Ryan O’Neill: Celebrity Memecoins in 2024 Expose Crypto’s Influencer-Driven Volatility

Key Insights

  • Celebrity memecoins surge in 2024, but many quickly lose value, highlighting the risks for retail investors.
  • Historical patterns show recurring issues with celebrity-endorsed crypto projects, from ICOs to NFTs to memecoins.
  • Calls for improved regulation and high-quality projects aim to address the volatility and scams in the memecoin market.

In 2024, the cryptocurrency market witnessed a surge in the popularity of celebrity-endorsed memecoins. Figures such as Caitlyn Jenner and Iggy Azalea launched their tokens, sparking widespread interest. Jenner’s memecoin (JENNER) and Azalea’s Mother, Iggy (MOTHER), attracted substantial attention, with JENNER achieving a market cap of $40 million within 24 hours of its release. However, this trend soon raised concerns about these investments’ volatility and speculative nature.

Despite the initial excitement, many of these celebrity-endorsed memecoins have seen dramatic declines in value. For instance, the Rich the Kid’s Rich (RCH) token saw its market cap plummet to $61,000, losing over 90% of its value. Similarly, tokens linked to Floyd Mayweather, Moneybagg Yo, and Trippie Red experienced significant losses. These developments reflect the inherent risks associated with investing in such speculative assets.

Historical Context of Celebrity Involvement in Crypto

The involvement of celebrities in the cryptocurrency market is not a new phenomenon. During the 2017 bull run, numerous celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Floyd Mayweather, and Jamie Foxx, promoted initial coin offerings (ICOs). A study indicated that over 80% of ICO projects from that period were scams. Although some celebrities faced fines for their participation, the trend persisted into subsequent bull markets.

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In the 2021-2022 bull season, the focus shifted to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse. Celebrities like Jake Paul, DJ Khaled, and David Dobrik promoted various NFT projects, many of which were fraudulent. Even former President Donald Trump faced accusations of promoting NFTs with no real value. The recurring theme of celebrity involvement in dubious crypto projects continued into 2024 with the rise of memecoins.

Concerns Over Scams and Market Volatility

The increasing prevalence of celebrity-endorsed memecoins has amplified concerns about scams and market volatility. Several projects have been accused of “retail dumping,” where tokens are sold off en masse, leaving investors with substantial losses. 

Sahil Arora, an Instagram influencer, has been linked to promoting multiple celebrity memecoins. Allegations suggest that Arora launched tokens on behalf of celebrities, sometimes without their knowledge, and then sold off his holdings, causing the token prices to crash.

This pattern of behavior has led to significant financial losses for retail investors attracted by celebrity endorsements. Caitlyn Jenner and Iggy Azalea claimed that Arora scammed them, with Jenner’s token facing initial skepticism due to concerns about authenticity. The decline in memecoin trading volumes and market caps since mid-May 2024 underscores these investments’ instability and speculative nature.

Calls for Improved Regulation and Higher-Quality Projects

Industry experts are calling for improved regulation and higher-quality projects to address the issues associated with celebrity-endorsed memecoins. Tristan Frizza, the co-founder of Solana-based decentralized exchange protocol Zeta Markets, emphasized the volatility of cryptocurrency investments, particularly memecoins. He stated that the involvement of celebrities does not mitigate these risks. Frizza advised retail users to be cautious and aware of potential significant losses.

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Max Jones, the co-founder of the Solana-based memecoin launchpad MemePad, advocated for launching celebrity tokens on professional platforms with sustainable economic models. He warned that poorly made projects could deter people from participating in the crypto ecosystem. Jones noted a sharp decline in 24-hour trading volumes, from over $100 million to $38 million, highlighting the unsustainable nature of the current market hype.

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, criticized celebrities’ financialization of crypto trends, arguing that such initiatives should provide real societal value. He cited Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ Stoner Cats project, which funded an actual show, as a more respectable effort than the 2024 celebrity memecoin trend. 

Edward Wilson, an analyst at Nansen, differentiated between “blue-chip” memes like DOGE and PEPE, which tokenize culture, and the low-tier efforts of past-their-prime celebrities to extract value from their communities.

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Ryan O'Neill (UK)

Ryan O'Neill is a crypto trader and a guest writer for he has been trading cryptocurrencies since 2012 and is an expert in everything crypto and blockchain.

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