In April 2021, Paris Hilton released her first non-fungible token (NFT), telling CoinDesk at the time that NFTs had “literally taken over my entire mind and soul.” While Hilton says she actually began investing in cryptocurrency as early 2016, she really made a splash by being one of several celebrities who publicly “aped in” during the hype of 2021.
But times are different now. Since the start of 2022, ether’s price has plunged 60%, and NFT trading volume has decreased 88% since the third quarter of 2021, according to a report from Alchemy. As the bear market roars on and hype around NFTs has died down, CoinDesk wondered, what are the NFTs that celebrities bought worth now?
We took a look at what celebrities paid for NFTs at the time, according to rankings from crypto data aggregator CoinGecko, and what they would be worth now if they sold for the exact same amount of ether (ETH) today.
1. Snoop Dogg
In December 2021, rapper and music producer Snoop Dogg purchased digital artist XCOPY’s work, Right Click and Save As guy.
Snoop purchased the original NFT for 1,600 ETH, or $7,088,229 at the time. With Ethereum’s drop in value, that same amount of ETH would be worth $2,083,456 — less than two-thirds its original value.
2. Gary Vee
Entrepreneur and NFT influencer Gary Vaynerchuk (commonly known as Gary Vee) purchased CryptoPunk #2140 for 1,600 ETH – which was $3,953,216 in July 2021.
Snoop and Vaynerchuck paid the same amount of ETH for their tokens; however, Vaynerchuck got a better deal than Snoop by buying his token five months earlier. The price today for their NFTs would be the same for both men: $2,083,456.
Vaynerchuck, the entrepreneur who founded restaurant reservation platform Resy, owns over 7,000 NFTs according to a press release. He’s not only a collector but also a builder in the Web3 space. In May 2021, he launched an NFT collection called VeeFriends on OpenSea, and this past May he filed a trademark for Vayner3, his own NFT consulting firm.
3. Justin Bieber
Pop singer Justin Bieber is next up with his purchase of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) #3001, which he bought in January 2022 for $1,301,550, or 500 ETH. Justin caused speculation on Instagram after he posted the photo of the ape without confirming he bought it.
Had Bieber purchased this NFT today, it would have cost $651,080.
4. Steve Aoki
Steve Aoki, DJ and music producer, purchased Doodle #2238 for 269.69 ETH, or $862,056, in January 2022.
If Aoki bought his Doodle today, it would have cost him $351,179 – less than half the original amount of his purchase.
5. Logan Paul
Infamous YouTuber-turned-WWE-fighter Logan Paul purchased K4M-1 #03 from the 0N1 Force Collection. Paul purchased this NFT for 188 ETH in February 2021 for $624,669, which would be $244,806 today.
Paul’s early steps into the NFT space allowed him to ape into collections at the start of the days of the hype. He currently holds several CryptoPunks, World of Women NFTs, as well as a Bored Ape in two accounts on OpenSea.
6. Neymar Jr.
Neymar Jr., the Brazilian football player for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), bought BAYC #5269 in January 2022 for 186.69 ETH, which was $569,531 at the time. If he bought the NFT today it would be worth $247,007.
Neymar purchased BAYC #6633 the same day, paying a total of $1.05 million for the pair.
While he made the token his profile picture for a moment amid the hype, his roots in cryptocurrency go deeper. In 2018, his soccer club made plans to create a social token with European blockchain company Socios, which has also partnered with Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City.
DJ and music producer Marshmello bought CryptoPunk #8274 in October 2021 for $504,069, or 130 ETH. Today, that would be $169,280.
Marshmello purchased other tokens previously, including BAYC #4808, which he purchased in September 2021 and sold the following December for a $180,000 profit. According to his wallet on OpenSea, the artist still owns CryptoPunk #8274, and also possess BAYC #9231, and several CrypToadz among other tokens.
“Queen of Pop” Madonna also aped into the NFT hype, buying BAYC #4988 for 180 ETH in March 2022.
At the time of her purchase, she paid $466,461. Today, it’s worth $234,388.
Rapper Eminem purchased BAYC #9055 for 123.45 ETH, which in December cost him $453,776. Now, the token would cost him $160,757.
Twitter user @Gee_Gazza, the original owner of the token, tweeted out his gratitude for the rapper purchasing his token, asking to write a lyric in his next song. Since Pete Davidson’s "Saturday Night Live" skit explaining NFTs in the style of Eminem, the rapper has released a collection called SHADYCON on NFT platform Nifty Gateway, with works inspired by the artist’s childhood and passion for collectibles.
10. Tom Brady
Quarterback Tom Brady completes the list with his purchase of BAYC #3667 in April 2022.
At the time, he paid 133 ETH, or $453,062. Now, that’s about $173,187.
The legendary football player has made major plays into the Web3 space, co-founding NFT company Autograph and releasing his own collections there. Prior to that, Brady said he and Gisele Bündchen purchased equity in crypto exchange FTX in June 2021. While he hasn’t disclosed specifically what he owns, he has confirmed he’s invested in cryptocurrency.
Hype or HODL?
When celebrities purchase an NFT, it often makes the news in stories of excess and hype. However, the reasons may vary – whether it be for an effort to contribute real value to growing Web3 communities or just to hop on the trend.
While less than favorable market conditions have prompted pivots in the NFT space, it will be interesting to watch which celebrities continue to purchase digital assets and evangelize for the utility and community side of NFTs, while others change their PFPs and lose interest in their once-shiny purchases.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.