At some point two years ago, a malevolent individual snapped their fingers like Thanos and ushered in a new era defined by NFTs. Some people love them, some people hate them, and celebrities keep trying to sell them to us and pretend like that’s normal and cool. Why did we have to jump to this timeline?
Among corporate and celebrity NFT launches, individual artists and crypto collectives have flooded the market with this new digital media sale format. Since 2021, the amount of NFT trading has risen to more than $17 billion, according to a report by NFT data company Nonfungible.com. And the rise of cryptocurrencies isn’t stopping anytime soon, even as many of us decry the complicated industry.
Personally, I find it crushing when my favorite celebrities decide to try their hand at the crypto world. There’s something uncouth about these millionaires shilling digital art to us normal people. So, when my favs hit send on a tweet that reads, “Something really cool on the way! Watch this space!” I am immediately shaking in my boots.
Of the dozens of celebrity NFT endeavors over the last year or so, a select few have stuck out as either unbearably obvious or heartbreakingly shocking, and I am here to rank those launches, according to how much they broke my little celebrity-obsessed heart.
If anyone on this list has a brand that merges with the controversial, simultaneously loved and hated, world of crypto art, its Claire “I never said I was a communist” Boucher. Grimes’ online persona is basically an NFT in itself, so of course she would launch one of these, and of course I would not be heartbroken over it. In March 2021, the artist released a series of digital art pieces accompanied by original music and videos, generating almost $6 million in sales.
10. Snoop Dogg
I was not surprised nor disappointed by Snoop’s decision to launch his “A Journey with the Dogg” NFT in 2021 because the rapper will literally agree to anything. The collection was a digital dive into his career and personal memories, and proceeds benefited his Youth Football League — sure, why not? And the rapper is still deeply involved in the crypto art world, releasing new collections, purchasing NFTs suggested by his followers, and holding on tight to his signature primate Twitter pic.
9. Lindsay Lohan
Similar to Snoop, Lohan is doing whatever she can to make a buck. While I’m not pleased that she released one of her first singles in years as an NFT, or that she chose to sell custom “fursonas” not long after, I wasn’t at all surprised that the actress and Grecian dancer dipped her toe into the world of NFTs. The actor and singer did enrage a good portion of the internet with her first drop, but she’s still pursuing her lucrative NFT career. Maybe if we all go see her new Netflix movies she’ll stop?
8. Shawn Mendes
Shawn, baby, what are you doing? I really can’t predict any of Mr. Mendes’ career or relationship moves, but, as a fan of his second album, and an eyewitness to his Vine days, all of these decisions are rough to watch. Mendes’ digital wearables NFT was an accompaniment to his album Wonder, which was far too long and had some strange creative choices. At least all the money went to a Shawn Foundation grant for digital artists?
7. Paris Hilton
I really thought the heiress and social media icon was taking a turn for the better, but then she had to go and announce her “Iconic Crypto Queen” NFT and transition her social media pages into blockchain central — not only is her Twitter display name “ParisHilton.eth”, she had a whole website made for her NFT ventures! The self-proclaimed “citizen and icon of the metaverse” launched her first series of digital art pieces in 2021, full of pink animals, clouds, and other classically-Paris motifs. I’ll give Hilton a little credit for having one of the cutest, most on-brand NFT launches.
6. Lewis Capaldi
If you had asked me if the Scottish “Somebody You Love” singer seemed like the type to get into NFTs, I would have immediately answered “absolutely not.” But I should have known better than to speak so confidently. Instead of releasing some new music or meme-filled tweets like we all wanted, Capaldi dropped a series of digital trading cards in 2021. The singer had taken a break from the internet to work on his next album, and continues to remain offline (he also erased all trace of the NFT launch from his social media pages), but who is to say he’s not actually cooking up a new NFT in that studio. I’m watching you…
5. Liam Payne
Adult Directioner reporting for duty, here to say that Liam Payne’s post-band career decisions continue to baffle me. All Payne, no Liam. Why won’t he just make the beautiful serenade-filled album we all want him to make? Payne’s “Lonely Bug” NFT included original 3D art and a VIP “fan experience” in collaboration with Zedd and digital artist Sillygabe. On top of that, the singer started his own NFT and crypto Twitter account and announced it to all of his followers. He’s also a member of the NFT collection “World of Women.” Hey, remember when he painted an in-memoriam portrait of Prince Phillip? That was… a choice. Every time he tweets I’m scared.
4. Stan Lee’s posthumous NFTs
Just — what the hell? Why did Stan Lee’s estate do this?
3. The bands of my youth
This one is for all of the Brit indie pop lovers who were crushed when The Kooks decided to launch an NFT series to celebrate the anniversary of their phenomenal debut album in 2022. The group is just one of many indie and alternative bands who dove into NFTs over the last year, joining UK band The Wombats and American rock quartet Kings of Leon, who were the first band to release an entire album as an NFT. Can you still claim the indie title if you’re present in the metaverse? I need a think piece on this. I am going to cut these guys the tiniest bit of slack, though, since they’re not like the other billionaires on this list who clearly don’t need the profits — and at least they acknowledged the environmental impact of crypto-mining.
2. Tony Hawk
My heart sank upon reading the phrase “Tony Hawk NFT.” The internet’s beloved skater and wholesome dad launched his “Last Trick” NFT project in December 2021, which included 16,600 animated NFTs of Hawk’s most memorable tricks, and the internet (me) lost it. The Academy Awards presenter was raked across the fiery internet coals for his decision to drop into the cursed halfpipe that is crypto, and he hasn’t talked about it since. He knows that those little NFTs could never do what Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater did.
1. Brie Larson
Brie Larson, my Captain Marvel, please step back from the crypto ledge! While Larson hasn’t technically launched her own NFT yet, I find her foray into the metaverse of NFTs the most disconcerting of any other celebrity, particularly because it seems like she might actually find it interesting? Is this her new hobby? Is she spending her time between Marvel training and Taylor Swift covers hanging out with crypto bros in the metaverse? How do we save her? We definitely need a plan, but, first, I must grieve.