Oscar-winner and actor Matt Damon made us laugh and cry in movies like “Good Will Hunting” and “Saving Private Ryan.” His performance in Crypto.com’s space-themed television advertisement, on the other hand, just made us cringe.
Seriously, if you thought the cringe factor of Paris Hilton’s Bored Ape endorsement couldn’t be surpassed, you’ve never seen a scruffy Matt Damon strolling through an exhibition hall rattling off Roman platitudes.
Damon’s Crypto.com ad is the embodiment of crypto-bro hubris and the crypto industry’s short-lived love affair with mainstream-media hype.
Read more: Presenting CoinDesk's Most Influential 2022
And it didn’t age well. As it turns out, investing in crypto when bitcoin’s price topped $60,000 doesn’t make you an astronaut or mountain climber as Damon’s rousing adventure-themed pitch implies. It probably just makes you poor … or, well, poorer than you once were.
In fact, an Intercept writer calculated just how much money investors would have lost the first year if they had followed Damon’s advice. The TL;DR? A lot. Like a 70% loss.
But while haters have sanctified Damon’s Crypto.com endorsement as one of the worst celebrity crypto promotions in the industry's short history, the performance is far from the only celebrity crypto shill to make us cringe. Some will pay for their sins, literally.
In October, Kim Kardashian made headlines for incurring a million-dollar Securities and Exchange Commission fine for shilling EthereumMax. Like appetite-suppressant lollipops, biotin gummy bears and laxative teas, the token was something you never would have known about, or wanted to know about, unless a Kardashian's name was attached to it.
And, in mid-November, Larry David got nabbed for shilling FTX in a Super Bowl ad for the company, another cautionary tale for would-be celebrity crypto endorsers. Other celebrities named in the lawsuit included Stephan Curry, Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen.
If you’re a celebrity, shilling crypto may not pay.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.