Inside money, markets, and big tech

Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘endorsement’ of cryptocurrency is a shameless ad

Abra-cadabra: the blockchain space has a nepotism problem

gwyneth, paltrow, bitcoin, cryptocurrency

Fresh off its false advertising controversy, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop is now encouraging people to learn more about the fundamentals of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency – and how they can make their first investment. But before you rush to celebrate mainstream adoption, there are a few things we need to talk about.

Yesterday, Paltrow took to Twitter to share a Goop piece featuring an interview with Bill Barhydt, CEO of cryptocurrency wallet and exchange service Abra. The piece poses as an explainer on cryptocurrency and blockchain tech, but really – it reads like a shameless ad for Abra.

After glossing over the hackneyed arguments for blockchain – like lower fees (a highly contentious argument), censorship resistance, and heightened security measures (Goop refers to Bitcoin as “unhackable”) – the piece goes on to promote Abra and the benefits of using it.

Of course, the piece conveniently omits the fact that Paltrow herself is involved in Abra. Indeed, the cryptocurrency service announced Paltrow as an advisor last year, shortly after an appearance on Apple’s Planet of the Apps.

Nepotism aside, this isn’t the first time Goop has engaged in questionable advertising tactics. Last month, UK-based non-profit Good Thinking Society filed a complaint with the local advertising authority, accusing Goop of relying on misleading promo materials for its beauty products.

In all fairness, the actress is hardly the only celebrity that has blindly backed cryptocurrency businesses. Among others, boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, actor Steven Seagal, and rapper T.I. have promoted in trouble cryptocurrency projects in the past (and gotten in trouble for it).

In fact, the celebrity endorsement trend had gotten so bad at one point, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued statement to warn investors that it is “never a good idea to make an investment decision just because someone famous says a product or service is a good investment.

That’s the same approach you should take with Paltrow’s endorsement of cryptocurrency.

Published November 6, 2018 — 14:24 UTC