With the NFT space exploding, it was only a matter of time before celebrities got involved. While some big name NFTs have been successful and came with genuine benefits, others turned out to be cynical cash grabs, rugs and/or embarrassing fails.
9. A$AP Rocky
Unlike many of the other names on this list, A$AP Rocky’s NFT journey got off to a good start with some tokens selling for around $2000. It’s been mostly downhill from there, though. Many of his NFTs now sell well below their original prices. Nifty Gateway shows that the collection has lost 47% of its original value and, with only 10 secondary sales to its name, it looks as though it will struggle to recover ground. A$AP Rocky is far from the only celebrity finding it hard to maintain their collection's value, proof that celebrity endorsements don’t equal long term worth.
8. John Cena
At least he’s honest. John Cena branded his NFT collection a “catastrophic failure” and few would argue. After selling only 34 of his 500 gold tier NFTs, Cena has variously blamed the high price point ($1000) and the fact that physical merchandise was bundled with digital tokens. Alongside the NFT, buyers also receive a range of items including a hat, towel, autographed picture and a belt. Whatever the reason for the failure, Cena at least has some history with crypto. He discussed Bitcoin as far back as 2017 and frequently talks about the potential of NFTs more generally on his social media accounts.
7. John Terry
John Terry’s NFT collection ‘Ape Kids Football Club’ was loudly backed by the ex England defender along with other big name internationals including Ashley Cole and Tammy Abraham. Since their release, the NFTs have tanked from an average high of 0.26 ETH on 19th February to a lowly 0.033, at one point writing off around 90% of their value. As the catastrophe unfolded, backers quietly deleted their endorsement tweets. This one stirred up trouble before it was even released, as the Premier League took legal action to prevent the trophy from being used on any of Terry’s NFTs. Premier League, UEFA and FA trophies were subsequently removed from the collection, but little did Terry know, that was only the start of his problems.
6. Logan Paul
YouTube sensation and aggressive-merchandise-peddler Logan Paul claimed to have spent $1 million creating his CryptoZoo project. Initially promising, the NFTs supposedly allowed collectors to breed hybrid creatures and hatch eggs. Unfortunately, tweets emerged showing that Logan had (allegedly) taken Abode stock images and photoshopped them for his collection. The NFTs also plumbed the price depths, tumbling by as much as 96%. Incidentally, Paul is elsewhere accused of shilling the Dink Donk coin to his followers even though he (again, allegedly) was involved with its creation.
5. Floyd Mayweather
Another day, another Floyd Mayweather NFT collection
Mayweather has a long string of failed and possibly even rugged NFT collections to his name. Floyd NFT Mayweather, Floyd’s World and Bored Bunny all collapsed spectacularly after Mayweather failed to deliver any of his announced roadmap. He collected an impressive $4.9 million for his Floyd’s World NFT, which he later appeared to abandon completely. Floyd is also known to delete tweets and evidence from anyone accusing him of rug pulls. If you need any further convincing to avoid all future Mayweather projects, the boxer was even banned from selling securities for 3 years (in 2018) by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
4. Tekashi 6ix9ine
Released in December, the Trollz Collection was supposed to feature 9669 troll avatars styled around Tekashi. The project also made big promises about a metaverse game, shared governance and donations to charity. Tekashi publicised it hard, even changing his Twitter profile picture to one of the avatars. Not only did all of these promises fail to materialise, but the project’s Discord was subjected to an unprecedented bot attack from one of the moderators. Users were spammed with fake minting links that cost them funds. That was the death knell for this project. Tekashi changed his profile pic, deleted past tweets and behaved as though none of this ever happened - not great for investors, especially the one who spent $40,000 on Trollz.
3. Matt Damon
“History is filled with almosts. Those who almost adventured, almost achieved.” These are the opening lines from Matt Damon’s widely condemned and cringe-inducing advert shilling Crypto.com. Damon goes on to compare investing in crypto to the greatest achievements in human history, including space exploration and scaling Everest. It should come as no surprise that the advert was greeted with a tsunami of negative press from financial publications all the way through to Southpark. It encourages users to invest by telling them that “fortune favours the brave” but Damon’s emotive encouragement to risk capital and his merciless - shameless - shilling of Crypto.com certainly hasn’t earned him any favour.
2. Mark Cuban
As cash grabs go, this might be one of the most cynical. Cuban has the dubious distinction of being one of a very small number of blue ticked Instagram accounts to be forever banned from the platform. Cuban’s NFT company was allegedly charging $100k to advertise projects on his Instagram page (broken down into four or five ads at $25k each). Crucially, the terms stated that he would not tag these posts as adverts, thus making the hype seem genuine. Many of the projects were dubious, to say the least. Some were outright rugs. Others sustained massive losses. Before being banned, Cuban (allegedly) netted around $3.5 million for his adverts.
1. Melania Trump
Melania Trump’s Head of State NFT collection is infamous for all the wrong reasons. Released in January, the collection featured a white hat, watercolour of Melania and a piece of signed digital artwork supposedly to commemorate the administration’s first state visit to France. It was eventually sold for a jaw dropping 1800 SOL (around $185,000)…to herself. Some creative accounting was involved (the buyer’s address was sent 1,800 SOL from another address funded by the one that minted the NFT) but the public nature of the blockchain makes it extremely difficult to disguise transaction histories. Crypto detectives concluded that the collection was either bought by Melania herself or whoever was responsible for setting up the auction.