January was a much simpler time.
It was an era when an Oscar-winning movie star like Matt Damon could star in an expensive commercial for Crypto.com (CRCW) and the Internet, in a rare moment of unity, would decide it was beautiful and interesting.
Except for…(check the notes) which turned out not to be the case.
Damon’s commercial for Crypto.com, which premiered in theaters in early January and then played during the Super Bowl, was widely mocked on Twitter. (TWTR) – Get the Twitter Inc report at the moment.
Six months later, the value of cryptocurrency and related ephemerals like NFTs plummeted from what now looks like a $ 3 trillion dollar spike in November. The cryptocurrency market, in total, has lost more than $ 2 trillion as of this week and there is no sign that the bleeding will stop anytime soon.
The internet has a long memory for those it deems worthy of contempt, and now it appears that Damon’s crypto announcement has inspired a renewed series of mockery. But the reasons for this fresh round of roasting are a little more complex than the simple schadenfreude.
Damon appeared in an ad that was part of a $ 100 million ad campaign for the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange and platform. For his troubles, Crypto.com has invested $ 1 million in Damon’s nonprofit organization Water.org, which works to provide access to safe water. according to Bloomberg. He is also an investor in Crypto.com.
Around the same time as the campaign, Crypto.com also paid $ 700 million to rename the Los Angeles Staples Center the Crypto.com arena. In retrospect, some analysts believe it likely represented a small warning sign, as these kinds of ultra-expensive naming rights maneuvers have historically preceded a crashas was the case just before the dot com bubble burst and when Enron went bankrupt.
Damon has long been the whip of the Internet. From doing badly received comments on the diversity of aspiring directors in the 2015 reboot of his “Project Greenlight” show, admitting who hasn’t stopped referring to gay men as “the f-word” until his daughter told him it was dangerous a few years ago, he’s often considered a well-meaning but unsuspecting white privilege avatar.
But while contempt for Damon certainly fueled the mockery, the ads were largely roasted at the time due to a growing backlash against all things crypto.
Proponents of cryptocurrency have long believed it was the future of money and an exciting investment in a stock market that felt serious.
But critics have insisted it’s not just cryptocurrencies bad for the environment due to the high amount of energy needed to power them, but the whole industry had no real value beyond hype, speculation and marketing.
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Let’s just say the detractors haven’t softened their sentiment in the months since Damon’s job fell.
Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather also warm up
Cryptocurrencies are often derided as playthings for the rich, so when the news finds out the value of bitcoin fell by 60%there are large swathes of Twitter who react with spiteful glee.
But here’s the thing that is often overlooked. A lot of normal working class people with no big fortune at their disposal also invested in cryptocurrencies, hoping to pay off their debts, earn enough to buy a house or otherwise secure a safety cushion for the future.
Twitter is now full of people telling stories about their shattered hopes and fears that last chance they have had to pay college debts have gone away.
So Twitter’s revamped vitriol serves as a way to let off steam in an industry that has taken advantage of desperate people who feel they have the short end of the economic stick and celebrities who I often don’t understand the investments they are supporting.
Damon isn’t the only celebrity to be roasted online for helping sell cryptocurrencies to people who have ended up losing their shirts.
Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and socialite Kim Kardashian they are currently facing a class action for alleged misleading investors and for illegally raising the price of the EthereumMax crypto token. The lawsuit was filed on January 7 in the Los Angeles federal court and is still pending.
“Company executives, collaborating with several celebrity promoters … have made false or misleading claims about EthereumMax through social media advertisements and other promotional activities,” the lawsuit claimed.
The lawsuit identifies a June 2021 Instagram post from Kardashian. “Guys, do you like cryptocurrencies?” she wrote in the post, followed by the “this is not financial advice” disclaimer, but that she wanted to share “what my friends just told me” about EthereumMax tokens. Mayweather wore boxing shorts which supported EthereumMax during a highly publicized bout against Logan Paul.
Actor Ben McKenzie, best known to old millennials for playing Ryan Atwood on “The OC,” now has a side business as an author and critic who takes celebrities for endorsing products without understanding their volatile nature, and has particularly identified NFTs, including asking Reese Witherspoon to stop advertising Crypto.
As if to prove McKenzie’s point, socialite Paris Hilton’s very obviously forced and contrived conversation with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” earlier this year is now considered to be both the pinnacle of the Bored Ape Yacht Club trend. the moment when the public began to turn against the NFTs.
At some point the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection would be regularly traded for millions of investors. The price has since fallen rapidly and now Bored Ape NFTs are trading for under $ 100,000.
Many of these big names and many others, including Tom Brady and Ashton Kutcher, may now regret having been associated with a trend that, at best, now seems outdated and absurd. But Twitter won’t let any of them forget.