In a flashy ad campaign for Crypto.com, Hollywood star Matt Damon told potential crypto investors that “wealth favors the brave.”
But after bitcoin’s price plunged this week, wiping out more than $200 billion in wealth in just 24 hours, it’s clear that Damon and nine other celebrities who have publicly endorsed cryptocurrencies weren’t brave enough to comment on the apparent collapse of the market.
NBC News has contacted representatives for Damon, as well as Larry David, Charli D’Amelio, Jamie Foxx, Paris Hilton, LeBron James, Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. Their spokesmen did not respond to emails sent Thursday morning; Kardashian’s publicist declined to comment.
Damon, David and James appeared in eye-catching crypto commercials that aired during the Super Bowl in February. The “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star appeared in a cheeky ad for the FTX exchange, making it sound as if crypto deniers would be judged by history as harshly as those who opposed silverware or the wheel. James, meanwhile, has submitted a pitch to Crypto.com.
D’Amelio, Foxx, Hilton, Kardashian, Kutcher, Paltrow, and Witherspoon have publicly endorsed several cryptocurrencies in recent years via social media posts or other advertisements. Witherspoon, for example, tweeted in December that “Cryptography is here to stayHe encouraged more women to participate.
The dramatic sell-off in the market this week is raising troubling questions about the stability of the cryptocurrency market and the long-term value of the digital currency, adding to anxiety among retail investors and validating skeptics who have dismissed the cryptocurrency as a fad or fraud.
None of the celebrities contacted by NBC News is directly responsible for the crash, of course, but marketing experts say they helped add mainstream legitimacy to a rapidly growing but poorly understood industry.
“Major celebrity endorsements via crypto — whether it’s Matt Damon or Tom Brady — help consumers feel comfortable with these brands,” said Jason D’Amata, founder and CEO of Fabric Media, a strategy and marketing firm that has partnered with celebrities.
“When a celebrity puts their name on a brand in a market where there are literally hundreds of options, it helps the consumer polish it, and it builds confidence in the product,” he said.
But with no endorsement, crypto, or otherwise, many consumers operate on the assumption that the game maker has done at least some level of research into the product — in this case, digital currencies that some critics view as a risky bet.
“I think consumers are assuming that spokespersons have done some amount of due diligence on the companies they are promoting,” Dhamata said, explaining that no celebrities are directly responsible for fluctuations in the market.
Investors appear to be dumping cryptocurrencies as traditional stock markets begin to slide from pandemic-era highs amid concerns about inflation and a weak economic outlook.