- “Crank That” hitmaker Soulja Boy teased a token release on Twitter this morning.
- But the response was generally negative, with crypto proponents cautioning the rapper about the potential legal repercussions of doing so.
- Many celebrities have previously faced legal trouble for promoting cryptocurrencies.
American pop star and rapper DeAndre Cortez Way, popularly known by his stage name “Soulja Boy," is thinking about launching his own cryptocurrency, as per a recent tweet.
He asked his 5.2 million followers on Twitter this morning, “Thoughts on me creating my own crypto?”
The response, however, was an overwhelming no.
“You will get in trouble,” cautioned Neeraj Agarwal, the head of communications at crypto policy think tank Coin Center. Others, like podcast host John Carvalho, were more direct. “Don’t be a scammer. Help people learn how Bitcoin protects them from state inflation. If you make a coin you are just exploiting fans,” Carvalho said.
Instead of a potential token drop, however, the general consensus among Twitter users was for Soulja Boy to launch his own non-fungible token (NFT). These are digital collectibles—such as art, music, property, or cards—that store unique identifying data on a blockchain and prove the holder is the true owner of that particular collectible.
And Soulja Boy seemed to warm up to that idea. “Wow that actually looks dope, anyone can assist me with this? I would like to release something as well,” he said.
While Bitcoin’s recent price surge—which saw it go from $10,000 to over $41,000 last year—may be behind Soulja Boy’s sudden (re)interest in the crypto space, he has previously rapped about his own experiences with Bitcoin in a 2018 track called…”Bitcoin.”
“I spent $6,000 on a Bitcoin. I got Bitcoin, Bitcoin,” goes Soulja Boy’s muted hit from 2018. If his lyrics were true, he would be up 500% today—although he recently tweeted asking about the best way to buy cryptocurrency, so perhaps not.
Stardom in tokens
Soulja Boy is part of a rising cohort of celebrities, rappers, and boxers looking to bring over their personal brand and fame to the snazzy (and unapologetic) world of cryptocurrencies. The group includes Akon, who in 2019, launched his ambitious “Akoin” project, one that claims to develop a decentralized, smart contract-enabled economy for Senegal, his hometown.
The similarities between the two sectors—commercial art and digital tokens—are many, such as attracting millions of dollars, hyping product launches, building scores of loyal followers, and the promise of getting insanely rich in a short period.
But it’s not all laughter. As Agarwal and Carvalho mentioned in their tweets, the current legal classification of cryptocurrencies and repercussions for selling tokens (which are often classified as securities in the US and other economies) are many.
In 2017, socialite and Hilton Hotel heiress Paris Hilton began marketing “LydianCoin,” a product that touted itself as a token to pay for big data on the blockchain. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) swiftly jumped on the case, issued guidelines regarding the unlawful promotion of cryptocurrencies by celebrities and Hilton soon distanced herself from the project.
Then in 2018, the SEC charged boxer Floyd Mayweather and music artist DJ Khaled for “failing to disclose payments” for promoting the now-defunct crypto project “Centra,” which raised over $25 million in an initial coin offering using “fictitious claims.” Mayweather and DJ Khaled have since stayed away from the crypto market.