50 Cent became the first Bitcoin millionaire after the 700 coins he made selling his album Animal Ambition increased in value from a few hundred dollars each to over $10,000. The 700 coins were suddenly worth $7 million. 50 Cent admitted that he had forgotten about them, which shows you the state of bitcoin in those early days. Of course, he would go on to deny he still held any coins in February to file for bankruptcy.
Some of the things that attract people to bitcoin include others not knowing who is holding it, how much they have, and how they are spending it. This opaqueness is what makes it possible to transact anonymously and enables things like receiving payments from casinos such as cryptogames.
One can draw parallels between crypto and rap in that in both, there is no snitching. The relationship between rap and crypto is built on shared interests including protection, privacy, and self-promotion. Crypto is being shaped by rap’s obsession in it in so many ways that it has now made its way into the music. In rap, new money is held in very high regard and cryptocurrency is likely banking on rap for its future growth.
Even before most people knew what cryptocurrency was, rap’s relationship with it had already begun. That was in 2013. Snoop Dogg had already said he would receive payment for an upcoming album using Bitcoin while Donald Glover endorsed Bitcoin while doing promo for Because the Internet. In his endorsement, he called being backed by gold an old idea and that Bitcoin, which took time and effort to mine, made more sense to him.
Nas was next to insert himself into the cryptocurrency push, even when other rappers were holding back. Nas became more involved in bitcoin due to Ben Horowitz, a leading venture capitalist, and a friend. Nas also helped raise millions for BlockCypher, a fund that provided services for those developing Bitcoin. In those early days, Nas is quoted saying cryptocurrency might become bigger than the internet.
Rappers are continuously using their personal currency to put their name on cryptocurrency. The Wu-Tang Clan is seen as one of the most eager hip hop groups to want their name on digital currency. Ghostface Killah created CREAM and using his firm Cream Capital wants to take over more than half the cryptocurrency market.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s estate released the Dirty Coin which allows fans to buy exclusive merchandise, access Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s catalog, and do a lot more.
Changing the Industry
While some rappers see Bitcoin as a gimmick and have been known to use it as a prop in their music videos, some firmly believe that it could change the industry. Two notable ways they believe it could do this include changing the way artists get paid as well as how people use money in the future.
Mims and Nate Kodi have already spoken up about the need for secure blockchain technology which will be used to achieve transparency in the way artists are paid in songwriting and to settle royalty disputes.
Big Baby Gandhi, who has been accepting bitcoin since 2013, says cryptocurrency can be used to help people who otherwise would not have get the chance of making money. Nipsey Hussle has already invested in Follow Coin, which helps novices build financial literacy by connecting them to experienced traders.
The relationship between rap and cryptocurrency will likely continue to grow. The digital currency needs a voice and rappers see it as a way of solving some of the problems the industry faces. Also, the rap industry will likely move from money and be measured in cryptocurrency one day – we just have to wait.