“The Matrix” star Keanu Reeves has become something of a crypto fan, calling cryptocurrencies “amazing tools for exchanges and distribution of resources.”
In a recent interview with Wired to promote his new film “John Wick 4,” Reeves said, “I think the principle, the ideas behind an independent currency, are amazing,” adding that, “To pooh-pooh crypto, or the volatility of cryptocurrency, it’s only going to make it better in terms of how it’s safeguarded.”
The 1999 film “The Matrix,” in which Reeves played the hero Neo, was a foundational cyberpunk text that predicted many of today’s emerging tech trends, from AI to the metaverse. So it’s no surprise that Web3 fans have long been curious to know what Reeves thinks of crypto and related technologies like NFTs.
In particular, Reeves is interested in the implications of digital art technologies like AI and NFTs, noting that, “People are growing up with these tools: We’re listening to music already that’s made by AI in the style of Nirvana, there’s NFT digital art.”
While conceding that “it’s cool, like, look what the cute machines can make!” Reeves added that he’s concerned about the “corporatocracy behind it that’s looking to control those things.”
Reeves explained that he recently tried to explain to a teenager that in “The Matrix,” Neo is “fighting for what was real,” only to be asked, “Who cares if it’s real?”
“Culturally, socially, we’re gonna be confronted by the value of real, or the nonvalue,” the actor said. “And then what’s going to be pushed on us? What’s going to be presented to us?”
The Metaverse Revolutions
The actor has become increasingly involved in the NFT space in recent years; after dismissing NFT art as being “easily reproduced," in an interview to promote “The Matrix Resurrections,” he’s since become an adviser for digital art charity The Futureverse Foundation, which funds artists looking to enter the NFT space.
The charity, backed by NFT projects Non-Fungible Labs and Fluf World, aims to “make the metaverse accessible to more people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds,” according to Reeves’ partner and fellow Futurevese Foundation adviser Alexandra Grant.
“I’m kind of riding her coattails,” Reeves told Wired. “I helped set up the launch. We’re trying to take this technology that people are interested in and give opportunities to artists with different viewpoints.”
Asked whether companies like Meta have made the metaverse sufficiently accessible, Reeves said, “It’s like they’ve created more land. There’s more land for sale. It’s wealth creation and it’s opportunity.”
But he remains somewhat skeptical about the metaverse. “It’s this sensorium. It’s spectacle,” he said. “And it’s a system of control and manipulation. We’re on our knees looking at cave walls and seeing the projections, and we’re not having the chance to look behind us. Or to the side.”
In a previous interview, he joked, "Can we just not have metaverse be invented by Facebook? The concept of metaverse is way older than that.”
Reeves’ crypto history
Reeves has remained somewhat distant from the crypto space–he once said that he has “a little HODL,” after “a friend of mine bought some for me awhile back" and that he hasn’t done anything with it because "I haven't had to."
But he has occasionally crossed paths with cryptocurrency.
In 2015, Reeves narrated the documentary “Deep Web”–directed by his “Bill & Ted” co-star Alex Winter–which recounted the story of Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road dark web marketplace.
When the Silk Road was shut down, over 170,000 Bitcoin was seized by the authorities, worth over $3.7 billion at today’s prices.
In 2015, Ulbricht was sentenced to two life sentences plus 40 years on charges of conspiracy to launder money, computer hacking, narcotics trafficking, and running a criminal enterprise.