Celebrities and the metaverse are like flies and honey. Many of Hollywood’s finest have taken to Twitter to talk about their metaverse platform of choice, their bulging NFT collection, or their favourite cryptocurrency. However, this metaverse celebrity onrush has received a mixed response from most normals and while some initiatives have been applauded, others were seen as strange or downright misleading.
These are strange times indeed.
It’s safe to say therefore that we’ve got questions. How can we explain the celebrity interest in the metaverse? What does this mean for the future? And how should we even feel about celebrity-backed NFT collections?
Which celebrities have joined the metaverse?
Perhaps it’s easier to ask which celebrities haven’t joined the metaverse yet.
Let’s name some of the most notable initiatives so far: Snoop Dogg is working on his own “Snoopverse” on metaverse platform The Sandbox while Paris Hilton has performed a similar feat with “Paris World” in Roblox.
Professional tennis players Stanislas Wawrinka and Ana Ivanovic, as well as model Sara Sampaio, bought private islands in The Sandbox. Justin Bieber held a virtual concert on the Wave platform, and Lil Nas X did the same on Roblox.
The club becomes bigger if we widen the net to incorporate the celebrities dealing in NFT’s and cryptocurrencies. Johnny Depp, Lindsay Lohan, and Ozzy Osbourne launched their own NFT collections. MC Hammer’s bio has Bitcoin and Ethereum hashtags. Gwyneth Paltrow, Eva Longoria, and Eminem have NFT profile pictures on Twitter. And… Question: Is there anyone in Hollywood who didn’t join the Bored Ape Yacht Club?
Fortune favours the celebrity endorsement
It’s easy to see why a metaverse company would want to cooperate with celebrities. When a successful doesn’t-need-the-money star like Matt Damon compares crypto investors to astronauts, it sure to draw attention.
From the celebrities side, the metaverse is a hot topic; cool, modern, futuristic even. It works both ways: celebrities get a spotlight by being so cool that they’re ‘into the metaverse’, and the metaverse gets it spotlight from the celebrities that clamber inside. On top of that, partnerships like the one between Matt Damon and crypto.com are quite lucrative. (The Fortune Favours the Brave campaign Damon fronted cost crypto.com $100million.)
But while the usual ‘celebs do things for money’ magic is clearly in full swing here, a quick look at Twitter will show you that the general public’s response is – at best – divided. While most of Snoop Dogg’s NFT endeavours are met with enthusiasm, some are not. Matt Damon’s crypto.com ad is now legendary, being both weird and proven poor advice. (If you had bought bitcoin at the time of airing as Matt implied, at the time of writing you’d have lost 47% of your money.)
Meanwhile Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton talking NFTs on his show only threw up a wall between the stars and their audience. Just what planet are these people on?
Deeply strange pic.twitter.com/ycilbi1iNL
— James Kelleher (@etienneshrdlu) January 25, 2022
Meanwhile Brie Larson’s tweet about the Some Place mobile platform didn’t exactly hit the new platform’s (virtual) ground running.
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) March 17, 2022
The tweet attracted replies ranging from a blunt “This is extremely awful Brie” to “Oh god no”.
So if the celebs say ‘jump’?…
The question is, which side is right? On the one hand, celebrity involvement can offer new forms of entertainment which the general public may benefit from. Think of Snoop Dogg’s Sandbox-based music video, or music fans able to attend virtual concerts through the pandemic. And we doubt very much that Lil Nas X wouldn’t have been able to entertain 33 million fans in real-world concert.
Related to that, celebrity enthusiasm for new technologies may push development. If Lil Nas X manages to draw such an immense number of people to Roblox, the company (and its competition) might want to take this success to the next level. And that’s perhaps a level that you WILL find interesting, entertaining and useful.
And when Reese Witherspoon tells you that “crypto is here to stay”, shouldn’t we sit up and take notice?
Crypto is here to stay. I’m committed to supporting creators who have pioneered the NFT space, and encouraging more women to be a part of the conversation. https://t.co/tq9EdwAmJC
— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) December 6, 2021
But it’s important to keep in mind that the Hollywoodverse may not have your best interest at heart. Promoting a cryptocurrency that they themselves have invested in is, after all, beneficial to their own wallets. Some celebrities (unnamed here for legal reasons) have even been accused of partaking in pump-and-dump schemes, which means they may have driven up the price on purpose, only to sell their own share when it peaked. That’s literally illegal.
Let’s be careful out there
While celebrity involvement can open doors for new forms of entertainment in the metaverse, it becomes problematic when financial advice follows along soon afterwards.
While the Matt Damon situation doesn’t speak for all crypto investments, it shows that people should be wary of celebrities promoting metaverse platforms, cryptocurrencies, and NFT collections. And the same goes for celebrities enthusiastically backing projects that turn sour a few short months later.
So go guy a Cryptobat if you want to. But not just because Ozzy said so.