Bitcoin isn’t just for crypto nerds anymore. Legendary Hollywood stars, A-List rappers and pro athletes are jumping aboard the BTC buzz wagon.
Here are three famous people who are getting in on the booming Bitcoin trend (shall we call them Biteratti?), plus one who says she was an “idiot” for not accepting it as payment for livestreaming a concert performance.
1. William Shatner - Beam me up a Bitcoin, Scotty!
So the story reportedly goes that everyone’s favorite Captain James T. Kirk received BTC, presumably from a fan, via TipperCoin, a Bitcoin tipping network. He apparently couldn’t figure out what the heck a Bitcoin “tip” is (and we don’t blame him), so the naturally velvet-voiced star turned to Twitter to find out. He’s quite the serial Twitter-er, you know.
On Jan. 2, Shatner asked the Twitterverse “what the heck is bit coin?” (The space between "bit" and "coin" is endearing, right?) To which famous crooner Josh Groban coyly answered just seconds later, “Give me 10,000 of them and I’ll tell you.” Yeah, right. At current market rates 10,000 BTC equal about $6.1 million.
Shatner’s question, which a lot of people still ask all the time, drew three dozen headscratcher responses from followers, who took stabs at what the confusing cryptocurrency is and how it works.
Some were more spot-on than others. You be the judge: “Fake internet money that is totally worthless.” “You can ‘beam’ your money anywhere.” “Bitcoin is a crypto currency and decentralized medium of exchange. Everyone keeps a copy of all transactions.” “You can't just print bit coin. It has to be mined, and there is a set finite amount in the entire universe.”
@WilliamShatner give me 10,000 of them and I'll tell you— josh groban (@joshgroban) January 3, 2014
About a half-hour after his Twitter Bitcoin 101 conversation, it looks like the quirky Priceline spokesman had finally wrapped his head around the mindwarp that is Bitcoin. Well, sort of, tweeting “So bit coin is cyber snob currency.”
Moments later he tweeted that he’d “go open up an account and see if these codes will translate into real bitcoin…” Bingo!
Ok so I'll go open up an account and see if these codes will translate into real bitcoin and then figure out what to do with them— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) January 3, 2014
And that’s just what the rumors swirling on Reddit suggest Shatner did, perhaps on Coinbase, a popular Bitcoin wallet service. Whether or not he actually did remains a mystery. (Although, I did tweet him today, asking if the Coinbase rumors were true. I have yet to hear back from big Bill because my tweet to him oddly disappeared as soon as I sent it. Where did they mysteriously get beamed to, I wonder?)
2. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman scores a touchdown for mainstreaming BTC.
Don’t ever talk about Bitcoin! Actually, please do, especially when you’re scooping up “YOU MAD BRO?” wristbands with your digital cash from Richard Sherman’s online fan gear shop.
The controversial Seattle Seahawks cornerback, who was salutatorian of his Compton, Calif. high school graduating class and a 2010 Stanford University grad, recently announced the big Bitcoin news in January on his Facebook fan page.
“For all you techies out there, I’m now accepting Bitcoins at my online store http://store.richardsherman25.com,” the post read. “I hear it’s the currency of the future.” Someone pays attention to the news.
As Seattle Times business reporter Jay Greene later pointed out, “You can’t use bitcoin at Amazon.com,” but, yes, you can score an ironic “WHAT WOULD RICHARD SAY?” shirt with it.
Sherman’s agent Jamie Fritz told Greene that the talented “Legion of Boom” member’s decision to accept BTC payments “was based on supporting the fan-base choices to transact via the latest medium -- not unlike PayPal or traditional credit cards.”
We’d like to think Sherman did it because he wants to be cutting edge crypto-cool, like Tyler Winklevoss. The early Bitcoin investor, who just paid for his Virgin Galactic ticket to space in BTC, gushed about Sherman’s Bitcoin love on Twitter, tweeting this gem on Feb. 28: “NFL’s most disruptive corner accepts worlds’ most disruptive payment technology. Welcome to Bitcoin @RSherman_25!”
3. Former Spice Girl Mel B really, really wants your bitcoins.
Melanie Brown ("Mel B"), celebrity judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent and former Spice Girl, made history in December 2013 when she became the first musical artist to accept the world’s first digital currency.
“I love how new technology makes our lives easier, and to me that’s exciting,” she said at the time. “Bitcoin unites my fans around the world using one currency. They can just pay using bitcoins!” And, beginning on Christmas Day last year, they did.
With help from a partnership with the first Bitcoin cloud-mining company Cloudhashing.com, Mel B fans are picking up her new pop single “For Once in My Life” direct from her website’s online store. Bonus: Mel B’s fans who pay in BTC get a special discount.
The latest famous acts to join the Bitcoin payment club pioneered by Mel B are Snoop Lion, deadmau5 and Childish Gambino (the rap name of Donald Glover, formerly of NBC’s Community).
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
And what about that famous singer who called herself an “idiot” for turning down an online concert gig in exchange for a Bitcoin payday that would now be worth millions?
That would be Brit-pop songstress Lily Allen and we more than understand why she's all sour grapes over it.
The Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping singer whinged last January on Twitter about not jumping at the chance to livestream a concert performance on the 3-D virtual online world Second Life. She says she missed the BTC boat “about five years ago,” when Bitcoin was just a toddler.
Silly Lily. She says she could have raked in “hundreds of thousNds of bitcoins” from Second Life. Could have. If she did, she’d now be the proud owner of a reported $71.2 million worth of BTC.
Well, at least Allen didn’t get her hands on 7,500 bitcoins in 2009, then chuck the hard drive they were stashed on in the rubbish, like South Wales IT professional James Howells accidentally did. Oops!