In the world of Bitcoin, tales of fortunes won and lost abound, but few have attracted the attention garnered by 50 Cent’s Bitcoin saga. In January, the rapper took to social media to brag that he had “forgotten” about the approximately 700 bitcoins he had received in payment for his 2014 album, ‘Animal Ambition.’
At the time, those bitcoins were worth about $450,000, but at today’s prices, they’d be worth closer to $7 million (actually, it’d be quite a bit more, if you include all the Bitcoin forks that have happened since then).
“Technology is what’s changing the business gotta get with it,” 50 cent wrote in a 2014 Reddit AMA about his decision to accept bitcoin for the album. “I take money no matter if its coins or dollars.”
According to documents obtained by TechCrunch, however, it appears that 50 Cent may have been making up his cryptocurrency fortune.
In the documents, 50 Cent claims “I do not personally own, and have not owned, either a bitcoin account or any bitcoins.” He also provides screenshots of his BitPay account showing payments for the record. Based on these screenshots, it appears that 50 Cent may have only received a few bitcoins in total, rather than the 700 bitcoins that were initially reported.
It’s not the first time the rapper has been caught embellishing his wealth on social media.
In 2015, 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy resulting from $36 million of debt with less than $20 million in assets. Shortly thereafter, the rapper posted a photo on Instagram in which stacks of hundred dollar bills spell out the word “broke.” When asked to account for this by the bankruptcy court, 50 Cent’s lawyers claimed that “the cash depicted in the social media postings is not real.” Early in 2017, 50 Cent was discharged from bankruptcy after paying of $22 million of his debt.
It appears that 50 Cent’s bragging about his bitcoins raised some eyebrows at the US Trustee Program, however. In the rapper’s filing he acknowledged that he accepted bitcoins for his album, but claimed that they were converted to US dollars before he ever saw them.
‘Animal Ambition’ was released in partnership with cryptocurrency payment platform BitPay. In his court filing, 50 Cent claims that “all online transactions involving my brand were handled by an independently owned and operated third part, Central Nervous LLC.The limited bitcoin transactions that occurred online were processed and converted to US dollars contemporaneously, based upon the then-existing exchange rate.”
The reason that 50 Cent didn’t bother to deny the reports of his bitcoin fortune last month was because they weren’t damaging to his reputation, according to the court documents.
“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,” 50 Cent’s statement reads. “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.”