There was a time when doing anything related to crypto was not something to be proud of. Public opinion had been shaped in a negative manner due to an uptick in scams and negative regulatory sentiments on the continent. All of that is changing rapidly.
Today, more people are embracing the cryptocurrency revolution. Popular people like artists, athletes, and celebrities have also joined the party. Some of these celebrities are self-taught crypto enthusiasts, while most of them entered crypto through endorsement deals by major brands. In this article, we highlight the top artists, athletes, and celebrities in Africa coming into crypto.
UFC MMA Fighter Francis Ngannou
UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou is a French Cameroonian mixed martial artist. Ngannou is also known as the hardest puncher in the world. His first public activity in the crypto space was his partnership with CashApp to provide Bitcoin education for the masses.
Francis Ngannou has done a couple of Bitcoin giveaways on social media in the past. However, the biggest highlight of the partnership was when Ngannou announced he would now be taking some of his pay in Bitcoin. He received half of his salary from UFC 270 in Bitcoin, adding to the list of several sports icons receiving their earnings in crypto.
Music Producer Don Jazzy
Don Jazzy, whose real name Michael Collins Ajereh, is a Nigerian music producer behind major music brands like Rema and Ayra Starr. Don Jazzy is one of the biggest celebrities to enter crypto, with over 18 million followers across Instagram, Twitter, and Meta, formerly known as Facebook.
One of the major highlights of his crypto endeavors is when he revealed that he earned $300K In 10 minutes from NFTs in an interview with Daba TV. Don Jazzy has now become a regular feature on crypto social media, discussing NFTs and various crypto projects.
In November 2021, Don Jazzy showcased part of his NFT collection on Instagram. The collection includes a Cool Cat, Mutant Ape, Afrodroids, Superkongs, and others. Recently, Don Jazzy signed a partnership with Quidax to promote the Nigerian crypto exchange and decentralized finance hub.
Music Artist Davido
David Adedeji Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, is a Nigerian artist who has become a household name for Afropop and Afrobeats. Davido made a big splash in the crypto space with the launch of his social token, $ECHOKE.
The idea of the social token was launched in November 2021. The plan was to host it on the BNB Smart Chain. Holders of the token are expected to get exclusive access to giveaways, NFTs, festivals, merchandise, and other entertainment benefits.
Before this, Davido had also made the fintech headlines with his partnership with fintech app Bitsika, where he became the face of the brand and a shareholder.
Dancehall Artist Stonebwoy
Livingstone Etse Satekla, aka Stonebwoy, is a Ghanaian dancehall artist who entered crypto publicly in 2022. On January 26th, 2022, the artist announced that he was partnering with a Nigerian cryptocurrency exchange, YellowCard.
According to a statement on his official website, the partnership is set to drive financial inclusion in Ghana through cryptocurrencies. The partnership was said to have been inspired by growing crypto adoption in the West African country.
Nigerian Rapper M.I. Abaga
Another artist making waves in crypto is Nigerian musician and rapper, M.I Abaga. M.I was introduced to the crypto community through a partnership with Binance NFTs.
During the launch of Binance’s non-fungible token platform in June 2021, the exchange partnered with several creators across the world to release exclusive collections. M.I launched a collection as part of the 100 Creators on Binance NFT Marketplace.
Since then, M.I has now joined Don Jazzy as a brand ambassador of Quidax, a Nigerian DeFi hub, and crypto trading platform.
Buju Benson BXNX
Buju Benson or BXNX is another artist who has embraced the rise of Web3. Buju is a Nigerian musician who has shot to fame with his recent hit songs. The artist began to receive praise from crypto enthusiasts for his non-fungible token drop.
Buju launched an NFT project dubbed HeadsByBnxn. The project is a collection of 10,001 NFTs designed around the face of the music star. Owners of the NFT are set to get exclusive access to the HBB Community. Members are set to get perks such as access to in-person and virtual events and unreleased music. Another interesting utility is access to playspace, a replica of Buju’s career in the Metaverse.
The project runs on Polygon and can be minted for 85 MATIC.
Hazel Oyeze Onou (Whitemoney)
Everyone who watches reality shows on television in Africa probably knows Whitemoney. Hazel Oyeze Onou, aka Whitemoney, shot to fame after he starred in season six of the popular Nigerian TV show Brother Naija ‘Shine Ya Eye.’
Whitemoney won the reality show, increasing his popularity. Shortly after leaving the Big Brother house, Oyeze Onou was brought into the crypto world as a brand ambassador for Binance. Since then, he has featured in educational promo content from the global exchange, targeted at Nigerian users.
Actor Timini Egbuson
Timini Egbuson is a Nigerian actor known for his roles in Elevator Baby, Shuga, Fifty, and Skinny Girl in Transit.
Egbuson is one of many celebrities who have signed a partnership with Quidax to push crypto adoption in Nigeria. There is very little public information about Egbuson’s interactions with crypto before this. Since his collaboration with Quidax, he has featured in their promo materials which intend to educate the masses about crypto.
Musician DJ Sbu
The South African Kwaito musician is one of the first artists in the country to release a non-fungible token. The DJ released a collection dubbed “DJ Sbu Enters The Metaverse,” which sold ten pieces in three days.
DJ Sbu has expressed his excitement about his first drop and has indicated that he has plans to release other collections in 2022. What’s more, DJ Sbu has become an advocate for crypto adoption in SA, highlighting the potential benefits for people. Recently, he has made appearances at virtual crypto events organized by brands like Luno.
There has been a lot of talk about how NFTs could change the music landscape. Analysts suggest that NFTs would introduce new ways to interact with fans beyond fan collections with exclusive community utilities. One such use case is the idea of selling songs directly as NFTs.
In February, the Kenyan hip-hop star Octopizzo announced that he would be releasing five songs as NFTs that can be purchased on OpenSea. The collection is part of a collaboration with Kenyan blockchain startup, HoneyCoin. The NFTs are also set to be fractional NFTs that will give owners a share of streaming royalties.
Celebrities tap into NFTs
Other notable mentions include Ikechukwu Sunday Okonkwo (Cross) and Pere Egbi (Pere), who were also on Big Brother Naija season 6. They signed a partnership with Binance like Whitemoney. Chef Fregz, a Nigerian celebrity chef, Diane Russet, a Nigerian actor and media influencer, and Bisola, a Nigerian singer, are also brand ambassadors of Quidax, joining Don Jazzy and M.I.
More crypto adoption is on the horizon on the continent, which means more athletes and artists will join the fray. It will be interesting to see more big names adopt and promote crypto.