It’s been a month since 50 Cent was part of the best feel-good story of the cryptocurrency boom. Following reports that the hip-hop star had earned about $7.8 million (£5.5 million) worth of bitcoin from sales of an otherwise forgotten album, he seemed to confirm the news on Instagram. But when pressed in bankruptcy court, Fiddy acknowledged that wasn’t the case.
TMZ was the first to claim that the rapper had fortuitously accepted Bitcoin payments for his 2014 album Animal Ambition and for some reason had never cashed them out. The report claimed that, at the time of the album’s release, he raked in 700 bitcoins that would’ve been valued around $400,000. (£286,000) These days they would’ve been worth closer to $7.8 million (£5.5 million). And Motherboard crunched the numbers to include the forks that occurred in the intervening years, which brought total up to $9.2 million (£6.5 million). 50 Cent’s response was coy. In a now-deleted comment on Instagram, he wrote, “I’m a keep it real. I forgot I did that shit.” Now, however, he claims didn’t actually do that shit.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast and TechCrunch, 50 Cent recently testified under oath that the media reports were mistaken, saying, “I do not personally own, and have not owned, either a Bitcoin account or any bitcoins.” While he’s had plenty of surprise business success in the past, he’s in the midst of bankruptcy at the moment, and this sudden discovery of millions of dollars drew the attention of the US Trustee Program and his creditors.
50 Cent reportedly supplied screenshots of his BitPay account that detailed “a few thousand dollars’ worth” in Bitcoin transactions. He explained that “all online transactions involving my brand were handled by an independently owned and operated third party, Central Nervous LLC,” and “the limited Bitcoin transactions that occurred online were processed and converted to U.S. Dollars contemporaneously.” Womp, womp.
So, why’d he try to play it up like he actually had a big pile of bitcoins that he’d forgotten? He explained in the court documents that he’s not in the habit of discrediting stories in the press unless they make him look bad. From the documents:
“When I first became aware of the press reports on this matter, I made social media posts stating that ‘I forgot I did that’ because I had in fact forgotten I was one of the first recording artists to accept bitcoin for online transactions. I did not publicly deny the reports that I held bitcoins because the press coverage was favourable and suggested that I had made millions of dollars as a result of my good business decision to accept bitcoin payments.”
It’s a bummer. 50 Cent’s story was an antidote to all of the tales of people forgetting their password or literally throwing away millions of pounds worth of Bitcoin in a trash dump. But unfortunately, he seems to have cashed out years ago like the rest of us rubes who missed the great crypto-wave of 2017. [TechCrunch]