Once again, the internet is mad at Matt Damon.
The Oscar-winning actor and writer is currently starring in an advertisement for Crypto.com. (CRCW) With the slogan “Fortune Favors The Brave,” the clip finds Damon pondering the difference between those who achieve great things, and those who sort of almost achieve great things.
The advertisement heavily implies that the act of investing in cryptocurrency is tantamount to such achievements as scaling Mount Everest, building the airplane, landing on the moon and, uh, smooching a girl.
The clip, which has been playing in movie theaters and before NFL games, is part of a $100 million advertising campaign by the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange app and platform, which also recently paid a reported $700 million to rename the Los Angeles Staples Center the Crypto.com Arena.
Damon is an investor in Crypto.com, and the company made a $1 million investment in his non-profit Water.org, which works to provide access to safe drinking water, according to Bloomberg.
No To Crypto?
Twitter certainly had some feedback on the matter, with some finding the entire thing silly and overblown, while others felt the advertisement traded on Toxic Masculinity.
It’s worth pointing out that a part of the backlash to the crypto advertisement is that Matt Damon has been Twitter’s whipping boy for quite some time now.
Ever since he made some ill-received comments about the diversity of the aspiring directors on the 2015 reboot of his show “Project Greenlight,” he’s been held up as an avatar of a certain type of generally well-meaning but oblivious white man.
Last year, he received the "Full Metal Jacket"-style online hazing for admitting that he didn’t stop referring to gay men as “the f-word” until his daughter told him it was dangerous.
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But beyond Damon’s punching bag status, the backlash does seem to stand as a symbol for a rising backlash against the popularity of cryptocurrency.
Plenty of the Tweets reflected a growing public sentiment that crypto, in addition to being bad for the environment due to the high amount of energy needed to fuel them, is also just a load of hot air, and that Bitcoin and Ethereum have no intrinsic value but are a house of cards propelled by hype and marketing campaigns, with a collapse all but inevitable.
Under The Influence
Whether crypto is the future of currency or the latest incarnation of the Pet Rock/Beanie Baby craze for the Extremely Online era is, well, an ongoing debate with a great deal of passion on both sides. To put it lightly.
But a far more settled matter is that as more celebrities begin endorsing cryptocurrencies, including Tik-Tok phenomenons such as Charli and Dixie D’Amelio and boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, experts are cautioning them not to promote crypto products and coins they don't know anything of. Some of the coins and tokens have been proven scams, or at so unregulated that they should be approached with extreme caution.
In a Financial Times opinion piece titled "Matt Damon’s crypto ad is more than just cringeworthy," writer Jemima Kelly observed of crypto that: “Bitcoin is trading around the $46,000 mark, having lost a third of its value since hitting a record high in November,” and “there is no set of fundamental factors one can use to gauge whether prices are too high or low; it’s a market whose main driver seems to be whatever Elon Musk has most recently decided to tweet.”
Furthermore, Charles Randell, chair of the FCA and PSR, recently gave a speech to the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime in which he warned against crypto scams, calling out Kim Kardashian for posting about the “altcoin” Ethereum Max, for which she could have been paid between between $300,000 and $500,000 for a single Instagram post, according to CNBC Make It.
Ethereum Max is viewed as riskier than even other cryptocurrencies, as little is known about its developers.
“When she was recently paid to ask her 250 million Instagram followers to speculate on crypto tokens by ’joining the Ethereum Max Community,‘ it may have been the financial promotion with the single biggest audience reach in history,” Randell said.
“In line with Instagram’s rules, she disclosed that this was an #AD,” he continued. “But she didn’t have to disclose that Ethereum Max – not to be confused with Ethereum – was a speculative digital token created a month before by unknown developers – one of hundreds of such tokens that fill the crypto-exchanges.
"There are no assets or real world cashflows underpinning the price of speculative digital tokens, even the better known ones like Bitcoin, and many cannot even boast a scarcity value. These tokens have only been around for a few years, so we haven’t seen what will happen over a full financial cycle. We simply don’t know when or how this story will end, but – as with any new speculation – it may not end well.”