Rapper 50 Cent denied he's a bitcoin millionaire in a bankruptcy filing, where he threw cold water on his newfound cryptocurrency street cred.
50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, filed a sworn statement with a Connecticut bankruptcy court last week asserting that he "has never owned, and does not now own, a bitcoin account or any bitcoins."
The media hype erupted in January 2018, when celebrity gossip site TMZ reported that 50 Cent had received 700 bitcoins as payment for his fifth rap album "Animal Ambition," in 2014. (See more: Rapper 50 Cent Just Realized He's a Bitcoin Millionaire.)
Based on today's bitcoin price of about $10,500 per token, that amounts to more than $7 million. That hefty trove undermined 50 Cent's claims in his bankruptcy filing, where he insists he's broke as a joke and can't afford to pay his debts.
Jackson, whose net worth topped $155 million in 2015, added fuel to the rumor mill grist by playing along with the press hype and bragging about his cryptocurrency millions on Instagram and Twitter. The rap mogul has since deleted those posts.
But Jackson's other Instagram posts, where he's gleefully photographed surrounded by piles of money, remain intact (see photos below).
In his bankruptcy filing dated February 23, 2018, Jackson confessed that he had played along with the press reports hyping his bitcoin millions because it was good for his baller image.
"As a general matter, so long as a press story is not irreparably damaging to my image or brand, I usually do not feel the need to publicly deny the reporting," Jackson explained. "This is particularly true when I feel the press report in question is favorable to my image or brand, even if that report is based on a misunderstanding of the facts or contains outright falsehoods."
50 Cent continued: "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."
Jackson said he did not deny the positive press reports because it painted him as a smart businessman, which he believes he is. "I did not publicly deny the reports that I held bitcoins because the press coverage was favorable and suggested that I had made millions of dollars as a result of my good business decision to accept bitcoin payments," he wrote.
Jackson first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2015, claiming his debts topped $32 million and exceeded his assets at the time of $24.8 million. (See also: 50 Cent Broke No More.)
Naturally, skeptics say 50 Cent is now claiming he owns no bitcoin because he doesn't want to be forced to turn them over. Or perhaps he doesn't want to pay taxes on his bitcoin earnings. (See also: IRS Wants to Tax Your Bitcoin Gains: Orders Coinbase to Hand Over User Data.) Either way, the court will eventually suss out the truth.
If 50 Cent were a bitcoin millionaire, he'd join a growing list of people who are profiting from the cryptocurrency's meteoric price spikes. Bitcoin first launched in 2009. By 2010, its price reached a high of 39 cents a coin. Today, BTC is worth more than $10,000 per token. (See also: $10 Billion Lawsuit Filed vs Man Who Claims He Invented Bitcoin.)
Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author holds no bitcoin.