The Top Celebrity NFT Owners

With entrepreneurs, rappers, DJs, and professional sports players leading the way, more and more celebrities are joining in the NFT craze than ever.

Some launch their own NFT collections; some collect NFTs from other creators; some directly invest in NFT ventures. Some do all.

This guide will dive into the portfolios of the top celebrity NFT owners who have collected dazzling JPEGs from the most extravagant collections.

Let’s explore: which celebrity has the largest NFT portfolio so far? What projects are most popular? 

To explain, we compiled a celebrity NFT owner list based on DappRadar’s October and November reports.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Entrepreneur Gary Vee has been an NFT ambassador from its early days. Recently, he launched his own Veefriends NFT project that provides the owners three-year access to a multi-day conference called Veecon. Around 74% of his NFT wealth comes from his own collection. He kept 1016 Veefriends NFTs which have approximately $69M in market value.

He’s been collecting NFTs from other collections as well. As of writing, Gary Vee’s NFT portfolio is allegedly worth more than $90M. 

Some attention-grabbing pieces from his portfolio are:

  • 60 CryptoPunks. Cryptopunks is the revolutionary NFT collection launched in 2017 that started the crypto art movement. Cryptopunks collection represents one of the first examples of the non-fungibility concept on Ethereum. The most valuable editions in Vee’s collection are CryptoPunk #2424 and #2140.
  • 7 Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). BAYC is a collection of 10,000 ape NFTs. It’s one of the most exclusive NFT collections. In recent months owning a BAYC NFT has become a status symbol in the crypto world. It serves as a digital identity that provides the owner access to exclusive membership club activities, like the collaborative graffiti board bathroom.
  • Three Meebits. It is another prominent collection by Larva Labs, the studio that made the legendary Cryptopunks.

Snoop Dogg

The famous rapper Snoop Dogg is one of the most influential NFT celebrities. He was an early promoter of Dogecoin; he partnered with the Sandbox Game on new land offerings; he collaborated with Chris Torres to launch the NyanDogg collection.

Last September, he revealed that he is actually the human behind the anonymous Cozomo de’ Medici, a popular NFT collector Twitter account that had launched in August. He said he wanted to separate his NFT business from other activities.

Here are some of the most valuable NFT assets he owns under the pseudonym Cozomo de’ Medici. The entire collection is valued at around $14M.

This is only Cozomo de’ Medici’s collection. We know that Snoop Dogg has also invested in BAYCs. He shared in a tweet that he acquired them through the NFT broker firm Moonpay.

Alexis Ohanian 

Another NFT frontrunner is Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. His NFT collection includes 6 Cryptopunks, 2 BAYCs, 10 Meebits, and many others. The most valuable NFT in the portfolio is Cryptopunk #8115.

Ohanian gifted his wife Serena Williams a look-a-like punk (Cryptopunk #2950). He wore its image as a badge on his collar while visiting the 2021 MET Gala. 

All six punks in Ohanian’s portfolio are black female punks with headbands. The entire Cryptopunks collection has 3,840 female punks.

He also invested in the Cool Cats project with 7 NFTs. Cool Cats is a collection of randomly generated NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. Owners are free to do anything with them under a non-exclusive license.

In addition, Ohanian minted 13 pairs of NFT sneakers and 4 Daypacks from the 10KFT collection. The 10KFT NFT collection allows NFT owners to create customized sneaker designs featuring their NFTs. But only a few exclusive NFT collections are accepted, such as BAYC, Cool Cats, and CrypToadz.

Steve Aoki

The most precious piece of DJ Steve Aoki’ NFT collection is BAYC #118, followed by Cryptopunk #8705. He has 794 NFTs in total. Other notable items from the collections are:

  • Swaggy Sea Lion from Gary Vee’s Veefriends collection.
  • Three M1 Mutant Serum NFTs, which had been airdropped to all BAYC owners. Its market value is around 9ETH.
  • Cool Cat #3350.
  • 5 CloneX NFTs. CloneX is an NFT collection co-created by the famous Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami and RTFKT. RTFKT is a leading brand that delivers next-gen gaming sneakers and collectibles. It’s been acquired by Nike very recently.

Marshmello

Another celebrity who invested in Cryptopunks, BAYC, and Veefriends collections is DJ Marshmello. His portfolio has 120 NFTs with around $1M market value, including 11 NFTs from the Cryptoadz collection by Gremplin.

The most valuable three NFTs from his collection are:

  • Cryptopunk #8274
  • BAYC #4808
  • BAYC #9231

Post Malone

Among the top NFT celebrity owners, musician Post Malone might be the only one who doesn’t have any Cryptopunks. Instead, he has two BAYCs, #9039 and #961, totally valued at more than $532K. He also invested in the Wolf Game, Swampverse, and Sisters collections.  

Jay-Z

Rapper Jay Z owns the Cryptopunk #6095 and one Portrait and one Sneaker from the RTFKT Cryptopunks project. RTFKT Cryptopunks project functions in a similar vein as the 10KFT NFT collection in that it’s only open to punk owners. 10,000 unique sneakers were created via the corresponding punk from the original Cryptopunks project.

Beeple

The artist Beeple is one of the most valuable crypto art creators today. He made the headlines in 2021 after he sold the Everydays: The First 5000 Days collection for $69M in an auction at Christie’s. 

His NFT portfolio, which consists of works other than his own, isn’t modest either. He gave back to the NFT ecosystem by investing more than $400M in various artists on the Rarible platform. Additionally, he’s some pieces from the Veefriends, Cryptocubes, and Meebits collections.

Mark Cuban

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban also collected a large number of NFT artworks from the Rarible platform. His NFT portfolio is worth around $467M, with BAYC # 1597 and FEWO Crypto Brick being the most precious pieces. The latter is a collaboration between the RTFKT studios and the well-known NFT artist Fewocious.

Other notable celebrity NFT collectors include the NBA star Stephen Curry and the Rapper Ja Rule. The most valuable asset in Curry’s portfolio is the #7990 BAYC. Ja Rule has the #3512 from the Mutant Ape Yacht Club collection.

Final Thoughts: Celebrities Are Loving NFTs

The influx of multifaceted musicians, entrepreneurs, artists, and professional sports players into the NFT space has been welcomed by open arms by all NFT holders. 

Many NFT-holding celebrities tend to acquire pieces from iconic NFT collections such as the BAYC, Cool Cats, and Crypto Punks, but we’re also seeing many celebrities invest in individual artists’ works. In recent months, owning a BAYC or Punk evolved from being something that just crypto people collected to a status symbol for celebrities and athletes. 

We’re eager to follow the celebrity movement into NFTs and explore what’s next on the horizon. 

Nyan Cat Crypto Art Sells for 300 ETH ($580,000)

Nyan Cat, an animated flying cat with a poptart body leaving a rainbow trail behind it, recently sold for $580,000. 

Welcome to 2021, the first year where an opening sentence like the one above actually makes sense.  While you may not remember Nyan Cat, by its name, you’ll probably remember it as the slice of Internet history it is from its visual:

“Ohh, that thing!”

Yes. Nyan Cat selling for nearly $600,000 may come as a surprise to most, but those following the rapidly-growing market for digital art and collectibles may even consider the selling price a steal. 

Nyan Cat History

Chris Torres created Nyan Cat about ten years ago; the original video on YouTube has a publish date of April 11th, 2011. The YouTube video has since grown to over 185 million views, and the cat has been shared, re-shared, modified, and re-modified in an endless meme-ification across multiple mediums. 

According to Social Blade, the Nyan Cat video could have generated anywhere between $4545 to $72,720 per year for Torres, simply based on the number of views and a wide CPM range. It’s worth noting that this range has no direct relation to the ultimate sale price, but it’s worth including to help bridge the concept of digital art and making money on the Internet.

Rough estimates of the Nyan Cat ad revenue from YouTube

The Nyan Cat Crypto Art Sale

In February 2021, Torres listed a one-of-a-kind version of Nyan Cat for sale on Foundation, a marketplace for digital collectibles and other goods. 

The artwork was initially listed at a modest 3 ETH (a little over $5,000) on February 18th, 2021. The bidding escalated the price to 85 ETH in the first 24-hours. The final 30-minutes of the auction on February 19th was a bidding war between users @zonted, @blackpoolHQ, and an anonymous address, 0x7Eb28B2f14A59789ec4c782A5DD957F9C8F33f6b. 

Nyan cat auction in its heated last moments.

Nyan Cat ultimately sold for 300 ETH, which was valued at roughly $580,000 at the time of the sale to the user solely identified by an address

What Nyan Cat Means for the Internet

The sale of Nyan Cat was a momentous occasion that linked early Internet culture with the nascent blockchain-based economy of today, particularly with the NFT movement. 

As a nonfungible token-based digital asset, the Nyan Cat that sold on Foundation is guaranteed to be an authentic copy of that particular piece of art– a 1/1 NFT of Nyan Cat. It doesn’t mean the new owner owns the copyright, trademark, sole ownership, or a claim to the YouTube advertising revenue– it’s simply blockchain-verified bragging rights of that specific NFT. 

For collectors, the Nyan Cat sale is a data point that makes a very strong argument for the value of a solely digital asset. In theory, if you’re into early Internet culture, such as icanhazcheezburger.com, Salad Fingers, and Happy Tree Friends, then the auction of Nyan Cat is likely an eye-opening moment that owning part of your favorite Internet moments is a possibility. 

However, arguably more valuable is the ability for creators to directly monetize their creativity and cut out the middlemen. 

For example, rather than relying on a centralized platform like YouTube for ad revenue, a creator such as Torres can auction off their creation directly to his or her fans. 

“But, how is this NFT valuable at all? Can’t I just copy the video or image to my downloads?” 

Sure, there is nothing stopping you from downloading an image or video of Nyan Cat, but there’s also nothing stopping you from buying a replica or poster of the Mona Lisa from Amazon. You wouldn’t “own” the Mona Lisa– you’d own a replica of it, which is significantly less valuable than the original. 

Similarly, the copied photo or video of an NFT is worth much less (i.e., worthless) than the original. The 300 ETH paid for the Nyan Cat NFT is simply for “ownership” of that NFT, and that asset can be stored and traded as such. 

Final Thoughts: What Nyan Cat’s 300 ETH (~$580,000) Sale Means for You

If this article and the Nyan Cat sale is your first exposure to NFTs, you may find yourself at a somewhat confusing crossroads. 

In the grand scheme of things, there are few instances where a digital asset has been sold for anything substantial, and there just isn’t enough time duration to estimate how well they store value.

However, paying seemingly exorbitant amounts of money for things with dubious “brass tacks” value beyond a market-determined price is something human beings have been doing for centuries. For example, in January 2021, a box of unopened Pokemon cards sold for $408,000

NFTs can be viewed as a progression of collecting into the digital realm. Nyan Cat joins some of the top-selling NFTs of 2021, and at the current rate of NFT sales, it’s unsure how long it will be able to hang onto its “Top Sale” crown. 

For instance, digital artist Beeple sold an NFT titled “The First 5000 Days” for a record-breaking $69,346,250 just weeks after the Nyan Cat sale. The buyer was an anonymous Singapore cryptocurrency whale going under the name Metakovan.

NFTs are getting a ton of attention right now and are certainly worth monitoring, but should be considered very risky investments. 

NBA Top Shot: A Complete Guide to Basketball on Blockchain

NBA Top Shot is the hottest talk on the cryptocurrency of 2021 so far; the collectible, blockchain-based NFT release platform and marketplace enable users to purchase NFTs of NBA highlight reels, and some of them have sold for over $200,000.

It seems like basketball on the blockchain is a slam dunk. Let’s explore. 

NBA Top Shot History: A Dapper Labs Project

NBA Top Shot was launched in July 2019 by Dapper Labs, a blockchain startup specializing in digital collectibles.

Prior to Top Shot, Dapper Labs’ best-known project was the viral CryptoKitties– a staple of 2017 cryptocurrency culture. CryptoKitties is an NFT-based game where users can collect and “breed” collectible cats. 

NBA Top Shot’s Home Page

While NBA Top Shot and Cryptokitties share many similarities due to their non-fungible nature, CryptoKitties is unique in that each CryptoKitty is one-of-a-kind in its design. In contrast, NBA Top Shot sells thousands of copies of an individual moment, although each is marked by a unique-serial number. 

CryptoKitties were frequently being bought and sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars during the 2017/2018 bull run in secondary marketplaces. 

The Dapper Labs partnership team has been incredibly busy since CryptoKitties, forming partnerships with the NBA and NBPA, Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, and the UFC. 

“Dapper Labs’ innovation and expertise make them a perfect partner to introduce this groundbreaking game and what we believe will become coveted digital collectibles for basketball fans around the world,” said Adrienne O’Keeffe, NBA Senior Director, Consumer Products & Gaming Partnerships in a press release regarding the 2019 NBA partnership. 

Dapper Labs raised $52.5M from notable funds such as Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Venrock, GV (formally known as Google Ventures), and Samsung as well as the founders of AngelList, Reddit, Dreamworks, Coinbase, and  Zynga. The team recently announced it is raising $250 million in a Coatue Management-led round in 2021. 

Contrary to popular belief, Dapper Labs doesn’t use the Ethereum blockchain; it uses the Flow blockchain, citing Ethereum’s inability to cost-effectively scale as too significant an obstacle for the trading of digital collectibles. With Ethereum gas fees spiking as high as $150+, Dapper seems to have made a great decision before reaching a critical mass of users and virality.  

How Does NBA Top Shot Work?

NBA Top Shot is designed to emulate the exciting experience of buying packs of trading cards. 

  1. You can create an account at https://www.nbatopshot.com/
  2. You will be required to fill out some basic KYC profile information. You will also be asked to make a Dapper Labs profile, which facilitates the transaction process. 
  3. You will be given the option to select your favorite teams, which will help NBA Top Shot curate your home-page experience. 

Once you’ve created your account, you’ll likely need to wait for a new pack to drop. We recommend signing up for their email list to be notified as to when the packs will go live. 

They sell out very quickly, and showing up on time doesn’t guarantee you’ll get to purchase a pack. 

So far, it seems there are three standard types of pack available:

  • Base Set (Common): For $9, you will get nine common moments. Every moment has a production of 1000+ with no maximum cap. 
  • Premium: For $24, users will receive seven common moments, and one rare moment. The rare moments have a production max of 999 clips. 
  • Legendary: $230 gets you six common moments, three rare moments, and one legendary moment. The legendary moment has a production max of 99 clips. 

There are also pack drops outside of the standard pricing. For example, on March 6th, 2021, “Seeing Stars” packs dropped for $14. 

How Much are NBA Top Shot Moments Selling For?

Taking a gander at the NBA Top Shot Marketplace, you’ll see thousands of Moments being sold for anywhere from $5 to $250,000+. 

One user made waves by purchasing a LeBron James Lakers Highlight Moment for $208,000, citing that he is an enormous fan of James and believes the moment is worth $1,000,000+. 

Sold out packs on NBA Top Shot

There are over 8 NFT moments of James that sold between $48,500 to $100,000. Zion Williamson’s “Holo MMXX” Block Moment sold for $100,000. 

Final Thoughts

Are NBA Top Shot moments worth hundreds of thousands, or potentially millions, of dollars? Is it just a fad that will fizzle out once the hype dies down? 

We’ll let history decide, but for now, it’s worth exploring two antagonizing lines of thought:

  • “NBA Top Shot moments are pieces of sports history! You’ve seen trading cards sell for millions of dollars, this is just like that but maybe even better. Since these moments are NFTs, you can easily track ownership, propriety, and you can transact seamlessly with anyone all over the world. They’re digital, so you don’t have to worry about storing them or experiencing a situation like your mom throwing out your lucrative Pokemon card collection!” 

Well, yes. One can argue that value is determined by how much anyone is willing to pay for a specific item. It is difficult to gauge how well value is preserved in a purely digital ecosystem because it is so new. Speculating with NFTs is very risky, and every ounce of prudence may help in the long-run. 

  • “People are crazy to spend any amount of money on NBA Top Shot Moments. You can just save the video to your computer and watch the moment whenever you want, for free! The marketplace is highly speculative and the true value of NBA Top Shot Moments is probably much less than what people are trying to sell them for.” 

Well, yes. You can also buy a mock imitation of the Mona Lisa for about $100. Heck, the paint on it probably won’t even be chipping. The value of NBA Top Shot Moments and NFTs is in their scarcity and ownership features

In theory, more people watching and saving a particular moment will only increase the value of owning the original– it’s basically free advertising. 

Time will tell how far basketball on the blockchain will go, but it’s worth paying attention to for any sports fan or collector.

Pastel Mainnet Launch

Today, Pastel has announced that it has open-sourced its mainnet to the community for public release. Pastel is an open-source, decentralized system allowing artists to register “provably rare” assets on a Bitcoin-like blockchain, while also allowing art collectors to purchase these artworks and “trustlessly”  trade them among themselves without reliance on a central authority. After months of extensive development and testing, the Pastel Network mainnet is fully developed and live.

The network allows art collectors to purchase these artworks and “trustlessly” trade them among themselves without reliance on a central authority. Over two years ago, the team set out to develop the underlying infrastructure for a fully decentralized digital art platform, to better democratize the digital art world.

The core of the network is built on top of Z-Cash, leveraging EquiHash, a 2.5 minute block time, and an emission schedule relatively aligned with that of Bitcoin. Furthermore, the platform allows for shielded transactions by employing a Z-SNARKS Trusted Setup. 

However unlike Z-Cash, there is no hardcoded mining reward and instead, compensation and promotion of the pastel Network is conducted using a decentralized voting system controlled by Masternodes, the cornerstone of the Pastel architecture. Pastel implements essential elements from DASH, making it a novel masternode based cryptocurrency with full support for Z-SNARKS. On top of underpinning the overall security and validity of the network, Masternodes serve a key operational use case of the platform as they are critical for registering artwork and facilitating trading between users. 

With the attributes of Z-Cash and Dash, Pastel has built a secure system able to identify network participants – artists, collectors, and Masternode operators – across all interactions. This attribute is essential for having a functional reputation tracking system and for detecting and mitigating hostile behavior by malicious users.

Perhaps most importantly, compute intensive applications and operations are enabled by processing capabilities provided by the network’s Masternodes. To be specific, the application’s artwork registration flow lends itself to a sophisticated system that combines near-duplicate image detection and testing for inappropriate content – each with their own novel and innovative framework which leverage advances in machine learning technology as well as the creative application of classical statistical techniques. Pastel also introduces a novel method to increase the capacity of the blockchain for storing the required ticket data through the use of the innovative Z-Standard lossless compression algorithm developed as an open-source project by Facebook.

Currently, the network’s emission schedule matches that of Z-Cash, which is closely modeled off of Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s block reward began at 50 BTC per block, with a new block every 10 minutes. Conversely, Pastel has a max supply of 1,000x the size of the Bitcoin max supply, with a new block every 2.5 minutes (vs. every 10 minutes for Bitcoin). As such, the initial block reward is 6,250 PSL / Block, and is reduced by 50% every ~ 4 years (similar to halvening events in the Bitcoin network).

The Pastel Growth Fund receives 5% of the total block reward. These are funds that can be directed, in a decentralized way, by a vote of the Masternode owners as a group, using an integrated voting system. The ultimate goal of the Growth Fund is to promote the network through early adoption and public relations efforts. This might include the development of new functionality through updated software, the promotion of the project by getting the coin listed on a new exchange, or the promotion of the project through the enlistment of well-known or respected digital artists who could register their original works on the system. 

To date, the project has largely been funded by a handful of developers and early adopters. With the launch of a fully functional mainnet and platform (in comparison with many other blockchain projects which market nothing short of vaporware), the network has been able to raise financing from Innovating Capital, a technology fund out of New York, to further the project’s development and product adoption. 

CEO Jeff Emanuel Interviewed by CGTN America

Jeff Emanuel, Founder & CEO of the digital art network Pastel Network, was recently interviewed by CGTN America! During the interview, Jeff shared his ideas about the future of digital art and Pastel Network. We wanted to write an article about the interview for our readers, and provide more insight on the founder’s long-term vision of the platform.

During the interview, Jeff summarized the vision of Pastel in the following- “The art world has a lot of gatekeepers, dealers, agents, and gallerists that keep the little guy out. The beauty of this (Pastel) is that no one is running the network. No one is in charge. You are in this official ledger where you can clearly show an unbroken link beginning with the artist, to anyone that artist sold the work to, to you.” For artists, he mentioned that “Any artist can create an original digital artwork, register it on the system, say how many copies of it exist, and sell it, list it for sale in pastel coins. Then people, collectors, fans of the artist, can purchase these rare copies and then hold on to them, and hopefully, they’ll appreciate and value, or they can turn around and resell them.”

The art market, as well as the rare collectibles market (e.g., comic books, baseball cards, etc.), is rife with inefficiencies for both consumers and producers. By inefficiency, we mean that market participants (buyers and sellers) as a whole can be better off if only they could identify and transact directly with one another. Current market constructors result in collectors who are forced to transact through intermediaries, each of which end up extracting most of the “economic rent”. The people who are making the art are getting a fraction of the final value created, and those end buyers are forced to give up an enormous share of the potential profit through the various layers of fees and the lack of liquidity. The reason why collectors put up with this untenable situation is because the art market has always worked in this way, and until now, there have been no good alternatives that retain the “reputation backed security” offered by the traditional gallery or retail model.

While the inefficiencies that exist in the market for physical artwork are not going to change anytime soon, there is no reason why the new world of digital artwork has to be shackled to this inefficient and inequitable system. But before that can happen, the world needs a decentralized, trustless mechanism to fulfill these same core functions of the art market that are currently provided by galleries and experts. Why must it be decentralized? In short, no one is going to trust a centralized network with something as important as high-end (or even low-end) artwork or valuable rare collectibles.

In a fully decentralized peer-to-peer system such as Pastel, where all of the software is open-source and anyone can freely purchase the coins required to “host” the network (i.e., to run a Masternode) so that it can serve users, the community is never faced with this problem. And Pastel believes this is the future of digital art. Since the art exists in digital form (i.e., as information), the costs to create it and distribute it are much lower than with physical Artwork. Also, the use of secure cryptographic methods provided by Pastel allows rare digital art to solve the problem of establishing the authorship and provenance of a given artwork, which has plagued the art market for centuries. From a financial side, by integrating the payment and trading aspects of art collecting into the very same blockchain that acts as its registry, Pastel can greatly reduce the need for extensive intermediation in the form of galleries, dealers, and payment processors. Because of the intrinsically public nature of a Bitcoin-like blockchain, digital art of the form Pastel proposes would dramatically improve the transparency of the art market, with buyers able to see the entire history of trades for a given work.

Jeff concluded the interview with an affirmation that Pastel truly represents the future of the digital art market — a fully decentralized platform eliminating the intermediaries in the art trading world. Artists and collectors who can enjoy barrier-free trading — all powered by Pastel with its own, independent blockchain.