Justin Bieber, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashton Kutcher are among dozens of celebrity investors piling into crypto startup MoonPay
MoonPay CEO and co-founder Ivan Soto-Wright speaking at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, Florida.
Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Images
What do Justin Bieber, Gwyneth Paltrow, Snoop Dogg and Ashton Kutcher all have in common? Aside from being A-list celebrities, they’re among more than 60 new investors in fintech startup MoonPay.
Additional celeb investors include the Chainsmokers, Drake, Eva Longoria, Jason Derulo, Kate Hudson, Paris Hilton, Matthew McConaughey, Mindy Kaling, Questlove and Shawn Mendes, among others. The new investors are contributing a collective $87 million to a previously announced $555 million funding round led by Tiger Global and Coatue, valuing MoonPay at $3.4 billion.
Founded in 2018, the Miami-based company’s software lets users buy and sell cryptocurrencies using conventional payment methods like credit cards, bank transfers or mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
MoonPay also sells its technology to other businesses including crypto website Bitcoin.com and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea, a model CEO Ivan Soto-Wright calls “crypto-as-a-service.”
NFTs are digital assets that represent real-world objects — such as art, music and real estate — and can’t be replicated. In the past few months alone, big brands from every industry, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nike, Gucci and the National Football League, have brought NFTs into their marketing initiatives.
“A lot of companies might open a very small portion of their rounds, but we wanted to take on meaningful checks from these folks, because we want them to be part of this story and shape product direction,” Soto-Wright told CNBC.
In particular, when it comes to artists, they don’t want to tour forever, so they’re increasingly diversifying, he said.
“A lot of them have venture capital portfolios, a lot of them have their own independent ventures, and we came to them saying ‘we can help you understand opportunities around Web3, crypto and the metaverse,'” said Soto-Wright. “We virtually had no rejections. Everyone wanted to be a part of it.”
MoonPay says it has been profitable since launching its platform in 2019. Its service is now used by more than 10 million customers in 160 countries.
Still, investors have struggled to see value in digital art and are perplexed by big sales, such as Beeple’s piece, which sold at Christie’s for $69 million.
Looking ahead, the company plans to spend the money raised on new products and expansion. It also has ambitions to take the business public.
“We have aspirations eventually to be a public company,” Soto-Wright told CNBC in November.
Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, however, and that has affected even the most well-known players in the space. Bitcoin fell below $40,000 earlier this week for the first time since mid-March.
—CNBC’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.