The Celebrities We’ve Lost to NFTs

The Celebrities We’ve Lost to NFTs

We’ve all been there. Someone you admire suddenly adds laser eyes to their avatar. They’ve been red-pilled into the world of crypto.

Still, you try to maintain friendly relations even as they start fretting about the “death cross” or pondering if they should use some of their dogecoin to buy a Tesla. Then one day you log onto Twitter and see their avatar is a bored ape and they’re tweeting “gm” to dozens of other ape-avatared Twitter users replying in kind. They’ve gone full NFT. They’re tweeting about buying the dip of the crypto market, even as $US1 ($1.39) trillion in value (“value,” you scoff) disappears overnight. And there’s no better way to do that than snapping up nonfungible assets.

While plenty of random people have hopped headfirst into the world of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, celebrities have played no small role in driving the market to frothy new heights. Some are to be expected. (We’re looking at you, Kim Kardashian and Tom Brady.) But as NFTs have taken off and the temptation to cash in has grown, so has the number of celebrities jumping on board. This list is by no means exhaustive, but here are some of the celebrities who, while still on the Earth in body, have since tried to go to the moon in the crypto world. They will be missed.

Lil Nas X

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Variety, Getty ImagesPhoto: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Variety, Getty Images

When TikTok announced an NFT program, Lil Nas X was slated to be among the first of the platform’s users to participate in a drop. On the one hand, this made sense. Lil Nas X has been nothing if not a trendsetter. After getting his break for crossing over rap and country, he’s become a genre-defining hip hop star. From that perspective, getting into NFTs makes sense. Even if you feel the aesthetic of most NFTs is equivalent to a bag of dog shit on fire, you can at least kind of get it.

But the hip hop star has also been outspoken about the risks of the climate crisis, even tweeting that his breakthrough smash “Old Town Road” includes a “reference to reversing the ongoing climate change, water pollution, and catastrophic political climate we are witnessing in these trying times.” Most NFTs are being minted on the Ethereum blockchain, which uses carbon-intensive proof of work methods to maintain its security. Though the TikTok NFT program collapsed in shambles, it’s sad to even see the homie Montero being associated with it.

Serena Williams

Photo: Rich Schultz, Getty ImagesPhoto: Rich Schultz, Getty Images

On Jan. 20, we woke up to Serena Williams tweeting “GM” and posting a pink bored ape. Heartbreaking. She followed that with another “GM” tweet about a company called Sorare that offers to let users “Experience true football connection in The Global Fantasy Football Game! Collect & trade digital cards.” You truly hate to see it.

The winningest tennis player in the Grand Slam era, Serena really doesn’t need to go down this road. Sure, a tennis career only lasts so long and Serena probably wants something to do. But this? Really?

Her husband is Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian (a fellow bored ape avatar-haver), so maybe this pivot isn’t that surprising. He bought her the ape as well as a cryptopunk last year. Ohanian even wore a pin of it to the Met Gala last year, ending his tweet showing it off with “WAGMI.” (“We’re all going to make it,” for the non-red pilled among us.) Serena hasn’t reached that level. Yet.

Edward Snowden

Photo: Jörg Carstensen / dpa / AFP, Getty ImagesPhoto: Jörg Carstensen / dpa / AFP, Getty Images

This one hurts. Last April, noted whistleblower Edward Snowden created and sold off an NFT artwork featuring his face superimposed over the full court ruling describing how the National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance broke the law. It was a landmark ruling based on Snowden’s whistleblowing, and inarguably a massive deal, even all these years after he first exposed what was really happening within the agency.

And that’s why seeing Snowden get into NFT’s stings so much; even though the auction was on behalf of the Freedom of Press Foundation, it was still an auction that essentially turned one of the most monumental moments in privacy news into… a bit of a cash grab. And that’s not to mention the privacy and security issues that can come baked into NFT’s, that Snowden himself is fully aware of, even warning buyers about them just months after his own NFT was first announced! C’mon, Ed. You’re better than this.

Tony Hawk

Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb, Getty ImagesPhoto: Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb, Getty Images

Tony Hawk seems very chill. The pioneering skateboarder part rules, of course. But he really shines for his running series of tweets about how people always tell him he looks like Tony Hawk, and he just rolls with it. This unassuming vibe is what makes Hawk’s descent into NFTdom surprising. Sure, he’s hawked (sorry) fungible items. But there’s something a little chintzy about doing an NFT drop with Draft Kings of Tony Hawk turning into a skeleton hawk performing various tricks. Though that is even decidedly cooler than a robot (??) making a static hologram (??????) Tony Hawk on a pedestal in the middle of a digitally rendered half pipe.

Matt Damon

Photo: Theo Wargo, Getty ImagesPhoto: Theo Wargo, Getty Images

If you haven’t seen Matt Damon’s cringe-tastic commercial for the crypto and NFT platform Crypto.com, go you should go watch it now. We’ll wait.

OK, now that you’re back. Uggggghhhhhhhhh! It’s Damon, dressed in all black, walking through a gallery while telling viewers to “take a risk” on cryptocurrency, the same way mountaineers and adventurers of days past took a risk on their own ideas. Wright Brothers make an appearance. There’s astronauts. In other words, it’s self-important as hell, and totally an inaccurate portrayal of the giant scam-ridden ponzi scheme that the world of crypto so often is.

It doesn’t help that the star also recently announced that the environmental non-profit he co-founded more than a decade ago, Water.org, would be partnering with the cryptocurrency platform. At the time, Crypto.com put out a statement saying that the move would hopefully encourage “crypto-donations” to the nonprofit, which seeks to improve access to clean water in regions most hit by climate change. Because, you know, nothing says “fighting climate change” like paying with crypto.

William Shatner

Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ReedPop, Getty ImagesPhoto: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ReedPop, Getty Images

Shatner, for better or worse, has been riding the NFT hype train longer than most of the other names on this list. It first started two summers ago, when his collection of 125,000 virtual, uh, “trading cards” sold out in about 10 minutes, leaving countless Shatner stans with classic shots of the actor doing things like… holding an Emmy. Working as a camp counselor. Being dressed like King Bacchus XIX. And more! Right now, there’s only one NFT of the guy up for grabs — featuring a Shatner shot in moody black and white — and with 11 total bids on the piece right now, it’s clear that he still has his fans willing to drop dollars on anything featuring their beloved Captain Kirk.

Steph Curry

Photo: Tom Pennington, Getty ImagesPhoto: Tom Pennington, Getty Images

The greatest 3-point shooter of all time is something of an NFThead. Steph has both created and purchased NFTs, notably buying a bored ape back in August when the whole thing was really starting to take off. He also has some apes from something called the Rumble Kong League, which we have just learned is a sports league in the metaverse promising a “never-before-seen basketball experience.” Curry also owns digital renderings of the shoe he was wearing when he broke the 3-pointer record. Whether he values them as much as the fungible version is TBD.

Eminem

Photo: Kevin Winter, Getty ImagesPhoto: Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Is there anything more cursed than the phrase “EminApe?” Probably not, but honestly, there’s nothing else you could call the Slim Shady themed ape that the rapper is sporting as his Twitter profile picture right now. The ape — which Eminem bought for a hefty $US462,000 ($641,348) earlier this month — is the fourth NFT the rapper holds to his name. Other purchases, according to Eminem’s OpenSea account, include a picture of a skull with a feather through it and, uh, whatever the hell this is supposed to be.

Considering how Eminem is, at the very least, slogging through a “mid-career crisis,” these buys might just be an attempt at cultural legitimacy. Or maybe the dude just really, really likes spending hundreds of thousands on an ape cartoon that kinda looks like him. Only Eminem knows for sure.

Reese Witherspoon

Photo: Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images, Getty ImagesPhoto: Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images, Getty Images

Reese Witherspoon was once the face of Conservation International, doing a powerful PSA for the group about the importance of combatting climate change back in 2015. So you wouldn’t think she’d be hopping on the environmentally horrific NFT trend less than a decade later. But the 2020’s are full of surprises, and Witherspoon’s NFT obsession is apparently one of them. From this past October onward, she’s been tweeting about the tokens on a fairly regular basis, even sporting an NFT artwork as her profile picture on Twitter right now.

But perhaps the most cringe statement she’s made on the “art form” (if you can call it that) came earlier this month, when Witherspoon tweeted that in the “(near) future every person will have a parallel digital identity.”

“Avatars, crypto wallets, digital goods will be the norm,” she wrote. “Are you planning for this?”

Whether or not that’s actually gonna come to pass, Reese is still fully plugged in to the crypto hype. Good for her, I guess?

Rob Gronkowski

Photo: Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, Getty ImagesPhoto: Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, Getty Images

Gronk seems like an oversized puppy, so it’s completely possible that he just followed Tom Brady down the metaverse rabbit hole assuming there would be snacks. Unfortunately, though, gronknft dot com is now a URL that exists. All the NFTs there are sold out. But you can also find the loveable tight end’s various digital renderings of himself doing Gronk things like catching a pass or spiking the ball on OpenSea on the resale market if you want to get your own “digitally hand-signed and numbered by GRONK.”

Paris Hilton

Photo: Ronald Martinez, Getty ImagesPhoto: Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

Paris Hilton is no stranger to trying any sort of business venture, questionable or otherwise. The heiress has at least one failed fashion line, a music career that tanked after producing a single album, and more B-grade acting roles than you can probably count. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that when NFT’s became the new hot thing in the middle of last year, Hilton jumped on the trend faster than you could say “The Simple Life,” selling her first collection in April of last year.

If the phrase “Paris Hilton NFT Collection” doesn’t make your head spin, then maybe the names of some of these pieces might; there’s “Hummingbird In My Metaverse,” which is just an image of a pink hummingbird splashed against a pink Lisa Frank-esque background. There’s also “Legendary Love,” which features a statue of Hilton’s iconic dog, Tinkerbell, that died back in 2015, and another named “Iconic Crypto Queen,” featuring a glossy, robotic recreation of Hilton herself.

While those first two pieces sold out pretty quickly, the Crypto Queen artwork is still being auctioned off, and currently sits at the low, low price of about $US2.5 ($3) million dollars.