In the past three months, more and more celebrities have teamed up with MoonPay to acquire Bored Apes and other highly valuable NFTS. But, how celebrities are getting these NTF's is up for question. For some time, the NFT community speculated that Moonpay has been gifting the NFT's to celebrities instead of celebrities buying it themselves.
MoonPay first started helping celebrities get NFTs back in November when they helped Post Malone, Jimmy Fallon, and Lil Baby acquire their first Bored Apes. This was a part of a beta version of their "concierge" service, where they target high net worth individuals who want to get into the NFT and crypto space. Currently, it is unknown how the concierge service works as there are no transactions linked between MoonPay and celebrities on the blockchain. This has led many to believe that MoonPay is giving away NFT's to celebrities for free in exchange for shouting out MoonPay when celebrities announce their entrance into the space.
MoonPay's concierge service has since brought in more celebrities into the NFT space like Dj Khaled, Meek Mill, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paris Hilton, Diplo, and many more.
DJ and producer Blondish is another celebrity that acquired NFTs through MoonPay. A screenshot taken by Cobie shows that Blondish has backed up the theory by writing, "So basically MoonPay concierge works like this: MoonPay sees value in creators, and NFT's. They want to help bring NFT's to the masses thru creators and cultures, so they gift some apes to artists who they feel will bring positive energy to the ecosystem and mass adoption."
This claim from Blondish seems to match the sentiment MoonPays has about NFTs. On their blog, they say, "As we strive for mass adoption, we understand that big splashes can go a long way in providing visibility for those outside the crypto space."
The problem with MoonPay, is they have not been transparent about its financial relationships with celebrities. They have stated whether they are paying for advertisements or asking celebrities to post about its app in exchange for a service. MoonPay keeps on saying they help celebrities buy NFT's but do not disclose if the celebrities actually pay for them. There is no record on the blockchain of celebrities paying for the NFTs, so it leaves the community to be suspicious of the company.
There are also some other questionable actions done by the MoonPay team. For example, as pointed out by NFT Ethics, the CEO of MoonPay, Ivan Soto-Wright, trades NFT's. This means that Soto-Wright is trading with insider information that celebrities are getting into the NFT. This leads to Soto-Wright having an unfair advantage with his NFT dealing.