Misfortune Favors the Crypto Mouthpiece

The Bourne trilogy actor’s Crypto.com ad is a proxy for all the cringe-inducing celebrity crypto shills you wish you could unsee. That’s why Matt Damon is one of CoinDesk’s Most Influential 2022.

AccessTimeIconDec 5, 2022 at 12:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 6, 2022 at 2:25 a.m. UTC
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Elizabeth Napolitano is a news reporter at CoinDesk.

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Join the most important conversation in crypto and Web3 taking place in Austin, Texas, April 26-28.

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.

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.

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Elizabeth Napolitano is a news reporter at CoinDesk.


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Elizabeth Napolitano is a news reporter at CoinDesk.