One of the hottest tech trends of the last few years has been the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Once relegated to techies and conspiracy theorists, cryptocurrency has entered the mainstream in a big way with millions of people dabbling in the new (and often confusing) world of virtual cash.
As with all mainstream trends, it was only a matter of time before the Hip-Hop world caught on. Some major crypto champions include Nipsey Hussle, 50 Cent, Lil Uzi Vert, Nas, Childish Gambino, Snoop Dogg, DJ Khaled, Ghostface Killah, and more. While the artists’ involvement has ranged from accepting cryptocurrencies as payment, investing in crypto-based startups and coins, and promoting the blockchain-based currency in their music, the idea is the same: cryptocurrencies are a part of our culture and should be explored.
While some might be skeptical about money that isn’t tied to any legal tender, cryptocurrency is proving to be valuable for many artists who rely on selling their music online to a digitally-savvy audience, such as 50 Cent, who accepted Bitcoin for her LP, Animal Ambition. According to super-producer Christopher “Drumma Boy” Gholson, “It’s another option for payment of services. It could include everything from paying everyone from your engineer to your booking agent. For example, if you know you’re going to pay thousands for a beat, the coin form should be an option.” Additionally, one of the numerous benefits about cryptocurrency is that transactions are immediate and far more secure than traditional payment methods.
Finally, in a genre of music well-known for bravado about making stacks, many artists believe that investing in crypto is one easy way to elevate one’s financial status. When 50 Cent took a chance on accepting Bitcoin in 2014, he received 700 in Bitcoin, which by 2018, was worth approximately $7.8 million. Nas, who is well-known for investing in multiple tech startups, invested in Coinbase in 2014. Today, Coinbase is one of the most popular currency-purchasing sites in the world.
Can we expect stacks of hundreds to be replaced with binary 1’s and 0’s in rap videos? Will we soon be hearing about bad bitches and blockchain? Only time will tell.