Prior to 2017, phrases such as “cryptocurrency” and “blockchain technology” were terms only understood by the geeks of society. Only they had the technical knowledge to fully grasp and understand the concept behind this budding technology. Soon, however, the world slowly and surely caught wind of this innovation and soon, both phrases became popular household terms. This combined with intensified mainstream media reports about cryptocurrency success sparked the onset of crypto-mania.
Crypto-mania triggered a worldwide obsession over cryptocurrencies that led to mass adoption. A combination of curiosity, enthusiasm, and a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) presented the continuous drive for people to invest in cryptocurrencies. This, in turn, led to the creation of a billion dollar unregulated industry. Recently, the total market cap of the industry stood at around a whopping $273.3 billion.
Today, digital currencies are considered one of the fastest growing assets in the world. They have become insanely popular, reminiscent of the World Wide Web debut into the world. Just like the internet, blockchain technology promises to disrupt several industries, improving upon conventional everyday tasks. Therefore, it’s no surprise that popular companies and celebrities are making the move towards crypto-assets.
From musicians to athletes to popular billionaire investors, one by one celebrities and brands are jumping into the cryptocurrency bandwagon. While some have chosen to endorse or invest in certain cryptocurrencies, others have straight-up decided to create their own. In this article, we will take a look at various brand and celebrity activities in the cryptocurrency sector with emphasis on those creating their own cryptocurrencies.
Popular Brands With Their Own Cryptocurrencies
There is no doubt that brands have seen the disruption caused by cryptocurrencies in a number of sectors. This led to a number of brands rolling out plans to jump in on the action. Initially, they began by accepting digital currencies as a payment option for their merchandise. Later on, they started adopting them into their own business models. This was a way to keep up with the emerging cryptocurrency market.
Most brands are still experimenting with blockchain and cryptocurrencies. A few have seen an opportunity to stand out from their competitors by going all the way. They are creating their own cryptocurrencies. Below we take a look at some of these companies who have developed their own Cryptos and how they stand to gain from them.
Kodak joined the cryptocurrency hype by launching its own cryptocurrency, dubbed KodakCoin. Partnering with Wenn Digital, Kodak aims at creating the first ever blockchain-based image rights management platform known as KodakOne. The platform targets both amateur and professional photographers with an aim to provide protection and control over their intellectual property. Apart from that, it also aims at enhancing security and efficiency, and empowering photographer’s control over rights management.
The KodakOne platform will take advantage of blockchain tech to create an encrypted digital ledger of rights ownership. Photographers who want to utilize the platform will have to register both their new and old work and license it within the platform. This will allow them to sell their work on a secure blockchain platform. KodakCoin will be the operational token on KodakOne, therefore, any photographer who sells their work will get paid with KodakCoin.
- Burger King
In Russia, Burger King has also taken a shot at incorporating blockchain technology into their business model. They have created a blockchain-based platform that enables their customers to use tokens that can be used to make purchases at any of their stores. The “WhopperCoin”, as they named it, will be powered by the Waves blockchain network. This will enable their customers to trade and transfer their tokens online.
Burger King intends to use this coins to reward customers for their purchases as part of their customer loyalty program. As part of the program, customers will receive one WhopperCoin for every ruble they spend. Once enough WhopperCoins have been accumulated, a customer will be able to purchase a whopper burger. Exactly 1,700 WhopperCoins will redeem one whopper burger.
Celebrities Launching Their Own Cryptocurrencies
Celebrities are no strangers to cryptocurrencies and neither are they immune to the crypto-hype. The internet is riddled with stories of celebs who have either endorsed a certain cryptocurrency or invested in one. Having access to a wider audience, these celebrities are not afraid to leverage their celebrity status for cryptocurrency success. Below, let’s take a look at some celebrities who have either endorsed or launched their own cryptocurrencies and the agenda behind doing so.
During 2018’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Akon announced that he planned to launch his own cryptocurrency. The digital currency would go by the name ‘Akoin’. The singer/rapper revealed that he believed that blockchain and cryptocurrencies would be the “saviors for Africa”. He stated that they had the ability to return power back to the people, secure currency systems, and allow the people to use them for their advancement and not for government to do things that keep them down.
Apart from that, he revealed that he intended to use Akoin as part of Akon Crypto City, a “Wakanda-like” African smart city. The city is currently under development in Senegal on a 2,000-acre plot of land that was gifted to him by the President of Senegal. Akoin will be the driving force behind the smart city’s existence. Users will use Akoin as part of the Akoin ecosystem where they’ll be able to buy, hold, and spend their cryptocurrency on their smartphones.
Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang)
Akon isn’t the only celebrity putting his name behind a cryptocurrency. Wu-Tang member, Ghostface Killah, has launched his own cryptocurrency, CREAM. Ghostface co-founded a cryptocurrency firm by the name Cream Capital. CREAM got its name from Wu-Tang’s classic hit C.R.E.A.M which stood for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me”. They just switched it for “Crypto Rules Everything Around Me”.
Capital Cream intends to integrate their token, CREAM Dividend, into debit cards that can be used in any selected stores or vendor outlets. At the time of launch, the company planned to raise an estimated $30 million via an ICO crowdfunding. However, it seems as though the CREAM Dividend token didn’t do as well as they hoped it would. The coin took a 96% plunge since its launch in December and has remained low up to today.
Floyd has impressive numbers. I’m not talking about his money or his wins. I’m talking about his social media numbers. Floyd has an estimated (give or take) 13 million followers on Facebook, 19 million on Instagram, and 8 million followers on twitter. It’s no wonder that several cryptocurrency firms called on him to endorse their ICOs. Floyd is known to use his social media space to promote several cryptocurrencies.
In July 2017, the boxer promoted his first cryptocurrency Stox, a blockchain-based prediction market. Later in August the same year, he promoted a blockchain marketplace platform knows as Hubii network. In September, Floyd was yet promoting another cryptocurrency known as Centra that supposedly raised more than $30 million. I guess we should really start calling him “Floyd Crypto Mayweather”.
Apparently Floyd isn’t the only celebrity to endorse the Centra cryptocurrency. DJ Khaled was also seen on Instagram and Twitter promoting the Centra ICO. Back in September last year, Khaled boasted to his more than 12 million followers of how he got his ‘titanium centra debit card’. Later on, he posted on his Instagram account promoting the features of the Centra wallet app on his Iphone.
Oscar winner, singer, actor, and comedian Jamie Foxx is not new to endorsing technological innovations. Before giving his first cryptocurrency endorsement, Mr. Foxx’s most notable endorsement was Verizon Wireless. Around September last year, Mr. Foxx sent a tweet to his more than four million fans telling them how he was looking forward to participating in the Cobinhood token sale. It’s estimated that Cobinhood raised almost $10 million after Mr. Foxx’s tweet.
PR Stunt Or Legitimate Business?
The cryptocurrency craze certainly changed how conventional sectors conduct business. For starters, through ICO fundraising, business start-ups could raise capital without necessarily relying on venture capitalists or going public. With the introduction of a new virtual asset class (cryptocurrencies), investors no longer need to rely on assets such as gold or bonds or equities. They could invest in cryptocurrencies and trade them on exchange platforms for gain.
The naked truth is that a majority of celebrities endorse cryptocurrencies. Meaning, they were likely paid a hefty amount of cash to promote a certain cryptocurrency on their social media. Celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Floyd Mayweather, DJ Khaled, Jamie Foxx, to name a few, have all endorsed certain cryptocurrencies. Ashton Kutcher, in contrast, is renowned for investing in cryptocurrencies, such as Ripple and Ether.
Popular brands, on the other hand, are hype-junkies. They rely on the hype to promote and market their products. Therefore, if there is anything causing hype out there, these brands can find a legitimate way of integrating it into their marketing agenda. For instance, soon after Kodak announced KodakOne, their share prices soared. Whether for PR stunts or not, cryptocurrency and blockchain seem to be hot new go-to marketing tools.
Celebrity endorsed cryptocurrencies aren’t doing great in the market. At least, from what I’ve gathered. Hype ICO Centra got itself in trouble with the SEC after SEC found out that it was defrauding its investors. The ICO even had a non-existent CEO that led to its founders being indicted with fraud. The same thing happened to LydianCoin founder who had previously received crypto-endorsement from Paris Hilton.
While ICOs are great ways of acquiring capital and funding innovations, it might be a good idea to avoid celebrity-endorsed cryptocurrencies. Most don’t end well. They end up becoming ‘shitcoins’; totally worthless and useless with no investor interest. The next time you want to invest in a cryptocurrency, find out whether its goals are feasible. And if it’s with a celebrity, at least try to find out if it’s with a celebrity who isn’t in it just for the money.
About The Author
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