explained, adding that he "hasn’t bailed yet."
He made this comment when Bitcoin was trading at approximately $8,000 USD, data from MarketWatch shows. Assuming Hawk bought bitcoin exactly six years before the time of his tweet, he was up approximately 6,000% from his initial investment when he wrote the aforementioned tweet.
After Bitcoiners reached out to Hawk, he announced in October 2019 that he would be speaking at the Bitcoin 2020 conference in San Francisco. Those plans have since changed due to the postponement of the March 2020 event as the pandemic has restricted the ability to host in-person conferences. He remains a supporter of Bitcoin and is expected to speak at Bitcoin 2021.
Last year, Michelle Phan, a YouTuber with over 8.8 million subscribers and the founder of EM Cosmetics, revealed through interviews, tweets, and YouTube videos that she's invested in Bitcoin.
Phan explained in an interview with The Cut that she's more excited about Bitcoin than she was about YouTube when she first found the platform. Phan added that Bitcoin is "probably the most important investment you can make in your life."
Sounding like a true bitcoiner, Phan remarked at the time that Bitcoin is the first technology that allows one to become their own bank. There is "no higher authority" controlling the flow of capital, she explained.
In "Why Bitcoin? & Building a $1B Business (Ft. Michelle Phan) - Off The Pill Podcast #22," a podcast interview with fellow YouTuber , she added that Bitcoin is much like gold as it has a scarce supply.
Phan has also dabbled in investing directly in Bitcoin companies, complementing her spot holdings. Joining Ashton Kutcher and other investors, the beauty personality invested an undisclosed sum in Lolli's $3 million second seed round. Lolli is a Bitcoin-only service allowing its users to earn satoshis — or "sats" — by shopping online.
Since first announcing her support for Bitcoin, she has regularly promoted Bitcoin through her social media feeds, followed by millions. Phan has remarked in the past that her propensity to promote Bitcoin is a byproduct of her intent to teach her followers to be fiscally prudent on a personal level.
Multiple Silicon Valley executives have announced their interest in Bitcoin over the years. One of these individuals is Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google.
In 2014, Schmidt said that Bitcoin is a "remarkable cryptographic achievement." noting how Bitcoin's ability to not be duplicated makes it an asset with "enormous value."
While his comments about the cryptocurrency have been few and far between, he shared a viral video depicting a fictional rap battle between Alexander Hamilton and Satoshi Nakamoto. The rap battle, produced by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, has garnered over one million views.
Many musicians seem infatuated with dollars. "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy and "Here Comes the Money" by Naughty by Nature are just two songs that show the music industry's focus on greenbacks.
But not Donald Glover. The actor and singer also known by his stage name "Childish Gambino" told TIME in 2013 that he sees value in a currency backed by Bitcoin, adding that such a system may be more attractive than if it was backed by gold:
“I know a lot of people are skeptical, but I feel like if everything’s going to live online, why not Bitcoins? Being backed by gold seems very old and nostalgic to me. Being backed to a Bitcoin, which takes time to actually make and there’s this equation that has to be done, that feels realer to me and makes more sense."
Glover hasn't mentioned Bitcoin in public since this interview. But in a world where society is becoming increasingly digital as the stability of fiat currencies has been increasingly questioned, his comments are more poignant than ever.
Richard Sherman is best known for his football career, having played for the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. He is also an avid Bitcoin advocate.
In 2014, Sherman accepted satoshis as payment for merchandise on his personal website. Back then, you could buy shirts with quotes like "Don't you ever talk about me" for $29.99 USD, paid via credit card, PayPal, or bitcoin.
Although other celebrities have pulled the stunt of accepting bitcoin for merchandise, Sherman continued to express his interest in Bitcoin after his initial foray. In an interview with CNBC in 2018, the NHL superstar commented that he liked Bitcoin's premise of being a universal currency:
"I had heard about the idea and the premise behind it being kind of like a universal currency — [it could] mitigate concerns about exchanges and stuff like that — and I really thought that was innovative."
Unlike many Bitcoin investors, Sherman has the ability to control his fear of missing out, also known as FOMO. According to CNBC, he told his grandmother not to buy bitcoin when the asset was trading at $19,000 USD at the end of 2017. The cryptocurrency proceeded to crash in the 12 months after that conversation.
"You couldn’t go anywhere when bitcoin was at $19,000 and not hear somebody. I mean, when I heard my grandma talking about it, I was like, ‘Oh yeah this is way too big if my grandma is talking about bitcoin," Sherman commented about his odd interaction with his grandmother.
Sherman is far from the only NFL player to have involved himself in Bitcoin. Russell Okung made mainstream media headlines in 2019 when he asked for his NFL contract to be paid in bitcoin.
Earlier in this article, the BTC Times mentioned Ashton Kutcher as an investor in Bitcoin startup Lolli. That's right, the Ashton Kutcher from "That '70s Show," "A Lot Like Love," and other shows is a fan of Bitcoin. While his acting career is still active, he now splits his time between being a Hollywood star and investing in startups.
His involvement in Silicon Valley startups has naturally led him to Bitcoin.
One of the earliest instances of him expressing public support for BItcoin was in 2013. At TechCrunch Disrupt in 2013, Kutcher was reported as saying that Bitcoin is a valid form of currency because it’s an attractive asset for criminals. His comments were a fresh take on the topic of criminality in Bitcoin, which cynics argued were delegitimizing the asset.
“The fact that people are hacking bitcoins really hard, it almost hearkens back to when banks first started and they didn't have safe safes and people were going into the banks and just robbing money out of the safe. It actually validates the value of the money itself. I think the fact that you can buy drugs and ammo with it is actually (a) validator of the currency itself.”
Last but not least, Kris Humphries, ex-husband of Kim Kardashian and a former player for a number of NBA teams, including the Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, and Boston Celtics, is a Bitcoin advocate.
Speaking with the BTC Times in an interview, Humphries commented that he sees Bitcoin as a competition to the world of fiat, specifically citing its ability to be used as a hedge against a financial crisis:
Bitcoin is the first real competition to the fiat world in a long time. Even if you disagree that Bitcoin will rise to prominence, its introduction of competition should be a good thing. These benefits, while they might not be enough to cause the average person in the US to buy BTC, are heightened for those living in more challenging economic environments. Andreas Antonopoulos talks about this with his mother’s experience in Greece during the financial crisis. It has been surprising to me though that we haven’t seen Bitcoin take a larger role in countries like Venezuela, Cyprus, Zimbabwe, and others.
As societal and economic trends continue to favor the adoption of alternative assets and financial systems, Bitcoin is likely to continue gaining the support of celebrities and retail investors alike. This is best evidenced by the recent entrance of prominent finance personalities such as Paul Tudor Jones, along with "mainstream" celebrities like Michelle Phan and Kris Humphries.